For this first week, our teacher Nathan Fowkes asked us to do 12 under one hour studies of photographs, paintings or any reference that we found interesting.
I have been collecting color scripts and movies screenshots for quite a while so finding references wasn’t difficult. Painting was an other story… I have a whole set of clean-up brushes for character designs but when it comes to painting, I realised all my brushes were of no use and had to find some new ones more appropriate for that kind of exercise. I also had no clue how to go about painting in Photoshop but my knowledge in oil painting and lighting came pretty handy.
Here is what I submitted for this week. The first one took me a very long time to do and I didn’t have time to adjust the colours but luckily I became much faster after having done several and the last ones were more enjoyable. You should try, it is a fun exercise. For each study I tried to work on something different, SSS, backlighting, color scheme…
Credits: Aurélien Prédal (1/2/5), Joaquin Sorolla , Roger Deakins (3/4)), Robert Richardson (7/9/10/11)
[update] Well the class sold out in probably less than two hours, this should give some ideas to other online schools like CGMA/CGMW (I can never remember the name, but I highly recommend the storyboard and character design class). CGMA has a 2 hours live class with the mentor every week, Schoolism doesn’t. Come on CGMA, there are plenty of great Feature Animation Vis Dev artist out there.
Check this out, Bobby Chiu’s Schoolism just announced a pretty awesome online class titled “Designing with Color and Light with Nathan Fowkes”.
I have been following Dreamworks visual dev artist Nathan Fowkes for a bit and I had to rush to book the course, granted I will have a slight issue compared to other students, I am slightly colour blind. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue, some people say Van Gogh was also colour blind and this is why the palette he used seems so vibrant to non-colour blind people.
Schoolism has also a bunch of other great classes from Zbrush to Storyboarding (with Kris Pearn) I would encourage you to check out
If you enroll to one of the courses and you want to support Animation with a Moustache, please give them the following promo code 75qs0
I should use this opportunity to thanks the two people who refereed me and I would like to hear which courses you took and how you found them.
I just found a 12 minutes introduction video to an other workshop he helds in L.A. that should give an idea to what to expect from his course.
This is my assignment for the CGMA Character Design workshop. We were to design a monster based on a basic circle, triangle or square shape. It is a similar exercise to what we did at the Animation Collaborative. Those three shapes are the basic foundations, the building blocks of strong character design.
Here is what I came up with. The line work and painting job are a bit poor for the moment. Nate will help us with those in the next few weeks so expect a new version soon. The bottom picture are explorations that I first did with pen and paper then cleaned up in Sketchbook pro.
Aurélien Prédal is a Gobelins graduate whose work you might have come across in 2006 as he took part in one of my all time Gobelins favorite shortfilms : “Burning Safari”. (“Le building”) is also a top favorite Gobelins short)
Aurélien was involved in the never ending production of french animated feature “A monster in Paris” and he just posted some unbelievable colour keys he made for the movie.
If you are interested in painting or lighting you should definitely have a look at his blog, his work is exceptional. To me he is just as good as people with 5+ years of experience and he probably made those colour keys, two to three years after graduating.
If you didn’t know, Aurélien was also a contributor to the Sketchtravel project.
As a side note, with 1.7 millions tickets sold, the movie did very well in France but so far it hasn’t covered the 27 millions euros the movie cost, making it a loss for the production company, Europa Corp.
A US release would be really expensive for Luc Besson’s company but they could probably do a UK release first. The British market is usually the second biggest territory in term of sales, ahead of Japan.
Few people wanted to see this guy animated so here it is. Believe it or not this was animated in Maya. I placed the walk cycle on a nurbs plane and animated the UV :-) I have been told I could have just used Photoshop. I will give it a try next time or maybe use Plastic Animation Paper since it is free.
Scarecrow model packet
Today we had one more amazing Animation Collaborative Character Design class.
This time, Albert and Chris brought Jason Deamer to give us a talk on Model Packeting. According to Al and Chris, Jason is the best artist for that kind of work at Pixar. Jason shared with us some of his Model sheets from Finding Nemo and we also saw some more from Up and the character Muntz in particular.
Here was the assignment I turned.
This is a rough “model packet” for one of the characters from my take on the “Wizard of Oz”. A “Wizard of Oz” that would take place in Siberia.
A model packet is a document that gets handed to the 3d modelers so they can take a design and turn it into a full 3d model. It can range from 5 to 18 pages depending on the complexity of the character or how much direction the modelers need.
There is nothing too complicated for that one but that was still pretty challenging. It is still very rough for the time being, I will post a cleaned up version very soon. Right now the arms and nose are not detailed enough for the modelers to do their job. The eyes also need to be worked out as they wouldn’t communicate eye direction. I will probably go for cartoony eyes like the last drawing.
