It’s not the Software

This was modeled 100% in Wings3D by an artist I know. This is one of his fan-art piece modeled straight out of a blueprint model sheet you can find online. Having seen some of his works, I would say he’s a Wings3D master. Blender has a lot of tools to speed up your modeling process, and as we all know, in Wings3D, things are done manually. What this goes to show is that it’s not really the software, but the artist.

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Commenting isn’t working

Just realized that it’s not working. Will have to look into that when I have time.

EDIT: Got it to work now. WP security was tight.

EDIT2: If you don’t see your comment after posting, it’s because it’s waiting for its first approval. Afterward, it will automatically shows up.

I have used the internet for more than 10+ years and I know what it’s like to randomly come across a site you want to comment, but hate the hassle of signing up. So there’s no signing up. Even though it says name and email are required, it’s not. You can comment as anonymous. Also, for whatever reason, if you want your comment(s) removed, just drop me a mail with the link to it.

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References and Learning from Others

There are two things that Christians are made fully aware of, the first is that: There’s nothing new under the sun:

Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (KJV) The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

Christian artists can never run out of ideas because The Book they study daily is full of historical events. Take the story of Moses for example. God preserved him and sent him into Egypt, and then later used him to deliver the Israelites. Moses is a type, foreshadowing what Christ later would do when God sent his beloved Son into the world to save mankind. This is one event that gets repeated a lot in movies and stories in our modern days. Transformers and Superman are two examples that come to mind. Just one historical event can generate many movies and stories out of it (see this post: https://www.codeberean.com/weblog/?p=139).

Want to create a character concept based on a Script? You have the Bible, full of Scripts. Want to get into the habit of researching actual places, cultures and people for your concepts? Again, the Bible is full of it (look up biblical archaeology for example). Need ideas for a character? Samson, Moses, Elijah, Jezebel, anti-Christ, Ahab etc… Creating fantasy characters and environments? Hell, Heaven, Spirit, Soul, Angels and Demons… it’s all there in the Bible. The subject of the old Masters was either Biblical or based on it, take the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci for example.

When it comes to art’s techniques and methods, there’s really nothing new under the sun as well. When ZBrush and digital Sculpting first came unto the scene, people were exploring and studying it. Now, these techniques and methods are out there. Which brings us to my second point.

Acts 8:26-31 (KJV) And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

The second thing that Christians are made fully aware of is: We are to learn from and be taught by others. It’s how babies learn and grow, and the same goes for us Artists as well. A lot of painters and sculpters of old learned and copied from each others. Spurgeon once said, “He who is his own guide is guided by a fool.” This is a good principle to live by.

When you look at creation, there is much to learn, and many have. When you look into the lives of other artists, there’s also much to learn, and many have. Whether it’s techniques, methods or ideas, it’s all there for those who will see themselves as “student.”

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Do you need 2d skill to be good at 3d?

You might be asking this question if you’re interested in 3d, but are starting out late (age-wise). The short answer is no. You do not need to take life drawing lessons, nor do you have to read tons of books on anatomy or figure drawing! What you need is a good pair of eyes, and this can be trained through “Observational Drawing.” Here are two examples from an artist that I know. If you ask him to draw you a character from imagination, he wouldn’t be able to do it. Line of Action, Contrapposto, Gestalt, Notan etc…? He has no clue. Give him a reference, and he can bring it to life in 3d.

All these were modelled in Wings3D. You’ll see more and learn from him later on once his website is up.

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3dBuzz.com : Creating Compelling Character Concepts

I don’t know too much about 3DBuzz, but based on a quick search, Jason Busby, the man operating 3DBuzz.com, died of cancer back in 2017. Out of their kindness, they have released all the contents for free. Someone has made a torrent out of it here: https://archive.org/details/3dbuzz-archive

Since my main focus here in this blog is concept and design, both 2d and 3d, I found a set that is relevant for this blog: Creating Compelling Character Concepts.

Creating Compelling Character Concepts

In this series, professional concept artist and illustrator Tyler Edlin will walk you through the workflow needed to create pro character designs like those used in AAA games and major films. Through the creation of a Fantasy Mage called Kari, Tyler will demonstrate a professional workflow, as well as covering all of the design considerations needed to create concepts from scratch, and why design is so important to artists in these fields. By the end of this course, you’ll be armed with all of the tools you need to design compelling, complex characters that make sense within the world they are created for. Tyler also includes his personal Photoshop brushes, as well as the final .psd file for you to deconstruct and review.

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Alchemy on macOS

I finally got around to running al.chemy on macOS. If you’re a Mac user, you need Java SE 6 Runtime. Which can be download at: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572 . This might sound strange, but it works: You need to download the Linux (not the Mac) version from the site. Run either “Alchemy” or “AlchemyOpenGL” after you unzipped the tar file.

I haven’t got my workstation setup yet, so in the meantime I’m just using the mouse for simple experiments.

