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Thread: Small tutorial (part 1,2,3)
January 25th, 2003 #1
Small tutorial (part 1,2,3)
New cleaned up version HERE
This thread is getting old now. Some of the links are not working anymore. I might put up a clean version of this tut somewhere, someday.
I'm working on a real tutorial for my website, but I wrote something short because people keep asking me too. I'm sure I forgot about a lot stuff but I think that I have covered the major things. If anyone wanna add or correct something please do!
1. What are you trying to draw? Your subject and composition should work on a fundamental level. If not, then no rendering in the world can save it. There's a lot to say about subject and composition but it's a too large subject for me to go into right now, but I can say that if you think "Oh ,I bet it will look better when I start coloring it" then you might be in trouble.
2. Painting/Rendering. Not as important as #1 since there are several ways/styles to do it. Rendering style is also a subject to personal preference but a few generic 'rules' must be considered. Below are a the most important things to keep in mind. Forget one and the painting will most likely look a bit odd, forget many and you'll have a disaster on your hands, unless you're into modern art.
Light color and ambient color (shadow)
What kinda enviroment is your subject in? On a summerday outside the light is yellow and the shadow is blue. Wintertime there's a lot of reflective light from the snow that kills shadows and flattens the rendering (no shadows). One of the most common newbie mistakes is that they render everything in their 'local color' and just add black the the shadow and white to the highlights. This leads me to the next point:
Everything is a 'lightsource', that's why we can see anything at all.
Try holding your palm (in light) close to different shadowed surfaces and watch what happens to the shadowed surface. Turns red? Shadows does not reflect as much light as lit surfaces.
In fact the entire sky-dome is a reflective lightsource, it grabs the sunlight, turns it blue, and sends it out in all sorts of directions. Since the sky is a 180 degree dome it can get to spots the sun can't get too, and that's why shadows are blue outdoors.
Learning how to do reflective light (radiosity) is one of those things that really upgrades your art.
Example: The leftmost fist gizmo that has some of the red color from the leg on it. The source of this light is the brighter part of the leg below.
Speculars are in the eye of the beholder (angle relative) and only occur on shiny/gloss/wet surfaces. Try painting the surface without the speculars and add them later with a brush on opacity. Outdoors the specular color is sky blue.
Highlights (very bright dots or patches) are often:
A) A light
B) Something wet that reflects a light, ie. a specular.
Example: Look on her black leather/plastic suit. The only light rendering you see on that is the speculars. Her breast color reflects on both the inner sides of the arms. I've picked a grey specular because it's pretty close to blue and I got some grey in the background and as an ambient color.
Sometimes edges between extreme light and shadow become saturated. On human skin the edge is often red-orange-yellow. If someone is sitting indoors or under a tree, and a spot of sunlight hits on the skin, the spot will most likely be bright yellow or white, and the shadow will be dark grey-purple or something not very saturated. The edge however, being close to midtone, will try to be as saturated as it can, and midtones can always be more saturated than brights and darks. Sometimes if you want something to be saturated you can try ta make the edges saturated and leave the shadows and lit areas as they are, cuz they will appear saturated cuz of the edge. This is often more effective than just smudging saturated shadows and lit areas. Smudged edges are boring. It's a good idea to keep the shadows less saturated than the lit area, so by making the edge saturated you can make the entire surface appear saturated.
Another example. On a white t-shirt outside a sunny day, the shadow will be blueish, and the lit surfaces white, but the edges will be yellow, not blue-white. This is because the lightsource is yellow, but with the t-shirt already being white it can not show anywhere but on the edges.
One more thing, bright yellow looks more intense than pure white (which looks cold).
Example: Look on the upper leftmost leg where the highlight meets the shadow. It's hard to spot but I put a bit of red into the shadow there.
Example 2: The back is obviously overexposed, so I made the edge yellow.
