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Curious About Creating Fantasy Art


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#1 JayDaniels   Members   -  Reputation: 268

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 06:55 PM

We've all seen those really cool, fully rendered scenes of a paladin-like hero standing on a mountainside, or a sorceress with a fireball in her hands. I've always admired them, all feats of artistic excellence actually, but having very little artistic talent makes it seem like nothing more than a dream. Where's a good place to start to learn to draw these incredible scenes? How much of it is done in photoshop? And finally, about drawing and rendering character concepts, how do you go about outfitting characters (having some difficulty getting past the base figure)? Any and all help is appreciated, and recommended books I could pick up will put a smile on my face :)



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#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5073

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 07:26 PM

Link an example picture you really like so we can point out what techniques were probably used to make it.

 

Outfitting, you really have to look at a lot of pictures of clothing, preferably real clothing, while you have some sketch paper at hand to capture any bits you particularly like.  Google image search and library books are both possibilities.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#3 JayDaniels   Members   -  Reputation: 268

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

This scene I really like, quite a bit going on in this image: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Dark-warrior-325240797

This one is more for character concepts http://me-illuminated.deviantart.com/art/Alcina-fantasy-character-concept-345307480

 

So for clothing then I should study clothes a bit more, sketch out whatever looks good and keep it. What about mixing and matching, taking out things I don't like and adding on things I do like, how viable is that? My sense in fashion is a little bit worse than my artistic talent :P



#4 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5073

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 08:45 PM

Those examples are a way more realistic style than my own, but let's see, what can I say that would be helpful... Do you know how to draw a mannequin yet?  Simplified human shape used to establish proportion and pose?  That's where you would start for both of those pictures.

 

For the clothes, yes and yes.  Usually you want to pick a theme - an outfit usually has all triangles or all circles or all squares, and one main fabric (plate mail can count as a fabric type for this purpose, as well as more normal things like silk,denim, linen...) plus one accent fabric (might have a different weight or texture).  You don't need a bunch of different decoration types - embroidery is nice, a printed pattern is nice, pleats are nice, bows are nice, lace is nice, but you don't need to put more than two in the same outfit.


Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#5 BagelHero   Members   -  Reputation: 1482

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 10:50 PM

You need to learn the foundations. Once you have those, you can put them towards anything you want to do. The post above is an oversimplification of a couple of things you should cover. I'm possibly forgetting a couple of things, but the things you need to cover and master at their basic level in order to be able to do art at the level you've shown are (in no particular order):

  1. Line
  2. Perspective
  3. Value
  4. Composition
  5. Color Theory
  6. A good understanding of Form/Volume
  7. Solid understanding of light and lighting.
  8. Anatomy

Additionally, you'll need to do a lot of general design and good aesthetic studies.

It looks like a lot, especially after you actually start to dig into the subjects. However, it's also important to remember that once you have built your foundations, you are literally capable of drawing anything (with a little help from real life reference, of course. Can't do it from memory and imagination all the time). All you need to do is break it down.

Looking at your examples, digital painting is your final goal, which means it's probably good to get a foundation in Photoshop, Painter, or some other digital app, too. For now, I'd say pick one and stick with it. You can migrate to one that "feels right" once you have a better idea of what you're doing.

 

Here're some useful links for you, with that final goal in mind. Most of these do focus on foundations strongly, though, so you'll find some subjects will count for traditional mediums also.

I was going to add more, but in all honesty, between Ctrl+Paint and the Art tutorial that's really a lot of ground covered. Make sure to do your own studies too though.
For anatomy/gesture/figure studies, I use PixelLovely Figure and Gesture tool. It pulls up photos for you to  quickly sketch out and class modes that allow for intense study after limbering up.
For Value and Composition studies I like to pull screenshots from scenes in movies that left a visual impact on me; But I tend to pick stills from these galleries.

Importantly, though, even though you may not have the finesse and skill quite yet, attempt to get your ideas out onto paper or canvas anyway. It's fun, and studies can sometimes be draining. So it's good to remember WHY you're drawing/painting sometimes by executing your own ideas. You'll also have something to look back at and compare to in terms of the improvement of your ability to translate your ideas to something tangible.
 

