Art: Is using 3d models to assist in created 2d environments considered cheating?

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    Is using 3d models to assist in created 2d environments considered cheating?

    I've been looking around the sketchbook forum lately and I noticed a few people use 3d programs like SketchUp to assist with the perspective aspect of creating a 2d environment.

    What do you guys think about this method?

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    How do you cheat at something which has no rulebook?

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    If you are a student, then using a program as a crutch instead of learning to draw in perspective - that's a bad thing. However if you can already draw like a fiend and just need a tool that speeds things up a bit, that's kosher.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    a tool is a tool, but if you don't know the basics of what you are doing, then that tool is useless. the need for understanding basic perspective is always going to be around, so i suggest making sure you know what perspective is before you go messing around with 3d programs. the use of 3d programs has become more popular in the comic book industry, as a cell shaded (black lines, white object) can help the artist produce their work at a better pace.

    don't play with fire, kids.

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    I wish the International Artistic Committee would hurry up with their Official Code of Rules and Regulations so that we all know what we're allowed and not allowed to do.



    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I wish the International Artistic Committee would hurry up with their Official Code of Rules and Regulations so that we all know what we're allowed and not allowed to do.
    I was asking what your opinions were, not if theres a "rule" against it. But I welcome your sarcasm

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    Originally posted by Elwell
    I wish the International Artistic Committee would hurry up with their Official Code of Rules and Regulations so that we all know what we're allowed and not allowed to do.
    To be honest I never knew there was a thing like that, that just shows how uninformed I am. On another note i've tried to make some of my pictures 3D just for reference then as it turns out in the end i've made the whole thing 3D so just keep it in mind that it can happen to u to if your not carefull . I'm not saying it's bad but if you want to keep it a painting then all I can say is be carefull.

    Originally posted by Seedling
    If you are a student, then using a program as a crutch instead of learning to draw in perspective - that's a bad thing.
    I'm currently struggling to get out of that habbit on my own at the moment

    Just call me Ferdi
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    It may be worth pointing out that learning basic perspective requires less work than learning the basics of creating, texturing, lighting, positioning, and rendering a few sketchy shapes in 3d.
    I personally use 3d because
    - I lack a decent drawing area to set up those pesky vanishing points
    - I have a working knowledge of perspective but I'd rather not do it all freehand if I can avoid it.
    - I've previously had to do 3d a fair bit so it's often faster for me by now.

    If you can't get your head around the basics of perspective then the interface alone of a heavy duty 3d app is going to kick your ass anyway.

    It's a tool but it's a tool that requires a fair old bit of reading and practice to be able to use at all, for most people I suspect it'd be more hassle than it's worth.

    Last edited by Flake; July 31st, 2007 at 08:15 PM.
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    Well, using whichever methods for making art is fine. BUT, you has to make the art. If you can build your own model, it's fine(the other topic for discussion is what is yours on what %, since you are using some tools you haven't programmed:| ) If you are drawing a character, the anatomy, the pose and the perspective are strong parts of the piece.

    I just say, make sure you feel that it's going to be definetely yours in the final, before considering just overpaint a shot of someone else's model.

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    Just to clarify, I'm talking about using your own 3d elements here.

    What I'm saying is that if you already happen to have a working knowledge of 3d you'd be daft not to use this, especially in a tight deadline, nightmarishly complex architectural scene that really lends itself to some time saving 3d.

    Any reliance on other peoples models would to me be more like tracing someone elses photo in vectors and passing it off as your own work, bad idea.
    For me, the point is to use any skills you may have acquired to produce a decent picture in the available timescale without pinching anyone elses work. If you can make your own "crutches" in realtime then it isn't a crutch, 3D has possiblilites for tiny tweaks of any camera angle that a good perspective drawing will never have without starting over.

    If 3d is the way to go, go for it, it's no more "cheating" than PhotoShop or a ruler is.

