Friday, 25 November 2011

Less Is More, I Think.

Since showing my first attempt at rendering my emo i've been kinda sidetracked from colouring in by actually still trying to get my drawing right. However I can't use that excuse forever and it is something I would really love to get better at.
Trying to take on board "The Galloway Method" I discussed in my last blog I re-did the girl a little so she has a lot of the same attributes but they don't interupt the flow of the lines as much. I did kinda fell back on a standard pose again but I knew I was gunna use it to test out colours so I needed one that kept everything visable. Heres the first pencil and my inking with the graphics tablet.

As you can see most of her clothes and accessories stay with the line of her body shape, this does look good but I'm not it would be appropriate for a video game, thinks its more on the animation side. Good technique though, I will definitely be doing this again. Gotta keep practicing the inking though, it is tough. It may look identical to you but that's another hours work between these two.
And this is my Render, I tried to take on board everything everyone said about my last one, mainly the colours and the feet.

I do like this a lot but there's still work to be done. I need to stop bein' such a little bitch when it comes to shading and highlighting, gotta have more contrast. I'll run it by the class tomorrow and see what they say and because I've still got the file on separate layers I can tweak any suggestions they have. Bring it on. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

It's Okay Joe, He Has A Kid, Must Be Older Than You...

So last thursday for this amazing module "professional practice" module we had to do a presentation on an artist that inspires us, I wasn't intending to put this on my blog but as i was doing the presentation it starting hitting me how appropriate it was to my current project.
I did mine on Sean Galloway a freelance artist that I don't think many people have heard of of but he's probably most well known for being the lead character designer on 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' TV series, (you can see the connections already right). Anyway the reasons I love him so much, apart from the obvious Spider-Man link,  are first of all, his passion for his work, not a day goes by without a new piece of work on his web page. But second of all and probably mainly, is his use of simplicity in his designs, he can achieve a fully formed character in just a few strokes with masses of personality and a beautifully sleek look. His awesomeness can be witnessed below.

 His ability to subtly capture a whole person in just a quite understated caricature is incredible, every feature is different in every face. This is professional observational drawing at work here people.

All for one project and every character has their own look and personality from just a glimpse.

 Not sure what Spidey is doing in the top left in this one but whatever it is, it's drawn beautifully.
So this started to get me thinking about my designs and whether less is more some times, worth a shot anyway.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Check Me Out

Today I became a man in the eyes of my tutors, not that they know it yet. I just did one of those things that every art student is asked to do but i'm guessing around 3% actually do it, I was in that 3%, but not anymore my friend, not anymore.
Okay enough suspense, I was in town with Chris today doin' some christmas browsing when we decided to go into a gallery, we had a look around an I saw some paintings that I genuinely thought were awesome. I then wrote down the artists name, came home and researched him, and now I'm blogging about it. Boom, gold medals.
They were by a guy called Craig Davison and it was a collection showing children acting out they're fantasy scenarios. He uses a stylised technique which would probably be called "catoony" but then renders them beautifully. Here are a couple.


I love that we can see that the kids are probably playing just by their poses but for me having the shadow in the background reminded me of how vivid things used to seem when I used to pretend, it instantly took me right back by about 15 years (maybe just 10 years)  and I think that's impressive for such a simple image.

I think I love this one the most because instead of reflecting what we imagine when we know we're pretending it's reflecting how the boys think of their gang in reality. Also the angles in the design just really appeal to me, they make the picture way more lively and interesting.
What I've taken away from this in terms of style is how important rendering is. I doubt it would be in that gallery if it was painted like a graphic novel, It's reached a new audience by having the colouring reminiscent of old story book illustrations. 
Right, time to work on some painting techniques.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Who Knew You Could Find Naked Women On The Internet?

I was getting pretty frustrated at myself recently for simply sucking at drawing females, drawing from reference is good but because I'm spending so long on one pose I'm not getting much practice. Time to bring in the life drawing. Obviously I can't afford a model myself and perhaps more seriously I cant afford life drawing classes either, also they are an enormous pain in the arse. So I used a website that I've used before to get reference pictures, it's basically just slides of people in different poses. You can program it to swap to a new one every minute so thats what I did.
I started off pretty shaky but got into it after a while, it's a pretty good confidence booster if you stick with it. Heres a few of the pages I did, you can definitely see a change.

And yes I know I've spelt practice incorrectly, I'm an animation student, what do ya want from me?

