Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Spent the last 10 hours doing another self portrait for visual design. Thought I'd share the process as a series of pictures.

We looked at Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville so i thought I'd have a play and see what i could come up with.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Visual Composition

Right composition is something that every artist should know about. What’s that I hear you yell? “I am good artist, but don’t know what composition is?” Well pipe down and I’ll tell. Composition is the organisation of space…awesome. I was told in school that composition defines the path the eye takes when viewing an image. A focal point is a necessity in composition as it’s the first thing the eye is drawn to and starts the path that the eye takes around the image/scene.

To continue my poor explanation of this important rule I will move onto the rule of thirds with pictures and everything. If you took a canvas and divided it into “thirds” horizontally and vertically, you will end up with a grid that looks like a poor noughts and crosses layout. Don’t be fooled thought, where these magical lines cross it actually the “Golden Mean” or basically where you should stick your focal point to make the image look the best. This idea came from the ancient Greeks who decided one day to look for a reason why things look pleasing and sometimes don’t. So after working hard in the sun drinking wine, they came to conclusion that where these lines intersect on the grid would be now known as “PowerPoint’s” and whatever was placed on these magical points would become the focal point of the image.
Sticking a small army of lines across your canvas won’t guarantee you are going to produce a sweet end result there are a few other things you have to take into account.

Self portrait from last year

Framing – this is the use of objects placed around the side of the composition to help isolate the main focal point, this gives you a more focussed image that draws your eye naturally to the main focal point.
Depth- You’re producing a 2d representation of a 3d space that everything exists in. You can easily achieve a sense of depth by laying out clearly a foreground, mid-ground and background in an image.

Background- The choice of background is strangely important to the overall look of a piece. Too busy and you will subtract from the detail in the image and too bare and your image will look empty.

Symmetry and patterns- can make the most uninteresting objects into an interesting composition. Also by having symmetry in a composition and upsetting it by interjecting an object will give you an automatic focal point.

I consider myself to be pretty sharp and reasonably intellectual, but talking about why something such as composition works I have struggled on. I’m a very visual person and the lack of photo reference when in a word processor and led to me getting confused with myself and even bored. Hopefully I’ve conveyed I have a understanding of composition because I pride myself on my “artistic eye”, it’s what makes me unique along with the other thousands of artists in the world…

Shamefully I was unable to compile this entry completely of my own mind as I was suffering from a mind…. Block, I thought that was funny. Anyway I’d like to give credit to the below links for providing me something to write about.


Elements of game design

So I had a well-known word processor open and thought to myself let’s continue on this rich vein of form carried over from my previous entry. So the creative process is what I will loosely touching on this entry. To keep me on track I’ll talk about a recent visual design project I had, and the process I took to finish it.

So Monday morning means visual design for me. Unfortunately the lifts were broken in the building we work in, leaving me with eight flights of stairs to climb with no breakfast. Depending on the project and what is required of us, dictates the length of the lecture as you can imagine. This project was fairly loose in direction; produce a scene from the city I study in. No style or media restrictions, so obviously I was going to be struggling for ideas. Once we’re allowed to escape, it’s business time. So I wandered into the city centre accompanied by some chums for a general wander and to see it anything catches our eyes.

We spend the day producing quick thumbnails of some scenes and ideas on site to give us some ideas. I wanted to produce something that captured the fine architecture in my city but also told a story. So from my sketches I played around with a few compositional ideas and style ideas. I’ll post a few below of what I’d but I’m not posting the whole project for my course’s sake. We’ve all sat down before and drawn/painted what is right in front of us before and looked back at it and seen the mistakes or improvements we could make. The process of planning a piece hopefully eradicates these mistakes and saves you time as long as you don’t spend five months planning a sketch of a spoon that you could have done from the gun.

By the time I had finished the business end of the planning, all I had to decide on was what media I felt like using and what style I wanted to use. Given the time period I had to complete it I decided against doing an oil painting, and not because I had no oil paints, my brushes, turps or a canvas with me. So I chose to do a digital painting, I’m not the best as I’m essentially a noob after picking it up eleven months ago. So the practise wouldn’t hurt at all. With all final pieces you’re going to encounter problems not matter how much planning you do, most of mine occurred due to me going full tilt into it and not looking after my layers in Photoshop. This happens a lot to me after years of just picking up a paintbrush or pencil and just cracking on. Luckily I was aware that I would at some point be doing this so I was able to finish with minimal rage from Photoshop. I’ll post the finish article somewhere below to give a bit more colour/life to my blog.

The next blog is going to be a doozy, you think I talk a load of rubbish already? You ain’t seen nothing yet!
The Difficult second year blog?

They say good things come to those who wait. Unfortunately the prolonged return of my blog isn’t one of these. So once again I apologise if you’re unlucky enough to be reading my blog for a second year.
Anyway… After a long summer break and a few months back at Uni, I feel I can gauge how the first year went better. When I started the course I had just finished my A levels and only Fine art foundations. I researched the course before I applied so I knew what was in store for me in regard to what I needed to be able to do by the time my three years were up. I didn’t realise until around the end of the second week on the course what I had gotten myself into. Not to be one to turn down challenge or an opportunity to work in an area I love so dearly, I said early on I was going to commit and do whatever it takes.
After months of grafting away I felt i was getting the hang of things, from having no experience on 3ds max or Photoshop to producing the occasional piece of work that my peers liked was a massive landmark. At the close of the first year I had done extra work in all areas to ensure I would be back for the next year, so I returned home and got myself a job working for Jemlar racing simulations at Silverstone circuit, living at home isn’t cheap!
I aimed to get a head start on the second year by learning Zbrush and practising my newly acquired skills. The reality was that I worked 9-5 labouring for the first couple months off the back of the course and was exhausted. When work eased up I managed to get the occasional sketch in, but there are more distractions at home than at Uni in my opinion.
So after working all summer I returned to sunny Leicester to work some more. The first couple of projects I have done have gone a lot better than I could of expected giving me new energy. I think a lot of it is down to just knowing the software better and general experience in modelling. All throughout the first year I was in ore of the third years and what they could manufacture, I never felt I could be at the same level as them ever. However, I now feel that if I can continue to put the amount of effort in I did in the first year I will progress furthermore and hopefully to a level near them.
I have no goals in the second year other than to develop in all areas again. I don’t want to close any doors by aiming for one thing too early and personally I would prefer to be a more rounded artist as a foundation and push on into other areas from there.

So concludes my first blog of the year, i have lots more to do so brace yourself.