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 🙂

"Hurry!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Hurry!

Oh how life mirrors art sometimes! When I first saw the topic for this weeks IF I was really excited and bursting with grand ideas for what to do. Eventually though, with the 4 day Jubilee weekend eating so much time I scaled down the idea considerably. But even scaled down it was a lot of work and by yesterday morning I threw in the towel and resigned myself that I just wasn’t going to be able to do something for this week.

This morning though, as I sat at my computer, cat on lap, gazing at the rain as it lashed the window I suddenly got a jolt of inspiration. Reaching for the nearest sketch pad, I leave them littered around the house so there’s usually one near by, and a pencil I doodled a little person trying to get out of the rain – a not uncommon sight in Britain – and suddenly knew that he was in a hurry and with that the race to get this posted in time to add to Illustration Friday listings was on!

"Hurry!" by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

“Hurry!” by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

It’s probably not the greatest piece of art in the world as it was, as the topic suggests, hurried. I scanned the sketch to get the idea but used Photoshop to redraw and colour the piece digitally.

Illustration Friday – ‘Faded’

I’ve always had a soft spot for chameleons, with their multi-directional eyes and their awesome colour changing ability they have always seemed one of the world’s stranger inhabitants. So, when I saw this week’s Illustration Friday topic, Faded, my mind drifted towards the chameleon and the type of situation where blending in to the background might not help things!!!

So, may I present, Crispin, your friendly neighbourhood chameleon… okay, so there’s a chance he’s also a small time crook but if that’s the case then his colour changing stills aren’t going to help in a police identity parade!!!

'Unusual Suspect' by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

‘Unusual Suspect’ by A.R Vincent, copyright 2012

This unusual suspect was created in Photoshop, though unlike last week he was based on several sketches of chameleons as I wanted to capture his chameleon-ness.

"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Sight

For last weeks Illustration Friday I wanted to do a science fiction illustration – something that was darker than my normal subject matter and maybe hinted at adventure – this week I’m diving in to another genre for Illustration Friday… a genre very, very dear to my heart – fantasy.

So here it is, a rare sighting of the very shy and rarely seen Snarkleblaster but careful he doesn’t catch sight of you… you never know what a startled Snarkleblaster might do!

"Rare Sight" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

“Rare Sight” by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

This technique, of combining illustration with photography, is something I’ve seen several times before and is something I’ve wanted to try and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was created using Photoshop. I actually used the photo as the starting point for this and created the Snarkleblaster straight on to the computer, without any preliminary sketches, using my much-loved Wacom graphics tablet (not sure how I ever created anything without one!). Obviously the photo I chose dictated much of how the scene would look and, to be honest, other than that I had no clear idea for the details of the character’s look, instead just following my nose and seeing where the character took me, making the end result quite a surprise!

Illustration Friday - Kernel - "Star Seeds" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – ‘Kernel’

I was told recently that my style was very ‘cute’ and, though I don’t have a problem with that as such, I wanted to try something different for this weeks IF something that was far from cute! Besides, when I saw the topic of ‘Kernel’ for Illustration Friday this week nothing immediately leapt to mind so I decided it would be a good time to let my imagination show me the way…

"Star Seeds" by A.R Vincent, Copyright 2012

The design of the creature actually came to me as I was staring at the irregular, blotchy pattern on a piece of linoleum – some people see faces, I see hideous mutant plant monsters from outer space, I guess thems the breaks! When I started creating the beasty, first as a pencil sketch and then in Photoshop, I actually had no idea about the story surrounding it or if it would tie in to the theme. However, as the little critter took shape he started to tell me his story and I discovered that this extra terrestrial piece of sentient flora was no pot plant!!

Now the art is done and posted I’m going to pen a story to go with him and perhaps see about posting that here too.

Until then my friends, look to the skies and think twice before mowing your lawn this summer… because one day your lawn may want revenge… mwa-ha-ha!!

"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

"Read to make the jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

Illustration Friday – Jump

Captain, the core is at capacity, we are ready to make the jump to hyperspace now.

You may conclude that I’ve been watching too much sci-fi at the moment, but the first place my brain went when I saw the word ‘Jump’, the topic of this weeks Illustration Friday, was space travel. This space-ship, which is about to make the jump to hyper-space, was inspired by a tutorial from Practical Photoshop magazine. I say inspired because I once i got the general gist of the thing I quickly abandoned the tut and went my own way!

"Ready to jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

"Ready to jump to hyperspace" by A.R. Vincent, copyright 2012

I’ve become over recent years and many Illustration Friay’s an increasing fan of Photoshop which, so far anyway, has become the stand out member of the Creative Suite family and yet I have never really done much with photo manipulation, montage and compositing. So this, as I seem to say so often in these posts, was a learning curve and an eye opener to one more facet of Photoshop.

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.

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