Mouse, using al.chemy.org

There’s a web version with limited features (webchemy.org)

Mouse, using webchemy.org
Mouse, using webchemy.org (blur effect in Affinity)
Finger scribbling before church service starts

The mind is a pattern recognizing machine. As kids, most of us could just look into the sky and form images with the clouds using just our imagination. Alchemy can help with the ideation process. It can be random scribbling or intentional shapes and strokes. Sometimes when you don’t know what to concept, alchemy can step in and help generate ideas. Two people looking at the same random/noise/chaos alchemy can see two totally different things. One alchemy can bring forth many concepts.

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Clip Studio Paint and DesignDoll

Lately I have been exploring “Clip Studio Paint” and it seems to be a lot faster than Krita on the Mac that I’m using. 10,000 x 10,000 @ 300dpi, with a rotated Canvas, and there’s no lag or jagged lines like you would experience in Krita. I also like the GUI (Interface) and its built-in 3d model to pose and draw on top.

DesignDoll is a program that is only for posing the mannequin. As of this writing, I have not tried it since I’m on Mac, but I would combine DesignDoll with Krita to get what CSP is providing (posable mannequin) if you prefer to stick with Krita.

But isn’t it cheating to use digital mannequin(s)? That depends on who you ask and what the objective is. This is a topic we can explore and talk more about later on.

CSP seems like a good alternative if you don’t like Krita. As for me, I’m sticking to Krita.

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Switching to PC

I’m actually thinking of switching back to PC. A custom-built PC is a lot more powerful and costs a little less when compared to a Mac. I want to focus more on Sculpting and Drawing, and macOS is giving me a lot of headaches. For research and biblical studies, macOS serves me well, but not when it comes to 3D. There are a lot of cool apps that are only available on Windows, like DesignDoll for example, or Black Ink.

I’ll blog more and share a lot of things once I have everything setup.

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Draw.io

I needed a program to make diagrams, but OmniGraffle is overkill (price). Came across a free alternative that has just what I need. Check it out if you haven’t heard of it. Web-based, but you can download desktop version and run it offline.

https://about.draw.io

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Toggle Assistant

A while back I blogged about things I would like to see in future versions of Krita. In that post I mentioned:

3) Hotkey to toggle on/off “Snap to Assistants”: This will definitely speed things up a bit when using perspective guides.

I’m not sure if Krita added that in with newer updates [or] it was there the whole time and I didn’t know about it. Someone emailed me a month ago pointing out that Krita has it: “Go To Configure -> Keyboard Shortcuts and look for “Toggle Assistant”,”

Thanks!

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Another quick update

At this moment in time, I find it difficult to get back to Krita for two reasons:

  1. Krita messed up my keyboard customization when I updated it to a newer version. I can’t use Krita’s default. Re-customizing it would take some times, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to it.
  2. One of my siblings passed away recently (unexpectedly). The sad part is that he didn’t know Christ.

Art is still my passion, and Krita is still the best open source / free drawing app. I will get back to it again, somehow, God willing.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

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Autodesk SketchBook is now free

It was SketchBook’s subscription model that turned me to Krita at first. And having tried Krita I’m now stuck with it—there’s no going back unless Krita doesn’t work on macOS. However, I’m saving up for an iPad Pro so I can do sketching/drawing on the go, and SketchBook seems to be the option since Krita is not on iOS. Both the desktop and mobile version of SketchBook are now free of charge (made free last year, but I just found out while browsing yesterday).

https://www.sketchbook.com/

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Concept Art is not Dead

I watched this video a few months back, titled, “Concept Art is Dead” and didn’t have a chance to make a post on it until now. Let me say that Concept Art is not dead. The traditional way of doing concept art might be dead to some, but it is not dead.

Technology is constantly evolving, and since a lot of artists are using computer software(s) to get their job done, what this means is that as technology evolves, so will their works if they choose to take advantage of it. I have seen it in programming, web design and now visual art. WordPress has evolved to the point now that it’s a waste of time to sit and code everything manually on the front-end side of things. There are game engines out there that can get the job done that it would be a waste of time to code from scratch.

Art is a bit different, but it’s not immuned from this evolution. As I think about this, there are three groups of people that come to mind. The first group of people are those that just like to do things the old fashioned way, I call them Purist. With ZBrush, Blender and Photoshop, you can create amazing artworks if you combine them together, yet there are artists out there who still enjoy doing things by pixel. And if I have the time to get back to 3d modeling, I would still do box modeling because it brings back the nostalgia. The second group of people are those always on a look out for shortcuts. If there’s a way to cheat, they will. They will use Poser and advanced renderer; they will use Terrain generator and whatever that is out there to help bring their vision to life. The third group of people are those who still do things the old way, but still make use of technology here and there or whenever they see fit.

The result of photobashing and paintover gives you a level of realism that is not possible to achieve if done by hand. The style is also different. And sometimes you don’t have a choice. If the company that is hiring you is looking for a particular style and realism that is only achievable via photobashing and paintover, then either you get with the program or you move on elsewhere.

