Monday, December 10, 2012

A Bit O' Expansive Spaceship Love



Got a nice link today from (multiply pseudonymous) SF author James S. A. Corey, writer of one of my favorite recent SF series "The Expanse":

http://www.danielabraham.com/2012/12/10/its-not-really-fan-art-when-youre-a-professional/

Since I love to draw spaceships, I sometimes draw ships from books that I like, and sometimes those drawings get to the writers! This fills me with the warms. :)

If you like SF, you really had better read Leviathan Wakes and Caliban's War before Corey releases Abaddon's Gate. I pretty much guarantee you will devour them and still be hungry for more! Find these fine tomes hither.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walther P99 3D - Geo Complete 10/16


Here's my 3D Walther P99 with geometry complete. I wanted to actually model the hand grip ridges on the rear of the slide (rather than using a displacement map) to learn how do do such an intricate geometry that's cutting into existing meshes and across existing curvature in a clean and efficient way.


This is a very hi-res model, intended as a hero prop usable in cinematic closeups. Before the ridges it ran about 17K polygons, whereas now it's a bit over 22K.


I imported the model over to modo601 using .FBX format to do these renders, replacing the Maya default material with modo's sort of whitish clay default. Here's a detail closeup of the rear left, showing the complex geometry where the slide, stock and striker mechanism come together.


Lots of great reference images out on the Internet helped me get the details very close to the real weapon. Use reference! Always!

Screenshots from Maya, where I built the model as my final project for the Gnomon Maya Fast Track; here's a clean side view:


And same view with wireframe-on-shaded to show the polygons.


From here, the next step is displacement maps for the Walther logo, a lot of type that appears all over the piece, the little traction bumps on the stock grip area, and the overall texture of the stock which is made of molded plastic with fiberglas reinforcement. It's got a very slight pebbling texture over most of it that alternates with slick flat areas. Bump map will probably be best for that, but the type and logos need to be displacement to "look right."

What I learned from building this is that I really enjoy building stuff like this, in the same way that I like drawing vehicles and other hard-surface stuff. That's good news, as I was worried that I wouldn't; 3D is the way everything's going even in concept art, so I feel like work will stay fun as I transition over!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Website & Demo Reel!


Welcome to the new JeffZugale.com! I've done a complete redesign of the site with the help of Skytemple, who did all the hard work so I could just make art. There's a lot of new stuff up there to look at, especially on the Portfolio page where you'll find most of the art.

While there is an Artblog section where I'm starting to mirror this blog, this will remain my primary Artblog for some time until all functions of the new site are set up properly.

I also did a new concept art video demo reel, which I put up on YouTube - here it is:




You'll probably notice that the comics and music stuff seem to have disappeared; this is also temporary, and if you have links to the old site they will still work (though some of the old scripts will not). It was really important to emphasize the new artwork first. Everything else will return over time.

Hope you like the new look and art. Please share with your art friends!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Concept Paints Update WIP, 10/4




Got farther on these two but forgot to post them, been a little busy, heh. On the purple one, the sunset clouds background kindly provided photographically by the mighty John Scalzi.

Slowing down a bit on these because I'm looking for work, but will keep posting regularly.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Gnomon Live Sketches, 10/03


I went to the awesome Gnomon Live workshop this past weekend to see some of the best concept people in the business talking about their work and doing live demos. So great. I take lots of notes at events like this, and between writing down choice bits of knowledge I doodle all over the notepad. Thought you might like to see some.


These are shown pretty much in the same way they appear on the pages, though I've done some scaling and flipping to here and there to make a nice graphical layout.


I can literally do this all day. Why yes, I am into muscle cars... how did you know? :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

More Painting WIPs, 9/28


Keep going, keep going... I like this one above! I'm trying hard to get just a few more of these to a more finished state before this weekend's Gnomon Live event to have in my portfolio and demo reel to show around.


I think this train station needs a little greenery inside, hm? Seems a bit stark.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Environment Sketches > Color, 9/27


Ah, you thought I went back to hibernating again? Not so! I've been working really hard on all those previous paintings, on redesigning my website, and on putting together a demo reel. Fun! In this post, I've taken a bunch of those pen-on-paper environment drawings from a while back (here's some) and done a quick, marker-style color and lighting pass on them.


These will be seen in the demo reel. I'll let you know when the site redesign beta is ready to look at, in just a few days, and the reel will be there. 

A couple versions of the next one, tried a couple different ways:





Some more updates tomorrow with progress on the production paintings, so stay tuned...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spaceport Night WIP 9/21


Another continuation of the quickpaints. This one's fighting me, I'm getting frustrated with it, so I'm going to put it down and come back in a few days. Nice to have that luxury, instead of having an AD standing behind me waiting for it. :)

Good thing: got to see the Shuttle Endeavour and 747 carrier plane fly right over my house, with my little boy up on my shoulders. HUGE and close and loud and awesome!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Greening Installation WIP 9/20


Here's the next uprezzed image I'm working on from the 4-ups, calling it "Greening Station". Not sure if that means it's some kind of terraforming thing or if it's a derelict station where nature is moving in. Works either way. I don't think I can get more detailed on this one in an efficient way with just painting - it would take a week to render out all these little bits and trees. I'll have to use photo texture and custom brushes to quickly get a tighter result.

I think I'll move on to the purple spaceship image next. More tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Desert Transport WIP 9/19


Here's about 3 hours more work on an uprezzed version of one of the recent concept paints. I'm liking how this is going; that said, just realized there's a shadow problem on the cupola to the left. Not hard to fix. I think this needs some more "stuff" laying around, probably a couple other vehicles peeking in from off edge. That'll be fun to do.

