Friday, January 9, 2015

Consider the Vulture Part II of II: Final Render

(A banner of the final render, changes are subtle from the last one. Adjustments to the form, material definition and edge fidelity help create some depth.)

     Below are the final stages of this creatures render. This piece took a step further in merging a presentation that focuses on rendering while still includes some simple but effective call outs. The goal is to be able to quickly knock out a somewhat detailed rendered "scene" and still have time for an extensive call out sheet like the ones completed for my Phantom Tollbooth project. 

     (The final render, she will soon have a partner in crime. Another fun challenge in design to characters in relation to each other. Plan to have that up in a week or so.)

      The final render, with most pieces it is like whack-a-mole with areas that could use improvement. At some point you have to cut the losses and move on, implementing lessons learned into the next one. In a studio setting I would include notes or talk to the 3D artists with some ideas for additional design elements. Often times I can root the lacking areas to indecision. Often times feeling like something could be better and changing your mind too many times can leave things muddy. The best solution for my tendency is my checklist of design and technical principles. If I am feeling fickle, the list will sometimes say "leave it alone!". As the old saying goes, the enemy of good is better. 

(A collection of quick call outs and story notes help bring the character to life. The call outs are a bit too stiff and lost some of the early sketch energy. This was due to rushing the clean up. Some patience would have allowed them to develop without killing the acceleration of the initial strokes.)

    Once the base form is down on the main view, I usually take breaks from building up the concept to move around to some rough call out sketches. Before detailing the main form, sketching views from the side and back help build an overall understanding of the anatomy which helps identify necessary changes to account for limb clearance, weighting and the imagined anatomy. Sometimes these sketches look like animation rigs (or stick figures), straight to the point to understand where things sit in space. In this case the secondary limbs could have been designed better and were a bit rushed. Playing with a gradient on the atmospheric depth and pushing the form a little helped connect it to the body better than the previous render, but it still feels a little tacked on. 

(A few renders showing the tip of the iceberg for design language and intentional eye guides in the pose and composition. The colors represent different design language elements and on the right the dots represent potential points of deflection, guiding the eye back to the creature. Framing could have been a little stronger, with more cohesive environment elements giving a better sense of context.)

      For the final render I experimented with some photo blends in and depth effects. I am not entirely happy with the outcome but some valuable lessons were learned from the attempts. Obscuring the right foot with a foreground object was more of a composition decision. As a concept it is better to keep the foot visible, which explains the absence in the production ready version. However, for the main render it really propped up the detailing on the limbs and tool closest. The high contrast in focus and detail really places the character in space while giving more value and illusion of detail to that area of the creature. It is not the most effective use of the technique but it helped my understanding for a more impact application in the future. Great artists really wield this tool in magical ways, James Gurney does masterful work with these kind of effects. My work is a crayon drawing in comparison.

(Some snapshots at the piece in progress. It can be a good or bad sign if from far the changes seem subtle. If things are working, that means the foundation is strong, if things aren't working you have water damage. So studying masters and also photography helps train the eye.)

     That will do for now as things are ramping up again and  I'm getting back to working on some exciting things as well as revamping the main portfolio site. This means increasingly shorter and tolerable blog posts. Remember, Danny Glover was never actually too old for any of this shit.

- Artist Referenced -
James Gurney -

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