Digital Painting workflow ?
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    Digital Painting workflow ?

    I am an engineer by profession. And to create something out of a concept there are models which should be followed from first stage to last. The most common being the waterfall method where you take a top down approach from concept to design and then actual creation.

    While learning Digital Painting and concept art. I can find a lot of information on techniques and tips n Tricks, But I am unable to find a proper procedure which should be followed to a successful painting.

    For example, I have learned many things, Values, light, shapes, line, composition, color theory etc. But I am not able to find the proper implementation procedure.

    I have seen a lot of speed painting walk-through, Digital Painting techniques and tutorials but 99.9% of them do not explain the nature of steps, whats right and whats wrong way of doing things.

    I need some expert advice on this. Secondly what is better way to learn Digital Painting and Concept Art, Copying the work by others or trying to create something new.

    I hope some pros can shed some light on my confusion.

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    For you'r first question,i think this link can be helpful!
    Anatomy of picture:
    http://www.cglearning.com/visits/2551

    Im not pro so dont say anything about ur second question:d

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    404- not found .__.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    I am an engineer by profession. And to create something out of a concept there are models which should be followed from first stage to last. The most common being the waterfall method where you take a top down approach from concept to design and then actual creation.

    While learning Digital Painting and concept art. I can find a lot of information on techniques and tips n Tricks, But I am unable to find a proper procedure which should be followed to a successful painting.

    For example, I have learned many things, Values, light, shapes, line, composition, color theory etc. But I am not able to find the proper implementation procedure.

    I have seen a lot of speed painting walk-through, Digital Painting techniques and tutorials but 99.9% of them do not explain the nature of steps, whats right and whats wrong way of doing things.

    I need some expert advice on this. Secondly what is better way to learn Digital Painting and Concept Art, Copying the work by others or trying to create something new.

    I hope some pros can shed some light on my confusion.
    If you have learned the things you say you have then those are your tools to create with. Everything is in service of the idea, which you have to have to start. Learning Values, light, shapes, line, composition and color theory are only to help you express the idea you have. Your style is the outcome of what you believe to be good art, that requires an opinion about what is good or bad. Your opinion changes over time as you become more aware of the subtelties of picture making. Copying other people makes you second rate; the expression of the idea makes you first rate, it doesn't matter how you express it as long as it communicates your intent to the viewer. If you gave Craig Mullins , Syd Mead and Iain McCaig a treatment for a film and asked them to create concepts for it they would all be awesome and all completely unique and different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    If you have learned the things you say you have then those are your tools to create with. Everything is in service of the idea, which you have to have to start. Learning Values, light, shapes, line, composition and color theory are only to help you express the idea you have. Your style is the outcome of what you believe to be good art, that requires an opinion about what is good or bad. Your opinion changes over time as you become more aware of the subtelties of picture making. Copying other people makes you second rate; the expression of the idea makes you first rate, it doesn't matter how you express it as long as it communicates your intent to the viewer. If you gave Craig Mullins , Syd Mead and Iain McCaig a treatment for a film and asked them to create concepts for it they would all be awesome and all completely unique and different.
    I got your point. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    While learning Digital Painting and concept art. I can find a lot of information on techniques and tips n Tricks, But I am unable to find a proper procedure which should be followed to a successful painting.
    That's because there is no one "right" procedure, everyone has a different workflow, different methods, different styles, different techniques. The result is all that matters, not what procedure you used to get there.

    For example, I have learned many things, Values, light, shapes, line, composition, color theory etc. But I am not able to find the proper implementation procedure.
    The proper procedure is:

    1. Think...
    2. Have ideas...
    3. Flesh out and refine ideas in whatever way works for you...
    4. Make finished/presentable piece(s) to show client, doing whatever it takes to make it look the way you want.

    I need some expert advice on this. Secondly what is better way to learn Digital Painting and Concept Art, Copying the work by others or trying to create something new.
    If you want to get work making new things, you have to practice making new things. You can't learn that by copying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    I am an engineer by profession.
    I think this may be the root of your issue. You're used to learning The Process, but not every artist has a process that they follow 100% of the time, and, even in the case of those that do, what works for them might not work at all for somebody else. There are general widely accepted principles, but for every one of them I could show you successful artists who don't follow it.

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    One of the problems I have invoking creativity is that I assure myself there has to be SOME structure to the fundamentals before I can become expressive and take things for interpretation... BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE THOSE FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURES ARE!!

    Such a horrible cycle.

