In­tro­duc­tion to Dig­i­tal Paint­ing and The­ory, Vol 2

Con­cept artist Si­mon Scales shows how to make real­is­tic paint­ings quickly, with a good dose of in­spir­ing tech­niques

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Con­cept artist Si­mon Scales re­veals his tech­niques for quickly gen­er­at­ing real­is­tic art­work.

This se­ries dis­sects pop­u­lar con­cept art paint­ing tech­niques, which are de­signed to help you achieve re­sults full of the re­al­ism an art di­rec­tor craves, with­out spend­ing too much time on it. As in Vol­ume 1 (which we re­viewed in is­sue 106), this sec­ond vol­ume is a canny blend of the prac­ti­cal and the in­spi­ra­tional.

There are two dis­tinct projects in this video, show­ing dif­fer­ent pos­si­ble ap­proaches for Si­mon’s core tech­nique of in­te­grat­ing photo ref­er­ence di­rectly into his paint­ings. In the first project, a pic­turesque fan­tasy land­scape, Si­mon brings in frag­ments of dif­fer­ent pho­tos on top of a painted thumb­nail. He then warps the pieces to fit the com­po­si­tion to es­tab­lish val­ues and tex­ture be­fore paint­ing on top. It’s a worth­while watch, al­though it per­haps doesn’t add much in­sight over Si­mon’s photo-bash­ing ses­sion in Vol­ume 1.

We're of the opin­ion that the sec­ond project is the more com­pelling of the two. Here, Si­mon starts with a photo tex­ture to es­tab­lish a can­vas to paint over, be­fore build­ing up an epic scene of soar­ing jagged rocks and space­ships. It feels as though he en­gages more deeply with this scene than in the first half of this video.

Si­mon’s at his best when he ap­plies clas­si­cal art prin­ci­ples to a dig­i­tal era. He builds a rhythm among re­peat­ing el­e­ments to guide the viewer around the scene, for ex­am­ple, and shows how to make small but im­por­tant sub­jects such as the space­craft stand out through con­trast – not just a dif­fer­ence in value, but also in tex­ture. Full of tech­ni­cal skill and clear ex­pla­na­tions, this is a project that you can watch a num­ber of times and still gain new in­sights with ev­ery view­ing.

As a foot­note to a mi­nor com­plaint in our Vol­ume 1 re­view, this time the CDW logo water­mark is po­si­tioned so it doesn’t ob­scure any Pho­to­shop in­ter­face el­e­ments – some­thing’s that much ap­pre­ci­ated!

Si­mon demon­strates photo-bash­ing tech­niques as he cre­ate a Euro­pean

look­ing fan­tasy cas­tle land­scape.

In the sec­ond vol­ume of Dig­i­tal Paint­ing and The­ory, Si­mon crafts two cool con­cept

projects by mix­ing paint­ing and pho­tos.

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