Improving graphics skills quickly

Finding inspiration versus being a copycat

Inspired by a man, who did an artwork a day for over 10 years – Beeple, I decided to give it shot to make quick graphic in under 2 hours. It’s the post’s featured graphic. It’s not good, but it’s a start. No wonder why Beeple used the word “crap” in his domain name as he was starting documenting his journey with creating artwork every day. So I looked up his images and tried to make something using similar ideas. That meant to use simple shapes and unnatural light shapes. I illuminated the scene with a bright tetrahedron placed centrally. Then I added some thin red LED like cylinders. Throwing in a couple of really big cubes, a tiny human that I generated using Manuel Bestoni Laboratory, a flying torus and here we almost have it. I still had to make some materials and the final rendering. Basically by doing all of the above I became a copycat of Beeple’s style and I realised that only after the fact. That’s definitely not cool and I won’t do this again.

Software of choice

For the graphic I used Blender – free and open source graphics creation suite. Making 3D graphics with Blender is pretty cool, as one can make full range of different graphic styles with it. I sometimes use GIMP and Krita in my workflow too.

Improve daily or every now and then

When doing everything I do, I strive to improve and get better and better over time. Sometimes it’s just that steady incremental growth by doing the same thing over and over and figuring out every detail of the process. After some time everyone can see your improvement and doing it becomes quicker. You can also learn by making leaps. That means to experiment and dive deep into completely new style, program, idea. It may activate not usually used areas of your creativity.

render3mountainsG1small800px

I spent around 1 hour and 30 minutes on the image above. I used different techniques to create my own style. It took me years to understand how to make something like this image at all. I remember when as a kid I was pondering upon a realistic painting in my parents’ house and I was wondering how is it possible to paint it. When I was trying to paint, the results were miserable.

Not that long ago I first stumbled upon a man called Bob Ross. Why didn’t I discovered him earlier? I don’t know, but I just loved the techniques he was presenting and how effortlessly he painted. On one of his programs he showed a technique to paint mountains with a spatula. My mind was blown away by the fact, that he made 3 hand movements and made a freaking realistic looking mountain. It changed my understanding of paint and light. Without that understanding and sudden mind shift I wouldn’t be able to make quickly something that looks like a pyramid or a mountain. I would spend hours on making tiny details instead of focusing on the important light.

Bob_at_Easel.jpg

I’m colorblind, yet I still managed to use good looking colors. That one was pretty simple, I just picked colors to use from a sunset photo. On the programming side of this blog I will talk more about creating a color picker I made. It allows me to pick colors from screen not only graphics applications and put them directly into Blender. So basically I don’t have to import photos to Blender to pick colors from them.

Air perspective

I want to spend few words on something I did know, but I didn’t realise. Objects that are further away should be closer in color to sky color. There is more volume between camera and objects that are further away. More volume means more particles and more light scattered. That means when you make a landscape, the foreground should be darker than distant objects. Of course it depends on all the light sources, materials and so on. On the photo below (thanks Steve for the great photo) we can clearly see the dark foreground and sky color planes in the background. landscape-404072_960_720.jpg

Making multiple graphics from one

By exploring different options, colors, settings, camera angles, rendering engines I made these three*(I already lost somewhere the third one and I downloaded one from facebook so it has low quality.) graphics from the same 3D model. It’s interesting how with small changes I got quite different results. Not a single one of them is perfect, but if I explore this way, I can find some new ideas and learn more.

 

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Other way of making more from the same image is re framing. For example you can find some interesting section of your image and focus more on that. Changing composition is one thing but you can also play with others.

 

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