View Full Version : Kian Teaches, Danny Learns: Digital Painting
November 10th, 2007, 05:49 PM
So Kian on the forums has been mentoring me in digital painting for just under a week now, the actual ‘mentoring’ stage is done over msn messenger, as the real-time format is just a lot more practical. However I think that a lot of people who are in the same boat as me, i.e. people who know diddely squat about painting digitally, would benefit from what I am being taught, so I thought I would upload the assignments along with any critiques, or lessons I have learnt.
I am well aware that a lot of what I am going to cover is pretty ‘well duh’ stuff, its simply aimed for people as stupid as me.
First I am going to post my setup, as I know I was very curious at one stage as to what I would actually need to paint digitally. Its all recently bought and I shall probably be paying it off for the rest of my days.
I have a Dell Inspiron 1720, with a CORE 2 DUO T5450 1.66GHz processor, 17.0” widescreen, 250 GB hard drive, 2048MB cache and dedicated graphics.
I don’t really know what half of that means and I am aware that’s its probably all a bit overkill for what I am currently using it for. However the important things I was advised to get for a good digital painting set up by numerous people was a big cache, dedicated graphics as opposed to shared, a duo core as opposed to a single and as big a screen as I could afford.
I have an intuos wacom A4 sized and the thing is huge, again probably overkill for what I am currently using it for but I’m glad I have it. Having said that if anyone is in a position where they really cant afford one bigger than A5, I really wouldn’t sweat it. Having received this thing I think A5 would have been fine at least for the time being.
Ok so next I’ll post my first two assignments.
November 10th, 2007, 05:56 PM
So i received my wacom and found it very difficult to get the hang of drawing with it so my first assignment was to draw a bunch of cubes and render one, the first image are my very first drawings with my wacom, I drew them fairly large and shrunk them down for the purpose of presentation.
First Dumb thing learnt: what brush to use when sketching (I told you I was covering the simple things) small basic round brush with the opacity set to pen pressure in the brush settings. Gives a pencil like quality.
Next I had a go at rendering one, which is the next image, over all good practice for just taking some baby steps onto the wacom.
November 10th, 2007, 06:10 PM
My second assignment was to again render cubes but this time cubes with different values split across them, i.e. light grey and dark grey. The idea behind this was to see how different values coincide with each other when put under different lighting…if that makes any sense? I’m not very good at explaining.
All done with a hard edged basic brush I used a DVD I bought called ‘How to render matte surfaces Volume one: shading planar surfaces’ (http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/dvds/sro07.html)by Scott Robertson for a little help on this one I have included a screen shot in the attachment under ‘reference image’
Main criticism from Kian on this one was that I had over done the reflective light slightly, that is at least on the first image, I haven’t actually shown him the second yet.
Lastly I just REALLY want to thank Kian for helping me out in a big way, he’s a busy guy and has tremendous patience with my constant dumbass questions. Thanks bro.
3rd assignment hopefully up within a couple of days.
November 12th, 2007, 12:18 PM
My lessons are based foremost on the building of FORM. Via line, and tone only.
just to give everyone a rough idea about the aim of the lessons:
1) Cubes and Basic 3D form.
Drawing cubes may seem like a waste of your time. But I absolutley recommend you draw as many cubes from as many different angles as you possibly can. I see alot of people on CA who have the most basic problems understanding a 3D form. Even cubes. Danny did a great job with his cubes. Hence why we went straight on to the next lesson.
2) Values and Value Relationship.
Again, an area that I think doesn't get focussed on enough is value relationship. The values on a guy wearing a white shirt and black suit will have the same difference in the light as in the shadows. Easier to explain in images than text. I dont have the msn conversation I had with Danny on this. But he understood straight away again. Very quick learner. :)
Study what he has done in these images, and do the exact same. dont worry about being overly creative. Just copy for the sake of study.
I believe Danny will post his excercise on Specularity next.
November 12th, 2007, 06:32 PM
Hmmm, Ill be keeping my eyes on this thread. Still need a damn tablet though :(
November 12th, 2007, 09:06 PM
Thanks for posting this thread. I will follow the exercises myself slowly. I am horribly at utilizing a wacom tablet and its stylus. My hand eye coordination is just horrible in that regard. It's ok with regulay pen and paper, but not so with a tablet. I COULD buy a cintiq, but I would have to be out of my mind to pay that much money for it.
Do you and Kian have any advice and pointers on how to position the tablet? Directly parallel to the monitor so that your hand, eye, monitor and tablet line up so you get faithful recreations on the monitor that you draw on the tablet with?
November 12th, 2007, 09:16 PM
I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this thread. Working with values and practicing basic forms is something I'm working on myself.
