April 22, 2010

Gobber part 2

Alright, so here's the second part of my experience with Sam Nielson's technique. If you haven't discovered already, his tutorial is actually split up into two parts: Part 01 & Part 02.

The first image leaves off kind of where I was in my last post. You may notice that the flat colors have been tweaked a bit.

The second image has the occlusion layer turned on, and I've painted the primary light source onto the viking. I used pure white on a layer set to "Overlay."
I had originally started with a layer filled with a mid-grey color, but found it better to just paint in white on an otherwise empty layer. This limited the "overlay" setting to only effect where the light was. (I got a little confused as to whether the layer was filled with grey while looking at Sam's tutorial. )

I noticed that the overlay layer really brought out the color underneath. My original flat color for the skin, especially, became way too yellow. So, after painting in all the light I wanted, I went back into the flat colors and adjusted them (while the light layer was still on) until I got colors I was happier with.

The third image is a secondary light source. There's only just a little bit of it on the right side, but it doesn't take that much to help round out the forms on the character.
Note: There are NO shadows painted in anywhere (occlusion layer excepted)! The more I approach painting from the idea that I am adding light (primary, secondary, reflected, etc) to an object (not shadow), the better things have turned out.

The fourth image is where I went in and added additional color variations to the flat colors. I'll let the image do the explaining.
I might add that there are no strong highlights yet! That's something I tend to jump too early into sometimes. That's the great thing about trying out techniques I'm unfamiliar with. I learn things about the way I normally paint. And doing things a different way, than I'm used to, helps me notice problem areas.

The last image is where I painted in highlights, added textures and details, tightened up and/or corrected areas, etc . . . I also colorized the occlusion layer.
I really don't like painting with black. To me, black isn't a color, but a value, and it tends to make things look sooty when combined with colors. I like to use dark colors rather than black.

Since the last part is pretty much how I usually paint, I decided to reserve that part for a separate tutorial -maybe for one of my own pieces . . .maybe if I get enough comments I'll do one. :)

Oh yeah, maybe one more tip: Always try to incorporate a sketch into some kind of environment, even if it's just something simple. My viking paint above is a bad example of that. Now I'm stuck and kind of limited as to what to do with him. An environment, among other things, can help dictate what kind of lighting to use.

One more tip? Okay, never start on a really dark or light valued canvas. The extreme values can influence the subject in ways not intended. Too light of a canvas can result in a painting turning out too dark, and a dark canvas vice versa.
I actually did this study on a mid-grey background, but chose to post it in my blog on a white background -I have no idea why.

I want to add some more to the final image before posting it -next time!

April 15, 2010


Sam Nielson posted a painting process "how-to" over on The Art Center blog.
I've been wanting to try this out ever since I read it, and got my chance after seeing How to Train Your Dragon last weekend. I loved the vikings in that movie.

Sam's style is based off of how 3D programs render shots to later be composited. It's a nice way to simplify an image so as to focus only on one thing at a time. So far, it's been a great learning experience.

I want to share what I've done so far and comment on the experience.

The first image is the drawing. -Pretty self explanatory, but crucial for a good painting.

The second image is the flat colors under the drawing. The linework has been lowered in opacity a little bit. Sam encourages the colors to be a little darker and even. I compare it to what the colors of things might appear as on a dark, cloudy day.

The third image is occlusion. I hadn't heard this term until I got into 3D applications. Basically think of this as light hitting the object from all angles -no cast shadows- with the darkest parts being where the least amount of light can bounce into. So cracks, creases, deep folds, etc are where the darkest values will be found. If you've ever done a drawing with "lost edges," that's what most of the lightest edges will look like -there won't be much definition there, if any at all.
I'm not sure if Sam hides the color layer when he paints in the occlusion, but I found it easier for me to change the layer mode to multiply and paint in a layer right above the color layer.

The last image is all of the different layers composited with my progress so far. The linework is on "multiply," the occlusion layer is underneath that on "multiply," and lastly is the color layer.

Visit the link at the top of this post for his tutorial -and also learn valuable tips and techniques from other great artists!

I'll be posting my continuing process on this (hopefully) next week.

April 8, 2010

Eminent Domain

Here's another book cover I finished last summer. Now on Amazon.

April 1, 2010