As you can see especially on the bottom right, a fairly poor grip on the female anatomy and not very confident strokes either.

By the end I think I had some pretty good strokes coming in and they all seem to flow a lot better than the previous ones. I think I need to use more construction lines to make sure the weighting and the proportions are right though. I think this has made a big difference to how I'll approach designing poses and I'm slightly more confident. I should probably keep coming back to do some more every few days though.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Need to stop posting these poses...

So i wanted to try my hand at rendering with photoshop but still wasn't happy with my last emo design as it was pointed out several times to me that she just looked like a bondage slut. Damn these influential testicles of mine! Did another few poses myself, this time with a bit more character than just some fighting stances. Take a peek.

Jesus, why so serious Blakeston? I wanted to get a fair bit of body tilting going on and having looked at a few Emo blogs they all seem to love miming blowing their brains out. I decided not to post the nude ones. So once again I tried to transform myself into a teenage girl taking on board some of the suggestions I had.

I'm pretty happy with the actual technique I used to colour this but I always like to open my work up for a battering from the public so I posted it on the BCU Animation Facebook page to get myself a little constructive criticism. Best idea of the project so far I must say.


As you can see this was helpful as mother lover. As a result I've picked up changes that need to be made like the feet, glasses, make-up and hair colour. Some that deep down I already knew and some that I didn't, but now it's on the internet I can't possibly ignore it. It may annoy the crap outta people but this is definitely the best way to get helpful feedback quickly.  

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

It's Guy Love - Guybrush Threepwood Case Study

This is a study on how to make a character as relatable as possible using story, personality but mainly design, also how the design successfully portrays the character as soon as you see them. 
I will be looking at the character 'Guybrush Threepwood' from the long running 'Monkey Island' point and click adventure games from Lucas Arts.
Firstly to establish if the design does justice to the character we must first look at aspects of their personality such as their aspirations, background, likes, dislikes, anything that is used to create a well rounded three-dimensional character.

Guybrush is a young man, regularly referred to as a boy by the rest of the cast. He has dreams of becoming a “mighty pirate” which is stated in the first conversation of the first game and is often thought as ridiculous by other characters he meets. Even throughout the series when Guybrush has been on several adventures we still get the impression he is trying to prove himself. This makes him immediately relatable by anyone that’s ever had an ambition and by those who have felt that others haven’t believed in them or taken them seriously. Guybrush has a lot to learn but is always optimistic which we know to be a loveable trait. He also has a pretty sharp wit and has plenty of opportunity to use it due to the fact that he’s often surrounded by strange people or idiots, a feeling most of us get from time to time. This could possibly come across as arrogant but because he is also quite naive and he is humbled by his love interest Elaine, who is much more intelligent than he is, he remains endearing. 

As we can see here they even have him breaking the fourth wall, which could be seen as cheating but I believe at this moment he shifts from being just a video game character to momentarily filling the role of a friend who you are working with instead of controlling.

In terms of design I believe he’s a few notches away from perfection. You can pretty much surmise everything I’ve just said about him just by looking at him. Firstly his body type is a million miles away from most protagonists in games purely due to the fact that is looks like he would be useless in any form of physical confrontation. Even though most males would like to disagree, deep down we know this is probably the case for ourselves, this makes us less likely to aspire to be him as most games seem to aim for but so much more likely to relate to him.
Everything about him is designed to suggest that he is non-threatening. A big part of this is his large boyish hairstyle that is bright blonde. Male characters rarely have light hair in games because it is often related to weakness but here it is one of his main features and makes his silhouette unmistakable. Also when you look at any designs, advertising or box-art, anything that’s created to give a quick, accurate impression of him he’s always in a ‘happy-go-lucky’ or vulnerable/nervous pose. Good use of poses is essential to design as they can get across the emotion of a stick man if they need to and the fact that Guybrush can be seen above giving us the ‘thumbs up’ tells us immediately that he’s got good intentions.
Even his name is used to solidify our impression of his character, I don’t know exactly what images the name “Guybrush Threepwood” conjures up but I think it’s safe to say they aren’t aggressive.

In conclusion, to create a successful, relatable character I must start by giving them common, human characteristics whether they are positive or negative. Even if no one ever see’s them, I believe this will inspire strong design. I must then think of every aspect of my characters design and make sure that it reflects the traits I have decided on. I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with exaggerating or glorifying the human form but they must remain true to what makes that character unique. I must then consider how my character is posed and make sure it gives the viewer no doubt about the characters past, present and future.