Really hard to do. You must either make a 3d model or be able to guess good (have a good 3d/shape sense). Shadows can really be your friend and add a lot of atmosphere to a painting, but don't put things in shadows cuz u cant paint that detail. It's like hiding the feet in high grass, and the head in a tree.
Shadows tend to get fuzzy the further away they stretch from the 'caster'.
Things further away have more skycolor in them and are as a result less contrasted.
Example: Look at the tail. The background is white, so the fog color is white too. This results in a flat grey color, because the fog aslo reduces saturation and contrast.
This takes a lot of practice to learn, especially with natural media. For example, when painting skin color you can use grey as a shadow color and it will appear blue, although it's not. The best way to deal with color relativity is to use a brush on opacity and blend colors that way. Mixing colors with the palette sliders is very hard.
Simplify and flatten! Really important! Texture is nice but random brushstrokes on a flat surface is not texture. Paint so it looks like a low geometry model, ie. keep the surfaces flat (or curved) and clean. Remove any strokes that does not stay within the value tolerance of the surface you're painting. With this I mean that you can not always go all the way to white or all the way to black. Mostly you aren't allowed to fully render all the rivets, cracks and neat little details you had in mind, because the light situation won't allow it, or because it would be distracting.
Texture adds a lot to a picture, but make sure that you get the raw surfaces right first. I sometimes add textures later with a textured brush.
Remove contrast, saturation, sharpness and highlights on unimportant details, especially near the image borders (or atleast try to make those details less interesting).
Reversed: put more contrast, saturation, sharpness and highlights on the objects you want the eye to look at.
Put more details on the important spots and less on the unimportant.
Faces are important spots, especially on portaits. Spend a lot of time on getting the faces right.
Example: Nobody has perfect skin. Learn how the hue varies between different parts of the body. A plain monotone body will look plastic. Frank Frazetta is a master at varying hues.
Example: Try not to wander of into extreme shadows or light when doing texture details.
How do you learn all this (and much more) you say? Answer: Thousands of studies! There is no other way. As you draw and paint your lines and stroke economy will improve too, and you'll develop a style.
Last edited by Prometheus|ANJ; January 30th, 2005 at 01:43 AM. Reason: OutdatedJamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberJanuary 25th, 2003 #2
Oopps... perhaps this should go in the tutorial section... I'm kinda lame with posting in the right place. :hmm:
oh well it's 8:30am and I'm tired and need to goto bed... uh... couch.
Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.
January 25th, 2003 #3Registered User
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hey cool! i am going to print this out. you have pointed out many a thing to keep in mind or that i never fully had grasp on anyway.
January 25th, 2003 #4
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it, although I'm starting to worry that I made some strange formulations at places. English is not my first language.
I really need to do some relevant illustrations for it too.
Anyhow, I'll continue where it ended:
I didn't start making studies until just some years ago, and that I regret. You won't stumble upon the right lines by guessing and wild scribbling. Even if you're using reference for the finished painting or drawing, you need to be able to draw the thing fairly accurate also without reference. To do that you need to build a library of shapes and things in your head, which takes about a lifetime or more to do, so you better start now!
The studies doesn't have to be more than a few quick pencil thumbnails on a paper. I spend a few hours on studies when I do them, and I put about 10-30 on each sheet (A4). I only do a couple of studies a month, but I certainly notice improvement each time. Just imagine what would happen if you did them several times a week for years.
When I do painted studies I use Photoshop and mostly a picture from the net. I duplicate the window and clear the new one. Then I start placing the larger color masses on their aproximate positions. After that I gradually increase the details and value/color accuracy as good as I can. When it looks close to the original, at a distance or with the eyes squinted, it's finished. I always work with the largest possible brush allowed to render a given detail.
I don't colorpick from the original, but I do keep the windows in the same size so I can see if I misplace anything.
If you want to increase the difficulty you can always try to draw in in a window with different size, and mirrored.
Example: One of the first studies. Skipped the face because the subject of the study was value and color. Photoshop.
Example 2: I added some lineart on these and spent some time on getting brush stroke quality. Opencanvas. I got the WPE somewhere.
