Another Day Another Sculptris Model

Progressing, some might say evolving, from slugs today I’ve tried creating something with limbs.

Meet Teddy…

"Teddy" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Teddy” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Though I think I’m getting better with the software there are still some things that confuse me – like how to move a second sphere, the best way to make eyes, or how to reselect said sphere/s once they are anywhere near the original mesh. Confusing! I guess I’m just going to have to sit down and watch a few more tutorials. Still, finding a lot to love about Sculptris, perhaps tomorrow I’ll try adding some texture to this less than cuddly teddy bear!

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Sculpting and painting in Sculptris

Yesterday, I tried out the basic modelling tools in Pixologic’s free 3D modelling software, Sculptris, and I loved it. It has been awhile since I tried my hand at anything in the 3D modelling arena and it felt nice to be back in the digital saddle. So, having watched some tutorials on the Pixologic website I decided to try something slighty more advanced today.

Sluggy

"Sluggy" by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

“Sluggy” by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

Sluggy was my first attempt at modelling an entire being in Sculptris. Granted this being, being a slug, isn’t the greatest stretch but it was a good way to test some tools I didn’t use yesterday and get on to the bit I was really interested in exploring…. painting.

Unlike other 3D software, like Maya or Cinema 4D, both Sculptris and Zbrush have a function which allows you to paint on to your digital sculpture. Though the functions are slightly different, in Sculptris you ‘paint’ on to the model where as in ZBrush you paint on to the texture map on the model, the end result is an experience more like painting. The best part of this is that unlike Cinema 4D where you can assign block textures/colours to a model or Maya where you need to create a texture map (essentially flaying your characters and laying out its skin in Photoshop to paint before sticking it back on him!) you can use different tools to create block colours and textures and fine details and see what they look like in situ. Nice!

Of course this was my first and attempt and it didn’t go entirely to plan. I didn’t really get the hang of masks until I had already made a mess of Sluggy’s eye area and once the damage is done Sculptris is not forgiving. So in order to make the finished image look, well, finished I cheated and moved him in to Photoshop for some ocular repair and a little TLC. They are still not perfect, far from it infact, but this was only supposed to be a quick exercise and I had already committed waaaay more time to it this morning then I intended and work is calling. Perhaps I’ll have time to have another go tomorrow 🙂

Testing Out Sculptris

Since my computer died and had to be rebuilt earlier this year I have lost one piece of beloved software, Zbrush. Brought whilst a student, with attendant student discount, Zbrush is, in my opinion an awesome piece of 3D modelling software that’s a world more user-friendly than Maya, Blender or Cinema 4D (wonderful as all of those are).

Though I intend to contact Pixologic to see if I can get some new passwords to give me back my beloved Zbrush I have, in the meantime, decided to try another program, Sculptris. Not unconnected, Sculptris is also produced by Pixologic and is available to download free from their website. There is no denying that it is a sort of ‘ZBrush Lite” with far less functionality then its big, expensive brother, but still I thought it was worth a try.

So try I have and here is my first attempt at sculpting a head in Sculptris:

3D head model using Sculptris, by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

3D head model using Sculptris, by AR Vincent, copyright 2012

I didn’t want to spend hours on this making something Pixar perfect model – and as you can tell I really haven’t – but merely to take Sculptris for a quick 10 minute test drive. Its a wonderful piece of kit and seriously savvy thinking from the nice people at Pixologic. It’s perfect for 3D hobbyists and would work well as a training ground for baby-Zbrushians or for those who use Zbrush at work/university/school and want to practice but can’t afford the full monty at home.

By Crazycatgirl Posted in art
"Ursus The Terrible And The Little Hitchhiker" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Hitch

I must confess I wasn’t too inspired by this weeks Illustration Friday word, hitch. Perhaps it was because of this or because I have been busy with other projects that I was very late finishing this up and posting it. Whatever the reason, it’s here now!

Please let me introduce you to Ursus The Terrible and the little hitchhiker….

"Ursus The Terrible And The Little Hitchhiker" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Ursus The Terrible And The Little Hitchhiker” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

'Ugly Joe' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Getting My Head Around Adobe After Effects

Whilst lamenting the problems I was having recently animating in Flash someone suggested a better program to try would be After Effects. So yesterday I decided to give it a go!

After Effects has been languishing on my PC for quite a while now as, like Adobe Bridge and Soundbooth, it was part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Despite the fact that I had heard great things about the program, I have never been sure quite what to do with After Effects. Part of this dilemma came from being slightly unsure what it did! I had originally been introduced to it as a motion graphics package but quickly discovered that it was equally, if not better, known as a VFX tool. However, since neither VFX or motion graphics were my immediate concern when I got the Suite my attentions strayed to Photoshop and Flash and After Effects was put to one side.

A much more significant part of the problem I had with After Effects was, since I had never had need of it, I had never learnt it and thus hadn’t the foggiest how to use it! But yesterday, with an intimidatingly hefty tome on the subject beside me and a screen full of free video tutorial, I started to find out what dark magic I had to master to master After Effects and today I tried to implement what I had learnt on a completely new project.

