This year I have put the 3D side of my creativity on the back burner, and focused more on developing my skills in digital painting. It hasn't been easy, there is still so much to learn even after mastering the basics such as perspective and anatomy, values, lighting, composition and design theory, and the big one for me - color theory. But it's all so awesome to learn, just for the fact it provides that constant challenge, knowing that the art work I do tomorrow will always be better then the art work I did today. Again, it's all about really being present in the process and not so much the out come. With any luck there will be no end to how far I am able to push myself.
Now although I've been paying my painting a little more attention lately, this doesn't mean I love my 3D modelling any less. My heart still yearns for Verts and Poly's and I do intend to make some kickass Digital Sculpts in the not too distant future. In fact, without giving away too much, I want to get started on a new games project using UDK (especially after seeing the new trailer for the Unreal 4 engine).
This is a screenshot of a head I sculpted up as a test dummy to try out some of the new features of ZBrush 4r4.
|"You are retopologated..."|
This is a piece I painted up a week or two back for a class demonstration at Victoria University. The demo took about 6 hours all up, jumping between Photoshop CS4 and the flashy new Photoshop CS6. As with every new painting, this was just another opportunity to refine my work flow. That's why practice is so important and something which I suggest all the time to my fellow, aspiring artisans. Practice allows us to get to know ourselves, to understand how we as artists work, how we think and develop ideas. The more we practice the more automatic the spawning process of these ideas become. You begin to see yourself spending less time staring down at a blank canvas because your brain gets into the habit of developing ideas on the fly, it gets used to the fact that weather or not there is something floating around in that noggin of yours, you are going to start laying down lines regardless - and thus adapt. I also believe that the 'style' or 'look' to ones art work, the thing that makes the output original and unique, is achieved only through those laborious hours of practice. What else could style be other then the way you, as an individual, express yourself?
|Domina - Beauty and the beast in all their glory.|
This little gem I did a fair while ago now, in fact I'm pretty sure this piece is from 2011. Another typical theme for me, chicks and monsters - gotta love em. I wanted to post up this one because to me, it was a corner stone in solidifying my painting technique, and also the first time I really started to play around with directional lighting and color. Color is certainly one of my weaknesses. I can get my grey scale value's pretty much spot on, but add multiple colors to the mix with multi colored light sources and I'm in a world of hurt and rainbows. Insidious Curse was a great learning experience, and it helped me to really pay attention to light distance, intensity and how the type of lighting effects the way in which it interacts with an object.
|Insidious Curse - Caution! Is Insidious|
Getting Faster and Developing Ideas on the Fly
Half my problem used to be placing too much importance on a single work. This holds me back from turning out content on a more consistent time line. It is important to get into the habit of setting a regular time frame in which to create a work, but even more so not to dwell on the finished product, but rather move forward, straight onto the next piece without the procrastination in between. This is an important skill to have, especially when you take into consideration that in the industry (and freelance alike) chances are an artist will be turning out 3-4 concepts a day, maybe hundreds spanning over months, of which only a small selection will see the light of day as a final character or environment design.
So then how does one get better, and faster at the same time, creating more content in a shorter time span? Like with everything, it's all about the energy and the effort that you're willing to put into it. The more time you can set aside to practice 'getting faster' the faster you'll get. You start off by setting yourself an hour to come up with your character or environment concept, and you do that for a week, maybe even a month, spending multiple hours a day putting in that time to practice. Sure at first it'll be a bit of a struggle, but your abilities will adapt to the restrictions you set for yourself. But it does require a good amount of self discipline, something I have to admit even I struggle with. After smashing out a concept per hour (or two if it's really too much to handle), you then try to do it within half an hour. Yeah they will be speed paintings, and yes the quality won't be the greatest at first, but it'll get better. Most importantly it will train your brain to come up with ideas on the fly.
Here are some speed paintings I did, spending roughly an hour on each, in which I focused on both my speed and lighting value's.
As you can see the paintings aren't the greatest and not entirely refined either, but what mattered to me most in these exercises was the lighting value's, ensuring that the image looked accurate both close up and from a distance. It was really figuring out how intense the highlights should be made in contrast to the shadows and vice-versa, and also how the lighting fell upon the forms under different lighting conditions.