    /2p worth

    Last edited by Flake; July 31st, 2007 at 08:41 PM.
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    Well that answers my question.

    I have a pretty good understand of perspective. 1/2/3 point perspective, ellipses, all that stuff. I just find the process of laying down guild lines and vanishing points somewhat annoying.

    Thanks guys.

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    I'm with seedling. craig mullins uses 3D yeah, but he can do it also without the use of 3d software

    If you have a pretty good understanding of perspective then it shouldnt be a problem to put down some perspective lines. There is a huge difference between knowing the rules of perspective and actually doing those perspective exercises

    Thats the whole misunderstading with perspective, everybody know the rules because they are easy to understand en thats why most people decide to skip those boring perspective exercises. But really it makes all the difference.

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    If you are good enough why not use 3D objects to help? However when i can tell that a piece was made around a 3D object it does ruin the illusion (for instance some of Craig Mullins work).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mydrim View Post
    (the other topic for discussion is what is yours on what %, since you are using some tools you haven't programmed:| )
    Unless you are also willing to give the makers of your paper/canvas/paintbrush credit for your art, you ought to rethink this statement.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Just a tool

    I think using 3d is nothing more than a tool like my elipse that helps me draw circles. I see artists using photos (myself included) used as textures and think that's fine as well especially if you need to get an idea across quickly to a client.
    When I was in school I also thought using 3d was cheating but now that I have 10+ years under my belt I see it as just a great tool.

    Good thread BTW.

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    If you are a beginers, I suggest that you start from scratch. No 3d, no photo's.
    Well, if you want to learn to draw, don't use anything to start. Make sure you can do without any ''help'' and then, you should use those tools that speed up your work.

    I could use some photo/texture to render out some of my scene but I want to get a start like everybody else and actually learn the real fun of drawing. I could also use some 3d but meh, It goes much faster with vanishing point. But of course, if you want to render light and radiosity in your scene, is more simple to do it with 3d.

    If you want to learn drawing, don't use anything. If you can take a drawing to the final step and want to work around with 3d, just make a camera map over your drawing.

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    It's only cheating if you say,"hey look what i did....and i did it all from scratch with no 3d software."

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    Sketch UP is the greatest thing to ever happen to people who dont know how to use 3d programs. I can knock out scenes like no ones business in sketch up, but at the same time I draw way less now that I use it. It is becoming a crutch in many ways but has helped me create some nice work for my employer.
    My thoughts: use the shit out of it, get good with it but dont forget how to draw.

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    Just be aware that with 3D you are getting a system of perspective that has slightly different properties than the traditional pencil & paper method. Although you can think of 3D perspective in the same terms as the traditional definition, the actual computation of the perspective projection is more analogous to the behavior of a camera lens. The result is often distortion at extreme viewing angles, which can be mitigated somewhat by playing around with the different optic types that modern 3D packages are able to simulate.

    Further reading can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_projection

    Last edited by thinairart; August 19th, 2009 at 10:25 PM.
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  23. #20
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    I found 3D useful for understanding exactly how in artistic anatomy the pelvis, for example, is really shaped.

    Proportions of the Pelvis

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    Jodo (and other posters)--

    I think this is a fantastic question, and I think that the responders have been dead-on, in their various takes, as well.

    Hmmm...maybe I should even elaborate on that: I like the question a lot since it embodies a General Question of Degrees that I'm *always* asking myself.

    This is going to be an interesting post, in terms of chronology; you can't think of what I write first as being most important, nor can you read the last idea as The Big Thesis. My suggestion is to read it all--commit it to mental RAM--and then think about it all at once. (!) (Hey--I always try to keep it useful but 7.5 degrees off-center. )

    • In my 17 years of CGI game asset creation, twice (one at each of the companies I worked at) did guys get hired using someone else's portfolio. One I knew about pretty quickly because (dumbass!) I knew the guy he "borrowed" from, and the second one outed himself as soon as (non-forthcoming) assets were required of him. Both guys were fired very quickly after it became apparent that they couldn't produce.

