When creating 3D art, be it realistic or stylized, using reference is one of the most important parts of the process. It is as critical as modeling, unwrapping or texturing. Unfortunately, it’s an often overlooked aspect, especially by new or inexperienced artists. Since the creation of any art asset starts with building reference, you can go as far as saying that the final quality of the finished product is largely defined by the effort you put into reference in the beginning.
Just imagine you’re building a house. You wouldn’t start building without a plan or any sort of idea where you are going. The building process itself may be more fun than planning, but in the end the house will not fit together well, look bad, or just collapse if you worked without a plan. The same goes for 3D art. Your work can end up looking fake, unfinished or just a little wonky, but you can’t put your finger on why that is.
With this article, we aim to offer some insight in the process of using reference when creating 3D art. (Read more)
Whether you’re a modeller or sculptor, there’s something to learn from this:
Simply sitting down and banging out a few gesture drawings every day is a great way to stay in drawing shape, but it will rarely propel you to a new level of artistic achievement. If your goal is to simply “get better,” your progress is likely to be slow and demoralizing.
Studies show that people who get to be top in their field, from artists to computer programmers to Olympians, nearly all engage in focused practice on a regular basis. This means that every time they practice, they have a goal in mind. They don’t say to themselves “Be a better gymnast,” they think instead, “Add an inch to my long jump.” That’s a concrete goal that can be worked toward, and whether or not they are making progress is obvious. (Read more)
If you’re on Windows or Linux give it a try. Mac users are out of luck.
Great learners take notes and they take a lot of them. One of the great preachers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones [1899-1981], once said: “For many, many years I have never read my Bible without having a scribbling pad either on my table or in my pocket.” We not only see this in preachers but in artists as well and Leonardo Da Vinci comes to mind.
As a 3d modeller, I do take a lot of notes and keep them on my computer. I also skim through a lot of books and hold fast to that which is good to expand my horizon. When I do my own experiment and practicing, I pay careful attention to what I’m doing and record a lot of them down.
Don’t be afraid to sketch or scribble. After all, notes are personal and they’re for you to remind you of what you have learned or discovered. Sometimes going through my own notes inspire me to blog about it.
There are a lot of resources out there and we just need to think outside the box to put them to good use. Besides collecting good references (images) I also collect base meshes and 3d scan obj files for study purposes. With meshes that have been triangulated (game models for example), you can use them as model sheets (see image below for example) or practice re-topologizing.
William Vaughan in his “[digital] Modeling” book has this to say to those that would ask “How do I make my work look like what the pros are doing?”:
[Use as much reference material as possible and hone your observational skills].
Not exactly what you were expecting, huh? But yes, that is the mind-blowingly simple trade secret of the pros. It’s what separates a hobbyist from a professional. Remember that the sooner you come to the realization that there is no magic “Do My Job” button, the sooner you can start down the road of creating professional CG work.
The biggest problem I see for new artists is a lack of reference and observation. It immediately shows up in their work. Not only is it obvious to me, but most importantly, it’s obvious to those doing the hiring.
And I agree wholeheartedly! You can never have too much of it, so I suggest you get into the habit of collecting good references and store them in a digital morgue file. Using references is a skill and it doesn’t make you inferior, but will only make you a better artist in the long run. The more realism you want to see in your artworks, the more you’ll have to consult references.
A Dark Pattern is a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.
Normally when you think of “bad design”, you think of the creator as being sloppy or lazy but with no ill intent. This type of bad design is known as a “UI anti-pattern”. Dark Patterns are different – they are not mistakes, they are carefully crafted with a solid understanding of human psychology, and they do not have the user’s interests in mind. We as designers, founders, UX & UI professionals and creators need to take a stance against Dark Patterns. — Source
Color is an essential part of how we experience the world, both biologically and culturally. One of the earliest formal explorations of color theory came from an unlikely source — the German poet, artist, and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (Read more)
Question: “I’ve been thinking a lot about copyright and often wondered how copyright fits with Scripture. I am a video content creator and sometimes the copyright laws matter deeply to me, other times not. How should believers view intellectual property rights?” (Read more)
A look at productivity from a biblical perspective.
I have invested a lot of effort in understanding productivity and emphasizing it in my life. Eventually I came to peace with it. But I only did so after addressing some of the prevailing lies about it. (Read more)
“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
“Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”
“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” — David Bowie
“Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” — Steve Jobs
“If you have one person you’re influenced by, everyone will say you’re the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you’re so original!” — Gary Panter
YouTube: Copying vs. Stealing in Web Design