Part of the MA process was to gain knowledge and skills through the realisation of a practical project. Because of this I thought that I’d take stock of what I’ve learnt so far and understand where I am heading in terms of the next 6 months particularly in regards to skills and software.
The practical work allowed me to transform some of my existing skills with the use of software, introducing me to a more digital design approach.
My original plan was to learn several programs that were industry standard but given the time scales and the vast amount of knowledge I had to catch up on I had to focus on one or two. The obvious choice was Photoshop and digital painting. Photoshop is an industry standard software; every design company uses it from graphic design through to game design. It is also used in conjunction with so many other 2D and 3D applications. Photoshop allowed me a stepping stone into digital design. It also worked well with my more traditional drawing skills. As I had spent years painting canvases and using a similar layering technique with paint and collage papers, switching the style to digital layers made a lot of sense, especially when I could create similar effects using photography textures and semi transparent digital washes like watercolour paints.
This is an example of a canvas that I did and a Photoshop collage banner to compare.
What makes Photoshop so good is that you can save it in various stages of completion, use them again or alter colours, do different versions of the same image etc. It allows you to erase mistakes easily compared with traditional painting, especially watercolour. It’s also much faster when having to work to deadlines. To fully utilise Photoshop’s abilities in film and TV design I need to combine it with other software such as Illustrator, Maya, Z brush etc.
Currently I feel there are 2 possible routes into the art department, Concept art and model making. At the moment I feel that concept art is probably my strength so I will now look in detail at the job specifics and types of software used at the pre-viz stage. I will also look at the gaming industry and character design and see where I need to improve in regards to skills.
I’ve had a play around with some more renders and colour filters for the corridor as I’m still learning. I felt the other concept wasn’t quite there in regards to detail. There needed to be more detail in the foreground even though the lighting is more subdued and shadowed. It also needed to be sharper because it’s meant to be a clinical space and the slight airbrushed look of previous attempts looked too washed out for the foreground.
My Photoshop is a basic one so there maybe other options for future renders in a better Photoshop version. For now it does the job. I want to work on improving the lighting and making it more atmospheric. I’ve added a few notes on materials and textures, but will add to this later when I start looking at materials for the entire complex.
Taking some of the details from my sketchbook I’ve had a go at piecing together a concept for the medical research centre corridor. Starting out in sketch up with a really basic structure, I built up layers of colour, shine on the floor and some basic lighting. I’m not sure whether this is entirely finished as there are a few problem areas to iron out, but it gives a guide to what the mood lighting will be and a rough size. I may add a figure in at a later stage.
Below: From Sketch Up to Photoshop/digital painting.
I recently bought a Wacom board so I could practice digital painting, combining software such as Sketch Up with Photoshop. My initial Sketch Up drawing was okay but a bit too clinical, so the idea was to try painting over the top of it and layering filters to see if I could come up with some thing that was half decent. This is my first attempt with the Wacom tablet.
The following two pictures are using sepia and blue filters.
It’s sketchy and will take some more practice to get the precision of a pencil and brush, but theoretically concepts can be developed through combining Sketch Up, Photoshop and painting with the Wacom tablet and pen.
I had a go at digital painting over an image created in Sketch Up. The Sketch Up image is a basic, clinical looking drawing but is quick to produce. I’m more used to drawing with pencil and painting so I’m making the transition to digital art in order to work quickly.
Basic Sketch Up drawing
Drawing altered in Photoshop using a blue filter and digital painting with a mouse, building broken windows and texture.
Starting to add possible rubble from photos.
Above pictures show the cutting out sections of wall to show dereliction in Photoshop.
Adding more texture to floor and walls with painted grass. I didn’t go any further with pasting rubble on this occasion but will be adding in some other pasted images at the next stage. All the painting has been done using a mouse which is a little awkward to use when I’m used to pencil, so the next time I will be using a Wacom tablet that allows a more natural way to paint digitally.
I want to develop my Photoshop skills further as it’s a useful tool for the Production Designer when producing concept art. I am trained in the more traditional approaches to design such as hand drawn concepts/costume etc. and on Carcass I had a go at drawing concepts and altering them in Photoshop. This time I have developed images that are made up entirely of photographs. Here is one of my attempts with a few variations on colour, showing some of the stages of adaption.
The sky, moon/planet and city were all different photographs pieced together to create a composite image.
A cloud scene that is altered in Photoshop using hues/saturation and gradients. Below, the moon is added in stage 2.
Below:- Colour variation. I like to save variations just in case they come in useful for another scene at a later stage.
The addition of the cityscape. Original photo above.
…and colour variations below.
Various stages of a concept adaption for the Carcass dream sequence in which Lucy dreams of a box that opens and reveals the universe inside. The photos are of a Scottish road and sky taken at different locations, then merged together and adapted in Photoshop. The final stage is the addition of the drawn/digitally enhanced box so that it appears to hover above the road.
Textured boxes for above concept.