Example 3: Flatten and simplify! Work with larger brushes and remove uneccesary brushstrokes. Spend a little more time on the face than the rest. See the bad and better example below.
Cameras ruin a lot of details and values so a lot of artists say that drawing from life is the best thing.
Anyhow, onto the subjects of our studies. I've tried listing some of the most important ones.
- The whole body. Use photos, anatomy books, statues or real people (if you're fortunate).
- The face is the thing we look at first. If you misplace a line just a bit the whole expression of the face will change. Make studies of photos, your friends or yourself.
- The hands are also important (and hard) to learn.
- Daily cloting. It's important to learn how cloth wrinkles, how different types of cloth looks and fits.
Gestures & styles
You need to be diverse and get fresh ideas. Learning some different styles can be a good idea.
- Draw from life using your friends or people at a cafe, a bus or somewhere. How does a person pose when he opens a door, reaches for his keys, and looks intimidated by an artist?
- Marvel. How does the Marvel artists represent the human body with lines? What details are important and what is simplified?
- Modesty Blaise, or some fairly realistic comic style. Drawing gradiations with just blacks and whites isn't easy.
- Manga or a style you like. Again, how does the artist convert the human anatomy into lines and color blobs? What parallels can you draw between the different styles?
Putting your character in an enviroment really brings it alive. This is something I definately need to learn myself.
- Landscapes with fields, mountains or whatever.
- A dense forest or a jungle.
- An urban or industrial 'landscape'.
- An indoor setting, like a room with furniture. Boring, I know. To be honest I haven't done this yet.
Fetch an animal book...
..and draw some animals. A good way to design a monster is to morph different animals into one.
- Insects, bugs and other small things. Mother nature have spent millions of years perfecting the designs, so you better study them.
- Fishes and other swimming things.
These are especially important since they are more commonly seen.
You also need to practice drawing machinery. It can be useful when designing robots and planet-smashing vengence-crazed battledroids.
- Cars of different models.
- Digging and working macinery.
- Military vehicles.
That's it for now.
Edit: Oh no it's not. I almost forgot still life! Flowers, fruit, skeletons, sculpts, chunks of wood, rusty metal parts...
Last edited by Prometheus|ANJ; January 25th, 2003 at 07:03 PM.Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.
January 25th, 2003 #5
Everything on itchstudios goes like this for me:
I'm sooo MCMLXXXVIII.
January 25th, 2003 #6
I just skimmed it, and it looks awesome. I'm glad that you posted pics of what your stuff looked like when you started. Now I can see the progress you had to go through to be as good as you are now.
I will definetely learn from this and read it later, since I'm not home right now!
Thanks a lot, and hope to see that finished tutorial later!
There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
No one complains about life drawing,
so take a photo.
its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
January 26th, 2003 #7Registered User
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Thanks man, can't wait to see the one you think is big lol
Big thanks. saving now
January 27th, 2003 #8
awesome, thanks for the work you put into this
only thing.. during the paragraph on saturated edges, the text begins to wander and go in twisty directions. personally, i i think i understood it, but because i went back and skimmed over it. this sorta thing only happened on this particular paragraph, which is a little more advanced than the others. maybee [even though it's hard] give some visual examples or break it up.. because it's good info and shouldn't be missed
January 27th, 2003 #9
January 27th, 2003 #10
I'm glad u guys liked it. I took some time to make some 'illustrations' of photos I napped from the net. Here's part III, with some complementary info on the saturated edges thing.
The light is stronger outside, and the skincolor tend to be less saturated due to the sky blue ambients light and sky blue speculars. Sometimes the skincolor become shifted towards purple because of the sky blue being mixed in. This is especially true if the subject is standing in a shadow.
Indoors (no windows, only lightbulbs) the light is warmer and allows skin saturation to be amped up to oranges and reds.
The shadow color of the skin can sometimes wander off to greens, especially if the room have green components, like wallpaper, plants, furniture.