Good job, DannySketch and Kian.
November 13th, 2007, 06:02 AM
I'll be trying to teach the way i started to learn about CA. I took to environments first. Because once you understand lighting and composition on a big scale, its second nature to you in the small. Well for me anyways :)
So these first sets of tut's are based all in basic light and material principles. no elves, sexy babes, robots or anything like that, yet!
November 13th, 2007, 11:28 AM
no elves, sexy babes, robots or anything like that...
Well, then why in the wide, wide world of sports is it on CA.org!?
Kidding, Jon. Cheers for picking up a yung'un. I'd love to see more of your finished stuff (other than on ImagineFX, you print-, you).
November 13th, 2007, 12:08 PM
thanks everyone for showing an interest
RabbiSatan I would recommend putting some time and effort in getting used to using a tablet, it was horrible for me but it soon becomes fun. It was one of the first things kian tried to teach me, take your hand out of the equation, make it a straight interface between just you and the screen. In this regard a tablet is unique, I have heard and read about many artists (including sparth) who say that this is the reason why they prefer a tablet to a cintiq, your hand doesn’t get in the way. i have the tablet setup directly in front of the laptop.
So my third assignment is to draw spherical shapes (spheres, cones, cylinders, etc.) and render them out making the items shiny (i.e. highlights) rather than matte, paying careful attention to the direction of the light.
I am still very much in the thick of this but this is where i am at so far.
I am way out of my comfort zone, which is vital, main points I have learnt so far is to be braver with my darker values in order to up the contrast.
I think the attachment is pretty self explanatory, the two paint over’s by Jon are the same with one simply showing a scribble he did over the top to try and explain how to use a value ramp in over to apply specs/highlights.
Oh and another thing I learnt was to try not to use a soft brush, use a regular hard brush with opacity and flow set to pen pressure, in the long run it will give me more control.
November 13th, 2007, 07:11 PM
Still on specula lighting, but I learnt a hell of a lot with these next pictures, Jon went into some more detail about what exactly specula lighting is (the reflection of the light source) I also got over my fear of using selection tools within Photoshop to aid accuracy in drawing, I was afraid to use them as a crutch, but I was spending so much time trying to keep everything neat and tidy It took me forever to learn anything.
Really enjoyed the cones, Jon asked me to render three cones in specula light, one metallic, one plastic and one with just a soft spec, took me a while to get into at first but ended up really enjoying myself.
November 20th, 2007, 07:08 PM
Ok so lesson four see’s me moving on to doing some environment thumbnails, I was to do 15 using only three values at 100% opacity, then receive an evaluation from Jon and do another 15 off the back of it. As you can probably tell by the quality of the work I struggled immensely through this one. Jon had to basically baby-sit me through the whole process, including holding my hand and telling me everything’s going to be alright in the end, I truly cant thank the talented git enough, I am very lucky he agreed to mentor me.
I am going to split this update up into three posts, my first 15, Jon’s crit, and my last 15.
Also at the top of this update I have included the cones study from the last lesson the ‘soft spec’ wasn’t quite soft enough, and considering that the majority of day to day objects are highlighted in this fashion, it was important that I added the forth as an amendment.
November 20th, 2007, 07:12 PM
This is Jon’s critique, all images belong to him and all text is copy and pasted from our msn convo’s. The main four points he picked up on were;
1. your values are too close together again
(at this stage, elements should be totally defined from one another)
2. There is a fair few compositional basics not there
3. there could’ve been more hints at perspective based enviros
4. some of them are too detailed for this stage in the image making
but the main crit in number 1
November 20th, 2007, 07:15 PM
and these are my final 15 thumbnails, i have yet to show Jon all of them, at the top i have included a couple of examples of some enviro study's that i did, i didnt do many and only spent about 15mins max on each, but i was struggling alot with trying to achieve a sense of depth in my thumbs and this helped alot.
November 24th, 2007, 06:00 AM
one, two and three point perspective, was not allowed to rub any lines out, use of shift key was optional, as you can see i tried it a couple of times but prefered to go free hand for practice.
March 14th, 2008, 05:54 AM
Cool.. Thanks for sharing..
March 15th, 2008, 04:39 PM
ive had a go at most of these now
ill post if i get the time
cheers for sharing
April 4th, 2008, 06:25 PM
Ha so this is what you were on about today, nice one man.... Get your ass back on it now the interview is over. Do you have your 3 influence pieces up on here somewhere?
Also good luck, hope to see you in sept.
April 12th, 2008, 07:15 PM
I was cruising this thread last night and I wanted to pop in today and thank the both of you for this. I've been meaning to challenge myself and get serious about painting so these steps will really help me out a lot.
