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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Santa Rosa/San Anselmo, Calif.
    Thanked 418 Times in 161 Posts

    My Montreal Workshop Notes

    ===Dan Milligan===

    -Compose a picture like a screen capture: A little off-kilter, not too perfect (parts off-frame, skewed horizon, etc.)
    -Chalk brush set to build-up (painter)
    -storyboarding is meant to be pure eye candy, not necessarily concept art
    -after the sketch is done, drop the opacity of the sketch layer to make it underly the drawing layer
    -pencil set to build-up, thin to think
    -pastel set on multiply to block in local color under drawing layer
    -oil pastel set to pick up underlying color, can be set to multiply to get more subtle
    -kinda has a visual idea but also lets it emerge-loose thinking

    ==Nox's Painting Style==

    Default PS brush, 100% opacity, normal mode with pen pressure set to opacity - that's it!
    color picker to blend
    starts with monochrome sketch/block-in, overlays color, models form using above painting style

    ==The "Aleksi Technique"==

    -Set layer style to bevel/emboss, draw as normal (or with custom brushes) or paste in graphic shapes (skew, erase parts, distort)
    -switches between Artrage and PS

    ==Black Frog - Creature Design==

    -1st layer of randomness- Starts w/random blobs
    -if assigned, pushes it towards a direction - page composition (ie. 5 creatures)
    -2nd layer of randomness- Magnetism of shapes to eachother - do they go together but are still different from eachother?
    -3rd layer - shows where you want to go
    -story should be emerging at this point
    -4th layer pulls it all toghether - shapes are tightened, detail
    Be able to show where you're going by about 2 hrs in: in case directors come by to see what you're going to give them
    -story to your creature: how does it move,mate,hunt,eat,breathe? should be obvious
    -shape of things doesnt really matter till the end (4th layer)
    -simplify your design so that it reads to viewer in case it doesnt yet
    -Dont get too clever - make sure its a good design but doesnt distract from the movie's story: if your creature takes viewer's attention out of the movie then it's a bad design
    (like a visual tangent)

    ==Environment Design - Jason Manley==

    -Tell a visual narrative in an environment
    -visually improve the idea of the client - how can you add beyond the cliche?
    -dont do "only" what the client wants, always add more
    -there are clients who will push it in the wrong direction
    1. gameplay storyboard 2. idea design development 3. look and feel illustration 4. detail bits
    -ask yourself all the questions: "what would __________ say?"
    -drawing from life - 'draw it in, into your mind, not necessarily sketching
    ----Aleksi's Process---
    1. Starts out with random brush scribbles - custom brushes
    -starting with composition and mood - what creates mood? (look and feel)
    -metaphors - Justin Sweet calls them "secrets" - visual cues to reinforce your idea, ie. doors shaped like coffins in a hostile environment
    2. Layer Mask (red sheet) - draw into it or lasso/erase
    adjust layer propertiees to change value - make highlights, lighten planes
    -better geometric shapes than with selection tool
    3. Bevel/emboss layer with straight lines or custom brushes (quick way to add dimension to thin objects
    ==Why use photo?
    -part of photo has close to the right look/feel/texture etc. - paint over/push/pull till it's what you want
    -flipping image checks lighting, perspective, etc.
    -blur tool - blurs background objects/picture planes
    -overlay of random color and texture picture towards end
    -Facegen Modeller (freeware) -Use other people's real faces (default heads are horrible)

    ==Andrew Jones - Creature Design==

    -Fear is the enemy of imagination
    Beginning a creature:
    -starts heavy on texture, pattern, abstract shapes - purposely avoids trying to see things too soon
    -beauty out of chaos
    -paper texture (painter) - abstract pattern, simple shapes (things like textiles, paisley,

