Monthly Archives: May 2012

CGMA Environment Design 1 with James Paick – Week 5

Week 5 of Environment Design 1 centered on using textures within the designs, both to add character to the image, as well as inspire new shapes and ideas. Our assignment was to create 4 or more thumbnails around one theme. I chose as my motif buildings built on rocks protruding from the sea.

Following on from last week, I once again enjoyed creating these images. I’m finding it easier and quicker to get an image looking pleasing to my eye, which has a snowballing effect, as the confidence gained from one image feeds into the next. Next week we are to take one of these images and take it to final quality, so stay tuned.

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Sai Warrior

This is the first in a new series of posts concentrating on concept designs from yesteryear. This one is an early concept from the game Stormrise, released by Sega in 2009. It is an early interpretation of a Sai Warrior, the spiritual, mutant faction in Stormrise. I started by doing a pencil drawing of the character before bringing it into photoshop to paint up. What I find pleasing about his image is that it really pops out and gives a good sense of being three dimensional.

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CGMA Environment Design 1 with James Paick – Week 4

This week we started to use colour. I’m afraid I only got three of the five images done this week. It seems to take me ages to get the image to a point where I feel like I’m liking it. Added to this is the fact that when I had to rush an image a couple of weeks ago just to fill out the assignment, the critique centered on the rushed image, rather than the two more finished pieces, thus covering a lot of things I might have attended to, had I given the image equal time. For this reason I have only submitted images that I have given fair attention to.

However, I did really enjoy this week’s assignments a lot more than weeks 1 to 3, which were a real chore, if I’m honest. I think this is because I started to use the lasso. I liked what I got out of it on the first image so much that by the third image I was using it for a lot of the image making, and doing very little actual painting. As you can probably tell, I’ve been looking at Robh Ruppel’s blog a lot recently.

There is a definite progression through the three images, the first being quite basic, while the last is comparatively rich. I’m learning a lot from the class, but what is becoming most apparent to me is less about the technique and skills, and more about my attitude towards environment design. When creating environments before I would get frustrated that the image wasn’t looking decent from a fairly early stage, and as a result I would get disheartened and this would put me off. Now I am forcing myself to get environments done and to a state where I’m happy with them, in the process learning that it takes time, but also proving to myself that I can do it.

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Robh Ruppel

The fine work of one Mr Robh Ruppel has been brought to my attention during my Environment Design class, as mentioned in my last post.

He has a great sense of style, and his compositions and colour use are phenomenal. I’ve inserted a couple of examples below. Hit the link to see more on the blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. This stuff is a real inspiration, as you will see in my next Environment Design 1 update.

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CGMA Environment Design 1 with James Paick – weeks 1, 2 & 3

Character art and design has always been my passion, as you might have guessed from the contents of this blog thus far. However, I have been well aware of a hole in my skill set in the shape of environment design for some time and recently I decided to do something about it. Getting a job as a concept artist is difficult enough, let alone if you just limit yourself solely to the character design side of it.

I’ve been a regular visitor and contributor to the cghub.com community (my gallery – ray.cghub.com) for quite a while now, and it was from here I learned of the Computer Graphics Master Academy, and the work of James Paick. He is a freelance concept artist working primarily in the games industry and has worked for such companies as Naughty Dog, NCsoft & EA, amongst others and he runs two classes on for CGMA. His personal website cane be found here.

Not kidding myself into thinking I knew more than I did about environment design, I wanted to start from the beginning and learn from the ground up, and  so signed up for Environment Design 1. The class consists of a 1 – 1 1/2 hour video lecture in which Mr Paick creates a piece of environment concept art, talking the students through the techniques he uses and the thinking behind them. Students are then set a homework assignment to be completed before the week is out. Having submitted the homework, students are invited to a live Q & A session with Mr Paick, in which he critiques each students work and answers any questions for an hour.

Below are my homework assignments for the first three weeks. Week one concentrated on composition and value, with five images to be roughed out for homework. The focus of week two switched to lighting, with three images asked of us, while week 3 was concerned with bringing the standard up with regard to detail and finish. The brief was for one image that had outer space as its theme, with special concern given to scale.

While only three weeks into an eight week course, I am already learning useful techniques as well as a greater understanding of the environment design art from. Mr Paick is an excellent artist and teacher, who has an easy manner and makes for interesting listening, explaining succinctly and communicating with students in a very personable way.

I still find it a struggle to get the piece done in a timely fashion, always getting frustrated in the first half of the creative process until it starts to take shape in the second half. I do feel that I am making progress, however, and I am enjoying the challenge of taking on a facet of concept art that is somewhat foreign to me and pushing myself to meet the briefs in the time alloted.

At the end of this course I hope to discover whether it is my inexperience in the environment design field, and the difficulties that the unfamiliarity that comes with it present, that has put me off it in the past, or that it is simply a case of not finding it appealing to me as an artist.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

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