Friday, 30 November 2012

Photoshop Speedpaints

Photoshop Phil had us working at ludicrous speed today - 15 minutes on each set of three sketches, or 5 minutes/sketch. It was pretty fun, and you can see my work loosen up with each sketch.


We then grabbed our favourite of the panels and worked into it for ten more minutes; amazing the difference a deadline makes! Phil showed me how to make crisp snow shadows with the lasso tool, which not only sped me up but immensely improved the final outcome.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Not Dead... Yet

I've basically lost the past week thanks to a flu-y thing that's knocked me on my backside, but I've got a bit of work to show for it.

Step one of that painting (contextualisation has been worked out, I'll be incorporating the surveillance room into the shot, but for now this is what I'm going with). Super blurry and loose, apologies for that, should be finished by Monday.

Then my brain decided it couldn't focus on Photoshop so I tried making a few 3D assets for the scene instead.

 Well, this isn't so bad...

Easy! Let's try something a little trickier...

Ugh... edges. H'okay, maybe something a little simpler...

Oh god, oh god! Abort! Abort! Mission failed! All units, fall back! Oh god, there's triangles everywhere! Fall back!

So yeah. Unproductive week, courtesy of my immune system not caring that I have a deadline.

Friday, 16 November 2012

OGR Will Be Late

Hey, at least I'm honest.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the inside/outside problem, so until I have a fix my OGR will exist only in hypothesis. Everything else I need for the OGR is existent, however, so here are the last of the requirements, minus trhe obvious final painting.

My visual concept for the scene is the juxtaposition of a cold, military imprisonment with the resilience of the human spirit. The environment is bleak and hopeless, but still happy. The cell is well lived-in and filled with life and colour, attempting to emulate the outside world, and though the walls themselves are hard, stern concrete the atmosphere is one of a home.

The room is bright and well-lit, not just to show off the Soldier's impressive hoard but also to make it welcoming. The installed lights are cool and sterile, but the Soldier's own lights are warm to further separate him from the military existence. The Soldier's collection will be of various colours, but the overall colour scheme will be towards the red end of the spectrum to further warm up the scene and to contrast with the lifeless walls.

The scene must look busy; there must be no flat surface uncluttered, but similarly it must not look messy. It is the home of a slightly eccentric prisoner, not a dumping-ground. The disorder must look endearing, not off-putting. To get this effect I will reference so-called 'Bohemian' interiors (that is, the slightly rustic cosmopolitan chic Bohemian, not the actually-from-that-bit-of-the-Czech-Republic Bohemian) to create as much disconnect as possible between the room and its contents.

Atlas Final


And the atlas is done. I went for a sort of world-tree/Yggdrasil motif for the cover, rather than text. It was almost a Celtic knotwork tree until I realised that I don't hate myself quite that much. Also, the reason #5 looks good is because I've seen it before. I have no idea where, but I am 98% certain it already exists.

EDIT: Figured out where it was from. Apparently I was channeling Ursula Vernon.

There are worse people to channel.

Hero Prop Concepts - Atlas Mundi

The Soldier's hero prop is an atlas. Basic structure of it is done, it's codex-bound to suggest being ancient (and thus almost certainly stolen). The covers and inside maps haven't been designed, so that's what's coming next.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

@Phil - Requesting Opinion

I'm attempting to expand the space of the bunker to show that it is, in fact, a military intsallation like you suggested. I'm tied between #7 and #8 - #7 clearly shows the bunker-type environment but I'm still unhappy with the idea of the space having windows. #8 immediately shifts the location from somewhere quiet and peaceful to something a bit darker, but I worry that it's a cop-out. Opinions?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Figuring It Out

Two more concept painting sketches. These two were disproportionately difficult and time-consuming (you can see where I got bored and frustrated), and after I gave up on them I worked out why. Neither of the two paintings looked like the space I wanted them to be, because I already had figured out and put down that space; I just didn't realise it.

Obviously it will take some tweaking and refinement, but at the very least I now know what I'm doing.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Initial Colour Thoughts

Starting to think about colour. None of these feel particularly 'right' to me; perhaps it's just the low level of finish, but I have no doubt it's also my innate struggle with surface colour and making them work together in realistic lighting.