In a white room or a bathroom the skintones would be quite pale, closer to local colors and less contrasted (shadow/light) due to lots of ambience.
A room with a single lightsource will probably result in near black shadows.
As you might understand, the type of enviroment your character is placed in very much affects how you should render it.
When reflected light from a surface hits a surface with the same color the saturation and brightness goes up. I'm using cropped girl legs as an example here:
Skin (like any surface) in light also radiates its colors to any nearby surfaces:
Removed colored radiosity from the inside of the hand.
It's hard to know when to do a saturated edge or not. Actually I had troubles finding any edges like I mentioned in the first part of the tutorial, but I've seen them.
Edges are easier to see when the differance between light and shadow is large. I've looked at a lot of photos and most of the edges are pretty subtle, but the edge is there, as you can see from my example pics:
Removed edge, I just mixed shadow and light
Leafs are gloss on the top side which means there can sometimes be a sky blue specular here. The light shining thru the leaf makes the bottom side more saturated, this is also true for ears and fingers, which can turn super red when heavily backlit.
Look for pictures of models on the net (or hard drive, or irl) and try to figure out what in the enviroment causes the ambient shadow color, the light color, the radiosity spots, speculars, general values etc.
Make quick copies of some images. You'll notice more things if you copy an image than if you just look at it.
January 27th, 2003 #11
January 27th, 2003 #12
Talked a bit with Frost on IRC. We agreed that saturated edges may be the result of many things, most importantly it's a subject of exposure only allowing saturation in the mid tones and 'sub-surface scattering', ie. light penetrating the skin, picking up the color of the blood and then leaving, resulting in a red look.
'sub-surface scattering' on the fingertips. The light on the left side of the thumb is probably light reflected off the index finger.
Note that the edge only appear if the light is overexposed. It does not appear on the thumb.
January 28th, 2003 #13kishchris Guest
thanx a lot for giving us a good insight !
once again thanx
January 29th, 2003 #14Registered User
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nice tutorial you got going here, just a question
Maybe this sounds dumb, but just to make sure. When you refer to specular, that's the same as highlight, right? I sort of assumed that, but then I got to thinking about it. What exactly does specular mean? So I went to look it up in the dictionary, couldn't find it, the closest word I found was "speculate". Anyway, was just wondering if you could clarify that.
Oh one more thing, what's overexposure? Are you using in the same way as they would use it in photography? If you could clarify that a bit, thanks.
January 30th, 2003 #15
bboy> A specular is a 'shine' that only occurs if you look at an object in different angles. Place speculars on skin to make it look oily or wet. A gloss ball always has a secular somewhere since it's round. Hold up an orange or an apple under a light and you'll most likely see a specular.
Overexposure is the camera cropping the light, like on photos. Even though the surface on the hand above is skincolored it appears to be white because of the large amount of light reflected off it. In RGB it would be 670,620,600 or something, but since the rgb scale only go to 256 it becomes (almost) white. I'm guessing it could be put that way. I could of course subtract 350 from the RGB colors, but then the darker colors would become black. I have to crop the color values at one end.
January 30th, 2003 #16
this is good stuff prom.
thanks for taking the time to share it!
February 13th, 2003 #17
I read through your tutorials, it had certainly helped clarify some of my thoughts about colours. Although I still don't fully understand it yet but thanks for sharing. I will keep some of the points in mind.
"Live each day as if it was your last day, and you will find each day worth living for."
February 13th, 2003 #18
February 19th, 2003 #19
mmmm this info is yummy--more please if you got the time.
February 20th, 2003 #20Registered User
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thank you thank you!
the pics help alot
February 20th, 2003 #21
Here's a Open Canvas WPE file from last year. OC is nice cuz you can save the drawing process in a WPE file and play it as an animation. Good for tuts! You can draw several ppl at once (online) while chatting in a small window. It has layers and stuff but I aint using that.
