Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Uncanny Grand Canyon: Meet Will-Mar

 (A bit too subtle, the foggy border was supposed to give the piece the feel of peering through a dirty window. It didn't quite work as I'm not sure it would have gone noticed without my mentioning.)

      This is Will-Mar (The piece was inspired by a photo of that mart that has Wal in its name). Another early piece for the Sci-Fi universe currently under casual construction. Below is the story write up for the character, which is going in the right direction. Most of the time these exist somewhere while I paint. I figured I would start including them with the posts. It is one of the few pieces that actually made me laugh out loud while I was painting and building up the story details in my head:

      The tragedy and self-victimization of those lacking self awareness is embodied by Will-Mar. This alien floats around on an often overheating scooter. It spends most of its day poking around shops of all sorts until the inevitable boredom sets in. It does attempt to assimilate by wearing a homemade "human mask", or at least a mask of how it perceives the humans around it (future posts of the humans during this time will explain the mask detail). Despite its earnest effort to soften its appearance to the human race, the mask only further terrifies and disturbs people. That on top of its generally unseemly manners. At the same time it draws a hidden curiosity, as neighborhood children like to peer from at it from behind windows and anything serving as a shield.

     This however goes mostly unnoticed, as its care for others only goes so far. Its sense of its societal role is carried over from a near royal social status on its home planet. So focus lies mainly on its own desires and comfort. This leads to inconsiderate behavior and a tendency to gorge in luxury. It considers itself above other aliens and most humans, floating by others with a quiet dignity and silent disdain. Unfortunately for it's species, it is prone to the abundance of fatty foods on earth. This leads to its astonishing weight gain. This is no bother to it. In fact, it finds the anti-gravity scooter to be a delight, especially finding one in a nice golden color. Their extra set of arms also proved to be more useful than usual when it comes to reaching around it's newly acquired girth.

(I realized I obscured a detail with the steam from the overworked scooter. The can being held between the front of the scooter and the belly was amusing. I decided to call it and just leave it as is. I have been looking at it too long to determine just how readable the can is behind the steam.)

     This piece was a bit difficult because I started it, then put it away for quite some time. Having learned quite a bit since last picking up, there are a lot of early mistakes I needed to salvage in the later stages. That said, sometimes you just have to power through and let it turn out to be what it is. Then move on and improve with the next one.

     I struggled a bit with the color pallete (and spelled it wrong in the image), mostly because I waited too long to even begin considering it. Now when working, even if staying with values, I make sure to have notes and reference for the pallet on hand. It makes a big difference. A stronger color design could have pushed this piece a lot further. From a design stand point the cut and patterning of the clothes could have been way stronger if it were a little more extreme or playful with proportions. That was the case with a lot of the pieces weaknesses, in focusing on technical aspects I tightened up a little bit. The head appendages are another example. They are pretty bland and I missed an opportunity to really play around with some more interesting, crown like forms.

    That is it for this thing and hope to be posting some more things later this week so it's a thing on the blog...things.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Icarus Fails Again: Focusing on Design Principles

(The photo touch ups could use some more work to make them fall into place better. On my Cintiq they read better, but on my monitor that is a little blown out the contrast drops and they don't read that great. Which is a reminder to be thorough with the details because you never know what will expose weak areas.)
     Another old piece dusted off and polished up a bit. This is the first of many sketches and speeds for a Sci-Fi universe I have been building through sketches and story notes. It is slowly turning into something pretty extensive and exciting. So here is hoping it accumulates to something worthwhile.

      The intention with this was to create a design that had some visual flare while pushing some basic design principles I have been learning (3rds, 70/30 Ratio, Imbalance and Movement). The implementation isn't very subtle, but since this piece I have improved the ability to wield them with out it being to on the nose. The speed was started very loose in technique and concept. After the initial 20-30 minute speed, I wanted to establish the ships function. That way the rendering and decisions moving forward had a story and meaning driving them.

(First 20-30 minutes of the speed. Usually these early stages are where you establish a foundation that can be evaluated with accuracy. If it isn't working for you at this point, its is probably better to do a few more 20 minutes sketches rather than struggle with one for an hour or so before moving on.)

     It is intended to be a luxury transportation ship of sorts, meant for travel through the solar system. A bit like a flashy sports car crossed with limo. This justified pushing the flashy/gloss like body and the bold red decal (the decals were a missed opportunity to push the design language). This also justifies the lack of any apparent windows that could be peered into. The red often symbolizes power on top of being very striking to the human eye. Overall I think I mismanaged the pallet a bit. I could have done a better job at balancing saturation vs de-saturation. More research, experimentation and reference is the solution to this problem for future pieces. 

(A little closer, messing with different decals and scale. Bumping up the saturation as I tend to make the mistake of working way too muted. I make sure to flip the image regularly to avoid any skewing that can sometimes happen.)

     The sleek design and movement of the silhouette is meant to guide the eye in a loop so the attention wraps back to the front. That said I intentionally wanted to make the front of the ship a little ambiguous since it could potentially move in all directions with ease. The side engine pods and tail are supposed to hint at the ability to retract and tuck back in to the body during increased speeds. The idea is there but needed better execution. The form of the back pieces is a little wonky and the function of everything connecting the separate parts could read better. Iterative design would have solved this problem.

(Thanks to a great tutorial by Thomas Scholes I now set my grey scale check to a hot key. So in no time I can switch it on and off and make sure my values are reading. I can also make sure that the design in the values properly encourage the guidance of the eye.)

     The ship's claim to fame is its' ability to withstand a wide range of temperature. Thus the name Icarus was given in a taunting manner. The engineer bragged that his Icarus would fly close to the sun with out any "melting of it's wings". I imagined that this ship is an early build and that when challenged, the Icarus in fact malfunctioned when approaching the sun. Its' defenses weakened and was obliterated in a very public tragedy that made news watchers very sad for a couple weeks. That is of course until Justin Bieber VII got caught drunk driving again.

Still digging through the folders and will be posting more shortly, as well as beginning some new pieces that I hope to post in the next couple months.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Probably Fun Thing I Will Supposedly Do Again

     This is an older sketch I did to play around with stylizing an animal while still maintaining some illusion of accuracy in anatomy. The was a simple painting, but it is the beginning of changing my approach to studies and digital painting in general. Instead of literal studies, I started doing more where I change quite a bit, stylizing, changing context and adding objects. The occasional one to one studies are good, but the challenge of painting the essence of something has been fun. Although this piece is not particularly impressive, it is a bit of a landmark in progress. Things began to shift in a new direction afterward.

(The progress of the painting. I definitely lost some of the energy in the initial sketch which is common when having to slow down the technical aspect and worrying about the execution of rendering. If this were something I was spent more time on, I would maintain the movement and flow in the lines that create the front feet as well as the mouth. As well as push the variation in clor temperature.)

 (I initially did this as a final, but the whole thing had an off/odd feel so the final composition reinforces that. I think the composition of this one works better as a poster feel.)

      This hopefully will be the first of many posts as I have quite a hefty bag log of work I have done and locked away. I am currently in the process of revamping my portfolio so a lot of work will be polished up and hopefully fit for posting.