Thursday, 28 April 2011

Semester 3

Right, just got back to uni yesterday, and after a nice break I'm ready to get on with some work.
Going to set a breif reading list for this term (to be done by summer break) which should keep me nicely occupied.

Books to read: I've bought a few books over the year to do with art yet never really picked em up for more than a few minutes here and there. Therefore they will be going here on top of other things.

Mastering Composition - Ian Roberts: "Without it(composition), even the most compelling subject will look flat on the picture plane."

Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist - Stephen Rogers Peck: Life drawing can only teach you so much, knowing what lies under the skin and that which causes us to move the way we do is an invaluable, if not mandatory, base of knowledge for getting anatomy right.

Color and Light - James Gurney: Speaks for itself really. I'll be combining this book with the Colour Mixing Bible to help get a solid grounding on colour theory.

This post was more about a reading list than anything else, I may edit some more info in at a later date (after assessment) so to bulk out and have a solid work plan.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Something about a Sheriff?

More tac; this time two.

'A medieval wooden sheriff with big eyes.'
So I did this and forgot about the whole wooden thing and the fact he's meant to be from medieval.
Anyway, was trying a different technique here, instead of using the tone first, colour second approach I just went straight into colour using the soft brush and different saturations + colour picker tool to blend. Not bad for first time sing that I think. Really simple design but had the idea to have him look down the scope of his rifle to give him the 'big eye' part.
Yeah, looks pretty shit. Think I should stop saying whether I think it looks shit or not given my current level of expertise.

So I tried again but this time forgot about the big eyes bit.. and the wooden again. Colours look a bit translucent and the overall design is pretty mediocre. Was a little stumped for what to do for a sheriffs hat so on the spot decided a pikeman helmet would be good.

Oh, I should say that I used the lasso tool a lot for this, especially the first one. Don't know quite what to think about it at the moment. Should probbaly use it more and refine it somewhat yet feeling the urge to drop it. Don't like using it.


So I've been slacking completely, with my sleeping pattern completley screwed up I've not been very productive.

I can't remember the brief exactly but I think it was: 'A withered king with a mutated arm'. Bit shit really. Come to realise I don't like doing backgrounds; likely due to fear of doing them. I did this in the usual way i.e. work out tone first then do a colour overlay. It seems to be the only way I work for characters so either gona have to refine it a hell of a lot or stop myself and use a different approach.

Incase you can't see the mutated arm it's the one hidden from sight (as you probably would), nothing really abnormal other then the fact it's quite long and has long fingers. Wasn't thinking too much on this one, so yeah pretty shit. Might start with some quick thumbs on later ones.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

#5: "A nuclear pharaoh in robes! "

So I thought instead of spending half an hour wondering what to paint I decided to try one of those new-fangled idea generatorifiers. Passing by several ideas I came across this one: "A nuclear pharaoh in robes!"

Was going to discard that idea n'all, instead I took just a second to stop and think for a moment and came to the conclusion that this must be a great idea! Cus if I want to do it then it's obviously a great idea, m'kay.

Really happy with how this turned out. A few things that are meh but over all I'm quite proud of the concept and colour pallette. Well, colours to an extent.

The breif was a Pharoah wearing robes with a nuclear motif to it. More skirt than robe but is there really a difference? Gave him the standard headress but with a gasmask face as well as some obvious radioactive symbolism, like the altered ankh. On top of this I gave him sickly pale skin as well as a general sickly looking pallete to emphasis a sort of decay that nuclear power produces. The colours are similar to that, also, of WW2 uniforms and such, can also be strongly related to nuclear power, the gasmask adds to this further.

Added in the protons(?) thing to add some wierd arcane vibe to it while retaining relevance to nuclear power. Pharoahs were the most powerful people of their time so having wierd balls floating around you could probably be taken as powerful. (We fear what we don't understand, and fuck knows if I'd understand why someone would have shit floating around em like that)

Though it's hard to see in that image, the nuclear core thing in the center of his chest has wierd wiring coming out of it, based on a nuclear reactor. The placement of it is also relevant to the proton gibble.
And finally the headress is actually meant to represent a chimney, hopefully realised by the smoke bellowing out of it.

As with all characters I create there are generally stories behind them. This guy is intended to be reminiscent of a horseman of the apocalypse. The mask covers his eyes, an old trick to make something look soulless and inhuman. Also spreading toxic fumes wherever they go.