The speaker in this video is not against doing things the old way. He brought up one main reason that I wholeheartedly agree with, and that is TIME. If you have all the time in the world, then you can study the whole Alphabet. But if you don’t have all the time in the world, then here are the X, Y and Z that you can study that will get you from here to there in a short amount of time.

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Nudity

If you’re a disciple of Christ who follows and obeys His teaching, then this is something you ought to think through.  I did some searching and there seems to be mixed opinions on this topic. The people (we’re talking about Christians here) that are into art or study art seem to understand the importance of studying the human body and so they are “for it.” On the other hand, the non-artists seem to be opposing it at all cost.  My suggestion is first read the articles that I’m about to link so you can get an overall perspective on this important topic and then examine your own heart and seek the Lord for understanding.

Fine Art will help you to grow as an artist and that involves the studying of  human anatomy, the naked body. So the question is: Is it a sin to look at nude model(s) or images  to better our understanding of it so that we can recreate it with realism? Let me start off by saying that as of this writing, I do not take a “for” or “against” position simply because it’s not black and white. Do you have a passion to grow as an artist or do you use Fine Art as an excuse to lust after the female body and to collect pornographic materials all in the name of “art”? Search your heart and be honest.

There are Christian colleges which allow drawing of the human figure clothed in bikinis or racing suits both of which resemble underwear and have well known advertising campaigns associated with them that exploit sex as the main point of their style. This practice seems inappropriate and more sensual by its suggestive commercial context and the unnecessary focus upon the covered area that it invites. To some, it appears more like going to the beach than to the classroom where serious academic study is underway. (Gordon College’s Policy on the use of Nude Models in Art)

The Greeks believed that man was the measure of all things; as such they sought to find the perfect human form and show it in their art. The resulting nudes are not pornographic; rather, they are the outworking of the Greek ideal. As Christians, we rightly reject their philosophy, but we should not make the mistake of mislabeling their art. (A Christian Perspective on Nudity in Art — Matthew Clark)

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Photos and Unsplash

By now I’m sure a lot of you have heard about Unsplash. It’s a great site for free photos. I wouldn’t worry too much if it’s photos of animals or buildings, yet even with buildings (the building itself!) some are copyrighted. Becareful with using photos of actual people, even though you might not get into trouble, but you never know…

Here are some food for thought.

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Foreshortening and Difficult Poses

In drawing the figure, I noticed that there are poses where I have a hard time trying to get it right. These two examples are loosely based on two photos. The first one was quick and easy. The second one was a lot more difficult and challenging to get it right. I didn’t understand why that is. Then I came across a video by LoveLifeDrawing on YouTube that explains this strange phenomenon: Why is this figure drawing so HARD? Pose difficulty factors (WARNING: Video contains partial nudity).

Isn’t it encouraging to know that you’re not alone? Foreshortening [is] difficult, and a lot of us artists struggle with it. However, it’s not the end of the world! If you look through books such as “The Art of…” or “The Making of…” you most likely won’t see characters design in extreme poses. It’s only when you illustrate or seek to bring a concept to life that extreme poses often come into play.

If you can do basic front / back / side and 3/4 angle, you’re basically ready to go for concept art. Then there’s always photo references out there if you need help. Not to mention that there are 3d models that you can pose and draw on top. Do what you got to do.

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Japanese / Chinese Paintings

I find lines and shapes beautiful, and I have much to talk about later on. But did you know that these paintings don’t have perspective? Isn’t it funny that we can look at something and not noticed the obvious until someone points it out? I love the brushstrokes of the Sumi-E. If we go by art rules, we say that these paintings are incorrect. But sometimes it’s not about having everything correct. Just do an image search for “Sumi-e” and see the beauty of it. If perspective were added and implemented, would that help the painting or destroys the beauty of Sumi-e? Something to think about.

Lines should be varied in length and width, they say, for it adds depths and dimensions which is true. Do an image search for “Tin Tin” and notice that it’s only one line width.

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Holy is the Lord

There are a lot of great artists out there whose works and skills are above you and I. Sometimes you don’t want to look at them because you feel intimidated. This is something we can all relate. But let me encourage you to go pass this.

In the Bible, we learn and see that God is Holy. What was Isaiah’s reaction in the presence of the Holy One? “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” What about Job when God finally showed up? “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” On one hand, God is holy and we are not, on the other hand, we are to be holy just as He is holy. We are not to run away and hide like Adam did, but we are to come to the Light. Growing in holiness is a process, and the key is to set our eyes upon Christ. He is the Holy One and our example.

On some level, when we feel intimidated by great artworks by artists who are better than us, know that it’s a reflection of the greatness of our God. To improve and grow as an artist, we must look, not for the sake of looking, but look with purposes, and seek to imitate. We don’t just look at Christ, but we meditate on His attributes and words and imitate Him.

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