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  1. #1
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    Thumbnail to Final - process question

    Here are a series of my 56 most recent environment thumbnails/ little abstracts.

    I have trouble going from creating little abstracts like this where I can imagine the final environment I want to create to a fully articulate large work.

    If I enlarge the thumbnails and work into them often a lot of energy is lost. It's something about working from the large abstract masses into recognizable things where it falls apart in my imaginative work so far.

    If any of you guys have had this problem in the past, do you have any tips?

    I'm thinking I just need to stay patient and do more. I'm missing something in the next steps of the process but I don't know what it is.

    thanks

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    abstract

    the point of abstract thumbnails or small sketches

    is that the imagination is fired by color and shapes

    half closing your eyes or turning the image upside

    down or sideways ..helps the mind get a surprise

    or reminds you of images that you have vaguely

    thought of..

    creating a chaotic smear or splash in paint does this..

    but have found the digital equivalent rathe rless inventive..

    a half idea is finalized sometimes when the artist

    is surprised and taken unaware...

    best wishes

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    I posted this question up at team Awesome and Marc Scheff got back to me with a good crit. Just draw out a tight line drawing to articulate everything.

    I'm literally face palming right now. haha. I don't do nearly enough drawing in my studies and that is probably a big part of why I get stuck here.

    I think even if I end up working more painterly like I do now, practicing drawing out everything and articulating in linework is probably the kind of practice I need to close this gap in my problem solving.

    Hat tip to Marc Scheff for the crit. I wanted to share this here in case some of you guys have a similar problem in your work.

    I'm going to work on this, any other crits are appreciated.

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    they are really beautiful and inspiring. mind to share your process?

    on your question... well its easy to fool around, when everything goes. problems just arise when you need to get more concrete. my advise is to define the things you see most clearly first. this will raise your confidence and patience with the picture, and give you a better direction where to go.

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    Thanks sone_one, I will try that. The idea of building confidence in part of it is awesome.

    Process:

    -I start with a 2k film setting in ps and block out 9 thumbnail boxes.
    -Then I create a new layer on top filled with a midtone grey with the 9 spaces for the thumbnails subtracted. I keep this layer on top and paint underneath it.
    -This is where I start painting in greyscale to start roughing out some thumbs. I try to stick to the 3 value rule and use the brush and lasso tool. The is cool a thing about having the top grey layer because I can paint through multiple thumbnails with large brush strokes.
    - sometimes I'll lasso tool messy selections, ctrl-h to hide selection, paint it up and then with the selection still active, ctrl-t, and flip just the painted selection around. This is cool because if the lasso selections are going across all the thumbs I get variations I didn't see with painted marks intended for one thumbnail ending up in another.
    - then I'll take an older painting study or photo and drop it across all the thumbs and mess with the layer filter types.
    - last I do some more direct painting on each individual thumb to start pulling out what I see.

    thanks for the crit sone_one

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    Those abstracts are really interesting to look at and I could see possible finished paintings in a lot of them so I think you've got good bases to work from.

    I wonder if there's not a big element of the whole seeing shapes in clouds thing when working with abstracts like that. Make the big masses and shapes and then look to see if there's a picture in there somewhere, and if there is, draw it out and refine it from there.

    What that guy said about moving forward with linework makes a lot of sense and I think I might actually work from the other end with too much linework getting in the way of the bigger picture with my own stuff.

    Cool but complicated process by the way. You digital masters go over my head with all that, every time.

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    Candra! thanks for the crit and reply. Not being from an art school it's probably ridiculous that I have such an epiphany about drawing. lol. I'm going to work on it though. The seeing things in the clouds is exactly what I'm after with these. THey're probably more abstracts than real thumbnails. That might be part of what I'm not doing as well, keep them tiny and refine at that size until it's more concrete small and still has the energy.

    That's a cool observation about your own work. The painting I have seen of yours shows you are able work both ways though i think.

    As far as digital process stuff being complicated - I think it's more me describing it. If I could show you on the screen you'd be like oh that's easy. I probably wrote it out more complicated than it needs to be.

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    Thinking about your cloud comment Candra, I think I need to paint into these more while they're still small and make decisions before enlarging. My imagination can see the environment but I'm not being deliberate enough yet. thanks for the comment.

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    I didn't know this way of working,one member just tell me on my thread, I didn't quite understand your explanation, anyway you doing it well !

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    Hi Habchi Yousef, thanks for the comment. Sorry my explanation is confusing. Maybe after I do more of them I'll be able to write about it better.

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  14. #11
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    Slightly off-topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derra View Post
    Not being from an art school it's probably ridiculous that I have such an epiphany about drawing. lol. I'm going to work on it though.
    Heh. I havent been to art school either, just a couple of college courses over the years that I don't think were very good. I also didn't draw much before. At least, not the way I do now. I'd draw to get to the painting stage because thats what I was more interested in. But now I draw for the drawing's sake which is a new experience for me. And I'm finding it also helps when I come to draw for paintings too.

    As far as digital process stuff being complicated - I think it's more me describing it. If I could show you on the screen you'd be like oh that's easy. I probably wrote it out more complicated than it needs to be.
    Oh, believe me, it's complicated. Digital for me is trying to get my brain to hold art creation thoughts along with a whole new range of techical application thoughts while actually doing the stuff and learning about it as I go. It's like juggling on steroids.

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  15. #12
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    Nice process.

    The trouble I see with the majority of them is they are too "all over" with no clear shapes or masses. The ones with the most potential do have clear separation. Generally environments should have 4-5 distinct masses or shapes - including the sky.

    Of course in entertainment we explore and get into all sorts of atypical settings and extreme POVs - but the rule should still hold. Even an extreme up-shot of a huge platform on a pillar inside a cave should consist of no more than five big shapes.

    I kind of disagree with the idea of doing a tight, detailed line drawing to articulate everything. That is actually one good way to lose any of that fresh, dynamic feel. Instead I would recommend just being more definite and decisive with shape and value. Tighten up where you want focal areas and let the other stuff go.

    Anyway - looking forward to seeing more!

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    Awesome Jeffx99, thank you for the crit. I think I will work on my line drawing in other studies and take your advice here and see what I can do. thanks.

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    Hey, maybe this can be of some use for you, I found it just yesterday: Eric Tiemens at Gnomon Workshop Live 2008 (Vimeo) , demonstrating environmental thumbnails and bringing one to a full piece.
    He also explains a lot of his thought progress and gives tips to the audience. Sorry that I can't give any critique myself, maybe this video is relevant to you though.

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    that's an awesome link, thank you Lord Louis.

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  22. #16
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    Thats good advice from Jeff. I forgot those abstracts were about landscapes and got bogged down thinking about character compositions and figure work, which is an area I'm nowhere near comfortable enough to work in without lines, so my comments probably reflected my own weaknesses than anything.

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