In­tro­duc­tion to Dig­i­tal Paint­ing and The­ory Vol 1

ROCK-SOLID Con­cept artist Si­mon Scales ex­plains not just how to paint dig­i­tally, but how to cre­ate fan­tasy and sci-fi im­ages that work

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Con­cept artist Si­mon Scales ex­plains not just how to paint dig­i­tally, but how to cre­ate fan­tasy and sci-fi im­ages that work.

si­mon Scales’s four-hour work­shop, edited down from a se­ries of live pre­sen­ta­tions, starts with the sim­plest of scrib­bles be­fore reach­ing a sump­tu­ous level of de­tail in the fi­nal min­utes. Si­mon starts with the most ba­sic of shapes and shows how even sim­ply over­lap­ping them cre­ates a sense of depth. From here, he suc­ces­sively builds up a set of im­ages from thumb­nails and value stud­ies to colour break­downs and fin­ished con­cepts.

By tak­ing you through the en­tire cre­ative process, Si­mon helps you to un­der­stand why even the most pol­ished paint­ing tech­niques can’t res­cue a poorly con­ceived im­age. Treat­ing com­po­si­tion as a more in­tu­itive process than sim­ply fol­low­ing the Rule of Thirds, he shows in the first few chap­ters of his video how shape, scale and per­spec­tive in­ter­act to cre­ate a ro­bust struc­ture for your pic­ture. It’s as good an ex­pla­na­tion of the fun­da­men­tal the­o­ries of im­age­mak­ing as you’ll find any­where.

Once you’ve got the ba­sics spot-on, it’s time to work on the de­tail. De­vel­op­ing a few con­cepts be­fore choos­ing one to take to com­ple­tion, Si­mon uses the tried-and-trusted con­cept art ap­proach of pho­to­bash­ing, bring­ing tex­tures and ref­er­ences into his im­age through blend­ing and ma­nip­u­la­tion, then work­ing over them. There are plenty of prac­ti­cal Pho­to­shop tips along the way, such as cre­at­ing cus­tom brushes, but it’s the man­ner in which Si­mon de­vel­ops his vi­sion for each im­age that im­presses.

It’s a shame that CDW’s video water­mark ob­scures the Nav­i­ga­tor in Pho­to­shop, which Si­mon fre­quently stresses is a cru­cial part of his cre­ative process, so we can’t see what he sees. That mi­nor ir­ri­ta­tion aside, this is a hugely ed­u­ca­tional video that will help you not just paint well, but cre­ate im­ages with rock-solid foun­da­tions.

In Dig­i­tal Paint­ing and The­ory, Si­mon Scales com­bines es­sen­tial cre­ative prin­ci­ples with mark-mak­ing.

Value stud­ies are where Si­mon en­sures that the ba­sics of the im­age work.

You’ll see how this piece evolves from thumb­nail to con­cept art­work.

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