Now I just gotta take the first step and have at it :P I'll be monitoring this much appreciated thread.
April 12th, 2008, 11:26 PM
This is a very good thread Danny, thank you very much for sharing!
April 18th, 2008, 03:03 PM
Cool stuff Jon and Danny :)
April 18th, 2008, 03:25 PM
i love seeing people improve.
its awesome. keep it up
September 30th, 2008, 07:55 AM
First off i am really sorry for leaving this thing dead without an explanation. I was unable to commit to it for a little while as i was focused on getting an illustration portfolio together for uni.
However now i am in and settled and Kian has kindly agreed to start these up again.
This first post is a bit of a catch up, it was the last lesson i did with Jon before the break and its a rather important one. If like me you have always wondered after looking at brilliant black and white wips that suddenly turn to colour, how they do it, then this shall show you.
September 30th, 2008, 12:11 PM
The progress is mad! but if your a skilled artist without a tablet then you just have to learn how to use a tablet and thats the easiest part ;)
For ppl following the threat. Dont think just becorse you get a tablet and can draw on the comp, that it instantly make you a good artist :)
October 12th, 2008, 11:49 AM
Nocebo hey man thanks for stopping by.
Whilst I absolutely agree with you about traditional studies helping my digital work, I don't want to belittle in anyway the importance of these lessons.
I have never improved with as much speed and focus as when i have been doing these digi's with Kian, not just on the digital painting side, but learning to better handle values and compose an image in general, and i am incredibly grateful to Kian for that.
So this lesson had me thrown in the deep end trying to have a crack at a fully finished environment. Below you can see the process shots, my final colour and Kian's quick 2 min paintover.
This image helped as a reminder as to just how hard i have yet to work, the final colour seemed muted and muddy to me, and Kian's paintover shows just how much more exciting and 'magical' the image could be with some PS effects and a better idea of colour.
October 14th, 2008, 01:22 PM
Thank you for sharing your progress! Seeing these exercises is really helpful, I'm going to go do some right now!
October 16th, 2008, 01:45 PM
This is a great thread and those lessons seem excellent. I have that dvd that you were talking about by Scot Robbinson, so ill try following these tutorials along with that. Thanks for sharing, its really useful.
October 19th, 2008, 12:28 PM
Thanks guys, I'm glad you are finding the information useful.
In this lesson i was told to create a character with a background and a 'power up' type of aesthetic within it. This is so Jon would be able to explain some of the snazzy things photoshop is capable of in order to get a more exciting image (following my rather drab attempt last time)
October 19th, 2008, 12:42 PM
I was told to try and finish three different speed paints, in either black and white or colour. Focusing on all the things we have covered so far, smooth strokes, hinting at details rather than drawing in each and every one and also on trying to get a sense of depth into my images.
This last point was something that was important to me as i have always found it very hard to carve a mini universe out of that very flat blank document you start out with.
After a rather nervous black and white attempt i took a stab at two colours and ended up REALLY enjoying these, i have yet to show Jon, and i think they may be a little too rough, but we shall see.
October 19th, 2008, 12:52 PM
Wow, this really is an excellent thread, and seeing your progress like this is staggering. You really have taken major strides in terms of your lighting and composition, it's very inspiring.
I meant what i said about trying out some of the excercises that you have shown here.
Would you mind if i posted some of my attempts at the excersises you've shown here too? I thought id ask first because i dont want to start posting stuff that may break the continuity of your thread.
October 26th, 2008, 08:54 PM
Wow! In just looking at your progression and steps I've become inspired to go at it.. all day. Thanks for the contributions!
November 3rd, 2008, 02:13 PM
Someone Else I can see no problem with that, although i would encourage you to start up your own thread and just try and bug someone whose work you respect and can see merit in to take a look in every now and again to get some personal help. Obviously a lot of the guys and girls on here are very busy but quite a few are completely selfless with their time and, as long as they can see that your willing to put the work in and not waste that time, are more than willing to help. Give it a try, I would love to follow your progress.
Hampton_J thank you for taking an interest and stopping in.
So Jon was less than impressed with my speed paints and looking back on them I can see why, they are sloppy and i was lazy with them. He put emphasis on the fact that if you are going to draw a straight line it NEEDS to be straight, areas that your trying to get the viewers focus on need to be tight, but looseness can be essential in less important areas. He also reminded me that he has given me no deadlines for these, that i should feel comfortable in taking my time with them and getting them right.
I told him that I would do the three speedpaints again, taking far more time with each one. However i have decided to do five more, along with studies specific to each one, to really try and get a hang of what Jon is trying to hammer home.