I suppose the idea was to make it look more like an Egyptian god, where they have the head of an animal. I had to try and give this he head of 'nuclear'... bit wierd but meh.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Speedpaint #5: Rock solid.

Based off my favourite champion in League Of Legends: Malphite. He's a big rocky unstoppable force however in the game he is upright, standing on two legs.
I put him more into the form of a Gorilla due to the way he plays in game, a sort of juggernaut that knocks everyone into the air while also slamming the ground dishing out damage to everyone around him. Figured a Gorilla physique would suit him more.

As for the green and excess foliage I'm really not sure. Went overboard on it aiming to just cover the background and insert him into something so he wasn't floating aimlessley.

I'm number 4.

Monk, Golden Monk. I guess. Jotted down a quick pose and seemed happy enough with it to proceed, the pose being a fighting stance I figured a monk would be a really simple progression onto this given they're largely bald and dont wear a lot.
Basic pallette using warm colours on the body mostly around orange with a blue background to make it pop. Hopefully.
Next one I might try using 100% opacity on colours for the overlay and see where that goes.


The design is vaguley based off something that's been floating around in my head for a while. In RPG games the mages and wizards always go around in a lovely dress and a jaunty hat. So I decided to go against this and give him trousers, opting for a sort of Edwardian style to the clothing with dull browns and a waist coat. Though this waistcoat is meant to look like leather.
Added some belt straps to the arms to break up some of the white shirt. Arm guards and knee-high boots to hopefully show some degree of combat readiness and finally playing with the idea of a robe by changing it to that long tail bit at the back which I've not the foggiest as to what it's called.

So really my intention was to design a mage character that looked different yet still credible as such. The fireball was just to seal the deal.

As for technique. Started on black and white finding marking out the character and then finding value to later using an overlay to add colour on.
The form seems a little off on the right shoulder, a bit rigid, and the feet are naturally wierd as I've yet to get them right. On top of that the left hand seems a tad large and the face is pretty aweful, though I didnt spend much time on it. Little bland with no detail. I should be more adventurous in paintings. Especially digital seeing as you have many ways to recover lost work whereas in traditional it's quite laborious.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

First environment speedpaint with a little reflection.

Just a short post with todays speedpaint.

Attempted an environment. The fundamental problem here was a lack of planning, I just went straight into it (sort of the point with speedpainting) however I drew a nice sillhouette initially with the right side holding some interest however I failed hard on filling the majority of this piece, opting for a row of crap houses and a broken bridge. Yes, that's a bridge.
With the textures on the right on the road I wanted to make it look grungy, a bit wet as well as to give some noise to the rubble there however it ended up looking more like a rush of dirty water.

The method I used for this was the same I used for the character; I'm under the impression that a different work flow should be formed for environments.

A speedpaint a day keeps the exam board at bay.

Alright, so my new years resolution was to do a variety of things every day. That flopped of course so now I've decided upon something new. Instead of cramming a heap of work ontop of me I've decided to keep it simple: One Speedpaint every day (excluding holidays due to no comp).
Naturally, on top of this I can do extra just this is a way for me to definetly get something done as I'll be posting them all up here, every day. Possibly every few days in bulk to save on space.

The reason for this, other than to get be more productive, is because I'm not very good at painting. I have an alright understanding of how to start painting but after the initial construction phase when colour gets introduced I get a little confused, with very little knowledge of how to push it forward. Therefore by doing at least one speedpaint a day, I hope to push it here and there by simply practicing. If this goes well I may well add one traditional piece, be it acrylic, watercolour or merely pencil with 3D models even farther after that.

Consiquently this will further my blog, so I hope to have a steady workflow across the board soon enough. The reason I'm starting at a seemingly lazy one speedpaint a day approach is because of motivation. I'm not that good at 3D and 2D so by forcing myself to do more of both it becomes quite disheartening. So by starting with 2D, which I'm more confident with (also what I really want as a job) I hope to get more into the workflow adding more on little by little.

The bonuses of starting with speedpaints as appose to traditional medium is that I get to learn the software that would also benefit my 3D texturing, something that needs a lot of work.

So, for starters: My reef character, although the design is different in regards to armor the head, which is my focal point of this creature, is the same. 

