I'm working on matte painting next, but finding it a bit hard to get the hang of. Having worked out environment concept art the idea is not SO different, though I am having more trouble blending the items and covering up my concept ideas. It's getting there. It'll just take practice.
After I saw a tutorial for this, I went onto twitter and facebook and asked people to give me sci-fi scenes or scenarios that I could practice with. I really wanted to be able to take someone else's idea and make a concept for it. This particular one was a very detailed scene from someone's game world concept, and the idea intrigued me. I thought it would be easiest of the ones I gathered in terms of skills I already have, so I went for it. I might have to set it aside for later, though.
About the same idea as the last prop study -- look up a reference photo with minimal background and do a quick paint in less than an hour. Really liking how the paint mixing is happening digitally now. I have been digital for less than five years, and did not attempt painting in the first couple of years. Lately I just want to improve everything, so I got myself back to the basics for some personal studies. It's weirdly enjoyable!
I'm always working on characters, costumes, armors, and environments ... so I decided it'd be fun and a good study to start doing quick paints of objects. In the long run, it will only make my work with environments (especially interiors) a lot stronger.
Five hours in on my current environment concept art. First time painting snow ... or maybe the second, but these things have certainly gotten better over the past year! I took out the bridge. It was kind of terrible and I could not get it to work, nor did I want it to take away from the castle itself.
This is done in the way I learned game concept art, but I am doing this for an area that will show up later in my comic. I figured it was a good idea to do pieces for the different cities or areas!
Some more experiments with color. I recreated the images using a hard round brush, using filtered images as reference.
In the earlier post on Dragon Age fan art, I mentioned that I had a great reference for Varric and had learned from it, while I basically winged it for everyone else and ended up spending a great amount of time on shadowing. For whatever reason, clothes have always been easier to shade than faces.
Earlier I visited my old university and saw some class exercises in the works. The students had taken photos and it appeared as though the photos were run through different photoshop filters. The students then recreated those images. All were in greyscale. I assumed this was for value studies and shadows, but I don't know for sure. However, it struck me that this was a great way to simplify the shapes of the shadows and highlights and I could approach shading with this structured exercise rather than flailing about until it sort of looks right.
So, I looked up a 3/4 portrait and put it through a couple of filters on photoshop. Here's an example of photo with the cut-out filter applied.
I did this with dry brush, cut-out, stained glass, and palette knife. The stained glass one was purely to separate colors into neat little shapes so I could color-pick easily.
I traced* the woman's face since I am focusing on painting and shadows, and thought it would be best to focus on one thing at a time. Here are the results of my paint re-creations of those filtered images. *While I did trace her face, I did not trace the painted portion; however I would recommend that as a first step if you are really uncomfortable with shadows! My re-creations are not perfect, but I attempted to put in every small detail even if it seemed odd. I am not one to question the photo reference, just learn from it!
I believe going back to that Dragon Age fan art now will be so much easier for shading! I will probably do this with a few different photos for some more practice. The searching, preparing, and filtering took a minimal amount of time, maybe five or ten minutes max. Most of the two hours spent on this exercise were on painting, much of it on the first and third images.
I started a Dragon Age 2 fan art about a year ago. I liked the sketch so much I didn't advance on it -- then a Dragon Age poster competition came out, and then Inquisition and well. I think I'm done playing DAI for the moment, so I switched my focus back to this as a fun side-project to pick up new techniques and as something to work on outside of my own comic projects.
It's fun and I look forward to dabbling with it every day. I paint a character a day and sometimes dabble on the ones I had finished (or like Hawke, who is a giant focus, was partially painted on the same day as Fenris). I had a great reference for Varric, and was able to do his face shadowing pretty well. I have been left to my own devices on everyone else's shadowing … with varying rates of success. I am learning a lot through this, and will start up another fan art to pick away at daily. Probably Mass Effect. I recently fell in love with it.
Anyway, I chose to add a custom Hawke and Bethany to honour my own playthroughs. I am not making this to sell or print, and I think that takes a lot of stress off of my shoulders and gives me the room to learn and try new things while paying my respects to one of my favourite games.
Today I worked on Bethany.
About halfway through another concept. I decided to tackle another season to do something different since I seem to always want to draw water. This time I am using more painting and shading rather than texture-borrowing as a trial. Here it is about three hours in. There are placeholder textures in parts of the image. The background sky is from the clouds trial I painted last week!
I will need to go back in and detail the front (especially) and finish up the back cliffs. I will probably do some more textures and paints on the rocks as well. I won't know until I get there if something is asking to be completed….
There is a scene in the book I have written at a river, and I guess I imagined this, but there is not a waterfall in sight at the particular incident though the character can hear it. Perhaps this is a way up the stream, where there is a little waterfall!
With most of my environment concepts I take in textures from photo references and use a cloud brush, as I learned, because the point is to give an idea as quickly as possible. However, I have been studying clouds a bit, and I was inspired to try painting them without the cloud brush or textures.
When I had tried environment concepts for the first time I went for the soft round brush. I did that for painting trials, too, of characters. I always go for it, and I think I have finally learned it is not really the best choice. I've really been enjoying working with the hard round on low opacity (bottom left), but the oil (bottom right) was a lot of fun, as well. It might also be that I simply got better as I went through the exercise!
Below is a photo I took of the clouds on a particularly beautiful day. If my camera hadn't died, I would've come home with fifty cloud photos on my camera! I looked at these images to guide colour choices and shapes.
It's been a couple of months since posting, but I ended up doing a lot of commission work that I was unable to share. I'm making it a point to do extra work for sharing recently, and have found it makes me even more productive! I am going to share some of the fashion sketches I began doing after checking out "Fashion. The Definitive History of Costume and Style." While looking through it I began doing sketches on armours, dresses, even hats. The hats are my favourite, so I will share those. These may become something more, but for now, I like them as is.