Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Incremental progress

Been busy with other things, but made some small progress on these two:

From now on just going to post the art, not write much about it. I want to keep lots of art on this page.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Gettin' Somewhere

I think I'm pretty much done with the left side of this image, yay. On the right side, I've gotten onto the clouds, which I'll be done with pretty quickly. I need to do a little work on the water, maybe a couple of trees, and finish the stone arch. I still haven't decided exactly how I'll add people to this yet.

One thing about using photo overlays for textures and things like plants and stonework is that once you start doing it in an image, you really kinda have to keep doing it, because it's usually difficult and time-consuming to duplicate that kind of texture to the same degree of accuracy with brushes. However, trying to do that duplication, you learn a lot about how things actually look. I'm trying to only use just enough photo texture to bring the photo "look" in, but then I'm painting as much of the rest of the texture as possible. I did this on the clouds, both the orange volcanic plume (where I overlaid an actual explosion) and the white clouds on the right, where I laid a cloud photo over the rightmost cloud tower, and then hand-painted the other two towers using the first as reference and to sample colors.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tonight's work

Tonight I did a bit of work on the shipyard painting. I decided to widen it a bit, for a more movie-like aspect ratio. Then it's all just little detail work. There's a lot of detailing to do on this one... probably will take a long time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

City Gates: Line Drawing

Here's the fairly tight line drawing which is the next step in Syd Mead's process, after doing the grayscale value study. I left the file at 3000 pixels wide (it's reduced here to 800), but I used a pretty fat pencil tool in Painter and didn't zoom in too far to simulate drawing on a smallish piece of paper. Everything here is drawn by hand, with no guide curves or Bezier-path-generated ellipses.

It's actually not as hard as most people (and I used to) think to do smooth accurate curves (and ruler-straight lines, for that matter) by hand without tools or templates. The secret is twofold: speed, and use your whole arm - and of course, a lot of practice. But it's important to practice at speed to learn how to make smooth lines and curves. Pretty much everyone starts out trying to draw such things very slowly, sort of "petting" the line a small bit at a time. This just doesn't work at all, you get a rough or squiggly line; I tried it for years and of course had little success, and thus always fell back on rulers or templates.

This is probably one of the most important things I learned from Feng's class, from watching Feng draw: first, anyone can do this, so you can let yourself (if not force yourself) to believe that you can do it; second, just go ahead and do it a lot and practice and let your hand and arm learn how to do it, learn to trust your brain/nerves/muscles to do this action. It took maybe a couple of weeks of daily practice to get my first absolutely ruler-straight line drawn at an exact length... but after that, I knew I could do it and it ceased to be a problem. Same thing with curves and even ellipses (although I'm still a lot better at narrow ones than wider ones).

And of course, doing it digitally means you can make your curve, and if it's not right, hit Undo and do it again until it is right. But always try to make it right the first time, and you'll quickly find that you're hitting Undo less and less frequently - and your productivity explodes. :)

Anyway, so next I will attempt to imitate Mr. Mead's process for the "color miniature," a small-scale preliminary to figure out the colors of the final piece. I might wind up doing several different passes at it, just to see what happens.