This was more about practicing in photoshop, using the different layers and playing around with brush settings than an actual finished piece. Pretty much what the whole point of these speedpaints are for me.
The idea was to give the impression of this creature bursting out of the waves. Given that the water is all dull and grey it should say that this isn't in some exotic island, moreso some dreary harbor town in some far off eastern european shore. I saw a film called Dagon a while back, crap film however it was based on H.P Lovecraft's novels. Despite not reading the books this entire project was based around creating something inspired by that.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Amnesia: The Dark Descent. (or crux of any self-respecting main character's starting story, though I guess that's a little long for a title... sort of like this.)

 Awakening to the walls of a cold and harsh castle, you stumble forward precariously, unsure what to expect; with only distant screams to assure you that it is far from friendly.

You are Daniel, a forgetful sort (possibly due to his amnesia, I dunno) who, only moments after coming to, reads a letter that was addressed to him... by himself.
You see, the then Daniel drank a potion that gave himself Amnesia, to forget something horrible, yet wrote instructions on how to proceed upon this letter: “Kill Alexander...” Alexander being the Baron that owns yonder dark and creepy castle.

So the new Daniel decides that he obviously has nothing better to do and so proceeds through yonder dark and creepy castle where the probability of dismemberment is a safe and steady 60%. Marvelous.
Of course, that's only if you care about the reasoning behind such madness; as to why you wouldn't simply turn around after the first wall lovingly splattered with hopes and dreams is beyond me.

Any-who, that's the start-up and general story: Waltz through creepy castle and kill the Baron. The only thing between you and that are the natives; and they're an unsavoury lot I tell you now. Although they only seem to appear after you've completed a puzzle or picked up a special item and so become quite predictable. Punctual even.

What separates this from your run-of-the-mill survival horror are two things: Firstly, you cannot attack anything; your only options are to either run, sit in a corner and hope for the best or the balls-out bring it on motherfucker I don't need no weapons approach. I wouldn't advise the latter. 
Agitated resident

The other thing is that unlike other horror games, where zombies and other questionable members of society are around every corner waiting for you with the patience of a saint, Amnesia spreads them out so you never really know when a monster will appear; other than when stated earlier in regards to picking up a specific item or completing a puzzle.

On top of that you don't have a health bar, or any HUD for that matter. What you do have are two measurements of respective conditions, those being your health and sanity. The health one is obvious and in itself nothing new: you get hit, you take damage; you take enough damage, you die. Just with this game they give you a diagnostic. Hmmm, just a few cuts and bruises.
They then employ this for your sanity, this is a double edged sword; you see, your sanity drains when you're in darkness or if you look at a monster. What keeps it straight is staying in light (you have a lantern and can light candles placed throughout levels using a limited surplus of tinder) and completing tasks. I assume that takes his mind off the fact he's being hounded by Sloth from the Goonies. 
Simple, right? Not so, as you see when a monster is ready to make a meal of you, you need to hide; and nothing says hiding like lighting your ass up like a christmas tree does it? So you're forced to hide in darkness, slowly going mad while having some inbred prick breathing down your neck as you wait for him to get on his bike and fuck off.

Hey you guys!
All that said, I never had a real problem with sanity, the screen went blurry a lot and he started chatting to himself about stuff, but who doesn't?... huh? My point is that it never became a serious problem.

Not that I can really complain about this game, I mean it was mostly created by a team of five people, there are some mainstream games that aren't as good as this for fuck's sake! That should say a lot really. So as far as that goes this game is actually damn impressive; the graphics are next-gen with decent lighting and shadows. Really couldn't ask for more in regards to visual style. However I will say the models for the monsters seem less scary once you've seen them upclose, which ironically is when they should be most scary.

Sounds are a big part of this game as well. Not so much in the sense of being quiet to remain hidden but in the sense to give you the willies: screams, creaks, footsteps and of course, music getting louder and more intense going up to the YOU'RE FUCKED melody all serve to shit you up good and proper. Again however, the predictability of monsters popping out to say hello somewhat makes the jumpy sounds a little redundant as nine times out of ten, it won't actually be a monster. So, chill out, take it easy and practice that surprised face for when it actually turns out to be a monster.

From start to finish the game lasts about six hours, pretty dire but what do you expect from an indy game costs less than a second hand T-shirt? ...not that I'd know how much they cost.
As I said before, some maintstream games don't even touch this game, even in terms of length *cough* Force Unleashed 2 *cough* so you're really getting your monies worth.

For the first time in ages, I've not regretted parting with my money for a game.