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Glasgow, United Kingdom
An illustrator and games artist living and working in Scotland. I have various hobbies: coding, travel, art and games; and I enjoy writing about them.

28 February 2012

Lighting in Maya

Here are a few experiments with lighting in Maya. Following a Gnomon DVD by Jeremy Vickery. It's highly recommended if you're doing anything environment or light related in your research.

So as you can see I'm making good progress with my research into colour and light and how it creates mood.

That's all from me.


22 February 2012

Recommended Reading for Concept and Digital Artists

The following list of literature is a list of suggestions to our university library from one of the lecturers. I managed to get my hands on it and now sharing with you guys. This is possibly the best reading list for digital painting and concept art I found so far. Thanks so much to Robin Sloan for compiling this and letting me share it!

Amazon Link
A Philosophy of Computer Art
Dominic Lopes
ISBN-10: 0415547628
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
James Gurney
ISBN-10: 0740797719
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist
James Gurney
ISBN-10: 0740785508
Figure Drawing for All it's Worth
Andrew Loomis
ISBN-10: 0857680986
Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters: Masters Collection: Volume 1
3D Total
ISBN-10: 0240521749
Digital Painting Techniques: Masters Collection Volume 2
3D Total
ISBN-10: 0955153018
The Digital Matte Painting Handbook
David Mattingly
ISBN-10: 0470922427
Photoshop for 3D Artists: Volume 1
3D Total
ISBN-10: 0955153034
Light for Visual Artists: Understanding & Using Light in Art & Design
Richard Yot
ISBN-10: 185669660X
Digital Lighting and Rendering
Jeremy Birn
ISBN-10: 0321316312
The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media
Bruce Block
ISBN-10: 0240807790
The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition
Gustavo Mercado
ISBN-10: 0240812174
Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers and Directors
Blain Brown
ISBN-10: 0240812093
Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen
Steven Katz
ISBN-10: 0941188108
In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing
Walter Murch
ISBN-10: 1879505622
3D Movie Making: Stereoscopic Digital Cinema from Script to Screen
Bernard Mendiburu
ISBN-10: 0240811372
The Art of Videogames (New Directions in Aesthetics)
Grant Tayinor
ISBN-10: 1405187883
Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st Century's most serious business
Tom Chatfield
ISBN-10: 0753519453
Half-Real: Video Games Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds
Jesper Juul
ISBN-10: 0262516519
Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames
Ian Bogost
ISBN-10: 0262514885
An Introduction to Game Studies
Frans Mayra
ISBN-10: 141293446X


Creative Research: The Theory and Practice of Research for the Creative Industries
Hilary Collins
ISBN-10: 2940411085
Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methodologies in Graphic Design
Ian Noble
ISBN-10: 2940373205
Art Practice as Research: Inquiry in Visual Arts
Graeme Sullivan
ISBN-10: 1412974518

Maya Fluid

Part of my project into colour and light is creation of dynamic effects in Maya. Here are my first experiments.

There is room for improvement, of course, but not bad for a first attempt!

If anyone is wondering, you create a 3D fluid container with emitter and play around with the settings. The main ones to look at are Contents Details, they are the juicy bits that will dictate how your fluid moves in a space. The second most fun bit is the Shading menu, which is where you pick colour and lighting options. All very fun. I'm looking forward to exploring it more!

Digital Life Drawing and Other Stuff (NSFW - Nudity)

Today I went to a life drawing class equipped only with my laptop, photoshop and a graphics tablet. It was great fun. Not only I had a chance to improve my digital painting skills, but I was also forced to look at colour and value. I don't think there is another medium in which it is possible to switch so seamlessly between colours. The closest analogy I can come up with is going in with a premixed palette of oil paints. Another benefit is the speed digital painting gives you. While others drew lines on the bits of paper I was quickly throwing down values and by the time others caught up I was already polishing the final result. Obviously there isn't an awful lot you can do in 5-10 minutes, but still, the ease and the speed startled me.

Here's what I've done. Hopefully it'll get better in quality as the year progresses.

The first attempt. 5min.

The second attempt. 5min.




Fist attempt at colour. 20min.

Decided against using colour. 20min.

So what was that. I'm pretty sure people have done something similar in the past, but I still can't get over how awesome it was. Plus, in all fairness, young and attractive models are infinitely more interesting to paint than some dude's crotch (which was the case last time I went).

