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mearrin69
10-29-2009, 05:27 AM
Hi all,
I'm having to school myself on digital painting (a hard subject!) for my current project (for which I'll probably end up hiring some artists, eventually). Figured I'd start a little thread here with some of the stuff I'm puttering around with. Any guidance from artistically inclined forum-goers will be much appreciated.

First up: I'm working on an adventure called Curse of the Emperor's Stone, in which the heroes deal with an insidious "treasure" from the distant past. The image below is my rough sketch (values only, no color yet, though the final will be jade colored if I can manage it) of that eponymous MacGuffin. I've included my reference, found on some old Antiques Roadshow-type of website somewhere. I'm closely matching it here but the final probably will be somewhat different - just trying to get the painting down before I try my hand and designing AND painting.

In the background I'm working on some NPC and pre-gen portraits, landscapes, and action scenes. At this stage they're even rougher than this little gem so I'll just see if I can't whip them into shape before I post.

Oh, what the heck. I threw on a sketch (rough, rough, rough) of an illustration I might want to include with the Intruder Alert! (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=86046#post86046) encounter. There would, ideally, be two ninja-types climbing over the side of the ship in that big open area but I have erased out all of my attempts so far. Needless to say (but I will anyway) this needs lots of refinement. :)

Any feedback is, of course, welcome.
M

Ascension
10-29-2009, 07:37 PM
No suggestions from me as I'm learning digital painting myself. :) Looks good so far.

philipstephen
10-30-2009, 12:03 AM
Maybe get some action figures and drape them over a ledge as if they were climbing up... or take a digital photo of some friends just as they crest a ledge or fence of some sort...

then use those for references as to limb position and such for your ninjas...

is that the sort of suggestions your were looking for?

mearrin69
10-30-2009, 12:03 AM
@Ascension: Thanks. There's a lot to learn. I used to be a fairly prolific pencil sketcher and actually turned out some decent stuff - though I had a fair way to go before I would have called myself an "artist". I dropped it all for many, many years and now find myself faced with both an interest and a need to *be* an artist. So, let's see if I can be one...or if I will be forced to hire them. :)

@PS: Indeed it is. Thanks for the advice. I tried it with an articulated action figure but couldn't get it to pose well enough. I have found my little wooden mannequin now, however, so I should be able to get it going. I also have one of those Stan Lee books about drawing comics. I think heroic fantasy folks should be illustrated heroicly so I'm going to try to take a page from Stan.

Anyhoo. Here are a few scanned pics I drew in the corner of my notebook while on an airplane a couple of months ago. These really are "thumbnails"...probably won't get a lot more detail by clicking them. They depict the House of the Four Winds (Haibianr's local monkery), the Temple of Heaven (sort of associated with HotFW), and my first concept sketch for Huangdi Shi, the Emperor's Stone. The first two will get turned into paintings as I go. Okay, one more. Concept sketches for coinage

I'm doing a number of "value sketchs" of various landscapes, many of which will also feature some sort of character action, similar to the Intruder Alert image I posted last time. I'm hoping I can turn these into something that will be useable as a finished illustration. It's a long-shot at this point but I'm just trying to see if I can get values and compositions onto digital paper well enough to tell the story I want to tell.

I was beating myself up about character/NPC paintings until I took a spin through several of my RPG products. Apart from Wayne Reynolds and a couple of other artists I see now that they're really not executed to all that high a level...certainly not photorealistic. I'm going to pick a few styles I like to see if I can emulate their level of quality. I think I just might be able to. Hopefully some posts on that in a few days.

Oh. And maps. Still working on maps.
M

Tiana
10-30-2009, 03:12 AM
In Intruder Alert, I'd definately hike up the contrast at the edges where the wall meets the floor, and just overall, more extreme color and lighting differences. It seems a bit too bright for a nighttime picture to me.

I'd also have a grappling hook and no figures, but that's just what I imagine.

Consider hunting for reference stock on places like DeviantArt--there's accounts dedicated to stock all over the place there. You might be able to find some good ninjas. Photo references are always good though--I have a massive collection of stock. A good trick for quick detail in things like the wall is to download textures and apply these to your brushes in Photoshop--open up the brush window and there's a spot for 'textures'... I have a few brick wall textures that I use from CGTextures, and well, a whole lot of other textures too--ranging from wallpaper textures to rocks, rust, and clouds and water. It's a good, fast way to put down detail to paint over, and I can see it coming in handy in your digital landscaping.

I'd consider myself a digital artist so I'm always happy to lend advice. ^_^

philipstephen
10-30-2009, 03:20 AM
the buildings look good from the thumbnails... i have trouble with buildings... mostly i just draw faces... so i am challenged by doing much more... even though i paint whole scenes and such, as you can see on my website...

but in most of my paintings i keep it pretty simple...

it looks like you have a good sense of shape and composition... so it is just a process of refining your details i guess...

and for that? practice is likely the best solution...

phil

mearrin69
10-31-2009, 01:37 PM
@tiana: Thanks for the feedback. Just what I need. I jumped into playing with color on that one before the values were even close enough to defined. I do have some refs and I've been working with a couple of figure-drawing texts I had laying around but (obviously) never practised rigorously. :)

@philipstephen: Thanks. Practice is definitely in order. BTW, looked at your site. Very cool stuff. I like the bright colors and whimsicality (is that even a word? I like to make up words). Nice pics.

