Saturday, April 6, 2013

New Environment and Process

So this is the first time I've ever actually posted anything about my process on painting. I spent a good amount of time just analyzing my thoughts on this one as I went so I thought I would record some of it and share how this piece came about. 

 I started from a story board page from a project that I am currently working on. It's a pretty basic goal, Interesting shaped house on a interesting hill, surrounded by a dense structure of surrounding buildings like you might find in the favelas of Brazil. I have a certain fascination with the visual density of those places.
I first scraped the sketch and went in to try and re-evaluated the silhouette of the hill and maybe make something more dynamic. This was clearly a bit too much and not specific enough.

After trying a couple I wound up with a design that centered on the idea of a precariously perched hut on a hill. The shape ended up being more twisted rather then slopped. 
From there I played with value, just trying to get a very simple sketch going. I realized I was straying away from the original idea of this being some sort of large compound so I tried to make the sillhouette of the building not look like a small hut but rater a large structure. 

After more value painting I started to get more specific and eventually moved into color. I seatled on the idea that the surrounding buildings squareness would contrast the organic shapes of the hill. The piece still had some very bad perspective issues at this point. 

I cleaned up the areas around the hill a bit and tried to alleviate some of the issues with the foreground. 

After stepping away from it a bit I realized that my focal point was too dead center and the shape of the hill could be pushed more dynamically. So I tried to solve both problems by pushing the shape of the hill to the left and moving the focal point into a third. I also tried to be more specific with how I handled the rocks at this point, and tried to push the direction of the light more according to which way the rock faces were pointed towards. 

At this point I was starting to become satisfied with it (which was a big mistake) when I realized the area in the lower left could better use perspective to give more depth. When limited on time a great solution for this sort of thing is to mock up a model in Maya  to get some basic perspective going and then paint on top. Obviously, artists should have a good sense of perspective and be able to do this without the use of 3D software, however this method is a very good way to do the same thing quicker. 
The next part was simply screencaping the maya scene and inserting the buildings into the painting. Added a color overlay to get a basis for the colors. 

From there I started painting in the light source. Trying to pay attention to the direction of the sun and the fill light from the sky. 
I realized that my main building was now severely lacking in perspective and interest so I did the same process of modeling and painting on top for my focal point. 

After painting in the lighting I refined a bit more, tried to add atmosphere back into it and eventually add a bit of lens blur to the foreground to emulate depth of field a bit. 

Hope this gives some insight. I had a lot of fun simply thinking through this and taking notes. It was a good reminder to always question and think through the painting. Not to say that this piece is entirely finished. I'd like to go in and add a bit more life to it here and there but for now I'm going to move on to the next part.