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
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.