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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    Quote Originally Posted by AegisKleais View Post
    One of the problems I have invoking creativity is that I assure myself there has to be SOME structure to the fundamentals before I can become expressive and take things for interpretation... BUT I DON'T KNOW WHERE THOSE FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURES ARE!!

    Such a horrible cycle.
    As everyone has said its in the idea. The idea you want to express through your image. You learn the correct path by the feedback you get from the audience. Trial and error. You make it the best expression of the idea you can make at the time and you put it out there. People respond or don't, you revise your assessment and try again. etc. Skills are honed and and hopefully we learn from our mistakes. The process either beats you up and you quit or it beats you up and you become addicted to the pain and keep trying to do it better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    As everyone has said its in the idea. The idea you want to express through your image. You learn the correct path by the feedback you get from the audience. Trial and error. You make it the best expression of the idea you can make at the time and you put it out there. People respond or don't, you revise your assessment and try again. etc. Skills are honed and and hopefully we learn from our mistakes. The process either beats you up and you quit or it beats you up and you become addicted to the pain and keep trying to do it better.
    You may have misunderstood me...

    My concerns don't come over how I'm currently implementing my (limited) skill, but I often focus too intently on structurally learning; and with creativity, I've found that structure inhibits me creatively.

    But there are core fundamentals I need to learn before I can get to a part where I can express my art in my own style. (shape, form, light, shadow, perspective, etc.) Schools (supposedly) teach structurally, and at a certain point you know all you need to know and then start to develop your talent and skill by experience.

    My problem is finding that structure in fundamentals; I'm all about spending time and effort, getting feedback and changing my working knowledge once I get know the base concepts.

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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    There are 100 ways to begin a picture. Some like doing thumbnails, others play with colors until something clicks, or values, shapes. Some start by blocking out shapes, others by using lines and then color in, while slowly painting over. In some cases the painting is done in black and white only, then colored with layers. Options, as far as digital is concerned are endless. Finding you own way at the beginning takes time. But if you are looking for a magical process, there is no such thing. Two top professionals may work in a very different way and produce the same quality at the end. That's the magic of digital, but it's also a trap. That's why I like to watch videos, there are no two artists who do the same thing. It's confusing at first, but every technique is good as long as you know what you are doing.

    Instead of looking for the one technique, try to be flexible. Landscapes are better done (in my opinion) by starting with colors and values and not lines. For Characters and machinery, doing a pencil sketch that you scan is a good way to begin. You see, there are different steps that are more or less useful in different situations. It's not something you learn for a day. It's done, as others said, by doing errors. For example you paint a character and it ends up looking blured and undefined. Then you thing "Hm... maybe next time I should start with line art or I should use a harder brush instead of soft one...".

    So to sum it up, my advice is, go watch a lot of videos, even the trailers are good. I've learned so much from Massive Black video trailers alone. And mostly, experiment. Something doesn't work? Change the approach.

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    Basic structure is shape and form. Shape is quadrilateral, circle, triangle. Form is Cube, sphere, cone, cylinder. You learn to draw them under lighting conditions and see their structure to create more complex shapes and forms. You use the abstractoin of them to compose your designs

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    Thanks everyone for such a valuable input.

    I asked the question because despite the rules and principles in place Painting is not a linear task to do. Since I am myself trained to do something in linear fashion where every step counts, I was trying the same method for painting.

    What I understood from discussion here is that since painting is not a linear task and there are many ways to create art.

    But, I think I should elaborate the confusion in my mind. Its basically just like learning a language. Once you have learned the Alphabets (Value, line, shapes etc ), The second stage come as making words and than using those words to make sentences (Painting). But to make those sentences you have to follow a grammar and obey the rules of forms and punctuations etc.

    For example if I write " Hello, Are you how, doing you what are", This may make some sense to a person who may know what I am trying to say but it will look a mess to another person. Its a sentence (Provided words are arranged, but a wrong sentence indeed).

    What I am finding is that Proper grammar. Painting is a way to express, but to express properly ( Easily understood by observer ) is difficult thing to do. To make a paragraph you have to start right, stop at right places and keep it understandable. If I wrote everything above without punctuations and in one line, it would have been very difficult to understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Basic structure is shape and form. Shape is quadrilateral, circle, triangle. Form is Cube, sphere, cone, cylinder. You learn to draw them under lighting conditions and see their structure to create more complex shapes and forms. You use the abstractoin of them to compose your designs
    Great Advice.

