Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

h1

Stylizing the look…

March 18, 2014

Have you noticed that the “look” of big budget animated movies has become  homogenized?  However beautiful those globally illuminated, sub-surface scattered, realistically simulated CG worlds have become, there is a common look to them…. I think it is because the artists and the tools are the same from studio to studio…

From what I understand about the industry, artists move from film to film, studio to studio, as each project ends (self described “pixel gypsies”)… The tools are similar between studios, the feature orgy in 3D software pushing in a Darwinian way towards a synthetic hyper realism.

Style4

The last animation that I posted suffered from this same look, and I had to stop and think about why…. I think  there is an unconscious bias towards that style, because our tools favor it, and there is an expectation that for it to be accepted   it has to have that look.

I am just one guy.  Even if I thought that this homogenous CG look was great–there are hundreds of people involved in creating it–and if my work attempts to emulated it, then it will rightly be compared to it.  The animation, the particles and effects, the lighting–everything has to be at Hollywood level…If it is not, then rather than being immersed in the story with the characters, the viewer is going to be distracted….

Realizing I needed to stylize the look–Dig a little deeper than what the tools want to give me–make them give me what I want,  I started looking at my influences for TAR of Zandoria to see what it was that I liked (and figure out how to make the computer render it).

Style1

Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and Simon Bisley are my favorite fantasy artists. So I started looking at their paintings for stylistic cues that I could try to emulate–since that genre is the inspiration for TAR, if I could make it come to life that would be more satisfying….

The first thing that jumped out at me is the strong contrast between light and dark–It is called chiaroscuro in painting. The defined contours in Frazetta’s and Bisley’s work also stood out–I think this comes from their background in comics before they started painting…

Style2

The backgrounds are painted of course, and since I was already using a matte painting approach to creating my backgrounds for TAR, this is an easy shift–Even running a Photoshop filter was an improvement over the realistic matte painting…

I added toon shading to the edges of my objects, and I relighted the scene with a key light and a couple of fill lights.  I think I am also going to tweak something with the diffuse falloff at the edges, to get a look for like my airbrushed version of TAR.

h1

3D Print your own TAR of Zandoria Collectible!

January 23, 2014

TAR_stl_1

Download and 3D print your own TAR of Zandoria collectible statue! Print it and put it on your desk. Print it and give it as a gift. Take a picture and share it! Every time someone sees this statue, they are going to ask “What IS that!?”

That is going to help spread awareness of this project, and the cost of the .stl will help me keep the lights on ;)

Pierre at Cults3D invited me to upload  my sculptures to their new 3D model marketplace where people can buy print-ready models to build on their 3D printers. It seems like a great idea–I imagine that there are only so many Stanford bunnies and Yoda heads that a person needs… As 3D printers become ubiquitous there is a need for high quality sculpts to fill the build platforms.

I foresee that there is going to be a market for commission work too, so if you need a little help bringing your idea to life, please give me a shout. Here it is on Thingiverse

TAR_stl_2

h1

Zbrush to Animation:Master

December 24, 2013

I’ve been learning to digitally sculpt in Zbrush, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned Animation:Master. I need to be able to take the sculpture back into my animation program to rig it and animate.

I’m still learning my way around Zbrush, but thought it might be helpful to some if I documented the steps to get a model from Zbrush to A:M:

ZB2AM-1

ZB2AM-2

ZB2AM-3

ZB2AM-4

ZB2AM-5

The Zremesher is really awesome–I went from almost 1/2 million polygons to a little over 6,000 patches! There are some retopology tools that I’m going to explore too (looks like I can manually redraw sections of the mesh if I don’t like the automatic results…)

h1

Animation Magazine

December 16, 2013

20131216-102157.jpg
I was overwhelmed to open the January issue of Animation Magazine this week–this coming year is the 15 year anniversary of Zandoria Studios, and they included a half-page bio on me and my project!

It was very sweet and made my week! I had just resigned some of my responsibilities at SMP Instore Marketing (my day job), in order to work part time from home and focus on my art…I was pretty nervous about the decision. Reading this tribute brought tears to my eyes–it was a real Godsend. I felt affirmed that I was on the right path

20131216-102253.jpg

h1

Switching to Zbrush

September 24, 2013

Image

I’ve been doing some 3D printing at work using a Makerbot Replicator 2 and I’m really excited by the technology. The ability for an artist or designer to create something digitally and then turn it into an actual object is a paradigm shift in manufacturing. It is something that is on my mind every day…

Zbrush is the perfect tool for this, so I’ve decided that it is something that I need to master. I exported my Animation:Master model of TAR as an .obj as well as his shield and club and, using Dynamesh, merged them into one Ztool. Then I sculpted some more detail into the body (I’m not finished yet, this is only a couple of hours work…).

There are some really cool features in this program that make me think that it might be easier to create characters from scratch in Zbrush and then export to an animation program. A lot of studios use Zbrush, so might be a better workflow for doing freelance too.

[Edit] Here is what it looks like in makerware

Tar_ThingHere is the link to the “thing” file on Thingiverse–download it and print it!

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:158321

h1

Zbrush to A:M

May 9, 2013

I had an idea this evening to see whether I could combine Zbrush and Animation:Master by using the extract command in Zbrush to create equipment (in this case a helmet) and bring that geometry back into A:M as a PROP.

So I exported the Hyena as an .obj and imported it into Zbrush, painted a mask for the helmet and extracted the geometry. I then sculpted some detail–though  not too much, because I wasn’t sure it would work…

helmet

Before exporting the helmet, I ran the Decimation command on it to reduce the polygon count, then exported an .obj file. In A:M I imported the helmet and assigned a rusty steel DarkTree material to it. I dragged and dropped it into an Action and it perfectly aligned with the Hyena model! All I had to do was add a translate to and orient like constraint to the head controller and I was done:

hyena-helmet

I’m not sure if I will use this technique on some of the gear, or if I would just model from scratch in A:M. I just wanted to try it and see what happened. A:M has a reputation for not playing well with polygon-based programs, but I think you just have to understand the limits and work around them. For landscapes or hard-surface objects that don’t need to deform, use the PROP feature and you shouldn’t have any problem.

I recently experimented with modeling a simple landscape object in Sculptris, and it also worked great in A:M

sculptris_screencap

tar+hyena2.0

h1

Digital Watercolor

April 23, 2013

Chick_color

 

 

chicks05

Experimenting with some digital watercolors over top of a scanned sketch. Done in ArtRage4. This is one of the dancing girls at the Waterhole.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 279 other followers