The briefs throughout this module have provided me the opportunity to push myself to produce my best work to date, and have been happy with the outcomes. This is not so much what I have learnt specifically studying the module, it’s more what I have learnt in the time period between January – April.
Time management – the first of my learning outcomes is maintaining the consistency of a disciplined schedule. As you may know from one of my earlier posts, I keep an Instagram account where I share a daily image of the work I have done that day. I’ve maintained a streak of this, and achieved the 365 day year milestone a few weeks ago. Managing this alongside my freelance career in graphic design and active lifestyle has been challenging, but rewarding.
Keeping Active – Although not an obvious learning outcome, the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle was highlighted to me back in January when I injured my back and was unable to exercise for 3 weeks. Without keeping active I felt a real struggle to sit down and work for 12hrs straight. Unfortunately this is not a healthy profession, and it is a widely accepted fact that sitting too much is bad for your health.
Importance of networking – I’ve maintained an active sketchbook thread and accounts on both Polycount, 3DHit, Twitter, Facebook, and the aforementioned Instagram. I have also been attending social networking events, such as the London Polycount meetup and most recently the Industry Workshop Demo Day. Meeting new people and discussing artwork outside of an online forum is a valuable experience.
Exterior influences – artists’ 2D Techniques
Scott Robertson – draw-through method and line weight techniques
Although I have before cited his draw-through method as an influence, I especially pushed the technique’s complexity in the live brief project, as showcased here on my Artstation. Every single prop in that room was drawn inside it’s own cube which was plotted into perspective and subdivided down manually in 2D following the perspective grid which was extrapolated from intersecting parallel lines from the 3D blockout.
Environments & Utilizing 3D in my workflow
I was well aware that the live project had a tight timeline and was keen to involve more 3D work in my pipeline. From an efficiency point of view it just made sense to build up a base model and trace over the block-out, and the learnings from this will fully be taken advantage of in my Final Major Project.
The line art stage of the project was a good opportunity to showcase my strength with relying purely on line. Scott often discusses the importance of dynamic line art, and the main take home of his work expressing such strength with only line can be boiled down to a few observations that I’ve made. Firstly is the variety of line weights. Big details, such as the main silhouette of each prop within that environment, has the strongest line which separates it as an individual element apart from it’s surroundings. Overlapping forms must also have a bold line to maintain readability and distance separation. Smaller and ‘high frequency’ detail that tend to be less important have the lightest lines to avoid confusing the eye too much. I feel I handled this well.
These techniques are widely utilised within the industry as a clear and concise way of communicating a visual idea once past the initial thumbnail stages. It’s showcased in much concept art, including the FZD school Design Blog.
Concept Design for Virtual Reality
The Cyberpunk Room project was designed with VR in mind (although it’s not something I’m interested in seeing being developed by a studio without appropriate compensation). I spent a lot of time considering designing for VR, including adopting a cel-shaded and less gpu intensive art style to optimise performance. Creating a relative sense of scale is something that I embraced, and designed a lot of ‘familiar’ props to really place any viewer into the environment. I realise that as the industry moves forward, there will come the demand for more and more VR focussed projects, and as such I have been keeping an eye on the work of concept artists at the forefront of that niche in the industry.
Jama Jurabaev is one of those artists, and has a fantastic technique for design for VR, including a very efficient way of creating panoramic sketches within 3D-Coat. At the ‘IW_Demo Day’ (15/04/2017) I watched a live demo of the teachings in his tutorials on the subject, which were hugely interesting. Had I known about this before then I would have utilised this method to design the environment for the brief, but going forwards I’m happy to know about it.
Creatures & 3D Techniques
I’ve been experimenting a lot more with 3D outside of any officially assessed projects as a way to improve my sculpting and design. The work of Andrew Baker, as well as Peter Konig, and Kurt Papstein are all big influences on this, and their methods of ZBrush sculpting, followed by photo-texturing and paint over in 2D are aspects that I am bringing more and more into my work and look forward to fully utilising in the upcoming FMP.
My initial reluctance to rely too heavily on 3D was down to a weakness in the medium, but challenging myself to do much more creature sculpts has really caused my confidence to increase.
Where to go from here – critiques on my own work and an outlook at the industry
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a portfolio review from one of my favourite artists, Noah Bradley at the IW_Demo day. He remarked on the strength of my sketches, but weakness of painting. I’ve received similar feedback from Frank Victoria, although he was not quite as forceful in his insistence that I divorce myself from my beloved linework. As such, I’ve taken a 30 day hiatus from drawing, and instead will be painting in my daily images. Identifying a weakness and working on it is crucial for artistic development.