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    Hi NajamQ,

    maybe we got something in common. i need linear structures too, thats how i work, its a wish for control... i always had problems to apply what i know to my paintings..so i started to focus on the problems at a time.

    so i wanted to learn more about color, light, how it forms objects...ive red alot about it (love james gurneys books) and testet it on little scenes in photoshop i paint. i do it also to describe problems i got in mind (see my colorsheme thread). ive learned so much from this experiments...but one thing was utterly important to me to be satisfied with it; the right technique. i needed a new technique.

    before, i painted with random brushes, opacityjitter on, messing around, color over color over color, totally lost control..and in the end i was depressed over the outcome, not always, for sure..but i felt there is a better way.

    i found out that its much more easier for me to apply all the rules and the colors and forms and stuff, when painting with a hard brush without any opacityjitter, just the strong color -> a block in at first

    in this way ive to think about what im doing much more, think about what color i have to apply to let it look right and stuff, cause ive to mix each color on its own..but the early sharp look of edges made me happy, its so much fun to paint this way. the first time you get a bit stuck on what color to choose, but im sure, if you try and try, and learn, u will nail it this way!

    it helps me to paint my concepts...once the concept is done, you can paint over it with opacity-random-brushes, smoothing edges where it have to be, paintover with soft atmosphere brush..but its important to build a good foundation to paint on!

    if you want me to, ill try to explain it more precisely,.. for now, ive got 2 little examples,



    the first is very rough till now, but for me it works as a concept, now i can do anything with it, and it was fun to paint it. i can go way further with the shading and the block in..


    the second i still a work in progress, but started with the same block in tech;



    maybe this describes the suffering this painting was first blocked in, then painted over with random brushes

    the block in helps me to get shape and color right in the early stage, that was what i was looking for all the time...and its nothing new, lots of painters doing block-ins first

    dont know if it helps you, greets!

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    Thank you very much @Mister Janchichan

    I think you are the person to hit the right spot in my confusion. That's exactly what I am doing wrong. Almost all guides and tutorials instruct to keep the opacity jitter on pen but its very very difficult to control. I think you can help me with this. May be a 2 or 3 step guideline or something. I am very grateful for your valuable input.

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    It has been mentioned before but just to reitterate: The "language" you seek is made up of the fundamental principles of visual art. There are only a few: Composition (design), Drawing (form, shape, perspective), Value, Color, Edges....in that order. The challenge comes from the fact that each of those fundamentals is a language itself and interact in one big, multi-linguistic conversation.

    IMO the best approach is to take each principle and break it down as far as possible, practice it, study it from observation and gain a really solid understanding of that one thing, in isolation. Then move on to the next principle, etc. Eventually you begin to integrate them and combine them to create more fully realized work. A common problem is people want to jump ahead to the destination (fully realized, well composed, well drawn visions full of color and accurate value) yet they don't know how to follow the path.

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    hey NajamQ,

    im glad that i could help u a bit! I can work out a little example of my workflow for you..for me it works as a good foundation for the learning process, when it comes to color, design and stuff there is alot to learn, but this makes it lot more easier for me

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    I think I am understanding the idea of painting digitally. Today while practicing suddenly I though "what if I let the light do the work" instead of making a pencil sketch and adding value. I tried the opposite method where I just started to render the light without thinking the final shape and let the light shape the object I am drawing, and there I stepped up vertically in learning curve. For example see following picture. No smudging, no airbrush, Just preset photoshop hard brush with opacity set on pressure.
    I think in coming days I will be able to render objects in high detail.



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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    I think in coming days I will be able to render objects in high detail.
    If you say so...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    If you say so...
    Being Sarcastic or Motivator ?

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    Well...I was in fact being sarcastic so my apologies...but hopefully that will help motivate you...I'll be interested to see what you come up with (and that is straight up).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Well...I was in fact being sarcastic so my apologies...but hopefully that will help motivate you...I'll be interested to see what you come up with (and that is straight up).
    Sure I will be progressing in right direction. As long as good people are around to help.

    I now feel so bad I wasted most of my time on Gaming in past 10 years. I would have been eons ahead. Well its never too late. Gaming is a waste of time though its fun but unproductive.

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    Just wanted to say that I know what you're going through. I've been making art in one fashion or another for most of my life, but it wasn't until recently that I have been taking it seriously and when I tried to progress my art I found that I lacked a lot of fundamentals. I'm a lot like you in that I love art and can be very creative but I also have a very technical mindset, so looking for a step-by-step answer has been impossible to find. These guys have given some very good advice and it has also helped me out. One thing that I noticed you did that I found out which helped me tremendously was that you started thinking outside of the box and changed your approach. It's so easy as a developing artist to get stuck in one approach, thinking that you just have to practice it until it works out. Though it is good to stick with something and get that practice in, sometimes it's just a bad approach for you.