    ==Coro - Environments==
    --Composition - the less you worry about it the better (does it work or not?) - try to go

    beyond conventions of what traditionally works
    - color and value laid in, sculpt next ...angular vs organic
    -"Quicky" brush: For speedpaint - same as solid round brush but spaced higher - less lag (for slower computers)
    -Big-budget hollywood films have good lighting (they pay for the expertise)
    -photos of windows from the 6th floor to get a straight shot of it - transform in ps to fit
    -photos of pavement to save time instead of rendering
    -atmospheric light - bouncing off particles in the air
    -airbrush set on overlay - overlaying color can change the mood in seconds
    -environment paintings establish mood, inspiration for level designers
    -crtl+u can change mood (hue/saturation)
    -ctrl+a, ctrl+c+shift, ctrl+v = selects and flattens all layers onto a new layer withoutflattening image
    -level of finish depends on client - budget/vision/etc.
    -some clients need very tight finish (concept illustration)
    -most need semi-finish
    -2500 px -medium size (matte paintings typically 4000 px)
    -in CS2, color pick outside of canvas to get black
    quick atmosphere - 1. new layer 2. airbrush color over entire canvas, 3 erase out areas that come forward
    coro-isms: "working on someone else's rig is like jerking off someone else's dick"

    ==Kemp - Creature design==
    CS2 transform/warp to change proportion
    tends not to give creatures eyes - takes away from strangeness

    ==Tech Design w/ el coro==

    -1st comes the draft view
    -starts off with silhouettes - think of function
    -guns: agressive shapes, angular
    -guns in 1st person view = 3/4 perspective -design gun with the knowledge in mind that you will be seeing it in top view 90% of the time
    -play with spacing on brush to get "fakey" textures/grills/notches, etc.
    -make sure it looks "cool" and that the viewer gets it
    -should be rendered as quickly and efficiently as possible
    -look at unrelated things for inspiration, ie. high heeled shoe in Victoria's Secret catalog becomes spaceship
    -Color layer keeps value
    -metaphors/visual puns = entertainment value
    -hit them over the head with the design & function
    "little squiggly lines = technology"
    "random white marks = shiny stuff"
    -dont take anything too serious!
    *good graff artists - inspiration for good design
    __________________________________________________ _________________

    ==Bioware Lectures==

    -Film, theatre, games : highly stylized reality-based narrative
    -"How many carpenters does it take to build the black abyss of hell?" Determining and Giving the client what he wants
    -narrow the scope based on economics, technical considerations

    --Fran gaulin--
    visuals orient, story directs, gameplay delivers
    avoid cliches - ditch the 1st idea (obvious ideas)
    photoref - visual jump-off point
    -Illusion of freedom - Direct the viewer - extend visuals past gameplay
    -break it down before giving it to a level designer
    show you care about what you do
    Programs - Unreal, Sketchup

    --Matt Rhodes--
    -Learn to work into a proces
    -when all else fails, silhouettes
    -crossing 2 animals together helps you learn anatomy
    -get all the ridiculous/obvious ideas out
    -dont put in more than you need
    -instead of changing visuals, change the idea

    --Kevin Chu--
    **How do you do concepts under pressure w/no time/inspiration/info?
    -shouldnt be systematic-should be freeform
    1. isolate psychology of the concept
    2. Use archetypes to exploit psychology
    3. Add value to make it memorable

    1) Psychology of Subject
    -observe the cognitive, emotional, visual elements (repulsion/attraction)
    -form a connection with player through: empathy/sympathy/relate to familiar
    -exploit the psychological to elicit a heightened response and thus enhance entertainment
    (create emotional roller coaster)
    example - large things evoke a sense of towering over you - mood based on spatial
    2) Archetypes
    -primal - taps into psychology - sensual, -knives - fear of physical pain
    -provocative - taps into psychology
    -complex - challenges you, poses questions, interactive experience
    -what does something mean to you or your viewers?
    What is Fear? matts picture - fear of spiders, the dark, sharp objects, oddly reserved

    epression/gesture compared to his weaponry
    3) Value
    -iconic - signature that's psychologically provocative (giger)
    -twist - take archetype or cliche and twist it - achilles->bond->Indy
    -Achilles - Classic hero, ideal, feeling of confidence, undefeatable, perfect (james bond)
    -Indy - Different (twist the archetype) - accidental hero
    -forgettable - Triple X ('extreme' Bond), Lara Croft (Female Indy) - Didnt go enough

    past the archetype
    -TMNT - Everything ninjas are not
    What does this mean?
    -As concept artists, your job is to make unique, profitable, memorable ideas
    -understanding psychology helps us develop stronger concepts
    -process is everything - use the tools to deliver high quality concepts quickly
    what made matrix I successful and matrix II & III not?
    I - pyschology of theme had meaning, unique
    keep your process loose and adaptive yet methodical
    think before you draw!
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________