I drew it with another person but her stuff stopped saving for some odd reason. I drew the Statue and Butt-girl from reference, although I made some style tweaks on the girl to make it look more like an 'Hyong-ish' illustration. Here's the link. It's 500kb.
The WPE file:
The resulting image:
You need OC to view the WPE. You can probably get OC on google or thu Citizen Cow site:
...or you can ask some ppl in the IRC chatroom. It's japanese by default, so set it to english by accessing the rightmost Help menu.
Load a WPE by selecting 'import event file...' from the File menu.
Hope you like it!
February 21st, 2003 #22
February 21st, 2003 #23Registered User
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Dude, U tha MAN!!! Amazing! I give the Nobel Prize to Prometheus|ANJ
February 21st, 2003 #24
February 21st, 2003 #25
Glad u liked it.
Wilson> I can't do much about that. I got another server but I've used all the space on that one. Sorry. Perhaps someone that has DLed the file can mail it to you?
I'm on a slow modem still, but when I get ADSL I might OC a lot more, and perhaps even update my site!
Another OC thing from ref for those who liked the girl. The WPE is too messed up to be of much use though. I think WPE above pretty much illustrates how I work. Big blobs at the start, then go in with a smaller brush to define things.
February 24th, 2003 #26Registered User
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wo wow wow
I'll never look at another type of tutorial again- I learned so much from watching this in motion- alot of questions answered! Where can we get more tutorials like this- or is prom the only one who has created one-- more more more! Brad
February 24th, 2003 #27Registered User
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Is there anyway to slow down the frame rate as this baby flies-- would like to watch at a slower rate- PLSE help
February 24th, 2003 #28
tex> I don't know if you can slow down the framerate. I know you can speed it up with an option though.
I might do some more OC tutorials, but it would be great if other artists made some aswell. I have little academic knowledge about art. I know what I know from experimenting on my own so I feel a bit insecure about some parts of what I say.
February 24th, 2003 #29Registered User
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I would love to see more- I took your advice got a picture and just went at it no scanning in my pencil sketch just me and my tiny wacom- My big problem was that I kept wanting to smooth using the water tool in painter- instead of leaving the chunky colors- well take a look at what I did and plse give me some insight on it- thanks Brad
February 25th, 2003 #30
You're drawing a floating helmet from the front which isn't particulary interesting. It could be more interesting with more asymetric lighting, but I would recommend that you draw design from an isometric view (or as many views as possible).
Metal is really hard to render, you must consider the reflections of the enviroment around the subject. Also remember what I said about certain values not being allowed at certain places. I know it's easy to add white highlights everywhere. I see some on the 'jaw' of the helmet that probably couldn't exist there, judging from the background atleast (which is flat black), but values can go crazy with metal so who knows.
Here's a thread with some armour reference btw.
To practice painting or drawing, start with stuff that's easy to draw and understand, like still life stuff (onions and oranges etc.) and you don't have to struggle with getting the shapes right. Likewise, if you want to study more complex shapes, then use a medium you can handle so it doesn't get in the way of the studies. I wouldn't recommend making anatomy studies with woodcarving tools for example. If there's several things you can't handle then you won't see what it is you're doing wrong. Try to break up the things you want to learn so you can practice one thing at a time.
Here's a couple of things I practice and how:
- Sketching & 'wrist' - (pencil and various sources)
- Line art & drawing - (pencil and ink from comics)
- Shapes, values and 'modelling' (various media and sources, greyscale recommended)
- Reflective light/ambience/radiocity - (photoshop from photos)
- Reflective surfaces & speculars - (photoshop from photos)
- Indoor and outdoor light color - (photoshop from photos)
- Anatomy - (pencil with shading from photos)
- Dynamic poses - (fast pencil skething from photos or comics)
- Faces & hands - (pencil from photos or comics)
- Enviroments and scenes - (unfortunately not)
- Daily clothing - (another thing I've been neglecting)
- Animals - (pencil from animal books)
- Design - (mostly thumbnail sketching from various sources or my mind)