Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Notes from Portrait and Environment Demo

Hi guys,
Here are a few pointers I wrote down from last night's demo on environment design or composition:

  • The first decision to make when starting your piece is where to place the horizon line
  • Also, establish a perspective grid that you keep on a separate layer set to low opacity
  • It's a good approach to work your way from the back to the front (e.g. starting with the sky and working your way through the middle ground environment to the foreground figures)
  • You can build up your scene by working in silhouettes at first and then adding detail on top through clipping masks (as with the approach for character design)
  • Always go loose at first and add detail later
  • Make sure to establish a sense of depth by breaking up the space
  • Hint at perspective through lines in painting here and there (e.g. put horizontal lines/elements close to horizon line)
  • Perspective can be used as part of the construction lines in the composition
  • Work in layers for easy adjustment of elements
  • The more in-frame a character is, the more prominent he seems
  • In a representational illustration, exaggerate the drama/atmosphere to create more interest even if it's not entirely true to the story

And here are my notes from the portrait demo last week:
  • It's a good idea to start from a grey bg since pure white/black is distracting
  • Take bits and pieces from different references and compose together in a new combination. Decide ahead which you're gonna use
  • Start very loose and energetic. Hint at general/generic anatomical proportions without getting into detail
  • Build a silhouette at low opacity (use standard brush with shape dynamics)
  • Go with a softer brush with a little texture and start detailing a little bit. Sill building up slowly and consistently across the whole form
  • Start thinking about light. Eye sockets, nose, mouth, forehead, temples, cheekbones, neck
  • Build in more detail. Possibly use clipping masks
  • Work everything together. Build up simultaneously across entire form
  • Last step: Final detailing. Finishing touches
  • Keep good organised reference
  • Start loose and build up slowly and consistently
  • Don't erase in the early stages
  • Pay attention to thickness of eye lids through light and cast shadow on eye ball
  • Don't put too much detail/attention on ears
  • Rim light helps round the surface

Jim, I guess you can just edit this post if I got something wrong or if my notes don't make sense to anyone but me. :)

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