Here’s the result…

Ugly Joe himself was created in Photoshop and the sequences were put together and titles added in Premiere Pro, but all the animating was done in After Effects… possibly proving that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ;P

Illustration Friday - "Dizzy Heights" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Heights

Sometimes working hard to get to the top pays off and sometimes you put in the hours and effort and climb and climb only to find that you aren’t that far from where you started in the first place!

"Dizzy Heights" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

After all the work and time spent on my animation for Why Woodland, the sudden post-contract silence has been surprisingly comfortable. I have found that usually after a big event – exams, launches, deadlines, performances – that the lull that follows, far from being the chance to rest and relax that you’ve been dreaming about through the mounting chaos and excitement, seems to open up around you like a void and leave you feeling restless, angsty and lost. Perhaps I didn’t get that weird discombobulated feeling because once the project was done I dove straight in to other things… one of which was this weeks Illustration Friday.

I really enjoyed working on this illustration for this weeks topic, ‘Heights’, and had tremendous fun getting back to producing things in Photoshop for their own sake rather than to export to Flash or Premiere Pro or After Effects.

Why Woodland Animation

Britains native broadleaf woodland is disappearing fast. Broadleaf trees, such as oak, ash and birch, have been part of the British landscape for hundreds of years and support a diverse and complex eco-system not found elsewhere. If we let our broadleaf woodland disappear through dereliction, mismanagement or convertion to fast growing non-native conifers then we will also be saying goodbye to the sight of bluebell woods, autumn colours and the home of countless lichens, birds and insects.

I created this 2D animation for Why Woodland, to help raise awareness of the threats to the British broadleaf woods. To find out more and show your support visit them on Facebook.com/whywoodland or on Twitter @whywoodland

This was animated using a combo of Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro CS5 and, after loosing the battle with the CS5 version, Flash CS4. The process has sustained my love for Photoshop, made me begin to appreciate Premiere (despite the complete debacle that was rendering) and, after hours fighting with animation in Flash CS4 and CS5, made me desperate to master animating in After Effects!!

As with all projects I loved and hated this project by turns and in equal measure. There are always little moments that punctuate a project and the fustration  and anxiety that I felt when faced with constantly crashing software, unfathomable formatting errors and render troubles was set in stark contrast against the fun of designing the tree-gobbling-money-machine (every home should have one!), the satisfaction of making the squirrel talk and the thrill of discovering the chromakey function in Premiere.

Enjoy!

Illustration Friday – Puzzled

Oops! Missed it!

Time was certainly not been on my side last week and paid work meant this illustration had to go on the back burner. Oh well, I may have missed adding this to the weeks IF line-up but, since  my blog posts this months have been a little thin on the ground, I still thought I’d add him here.

"Who's More Puzzled?" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

"Who's More Puzzled?" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Doodling Through Technical Trouble

The deadline for my freelance work is racing towards me at an alarming rate and the project, as these things do at this stage, is eating my life, which is why I have not had time to pen a real blog post. However, determined not to leave my little online home to gather dust and feel dejected I though I would add a little doodle I did whilst waiting for my computer to reboot. Since Flash CS5 seems to be to animating what blancmange is to a concert pianist and seems to be better at bringing my computer to its knees then facilitating creative endeavour, I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for the darn machine to reboot and drawing is better for the soul then lamenting the fact that the work hadn’t finished saving when the PC died!!

  Meet Torty…. he may not be ready for the 2012 Olympics but at least he’s faster than a rebooting computer!

'Torty' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

'Torty' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

 

 

 

 

By Crazycatgirl Posted in art

Illustration Friday – ‘Return’

Okay, okay, so maybe I’ve listening to one too many of Escape Pods sci-fi podcasts because alien life seems to be becoming a theme for me!

This week, for Illustration Friday, I wanted to do something different, both in terms of style and, with any luck, content. Since this year is full of all things Mayan due to the end of the Mayan calendar this December and the prophecies of the end of the world, or civilisation or such I thought that I would use one of the more sci-fi theories of what will happen as inspiration.

What’s the theory…

Mayan society reached its peak somewhere between 2000BC and 250AD. Mayan civilisation was pretty advanced with a system of writing with which they documented astronomical events and several huge cities supported by complex water and agricultural systems. This early advancement in their civilisation, along with some of their writing and art, has made some people suggest that they were visited by Ancient Astronauts… aka aliens! These benevolent space travellers evidently popped in to give them some pointers and, unless you subscribe to the theories of David Icke, headed back in to the stars. Now, with the Mayan calendar coming to a close, could the 2012 prophecies point to the date when these extra-terrestrial benefactors are due to return?!

'2012 - They Return' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

‘2012 – They Return’ by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

I always loved the aesthetic used in the PSP game ‘Patapon’ and, having recently done some research on the subject for another project, I’ve also become very interested in shadow plays. So for these image I wanted to see if I could create something using that style. Additionally, I wanted to produce an illustration that was completely unlike the work I normally do, which is very based in colour, texture and details and usually predominantly about characters. Much as I would have loved to sit and create and photograph and actual shadow theatre and puppets this is all done, once again, in Photoshop.