I hope you like it!
Bobby Chiu is a very good artist, a very good businessman and still a very generous guy.
I hadn’t followed him for a year or two and while looking for Photoshop painting tutorials for a friend I found that “new” video he posted well … last year.
Unlike his old painting videos, in that 190 minutes long tutorial (9 parts video) he explains his whole painting process from the original scanned sketch to fully rendered. This is probably similar to the paid videos you can get when attending his online art school Schoolism.com.
Since this is a free video, I am also posting my notes, feel free to add comments to these.
Water creature fishing
1. Bring the scanned sketch onto a layer in multiply mode, Bobby work at 33% of the final res
2. Open a second window not the navigator in a corner at about 12% to get an overview
3. Create a backgrond layer in dark grey
4. Add a new layer inbetween sketch and background and work on the tonal values of the character, we establish the base tone.
5. We create a new layer for the cast shadows
6. We create a new layer for the Colors in Color mode
Part 4 Lets bring the lights in:
1. We have been roughing out until now but it is time to zoom in, to add more detail in normal mode
2. Upmost layer in Normal mode we add the light so the sketch disappears
Part 7 Adding a secondary rim light
Part 8 Make an overal Levels change to make the painting much lighter. I would actually do the exact opposite so the dark area would have more details rather than creating flat dark areas… strange workflow
Ah and while I was getting ready to post this….. I just received a notification that Bobby Chiu posted an other AWESOME video interview with Pixar story artist Alex Woo. Alex was Tom Gately’s substitute teacher at AnimC last week and the class had a really fun time with him. Alex is a gesture drawing teacher in San Francisco and his class is usually sold out month in advance, he also holds a very popular class at Bobby Chiu’s Schoolism
As a side note, using the 75qs0 promo code when registering on the Schoolism website, you should get a nice discount and it will also help to fund my Philz coffee addiction ;-)
Dice Tsutsumi is a machine!!!! Look at the pretty cool Sketchtravel short film he created while working full time and preparing for the Sketchtravel auction event.
I was able to see some real size reproductions of the pages at Pixar few days ago and it looks great. That Miyazaki’s double spread is pretty sweet I must say…
I have been told the book is sold out in France and I am not sure when it will arrive in the US and other countries. Who was lucky and already bought one?
Here is some further discussion and infos on the Cartoon Brew blog.
The jury is still out there on the importance of being good at drawing for CG animation but to me, being able to quickly convey my ideas through rough sketches or a series of thumbnails is one more tool to a CG animator toolset therefore acquiring drawing skills should be one of our goals. It is also a great party trick! ;-)
I lived in West Africa for a while and there were many circumstances where I couldn’t pull out my camera but no one minded when I fired up my pens and pencils. My skills weren’t that amazing at that time but once I have a bit more experience with watercolours or maybe gouache, I am hoping to travel again for a month and fill up an entire sketchbook.
There are thousands of free sketching videos on Youtube but they are always too short or not exactly what I am looking for so $25 for looking over Jason’s shoulder and listening to his process is a bargain. It is also a great introduction to the great training Schoolism is offering.
The video is a bit less that 2 hours long and you see him sketching in the street and at his desk, demonstrating the importance of breaking down the subject into simpler forms and shapes, thumbnailling, crosshatching, digitally painting on a TabletPC, ballpoint sketching and applying watercolours.
On a minor note, each artist has their own style and I prefer cleaner lines to the more fiddly Jason uses when sketching, in the watercolours section he didn’t really explain his thought process and how he selected his colours however, I would still highly recommend watching those videos if you are trying to develop your sketching abilities.
You will probably need to register to access the website but don’t worry it is really quick.
My drawing category
If you lost track of what is happening on the Chiustream, here is something you shouldn’t miss!
“Sketchtravel” co-creator, Totoro forest project co-initiator, Toy Story visual development artist Daisuke Tsutsumi (Dice) was very recently interviewed by Bobby Chiu on the Chiustream.
Dice is an incredible artist and I was amazed to hear that he also spend a lot of his free time painting and drawing from life. This makes a lot of sense as there is no other way to keep improving.
Just as a reminder, Bobby Chiu also spend 2 to 4 hours every morning on very specific exercises in order to develop his skills.
As a bit of trivia, we learn that Dice is married to Ohayo Miyazaki’s niece which he met when they were 6 years old.
By the way, I just came back from the Edinburgh Fringe festival in Scotland and did a bunch of sketches which I will post very soon. I still haven’t had time to learn watercolour so don’t expect anything too fancy yet.
Light and colours