March 15, 2013

Drawing is Drawing

I'm busy, but thought this shot of my screen would make an interesting post.

March 8, 2013

Lightworks, Vectorian Giotto, & Krita


Lightworks is a video editing and composing applications I found last year just before Christmas.  It has a pretty robust free version.  The timeline functions are a little tricky to get used to, but seem to make sense the longer I messed around with it.  Still in development, it's missing a few things such as the ability to add text within the editor and there's a small bug when rendering movies to 16:9.  It seems to render just fine, but something in the file tells players to play it back at a 4:3 ratio.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on.


Vectorian Giotto is a flash animation and rendering software very, very similar to Adobe Flash.  In fact, if you have used Adobe Flash at all, you will find this application strikingly familiar.  I found this program last Christmas when my brother asked me about a free program to create flash banners in.  Unfortunately, further development for this program was discontinued several years ago, and if you've clicked on the link, you'll notice the web page for it expired just last month.
I bet if you want to play around with it, a quick Google search will bring up a download version somewhere. It functions with AS2.


Krita is a free painting program I found recently.  Originally developed for Linux, it's gaining popularity for several other OS's, including Windows.  What I am impressed with this application is how much of it's design has been influenced by digital painters.
It features an actual, literal symmetry painting feature.  Unlike Corel Painter or Sketchbook Pro, it not only mirrors a brush's stroke, but also the brush's dab.  -So yeah, very literal symmetry when painting.  (I can't figure out why those other companies couldn't figure that out!  Doh!)
It also has some pretty crazy brushes which borrow from what Alchemy and DeviantArt's Muro can do.  If you are looking for a pretty cool application to brainstorm visual ideas, etc, I would highly recommend you download this and give it a try.

March 1, 2013

A Creature is Born

I recently attended a creature design workshop at UVU with Terryl Whitlatch as the instructor.

That was a pretty cool experience.  During the first half of the day, she showed us some of the work she was doing for an upcoming book of hers and also shared some of the tools she uses.  I wished I'd had a camera to take a photo of her supplies, most of it was pretty common stuff -among which was a well worn pencil sharpener and plenty of Col-Erase colored pencils.  She had a bag of Copic Markers, but she wanted to point out that her most used tool was a simple technical pencil -one she'd picked up at a Walgreens store.

She has about 30 years of professional experience and knows animal anatomy inside and out.  It was pretty impressive to see her take one of the creatures she'd created and lay a piece of tracing paper over the top, first knock in all the bones (while naming them), and then put all the muscles in on top of that with another piece of tracing paper (once again, naming all the muscles).

She says a prerequisite of being a creature designer is really, really loving to draw animals.  To be able to create new, and believable creatures, an artist must have a solid understanding of animals which already exist.

She shared several animal anatomy books she owns and recommended.  Then she went on to say that she's already on the second copy of several of them because the first copies finally just fell apart.  Whenever she gets a new book, she goes through them and labels all the muscles and bones as kind of a refresher course.

We tied up the remainder of the morning with a question/answer session about animals and animal anatomy and then went to lunch.

When we came back, Terryl gave us a small assignment, for those of us interested, to design an animal which would live in either a very warm or very cold environment.  We didn't really have a lot of specifics on what we'd be drawing before the workshop, but were encouraged to bring some reference material we could use.  I'd wished I had a little more idea of what to plan for (having brought photos of a Hippo, Termite, Eel, and a Man of War Jellyfish.)

Fortunately, she had some photocopies of other animals to pass around, and while looking at references of a Horse, I did several pages of very loose exploratory sketches before coming up with something which looked like a cross between a giraffe and the Jellyfish.  I decided to design for the very hot environment, and created a creature to be able to live in a geothermic area.  I lifted its body far off the ground and even gave it very tall hoofs.

We only had about an hour to draw something and get in line for her to look over our designs before the workshop ended, so this is all I really got done (left drawing).  Each student would show her the drawing they did, and they'd talk about it for a little while.  Then she'd take out a piece of tracing paper and draw over the top of it.

After standing in line for about 45 minutes (we had a pretty good sized crowd of students and professionals show up), I finally got up to her. She took one look at my drawing and said she really liked it -using words like 'elegant' and 'graceful to describe it.  She was actually going to just give the drawing back without even drawing over it!

But I wanted a souvenir!  So I frantically thought up a few questions to ask her about the creature's anatomy, and she drew a little over the top of my design (right drawing), pretty much leaving things as they were.  She also mentioned I should think about painting it up.  I probably will sometime since I don't have many creatures in my portfolio.