Let's move onto animation. We finally have a script and even a bit of concept art. We went scouting for a set and found an amazing abandoned warehouse in the hear of Dundee. Just across the road from Pizza Hut Delivery. Here's a manipulated picture of it.

Image is from Google Maps (as you can see in the bottom right corner) and the sky is stock, also from Google.

I've also been looking into Maya Dynamics to simulate fire, smoke and dust. It doesn't look too great at the moment, but this is my first go, so bare with me.

More stuff to come!

Peace :)

18 February 2012

Introduction into Light and Colour: Sunlight

Even though it's way past the pitch week, and I spend hours in the library and am permanently rushed off my feet. There isn't much to show yet. Most of the stressful running around is to do with presentations, essays, getting books and securing cameras. So I decided to share a little bit of my research with you guys. Let's learn together!

To quote the amazing "Colour and Light: A Guide to Realist Painter" by James Gurney, "A clear sunny day has three different systems of illumination: the sun itself, the blue sky and the reflected light from illuminated objects. The last two sources of light derive entirely from the first and should be subordinated to it". The cast shadow of the sunlight always contains the compliment, i.e. orange sun will cast a blue-ish shadow. The shadow from a skylight is blue and soft, but becomes more grey if it's overcast. In fog the shadows become closer to the tonal value of the sunlight. This is shown in the example below. The center light is orange, the cast shadow is therefore blue.

Anyway, the concepts I told you about are illustrated there. The is warm orange, the cast shadow is therefore blueish, and so is the object shadow. On the top, even though it isn't labelled, you can see a tiny highlight of the sky light.

Here's another study. This one I did a few months back, but tonight decided to go back and look at again. I fixed it, and it seems to work very well now.

Cast shadows are still a little bit of a mystery to me, and you can see it being slightly out of place in the Orange study. But I'm getting there slowly.

By the way the book I already mentioned, "Colour and Light: A Guide to Realist Painter" by James Gurney is amazing. I recommend buying it and reading every word.

Next time we'll look at Overcast lighting.


PS: An awesome resource to check out for a detailed tutorial: Itchy Animation: LIGHT - a detailed tutorial

9 February 2012

Week 4: Pitch

Hey folks,

The pitch went fine. Nothing to brag about. Here are some things I've done this week.

I touched up an earlier mask design. Now you can tell it's a snake and not some block of wood with eyes in it. I was told to avoid completely black shadows, and I'm trying my best to do that. In other news, looky at my pretty custom made hair brush! Now it looks kinnda badass :)

Another cool concept painting we did. We'll probably use it as a title screen. The reason I saw "we" is two people worked on the image below. Myself and my team mate (who specialises in environments) George. I took a rough he painted last year and polished it up. It's not important what exactly I did; the result is awesome and that's all that matters. Unfortunately George doesn't have an online folio, as far as I know. I'll be sure to provide you guys with a link if I find out what it is.

I also started work on the Animation. The pre-production is slowly but surely moving forward. The story is going to be a 30 second film about a man who explores a junk filled warehouse. Inside he finds an old robot, who looks menacing but wants love, warmth and hugs. Here are two sketches for you. Really quick, really rough.

Also, as advised by good people of forums I ordered this little book from Amazon. Really looking forward to reading it - it looks amazing.

In other news, I'm about to sign my first ever illustration contract. Real job, real money, big deal. It's all about building good reputation, so I'm gonna give it 110% and more!

Plan for next week, draw, paint, doodle, explore more; do a 5 minute presentation about concept art industry (40% of the module grade!) and start putting things in real, physical sketchbooks.

Thanks for reading :)

5 February 2012

A lazy weekend in Glasgow

Hey folks, just a little update on what I've been up to in the past week. First of, I might be doing some paid illustration work, but everything is hush hush at the moment and no details are known. In other news, here are some doodles!

A little cute truck doodle. 20 minutes. Just for fun :)

Trying to figure out the run cycle of our character for the game. The main thing is to figure out timing. 6 frames per stride seems to be the standard.

A creature design, again, for out game. I was complimented on the design on ConceptArt, so I'm extremely happy with it. Notice I didn't mention execution? It needs a lot of work.

Next week is the pitch week, and I'm aiming to do some painting, finish the character run cycle (fully rendered and everything) and do some storyboards for Amy.

Oh yeah, I'm doing some storyboards for a girl from uni. She is making an episode of social drama about two students' break up and consequent resentment.