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  1. #1
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    Coming home from market.

    Hi folks. I'm trying to get back into my old hobby and I'd love to finally get better after reaching the "OK plateau". I tried something new for me here, by working on value in grayscale before moving to colour. I feel like it's gone well (I'm well aware it's definitely amateur!) as I think it's an improvement on my earlier work. Any advice on where you would have improved this would be much appreciated. I know there will be lots to work on. Cheers!
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  3. #2
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    There's plenty of potential in this. I like the creature design and it's clear that you're looking at the right parameters when painting (materials, how light interacts with the characters & environment etc.).

    There are two areas for improvement that I would single out:

    (1) Painting technique: Photo textures and hand-painted elements don't mesh well at the moment, and there are some awkward areas where the brushwork doesn't read too well. This is best improved by getting more mileage- master studies, life studies, photo studies, just painting a lot by hand. Cant give you more specific advice on this since it's a very general point. I wouldn't recommend going from greyscale to colour (work directly in colour), that being said, there are pros who make it work.

    (2) Process: This is the major detractor. Your painting technique isn't quite there yet but even if it was better, the base for the image just isn't solid enough, mainly because most elements look like you "made them up" without reference. There are a couple of ways to go about improving this:

    (a) The hard way: Painting thousands of images from life, building a huge visual library to pull this kind of image off merely by painting. See you in a couple of years, maybe. Probably not, there's not too many artists who can pull off this kind of subject in professional quality by just painting.

    (b) The oldschool way: Creating real-life maquettes and lighting them, e.g. with sculpey or paper mache. Get Gurney: Imaginative Realism to read more about these techniques. The figure you could create references for with photos (posing yourself or getting friends to pose).

    (c) The 3D way: Basically the same process as (b), but with digital maquettes. This is how a lot of concept designers work today and it requires knowledge of 3D applications like 3DCoat or Z-brush to sculpt assets like the creature. Here's what I put together in a couple of minutes:

    Coming home from market.

    The creature doesn't fit your concept, that's just a free model I found that comes close to your idea, which I then slightly modified to get closer. In real life production, I'd sculpt the creature myself based on sketches. What you get from this is detailed information on forms, perspective and light (including the interaction of the lights with fog). You could go a step further and do some basic textures or overpaint manually based on this untextured mesh. You can also blend this approach with (b), e.g. by using photo ref for the human figure, and there's always going to be a bit of handpainting (as in (a)).

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  5. #3
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    Wow, thanks for your detailed reply. I really appreciate you taking the time. Iíve slowly been coming to the realisation that Modelling is a huge part of solving design challenges. I used to think that this was somehow cheating, like there was no way real pros would be doing that! I did see it in Gurneyís book as I have it already. Itís great. I will have to invest the time in a modelling package. I assume the learning curve is very steep! Thanks again for your comments. Iíll try to implement your advice going forward

  6. #4
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    One could argue that using digital tools is cheating from the word go. We're not actually painting anyways, remember? We're not applying pigments to an actual surface. We're just pushing 1s and 0s around on a harddrive.
    Might as well use any tool at our disposal to get the job done.

    As to learning curves, this depends on the software of course. Softwares tend to "want" to do certain things and not "want" to do others, meaning it's harder to accomplish certain forms in certain softwares. MOI3D for instance is a really easy and intuitive software if you're creating mechanical objects, but it can't do organic or even semi-organic stuff. 3DCoat on the other hand is at home in the organic world but it's harder to create hard surface stuff in it. As a freelancer producing 2D products, I have the luxury of being able to use whatever software(s) I want, but if you're working in a pipeline or are on a budget, that's a different situation.

    Blender is free and has a decent rendering engine, so that's always worth a recommendation. It is primarily poly/SDS modelling though, which is much harder to acquire for an artistically inclined person than say scultping in 3DCoat/Z-brush or a solids-based approach like in MOI3D.

  7. #5
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    You're absolutely right, of course. My opinion was naive and short sighted.

    I think that, at least for now, I'll have to stick with Blender just based on the fact that it's open source. I'm sure I can find some decent courses on Udemy to get me going with it. Hopefully that and a bunch of other fundamental work will get me where I want to be.

    Thanks again =]

  8. #6
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    Another option, if the 3D software is a bit too intimidating (Though it's a great tool and absolutely worth learning) is to go super-simple and use some Play Doh or even a kneaded eraser to rough out your scene. You can even take the photos, bring them into Photoshop and paint on top of them.

  9. #7
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    Thanks, Keith. Iíll definitely resort to that if I crash and burn with digital sculpting! Wish me luck :,)

    Cheers!

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  11. #8
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    So after a week of work, I made some model sheets and digital maquette of this thing. I'm going to hit it again maybe this weekend and see if I can use these new tools to make a measurable improvement! Thanks again all for the advice. Here are some pictures.

    Name:  model sheetSm.jpg
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  13. #9
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  14. #10
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    Thanks =] I used Blender for this. I really enjoyed learning how to get it done. Super interesting and well worth the effort

  15. #11
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    I went a totally different direction with this and combined it with practice for environment concepts (I definitely rushed the background last time). I really struggle with values in environment concepts but I think this one went okay. The creature concept itself is definitely more loose here. The whole thing is, to be fair. I just wanted to try and get the core image down efficiently. I used a combination of techniques, based on past advice to use whatever tools I can to get to the final product. Anyway, thanks, all, for the advice. I hope you guys can see an improvement.
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