Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Late Night

Argh! Computer slow! I'm actually bootcamping Windows onto my Macbook Pro again, because I'm hoping that it will run Photoshop a little quicker than my aging PC. Even though I've got a mirrored array in it (just for SATA disks - nothing wild) it's sleep inducing. As I mentioned before - 16-bit images don't help. I refuse to work in 8-bit anymore though - I've fought mach-banding for years and I've had my fill ;) "Mach-banding" is such an old-school term, I learned it when I first came to Digital Domain in 1995. Back then we already had paint programs that worked in 16-bit: Matador and Amazon Paint, running on Silicon Graphics machines. The rest of the pipeline was pretty much 8-bit, so we used 16-bit only for special cases.
It took Adobe forever to (pretty much) completely switch Photoshop to 16-bit so us matte painters could use it. Photoshop CS was the first version. Boy did I get drunk when that one came out! It's been great ever since.

I'm making good headway with launch and should be done with it pretty soon. Next painting I'll hop onto will be less epic (I say to myself - let's see if I'm listening). My problem is that I still fall too much into detailling. Work's got me down a bit so this has been a nice change. Anyway - I'm babbling.

Sorry - no picture today! See you soon.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another View ...

... from my studio. I caught this moon a couple of weeks before Christmas. I always wanted to shoot a nice moon, but it's a bit tricky: if the exposure time is too long, the clouds get blurry because they move. If the clouds are sharp, they quite often are too dark. So it took a super bright moon and some experimenting. I think it turned out fine. It was shot with a Canon 5D, a 50mm / f1.4 prime. Time was 1/8th at f1.4 with ISO 640.

Back to the New ...

Back to the painting that hopefully will be! I've done some more work on "Launch". This is the first time after 1.5 weeks that I got to work on it again. One factor that also slows me down, next to the lack of time, is that my PC is getting pretty darn slow once you throw some layers, color corrections, layer masks at it - throw 16-bit color depth into the mix and it feels like 1997 all over again. Aahh, I can feel my 'justifier' working to talk me into buying myself one of those fantastic Mac Pro desktops (I use a beefy one at work, and holy cow, can that thing be loaded without getting out of breath!

This time I'm only showing a crop, in order to impress you a little bit more once I'm posting the finished thing. There are a lot of temp elements in here - the deck crew for instance or also the heat signature. Additionally, the fighter hasn't really been worked on either. Right now I'm concentrating on the carrier. The image has been flipped too - I'll flip it back again, but I usually switch it back and forth so I get somewhat of a fresh look at the illustration.

I just thought of something: I keep getting caught up in details - I love it of course, but in order to have a better plan, at the beginning of the next session, I will sit down and do a quick paintover to get an idea how what the final painting will look like and what it needs. Also - ideas are flowing better that way too.

One last thing for tonight: If you have any critique or a suggestion about how to make this thing look better, please leave me a comment. Any other kind of comment is welcome too and will act as a massive motivator for my personal work. With that I leave you until next time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Paintings The Never Were ...

Hello and welcome to really letting my pants down, so to speak. These are two examples of paintings that died before they even could leave the starting area. They have been on my hard disk for years, and I left them on there as a grim reminder of my failure.

The delta plane one is the worst. I lost enthusiasm so quickly that I didn't even put two hours into that 'thing'. I set it up wrong, was too tight for being at that stage and had no clear idea of what it was going to be. I also hate that delta wing airplane. The story behind this painting is almost non existent. Or a bad one.

The chimney one is of similar origin, but even more painful, because I had high hopes. I thought it would make for an epic, grim but somehow beautiful painting. Same problem - to anal with the setup - baby died in thew crib!
I did a quick paintover as you can see, to show you a glimpse of what I imagined: a forest of crazy, twisting and smoke belching chimneys. A world filled with smoke and soot. I also wanted to get glimpses of red furnace fires from the dark area below. The paint-over was actually so much fun, maybe I'll pick this up again, who knows.
I think that under normal circumstances, I would have pulled off at least the chimney painting, but having my, then still latent depression, depleted any motivation after the first desperate brush strokes.

The last one is the "Small World". I was very enthusiastic about this sketch and just never got around to do a painting. Lack of motivation. I'd still love to pick it up!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

That Old Feeling ...

... is still not here, but I sure as hell enjoy just sitting down for the second time to work on this painting, listening to music blaring out of the speakers (old Pc-Engine game tracks - I'm a true geeeeek!). I'm taking my sweet time with painting. And why not? I think during my first 'old' phase of doing digital illustration I always was too impatient to present something. Quite often I ended up with something half-baked, not thought out or simply unfinished. Right now I'm just glad I'm motivated enough and have the opportunity to sit down and work on my own stuff. I'm almost indulgent ;). Sorry that I'm not posting any new states of the painting, but I am struggling right now ... having my pants down ... wouldn't wanna show that. I'm merciful that way! ;) But soon. Not that anyone is waiting.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Home Again ...

Up until now I used to work on my personal stuff after hours at work. I just wasn't happy anymore with my setup at home. I'm not so much talking hardware, but the location of my desk. Where it used to be was just a really uninviting spot. With the valuable advice of my lovely girlfriend we found a better spot for it. And tonight is the first time I'm sitting down - working on "Launch" at home. I've got a 3K render with me and will jump on it. We'll see how far I get. But I feel quite inspired - especially when I look out the window. The location change now allows me to look straight out over Wellington bay - if that doesn't inspire me, nothing will. The photo's one of many I took from that window :) I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leftover Day!

Hello! Here are two images that never got finished. One is an asteroid field I just hacked together in two hours or so - it also exactly looks like two hours of work. The other one is the giant mushroom, where a wicked character should have taken a rest underneath. I never got that far. Buit I like the lighting and the realism of it. It was done in Maya with some GI and final gathering trickery. I'm still working on the launcher, but didn't have a lot of time for it recently. But I will finish that one, if it kills me ... ;)