I am way into my second speedpaint but this is the first of them.
November 3rd, 2008, 03:39 PM
yeah!! great progression sir! nice to see how open you are to critique and help.. You will become very good as an artist if you keep it up.. great!
thanks to both of you for putting it out so that we can see it!
November 6th, 2008, 04:40 AM
Dile_ Thank you for the encouragement.
Also a sloppy and quick studie from ref to try and get the hang of more complex brushes.
November 7th, 2008, 04:46 AM
November 10th, 2008, 08:01 PM
Following my last couple of attempts me and Jon had a conversation about a couple of points I should consider before moving on to my next speedpaint. Both the key elements of that conversation and my latest attempt are shown below.
Just a couple of things, firstly here is a link (http://www.artbymikko.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=6&pos=8) to the example of Mikko k that was pointed out below. Secondly I have been trying to learn how to use custom brushes lately which I purloined from M@'s exclusive sketchbook here (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=73169).
November 10th, 2008, 08:33 PM
For my next speed paint Jon asked me to create a black and white image with no obvious light source. This was because he thought i was trying to many things at once, and should focus more on basic form and using different values as a way of portraying atmospheric depth. I'm not sure if this image was what he was after and have yet to show him it so we'll see.
I have also included in this update a speed paint i was working on before we had the conversation detailed in the post above. Its half finished and a bit fugly but i just thought i would include it for the sake of recording my progress.
November 14th, 2008, 06:24 AM
so the verdict on the above black and white was that i needed to do a few more, the main point of these is to get a sense of atmospheric perspective.
expect two more of the same sort shortly.
November 18th, 2008, 06:54 PM
I really struggled to get this one to work, Jon told me to go back to basics and stop using the fancy brushes for now, as i was letting them design the piece for me, which was very true. The result however is that i am struggling, which of course is a good thing:)
As you can see from the wips there were a couple of different directions i considered taking this but none of them stuck. Decided to move on to another.
December 2nd, 2008, 10:47 AM
Jon liked the look of the above image and asked me to work into it, the main problem i had was that i had no clue what I was actually painting. I was working with abstract shapes that had no function, Jon picked up on this point and did the 2 min paintover below to illustrate how much easier having a concept makes adding details to an image.
December 2nd, 2008, 10:52 AM
Baring the above crit in mind I went ahead and painted this image, Jon seemed a little more pleased with this one, but added in his paintover a value correction. He also queried the way i was doing atmospheric perspective, I was just gradually painting the values lighter and lighter, where as he suggested just getting a fat air brush, working on an overlay layer and doing a couple of strokes. Makes it look a little more like atmospheric haze and a little less like a pile of poo...was his technical phrasing.
December 2nd, 2008, 12:15 PM
practice, practice, practice.
December 5th, 2008, 10:31 PM
December 6th, 2008, 06:11 PM
The stairs painting is very cool, love the composition.
Mad progress. Thanks for sharing.
December 7th, 2008, 12:49 PM
HunterKiller_ hey man cheers for your comments.
This was a quick exercise, Jon really wants to hammer home the atmospheric perspective thing so he had me do five of these. One of the things that he noticed looking at my works in progress is that i work from light to dark, when I should be doing dark to to light. He also said it was a bad idea to put pure black and pure white down too early, as this leaves you very little room to deepen the picture later.
For this particular exercise he told me to just lay down some interesting shapes quickly then on top of another layer use the airbrush tool on white to put in your atmosphere. Next you take the eraser and mark out your darkest areas.
January 1st, 2009, 05:00 PM
ive learned quite alot from just looking at these really good
January 7th, 2009, 05:31 PM
hey, this mentorship thingy is really good, great to see all the progress you've made! keep it up! those enviros are really looking great
January 18th, 2009, 04:16 AM
i've learned a few things just from skimming through this. I definitely hope I can get a mentor to give me lessons such as this. You've definitely made a lot of progress and in a short amount of time. Keep up the good work
February 11th, 2009, 05:56 PM
man this is huge....it throws a helpful rope for some of us that have struggled with the basics of digital work for so long....Can't thank you enough for sharing this thread.
February 13th, 2009, 02:11 AM
February 13th, 2009, 06:38 AM
I'm inspired to run through this, well mebe in my dreams, more like crawl.
Thank you for sharing. Your progress is sweet.
February 15th, 2009, 07:17 AM
OK Jumped in.
Didn't want to spoil the structure here so I added mine to my sketchbook. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
February 16th, 2009, 10:18 AM
Could someone explain to me the value ramp paint over in lesson two, Is that the shape the value change should have? Is this a specular efffect or a diffuse effect?