    I, too, tried to draw the light instead of the form and I got amazing results. I went from drawing these horribly shaded flat images to drawing something that looked relatively real just by using light instead of line. It worked great and what happened then was I went from a state of feeling like a failure to being a little more confident to continue progressing my art. I think you're on the right track and I encourage you to continue working on it.

    Here is a self-portrait that I drew using the light only concept for the first time. And I have to say, once you make a breakthrough in your art, it's a whole new feeling that gets into your blood and you'll chase after it like a drug haha!



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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    ...Gaming is a waste of time though its fun but unproductive.
    Gaming actually serves its purpose; to relax, to entertain. The fault here doesn't lie with gaming, it lies with you not doing it in moderation.

    Hindsight is 20/20. Only now do you wish you had spent more time on your art, and that's fine (we're actually in the same boat). But I told myself "You're going to get serious about art now; and that means limiting the time you spend gaming, and teaching yourself art on your own (since no schools are around here, but at least we have an excellent resource here at CA))

    Heck, look at me! I just bought a freaking Cintiq 21UX; THAT's how dedicated I am to progressing my art. I am dedicating 2 hours per work day (4 days a week) at at least 4 hours of time over the weekend per day (20 hours/week) to getting better at this.

    You have to look at your learning process as a bell curve. It's slow to see progress at the beginning but as you keep to it you get to a bell-curve that will plateau until you choose to constantly better your craft. It will take motivation and dedication, but if you REALLY want something, you will put the time and effort towards getting it; otherwise, you merely THINK you want it!

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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    Quote Originally Posted by NajamQ View Post
    Sure I will be progressing in right direction. As long as good people are around to help.

    I now feel so bad I wasted most of my time on Gaming in past 10 years. I would have been eons ahead. Well its never too late. Gaming is a waste of time though its fun but unproductive.
    Yep - I give a lot of talks and presentations and one of the things I always say is if you want to make video games, you have to stop playing them. If you want to be an artist anyway - that doesn't apply to testers, designers, and producer types.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Yep - I give a lot of talks and presentations and one of the things I always say is if you want to make video games, you have to stop playing them. If you want to be an artist anyway - that doesn't apply to testers, designers, and producer types.
    Or coders. Most game coders I know go home and game. Some don't even bother to go home to game.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

    "There are two kinds of students: the self-taught and the hopeless."
    - Dr. Piotr Rudnicki
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  39. #28
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    @Jrhodes423

    I am glad you are progressing. One thing I know for sure is I am working hard and after some years when I look back I will not be disappointed that I wasted time. Congrats on getting the Cintiq 21UX which is currently dream device for any artist out there.

    @JeffX99

    Gaming can be a source of inspiration but only if your mind is programmed to see things through an artist's eyes, How light was set up, what is making that object pop up etc. But if you are not trained to get advantage of incredible amount of ideas in games, they just waste your time. ( For example a soldier in a fight will instantly figure out what he wants to do with situation but an ordinary person will just stand their stupidly looking around).

    Practically speaking I can't blame games totally for not learning art. 4-5 years spent in degree. Before that you are just a teenager and every one knows a teen never takes his/her life seriously. So now that I am aware of how I spend my time I am making good use of it. As with any skill, it takes time and practice. Why only some persons go into international football team while some may play for whole lives and never get a chance, This is where comes the right steps, guides, and teachers who make it possible which in this case is CA.

    @vineris
    Coding is dry and boring thing to do. Unless you dream in code

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  40. #29
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    hey najamQ, i like the discussion here. lots of work to do this week, ill try to do a little example this evening, in my country its in about 11 hours

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  42. #30
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    If it's of any interest I take a completely analytical approach to everything. From brief to deliverable it's just a set of reproducible steps. I get paid to produce dozens or hundreds of pieces of near identical artwork in a different style for every project so it has to be reproducible. The steps vary depending on the outcome, but it is a very mechanical process. Engineering like.

    Start point -> define problem -> input data -> experiment y/n -> production stages -> checks -> adjustment ->output

    The trick is that there are so many different ways to set up the process. You can learn it from someone, but then you will only be able to reproduce what they do. It's about blending parts of this process and that process to develop a process that works for what you need to produce.

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