Decoding this guy's digital painting style
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  1. #1
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    Icon Decoding this guy's digital painting style

    Alright, I'm in absolute love with this guy's process, but it seems I'm not experienced enough to really decode all of the elements.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_-W3u7MkmM

    I see that he blocks in some darks and chips away at that, but he works somewhat sporadically. Though it is gorgeous to watch. Could anyone help me figure out exactly what's going on here? Maybe break down some of his tricks if you can spot them? It might be self-explanatory to those with more experience, but I'm a middling beginner at this point.

    He's got about 15 other videos in his related stuff.

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    Well his technique seems really simple, its nothing revolutionary either....you mentioned it yourself already actually - he's rendering from black to lighter greys and white, this can be done either be erasing (since he has a white background) or paint it.

    He's using alot of soft brushes to mark up the geometry, but then tightens it up with sharper edged brushes.

    There's really not much to it, its all talent, there's no tricks behind this.

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    Yeah, what ScrbbleHEAD said. This guys not using any "tricks" at all really, just rendering form. He's just working from dark to light the way many oil painters do, except in a digital format you don't have to worry about what you're painting on top of, so his method is essentially:
    1. establish a quick silhouette that's vaguely the shape your looking for.
    2. block in the major planes for the forms
    3. continue refining both the silhouette and the rendering of the forms to include smaller and smaller details.

    He jumps to white pretty quickly to establish some of the brightest planes. This is a good idea, but don't get stuck trying to do everything with white, remember your mid tones, that's what really gives the 3 dimensionality a realistic punch. Only the planes directly facing the light source should be that bright. Now that I've thought a little bit about it he also maintains a consistent value structure, meaning that for instance any plane at a certain angle from the light source has basically the same value across the painting....basically in less words...his lighting is consistent despite the deceptively slapdash appearance of his process. In fact there's a really good lesson of working from general to specific in watching him work.

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    Thanks guys, that's exactly the kind of breakdown I was looking for. I'll be submitting these to further scrutiny, and now I've got some focus.

    Anyone catch anything else?

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    I'd reccomend silhouette, then midtones first before your highlights. Some people do it the way the guy in the video does, hitting highlights and midtones and dark-darks all in one fel swoop, then some people hit all the midtones first then expand their value range as they hone the drawing.

    I saw a craig mullens tutorial a month or so ago that reccomended midtones first and i've been incorporating it to my characters lately and it's been helping. It works for a lot of reasons but one thing i've been noticing is that its making me pay attention to the specularity of a surface more than i normally would.

    As scribblehead said, the video is of one of the many approaches one can take. it has it's upsides and downsides. Its a cool video notheless, thanks for postin'.

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    I tend to go for mid-tones first otherwise I find it ends up being too dark or too washed out. Because I don't think too much about lighting before I start it's never a good idea to commit to one extreme or the other.

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