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!
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.
This is my second finished concept. The first I did not finish because it did not look right, and as I was using skills picked up from a tutorial, I had a somewhat realistic idea of where it should be even at that stage. I realised my mistake was using the soft round brush; all shapes seemed murky and vague. I used the hard brush for the second try (the desert scene below) and used the same tips and advice to push forward for this piece. Next on the practice list is more architecture, possibly a castle or ruins.
Here are my reference images, used for textures etc, and in the case of the bridge, basic shapes. I do not have many environment arts yet, so there is no folder in my portfolio … yet. But I am working on that!
Here is my first environment concept art for games -- well, finished anyway! The very first I abandoned because it was not coming together. I went back to the tutorial so I could understand where I had gone wrong (and I did find out) and took the tips and skills to a new concept, which is what you see here. While I do like this, I don't think it is quite good enough for my portfolio. I have been working on others since and will soon add an 'environment' section to my concept art portfolio here!
My new tablet arrived in the mail today. It is much larger than the one I have been using for the past five years, so I immediately tested it out with some more environment concept thumbnails! These are a lot blockier than my first round and I don't think I really warmed up until the third, the ruins on the coast, but that is what ideations are for.
My older computer has lost about a fifth of its screen so I worked zoomed in. I did not zoom in for these, and I think that explains the lack of detail (in comparison to round 1, below). My newer computer will be able to handle the layers needed to create more detailed work, and I am looking forward to bringing one of these thumbnails to completion.
I have been using tutorials (tutsplus.com) to help sharpen some of my skills, expand on them, and even learn some valuable support skills (website building). I decided to expand my concept art by adding environment to the mix. I enjoy being in nature, and have for years wished I was even remotely good at drawing what was in my head. I began trying to use resources and references, but even in the past few years I made little progress and honestly didn't spend much time on it as I wasn't using it much in my comic.
I tend to pick up pieces of information along the way and something will snap them all together. Sometimes, someone presents something in a way that just makes so much sense….
This tutorial on environment concept art for games put all the puzzle pieces together! I was so giddy, sitting there at my computer, making these thumbnails. It's exciting when things just click! I will need to have a lot more practice with it, since digital painting in this way is still not my strongest skill. But that's what the digital paint tutorials are for!
I will be adding an environment art category into my concept art folder, but for now, here are some of my early thumbnails.