Con­cept De­sign Work­flow Vol 1

Think you’ve got thumb­nails fig­ured out? Aaron Li­mon­ick shows how your first sketches can make or break your paint­ing

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

There’s noth­ing quite like the feel­ing you get when you start with a blank sheet, whether it’s in Pho­to­shop or a sketch­book, and the sense of dis­cov­ery as you work out how to make the idea in your head come to life in two di­men­sions.

We’ve seen many train­ing videos in which the artist glosses over the thumb­nail stage, spend­ing per­haps 10 min­utes de­vel­op­ing a com­po­si­tion be­fore fo­cus­ing on ren­der­ing the image. In this first video of a two-part se­ries, Aaron Li­mon­ick re­dresses the bal­ance by spend­ing four hours fid­dling with his thumbs.

Aaron’s mis­sion is to get you think­ing about the ear­li­est stages of cre­at­ing a com­po­si­tion, so that each of your thumb­nails or sketches takes you closer to your goal of an awe­some image. In a lengthy early chap­ter last­ing over an hour and a half, he it­er­ates a ba­sic con­cept of a fu­ture cityscape, ex­per­i­ment­ing with an­gles and shapes un­til he finds the com­po­si­tion he wants to take for­ward.

Rather than use a sin­gle toolset dur­ing this ses­sion, Aaron switches freely be­tween dif­fer­ent tech­niques – us­ing pure line or block­ing in with a brush, for ex­am­ple. With his role of a con­cept artist who’s con­tribut­ing to a team ef­fort in mind, Aaron ex­plains how choos­ing a spe­cific tech­nique will make the sketch more use­ful for dif­fer­ent team mem­bers, such as 3D modellers or light­ing artists.

With a com­po­si­tion in place, Aaron shows the cru­cial stages of de­vel­op­ing your image: first a value study, then a colour key. For the lat­ter stage in par­tic­u­lar, he can’t re­sist adding more de­tail than is nec­es­sary, tak­ing the chance to show some cool ren­der­ing tech­niques, such as the use of alpha chan­nels in Pho­to­shop to paint in re­al­is­tic de­tail. But you’ll also gather plenty of de­sign tips, such as re­peat­ing shapes across el­e­ments to make them feel part of the same scene.

Aaron takes his colour key fur­ther than he needs to, so he can show tech­niques such as paint­ing in alpha chan­nels.

In Con­cept De­sign Work­flow Vol 1, Aaron delves deep into the

ear­li­est stages of cre­at­ing an image.

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