Been mainly working on maps again lately but here's a somewhat complete render of Haibianr's copper piece. I just used my sketch as a guide but cleaned it up with some circles skewed into perspective then painted with various shades of copperish color until I got it looking sort of right. Then I duplicated the layer and messed with filters and blending modes to get it to pop and look a little more metallic. This one has an emboss filter applied and (maybe) color burn blending at 50% over my original painting. Could be improved but it's probably close enough for gov'mint work.
M

nbnmbm
10-31-2009, 02:41 PM
Maybe get some action figures and drape them over a ledge as if they were climbing up... or take a digital photo of some friends just as they crest a ledge or fence of some sort...

then use those for references as to limb position and such for your ninjas...

is that the sort of suggestions your were looking for?

I'm having to school myself on digital painting (a hard subject!) for my current project (for which I'll probably end up hiring some artists, eventually). Figured I'd start a little thread here with some of the stuff I'm puttering around with. Any guidance from artistically inclined forum-goers will be much appreciated.

Gidde
10-31-2009, 05:55 PM
Lovin' that copper coin Mearrin :)

mearrin69
10-31-2009, 06:05 PM
@Gidde: Thank you very much. I've got the rest in the works and will post someday soon.

Here, btw, is my sort-of-finished Huangdi Shi. I'm not sure I will actually change it a whole lot. I might, but this is the basic look I think I want to use. It takes a slightly refined version of my painting from above and layers on a couple of filters (edges, color, don't remember what else).

I guess I could have just stolen that pic I was using for a ref and run some filters on it and gotten about the same effect but...at least I painted the thing I guess.

This isn't the way it'll be displayed in the product. It'll probably be cut out and placed on the cover over whatever cover painting I decide to use. It might also be silhouetted in the background of the pages.
M

Redrobes
10-31-2009, 09:35 PM
Nice pic and well drawn from the original. If your going to publish you should ensure that you have license / permission from that reference cos a new sketch based on it is still a copy. This came up recently with the Obama pic from AP photo ref.

mearrin69
10-31-2009, 10:02 PM
Thanks. I had wondered about that. I doubt anybody that has lived for the past few centuries owns the "design patent" on the statue but the pic is indeed copyright. I didn't copy it directly, however, so I'm not sure of the particulars behind that one. I will look into it.

As I understand it, the Obama flap was because they guy used the same pixels, modified by a few filters. He made no significant changes from the original AP photo - as he would have had to get his piece from the photo he originally *claimed* to have used as a source. I think he would have been in the clear if that *had been* the source. Maybe even clear with the actual source, according to the lawyers I've seen quoted, if he hadn't made clear his intention to conceal that he had used it.

Still. Very cognizant of it and not very well versed in the law myself. Imma check it out with my company's attorney in depth as I get closer to actually putting something out. Can't go to that guy piecemeal...I need a bunch of questions and clarifications in the hopper :)

Thanks!
M

Redrobes
11-01-2009, 09:37 AM
Well if you have access to attorneys then post the gist of what they claim. We get loads of queries on copyright and whats in/out. I know there's no definite until you get to court and a judge but to have some idea is better than not.

mearrin69
01-31-2010, 03:26 AM
Well, I really let this thread slip over the holidays. In addition to trying to catch up with mapping I've been working on portraits for pre-generated characters for my adventure. I'm looking here for people that are kind of unique. This one (very wip as you can tell) is a female fighter. The axes are stand-ins...they'll probably be some weird kind of monk weapon. I'm picturing her as a real wushu kind of a** kicker (can we use words like that here? censored just in case we can't). Stayed away from the chainmail bikini syndrome...but tried to keep it sexyish. [edit: guess I should mention that there is a PS watercolor filter applied to this...mainly to mask how very unfinished the portrait still is.]

All of my portraits are using Poser renders for reference on both pose and lighting. In the case of this character I also used the face and hair. These aren't straight paint-overs, a fact you might discern on your own by noticing how asymmetrical I've got the face right now. :) I use the render and other refs and paint them by hand (though I do sample colors if I like them). The costume is reffed from a pirate costume site. I was just going to use the blouse but then realized I sort of liked the pants and boots too. I hiked up the shirt a bit...maybe too much, but the model had such a nice mid-section.

I've got another one in the hopper (render attached). This one may or may not look more or less like a homocidal hispanic arborist. He certainly won't be wearing tennies.

If anyone wants to see the refs I can post 'em - though I'll have to censor the girl a bit as she's quite nude in the render.
M