    Had these guys simply been (supremely!) under-confident idiots who *could* do the required work--but didn't trust their own portfolios--it wouldn't have mattered in the end. No one would've been the wiser. (We're not talking about Right and Wrong, here, it's just that it would've been invisible. Consciences are a different matter; some people are born without em or with weak ones, but as long as mine's clear, other people are on their own--as long as they don't cause scenes.) Moral of the story: These guys had all the ersatz, lying-ass "help" they needed to get where they thought they needed to go. And they failed. Quickly and obviously. ...Next!

    • Twelve years ago, I was making animated 3D cut scenes for a game. I was working in 3D Studio (MAX), and things were really free-form and (compared to now) sort of Frontier-like; you figured weird ways out of doing things and then kludged--hard! I insisted on figuring stuff out the long "artistic" way--trial and error, educated guesses, etc--and I was sure that the Brass noticed and appreciated this. I was in a an Edgy-Friendly competition with a colleague (a guy who *I* had hired, and who's now Brass at a Big Game company!) in doing these animations. The company had just bought us each copies of a MAX tips-n-trix book, and we both devoured them. But while I was busy applying the *concepts* within these books to my animations, he basically re-made the tutorials, but with his raw material. Needless to say, we got very similar results, but he got done faster. And people responded to that. During my review later that year, I tried to "sell" my approach as being the more Right and Artistic Way. And I got a big, blank stare (and this was from a guy with whom I was sympatico and very friendly with)! Moral? When it's your ass on the line--and you're in competition and in comparison with others who are benefiting from shortcuts--what do you think the Smart Thing to do is? Yeah--you guessed it. I'll never forget that!

    • I'm posting some examples of my work in which I used 3D MAX as a basis. As images, I love them--they're portfolio pieces--and I benefited from the process which was unique and appropriate to the assets I was delivering. I never made any bones about their "armatures", and no one cared. Why? Because I can draw or paint anything, and everyone knows it (and that's important: it's fine to bend a "helper" medium in your hands if everyone's aware that it's a tool to you, and NOT a crutch. Cheating vs Smart Process is painfully obvious to your competition).

    • Lastly, a sort of Internal/Personal point: I have this "thing": It's about personal pride in my work. I *want* to be able to Do It All. I want to be able to execute--beautifully, to spec...and on time (!). I *want* to know/do...but I also want to come by that honestly and in a way I can apply to other processes/projects. Needless to say, this involves a balance. Here's how I've figured that out so far:

    Triage! 1. When my ass is on the line--and nothing else matters besides Getting It Done: I'll do what it takes, as long as it aligns with my ethical code of artistic and personal integrity. THAT never moves--my name on something means a *lot*..but it'll get Done done.. 2. When something has a little wiggle room in the deadline, I first execute a Fail-safe that I can hand in (with my name on it, and all that that means to me), and then explore other options. If the explorations bear fruit, then I'll present those as finals. 3. For anything that simply involves me and my personal deadlines, I'll do whatever I see as being fit. This can involve two approaches: either the Long & Old Fashioned Way of exploration, or (and absolutely, equally importantly!) using "helper" methods that I will *not* police myself about or beat myself up over.


    In sum: it's important to see this issue of "helpers" in a very Connected way--it touches a lot of things!

    I hope my experiences have helped!

    best,
    Nick

    Attachments: Two images I did for Firaxis Games, when I worked there. The first is a futuristic "Cathedral City" for the "Afterworld" Mod of "Sid Meier's Civilization 4: Beyond the Sword". The second is a shipwright scene that I originally did as a concept piece for "Sid Meier's Pirates!" and eventually got used as the main menu splash screen for "Sid Meier's Colonization" (though that was an earlier version).

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    Last edited by rusko-berger; September 21st, 2009 at 01:29 PM.
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