Clockwork Soldier Thumbnails, Part the Third

Even more thumbs. I'm leaning towards an old, venerable atlas for the soldier's hero prop - it's big and I can make it distinctive against all the 'filler' books, and encapsulates how he misses the outside world. Beyond that just some more fiddling with cell shapes, general clutter and shot angles. Practically speaking I prefer the angle in #28 - it shows everything off nicely and gives a good sense of the size of the space. Purely as an artist I like the angle in #30, as it really emphasises the soldier's clockwork nature and puts the focus onto the workbench. Unfortunately, such a low angle means you can barely see anything else.

The Clockwork Soldier - Character Discussion

The Clockwork Soldier is a clockwork-powered automaton built for war and ‘piloted’ by a transplanted human brain formerly belonging to a prisoner of war. Prior to being implanted into the machine his mind was brutally and systematically broken to make him co-operative and destroy his will to rebel against his captors, but slowly, over the century or so he was in active service, his mind began to heal. He has no recollection of his life before becoming the soldier, but he has made a new life regardless. He fell back in love with the world, and acquired a great number of mementos and treasures from the places war took him.

Eventually newer, more advanced forms of the machine-soldier were brought into production, and the Clockwork Soldier was outmoded. With such an impressive armoury built into him, and being a military and industrial secret, he could not be released into the civilian population, but due to being built to be completely tamper-proof he could not be safely dismantled. Thus, his ‘commanders’ had no other option but to lock him away and wait until he wound down by himself.

It has been a very long time since the Soldier was locked away. The commanders who imprisoned him are long dead, as is anyone who remembers the reason the bomb-proof underground bunker is so heavily guarded. It doesn’t need to be; the Soldier never wanted war, and has resigned himself to living away his days alone with his books and his treasures.

He is not unhappy, at least most of the time. He knows most of his books by heart but still reads them out of affection, and carefully maintains his clockwork shell out of a stubborn refusal to die when he’s supposed to. He has made his prison into a home, with all sorts of improvised furniture and storage space to reflect the world he loved and lost. He surrounds himself with his keepsakes and memories of the outside, having long since come to terms with the fact that he will never see sunlight again.

His brain, like any brain, requires sleep and food to survive. Though he cannot feel the comfort of a bed he has one anyway, and, once a week, a tiny hatch is opened to provide him with just enough food and water to live on, and a little oil to keep him going. Nobody on the other side knows why, but they follow orders, and so the Clockwork Soldier persists.

‘Live well. It is the best revenge.’ – The Talmud

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Environment Thumbnails pt 2

Starting to think about hero props and furnishings. I'm trying to think about the things the soldier would have access to, and how to make the environment visibly 'clockwork'. I keep thinking he's a bit of a hoarder, trying to hang on to all the pieces of the outside world he no longer has access to, improvising shelves and the like to keep all his stuff, not to mention the boxes that seem to be ubiquitous in my sketches. Also ubiquitous are the books; mostly travel books I imagine, because I know if I was locked away never to see daylight again I'd bring a whole library's worth of books to keep me from going insane.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Clockwork Soldier Initial Thoughts and Thumbnails

Upon talking to Phil, I've reached the conclusion that this clockwork soldier is a weapon of war, a 'person of mass destruction'. I'm alternating between it being purely a clockwork automaton that has somehow developed sentience and a human brain (or part of one) piloting a clockwork body. Either way, the clockwork soldier has become outmoded and is no longer an effective weapon, so his creators want rid of him. Unfortunately, he is very well-made; so well-made, in fact, as to be completely tamper-proof, so deconstructing him is out of the question, and simply setting him free is too risky given his weaponised nature. As a result, he has been locked away and forgotten in some vault or bunker somewhere, to wait for the day he finally stops.

Phil and I discussed the possibility of the soldier being a reluctant warrior, not wanting to harm anyone but, being what he is, having no other choice. I imagine him as quite a gentle soul, not naturally aggressive but with a truly impressive in-built arsenal that makes him a danger to be near. Locked away in his vault he tries to hang on to the human soul he either has or developed, surrounding himself with personal treasures and trying to make the dead, empty vault into a home. Despite being completely alone and isolated he still tries to live as well as he can.

A not-so-quick concept painting where I just noodled with  design and tried to force myself to design in perspective and on the fly, something I really struggle with (check out all the isometric drawings in the thumbnails for proof of this). Not fond of the actual rendering, but design and perspective-wise I'm not unhappy at all.

And, just to finish, a super-quick study of Al Capone's prison cell, to get a feel for a 'home-y' prison.