For your original questions, though, all of those paintings would have been done is a digital art program, but people use different ones. Some people would use Photoshop, yes, but some would use Painter, or even a combination of multiple programs.
The character's outfit, when it comes to designing characters, mustn't really be thought of as an addition to the form. It contributes to the overall composition of the figure's silhouette, and even the scene in the case of a painting. As such, it must be taken into account during the entire process, ideally. Ctrl+Paint and the Art Tut cover this in a few of the workflow and character creation/silhouette segments, I think, so I won't go into details.

 

Good luck, in any case. I hope I didn't scare you off with the long post, haha.


Edited by BagelHero, 13 December 2013 - 10:52 PM.


#6 JayDaniels   Members   -  Reputation: 268

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:27 AM


Do you know how to draw a mannequin yet?  Simplified human shape used to establish proportion and pose?  That's where you would start for both of those pictures.

 

I've done some very rough sketches (proportions always a bit off, pose always a bit odd), hoping I'll be able to improve that with practice. For the clothing then I'll need to start looking at some patterns as well. Thanks for the tips, really appreciate it :)

 


You need to learn the foundations. Once you have those, you can put them towards anything you want to do.

 

Oh no, I was afraid that would come up tongue.png For some reason I was hoping I would be able to skip past all the foundations and go straight to digital painting (crazy I know, but worth a shot biggrin.png). Thanks for the links, I've already started watching some of the videos on Ctrl+Paint, I'm going to dedicate an hour a day to the foundations studies and see how much I can improve by 2014.



#7 BagelHero   Members   -  Reputation: 1482

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 06:01 PM

 

You need to learn the foundations. Once you have those, you can put them towards anything you want to do.


Oh no, I was afraid that would come up tongue.png For some reason I was hoping I would be able to skip past all the foundations and go straight to digital painting (crazy I know, but worth a shot biggrin.png).

 


Haha. Well, I mean, you could. It'd just be frustrating, and chances are you might give up before you got anywhere.
Foundations are a tad tedious too of course, but also mean you skip 3-5 years worth of stagnating and wondering why! ;) I reckon you could get pretty far with an hour a day for a bit, so good luck indeed!


Edited by BagelHero, 14 December 2013 - 06:03 PM.


#8 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5073

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 07:57 PM

Bleh foundations.  Personally I think it's easiest to learn if you focus on one foundation at a time through a project that eliminates some of the foundations to narrow the problem space.  Like working with line only to temporarily remove color and light as things you need to worry about.  Or drawing a person only to temporarily eliminate composition.  It can also be educational to practice coloring someone else's linework (make sure you find an artist who is okay with letting their lineart be used like this).  Or copying old paintings is a traditional way to practice brush techniques (or the digital equivalent) without worrying about composition or proportion or any of that.


Edited by sunandshadow, 15 December 2013 - 03:52 PM.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#9 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 3314

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 02:58 PM

I think the method of learning that best helped me to get to where I am was the following:

- Have my game design that requires some artwork (illustrated backgrounds, characters and animations, environments, props, vehicles etc.).

- Pick one of these artwork pieces that I need for the game.

- Search for tutorials on making that subject, be them for traditional media or digital. Collect reference photos of the subject, or at least parts of it (if I'm creating something original that is a blend of several elements).

- Learn with the tutorials the techniques they teach while employing them to create your asset (even if the asset itself isn't what the tutorial is about).

- You will finish the tutorial with more artistic experience and also with a finished (or mostly finished) artwork asset for your game. The quality is not that relevant, as you did your best and you need to start from somewhere. The important part is the focus: you're using the tutorials to make something for your game, not only learn new artistic skills. This helps you stay motivated.

 

- - - - - -

Regarding learning resources, here are a few.
 
 Incessant DeviantArt tutorials:

http://tanathe.deviantart.com/journal/Tutorials-and-techniques-217225496

http://jane-beata.deviantart.com/journal/PE-Learning-to-paint-with-deviantArt-350633158

http://divine-tutorials.deviantart.com/gallery/25014976

http://walkthrough-rookie.deviantart.com/gallery/30225887
 
Artists forums with tips and guides (GameArtisans, Polycount, ConceptArt.org).

 

Something you should definitely read are the Andrew Loomis' books. More particularly, "Fun With a Pencil."
While I can't comment on the legality of downloading them (read about it here), a blog claims that since they are "out of print" the PDFs are legal to download: http://illustrationage.com/2013/04/02/free-andrew-loomis-art-instruction-downloads/


Edited by Kryzon, 15 December 2013 - 03:01 PM.





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