    ==Jason Manley - Color Theory & Composition==

    -warm and cool can make light & shadow - contrast
    -saturation can be manipulated (unsaturated light - saturated shadow)(saturated light, unsaturated shadow)
    -to mimic natures light, stay out of pure white and black - more color
    -inducing color vibration - 2 saturated colors next to eachother
    -remember relationships:
    -relationships between colors are relative to you
    How you percieve them is based on experience but the relationships are constant
    -use you color rather than be used by it
    Theory is just that - Signposts pointing to the truth - there are no absolutes
    -what was the purpose of the artist?
    -what choices did he make to serve that purpose?
    Pushing art forward
    Art Is Manipulating Other People's Emotions
    -"feel it" - if you can just act and not think too much, it's better
    -you have to have that emotion to get it out on canvas
    capturing emotion - How is it done?
    -disney : happiness - designed with soft curved shapes - bumping into objects in disney world wouldnt hurt
    -pixar : contrast of shapes in composition - jagged shark teeth in Finding Nemo vs

    everything else, vibrant color, not too strong value contrast
    Saw II poster - Goya's Saturn
    -take something that works, break to make it better
    -exercise - make abstract shapes to show emotion
    -to make color vibrate, vary it with same value level

    ==Ubisoft Demo==
    Shapes generated in Maya, rendered in Mental Ray
    focus heavy on random shapes, happy accidents, brush settings
    generate thumbnails fast with random brushes?
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    **Sketchbook/Portfolio Crit**
    (notes i took as they looked through my portfolio, im sure you can apply most of it to your own work)

    -More interesting surfaces
    -new shapes, better silhouettes
    -do more!
    -list design factors/assignment
    -push emotion of piece
    -push the fantastical part of creature design
    -do more of what you want to specialize in-
    industry is starting to let people specialize, but dont forget to be well-rounded
    -put the freedom & creativity in sketchbook into finished work
    -idea before technique
    -carve into shapes
    -Figure drawing vs Concept Art - Scales vs. Music
    -storytelling as you go along
    -Dynamic Figures: Drawing the biggest line you can in gesture - show either the furthest before action or furthest after (example - arm all the way back before punch or arm fully extended afterward)
    -make sure figures dont lean to one side
    -make sure backgrounds help - characters should stand out better
    -exploit your own individuality, explore more
    -do more scenes rather than single figures
    -look at ID/Car/Fashion design - learn the language

    HPX - Sketchbook Crit - Design Lesson
    -Function Dictates form
    -story must be there or else you will design aimlessly
    -brainstorm before sketching
    -what shapes convey character?
    ex. fast and scary: what abstract shapes imply this emotion?
    essential elements - simplicity - ie. american soldier
    2 main things to consider: 1. Simple readable design 2. details to show plausibility
    -how do pieces connect to eachother? glued or stitched? ie. kneepad connects to thighpad - how?
    -These details help modellers & animators
    -Test your design : After drawing them in one position, draw them in a relaxed relaxed pose, sitting down, etc. - does it make sense still? if not, change it
    -scale of shapes is like scale of values : light to dark, line to curve, box to circle, cube to cylinder
    -treat shape relationship like value relationship - visual hierarchy, highest contrast near focal pt.
    Last edited by Main Loop; June 15th, 2006 at 05:10 PM.

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  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Main Loop For This Useful Post:

  4. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    I just want to thank you for the awesome, easy to read set up. This has been saved onto my HD.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Cicely, Alaska. one day.
    Thanked 166 Times in 79 Posts
    so much useful information, lots of eye-openers.
    kudos on the sum-ups. much appreciated, brother.

    We all pay for life with death, so everything in between should be free.
    -Bill Hicks

    Sketchbook Old SketchBook Portfolio GorillaArtFare

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Thanked 75 Times in 75 Posts
    Great notes dude, this open my eyes in some good views of my work and tell solve some question how this is do it, great this one, tnks a lot for trade this, i will save this for future reference.



  7. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    wow, thanks man =D
    very helpful and insightful

  8. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanked 1,102 Times in 781 Posts
    thanks! it's awesome how
    old notes can inspire. ;]

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