Monday, 28 April 2014

Random Studies

One of the biggest flaws we see in digital art painted by beginners (like myself), is a lack of understanding of what is being painting, and a constant application of general unconsidered brushstrokes. Professional artists spent time producing studies so that various materials and surfaces in their work look dynamic and believable:

It was interesting to consider how light both passes through and at the same time reflects on this glass surface. We see strong reflections to the left, with subtle light bounce, and faint speculars projected to the right of the glass. There are also areas of strong contrasting light and dark, hinting reflections from other surfaces around the glass tumbler.

I produced this quick candle study during a power cut. The melting wax is semi-transparent, allowing the strong candle light to pass through it giving a glow effect. Also, as this was a decorative Christmas table centrepiece, the silver tinsel at the base of the candles gives strong sharp contrasting reflections. I like the chiaroscuro feel with this study, emphasising the areas which are being lit by the candles.

With this study, I wanted to render a chrome ball, taking the surface from the top reference image, whilst reflecting the scene below. I captured the reflectivity of the surface to some extend, and used the smudge tool to try and show the warming of the reflections around the spherical surface and near the form lines. I didn't quite get the contrast right here. The chrome sphere almost feels washed out and dusty, as if it doesn't have its full reflective quality. I later found this video by professional artist Scott Robertson:

The biggest mistake I made when rendering my chrome surface, was lightening the values from the scene where in fact they should be a value step darker. Interestingly, when rendering chrome in an environment, Scott talks about not being afraid to loose edges, as chrome acts very similar to a mirror, so against the sky a chrome surface would likely very nearly be lost.

I plan to do more of these surface studies. I grabbed this example from the 'LevelUp' community from an artist who's Facebook profile name is 'Soy Sauce.'

I like how they are presented as simple forms, focus being on the rendering of the materials, and there are some interesting choices for study, such as the leather sphere with stitching. 

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