Friday, September 14, 2012

TGIF Paintings, WIPs 9/14


Today instead of starting from scratch or from random brush noise, I went ahead and grabbed some thumbnail sketches from my sketchbook and painted them. They look pretty much like what I was seeing in my head when I sketched them, so it looks like I may actually know what I'm doing. ;)

No 3D today, had to spend the morning catching up on various other things. Have a great weekend, see you on Monday!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

WIPs for 9/13


Another 4up set, again using the "shapes in clouds" technique with the weird brushes. I need to make some new weird brushes, but still these are decent. Below, the hovercraft is pretty much done for modeling! I might throw on some round bolt heads here and there, maybe some seat cushions, but for a game-res model they're probably not necessary. In a game there will be people in the seats, you'd never see the cushions most likely.


This needs to be optimized, I should be able to knock off 1500 polys or so just by eliminating stuff you can't see like along the bottom of the jet housings, the skirt, and various other little bits that either wouldn't be directly visible or wouldn't be noticed. For instance, I left the back faces off the little headlight grille pieces.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More stuff, WIP 9/12


It's been a challenging day today. Here's a sketchy 4up, did this with the "shapes in the clouds" speedpaint technique: laid down a bunch of random noise with some of my custom brushes and then worked over parts that seemed interesting. Gonna go recharge my brain batteries for a while doing other stuff.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Got us a Convoy: WIP 9/11


Today's concept paint theme is Caravans. More in the fantasy zone than sci-fi here, it looks like, but those worlds aren't that far apart. All of these 4-ups take about 1.5 to 2 hours; I'm not particularly hurrying on them, just trying to keep a pace of one set per day. Each one is a single PSD, with the black crossbars on their own layer. Everything else is painted either right on the background layer or done on one layer above that and quickly flattened.

Below, made a little more progress on the hovercraft last night, but didn't have a lot of time to put in. Still going well though, I think the hard work is all done.


Tired today. Gotta try to get to sleep earlier tonight. See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Going Somewheres: WIP paint and 3D, Monday 9/10


Today's concept paint 4-up theme is train stations. I really like big stations and airports and transportation hubs of whatever kind, because there's always something going on, everything is in some kind of motion. People are going somewheres, as Asimov once wrote; there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of stories all flowing around and through each other (sometimes bumping into each other) in these places. Also, all of these places, while doing roughly the same thing, all do it a little bit differently, depending on when they were built and how many different transportation types meet up there. I find all that to be fascinating.


Here's the 3D model I'm working on, this small military hovercraft I sketched a few years ago that I've always liked. I think it's going pretty well! Original sketch below. Not that much more to add, really; working on that this afternoon. Hope to show you the finished geometry tomorrow, but then I have to texture it. That might take a bit with the complex shapes here.


More tomorrow...

Friday, September 07, 2012

WIP and Sketchbook, 9/7



Yesterday's 4-up concept paint goes with the "giant spaceship docking bays" theme. Before working on today's 4-up, I'm going to work on a 3D vehicle model some more; didn't get it done enough last night to post, so instead here's a page from my sketchbook:


Keep going, keep going, keep going...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Today's WIPs



Yesterday I did a new set of 4-up concept paints and put some color on the ones from day before. I'm trying to do at least one of these 4-ups every day; once I've got 8 of them I'll start winnowing which panels I want to rez up and take to the next level of completion. Each of these 4-ups only takes around 90 minutes; the next step would be putting in a half-day on each.


Here's a 3D sci-fi type environment I started working on a while back before the class, using Blender. Long-time readers may recognize it as coming from a sketch I did a while back (yikes, almost a year! gah), reposted here:


This one's still in the "plastic model" stage, needs detailing. Got some feedback from 3D artist friends that will help get this one looking real; haven't decided whether to finish it in Maya or modo yet. Here's another angle showing it's built out on both sides:


I think I'll rebuild much of this now that I understand how to control hard and soft edges when using mesh smoothing. I built this thinking about what I learned about game models from my colleagues at the old studio, trying to use Smoothing Groups to handle that, but more recent engines can handle higher-res meshes with smoothed polygons... pretty awesome.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Concept Paint WIPs




Here's some recent concept paint WIPs. The B&W one is from yesterday (9/4), the color one is from last month. Practice, practice, practice... just throwing ideas around. For this month I'm pretty much just working on portfolio, so I'm dividing my day between drawing and painting, working on 3D stuff, and the Not Invented Here webcomic.

Lots more to come!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

3D Brain Upgrade Complete

Walther P99, modeled in Maya 2013.
Hi, I'm back. I just finished the 9-week Maya Fast Track program at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects here in Hollywood, and so I've been transformed into a 3D artist on top of my 2D skills. Above, a quick render of my hard surface modeling final project, the Walther P99 favored by our more recent James Bond 007s. Geometry only, no textures or displacement maps... Very hi-res model, I worked on it a long time.

Anyway, since I'm not in a classroom for 60 hours a week, now I'm back in the land of the able-to-blog. I've got lots of stuff to put up and will put up some every day or two as I work on portfolio pieces and a demo reel through September. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Ships for your Money


Not just one ship, but two! The two designs were on the same sheet so I did them both. Duped the smaller one a few times so it looks like a fleet... and you can see how much bigger the big one is.

These were inked on paper, scanned and then quick gray rendered in Photoshop.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Free Time = Spaceships



Hoo boy, have I got lots of stuff to put up over the next couple months. Here's just one spaceship to get you started... I have lots more.

Things a'gonna be changin' around this here art blog, one way or the other. I'm starting a super-intensive Maya 3D production class on Monday, which runs for the next couple of months. I've bought a copy of modo 601 and I'm starting to do stuff in that. I've streamlined my schedule, closed out all client work, and gotten far ahead on the webcomic, so until September I'm gonna be living and breathing 3D and concept art, which will be a welcome change.

Anyway, there's more coming. Stand by.