Sunday, June 29, 2014

Heroes - Working in 2560x1600 resolution

This piece is one of two experiments I started working at 2560x1600 resolution in ArtFlow (the other experiment being the previous piece "Beauty Is Within Us"). The standard screen resolution for most of our devices is 1080p, 1920x1080 progressive. That's the screen resolution I've worked with for a year and a half now. The reason being it ensures that the final piece will maintain quality regardless of the device chosen to view it. So, at 1080p, your work will look the same on a 50 inch HDTV, a 7 inch Nexus 7 with no compromises or a 5 inch Nexus 5. 

I switched to 2560x1600 as this is the next step up in screen resolution. The higher resolution will allow for sharper details and cleaner images as any increase in resolution allows. But there is a catch to this on current technology. I can work in 2560x1600 but the Nexus 7 (2013) will only display 1920x1080. To see the full effect of the resolution bump, I'd have to view the images on a device that supports the higher resolution. Think of this experiment as future proofing. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Beauty is Within Us

Created using ArtFlow for Android

This is my latest experiment from a photo reference. Based on the last entry in this blog, "A Bonafide Life Will Arrive At Last" I decided to start the piece with a line sketch as always but using a darker line than usual and with the textured background already created and in place. I also worked in reverse from dark to light. I tweaked the brushes and airbrush tool in ArtFlow and was more selective with the palette. The results are improved lighting and more realistic tones. I'll follow this method for a while longer to see how far down the road I can travel with it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"A Bonafide Life Will Arrive At Last"

A Bonafide Life Will Arrive At Last - Created using ArtFlow
I had a lot of fun completing this particular piece. As shown below I started with drawing a flower. The reference is from a photo I captured a couple of months ago. I then sketched the woman's body very loosely to get an idea of what I wanted. I tried to keep the curve of her body to follow the arc of the flower. I then proceeded to clean up the sketch lines, build a palette and apply color and then shadows and highlights. At some point I'd love to try animating this using Flip-A-Clip.

Collage of various steps in the creative process

Sunday, June 15, 2014

WalkCycle Pencil Test using FlipAClip on Android

This is a really rough digital pencil test I created using the FlipAClip animation app on Android. It's the only animation app that I've found that actually works, so far I love it. Animation Desk and Animation Studio fail hard as both proved to be unstable and Animation Studio specifically wouldn't output any animations I created using it. A complete waste of time. It's amazing that Amiga computers handled 2D animations beautifully in the late 80s early 90s that our mobile devices with more than 10x the power/resources and a fraction of the size still struggle to get right. 

FlipAClip (FAC) has a very intuitive interface that's incredibly easy to learn. The pencil algorithm is phenomenal, easily as good as the pencil tool in ArtFlow. The app allows an animator to flip frames easily to judge motion from frame to frame. It also features a robust onion skin or light table function that can show multiple frames behind or in front of a current image. The app has layer support and a magic wand tool that allows selected portions of a frame to be moved, scaled and distorted. Output is in .mp4 format and allows sharing direct to Facebook, YouTube or a number of other Android apps and services (I prefer Google Drive). The only functions I feel are missing are the ability to copy a group of frames and append them to a cycle or place them within a sequence. Also missing is the ability to import an image on a separate layer. Frames can be copied and pasted but only individually as far as I've seen. A variety of backgrounds can be chosen at the start of a project but I haven't found a way to import an original image. Ideally, I'd want to create backgrounds using ArtFlow and import them into FAC. Keep in mind I haven't used the app for very long, less than 24 hours.

The only true negative I've found is from time to time the touch screen will go wonky and my lines will go astray. I believe this may have more to do with my Nexus 7(2013) as I've had similar problems with the screen last year in Sketchbook Pro until I received the Android 4.4.2 update. It hasn't been a problem for months but I did recently receive the Android 4.4.3 update. Maybe that's a factor. Lines will continue to go astray until I use the zoom function to reset my current position. It's weird but it resets whatever causes the digitizer to go wonky. 

As it stands, Android is truly becoming a host to a series of robust creative tools. It's not perfect but we've come very far. I remember the state of creative apps in 2011 when the Xoom debuted. Comparing those apps to what's available now and it's truly amazing the quality we have at our disposal, for such low prices if not for free. 
I'll continue to experiment with FAC and post the results as I progress.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"The Cursed" - Pencil drawing rendered using ArtFlow.

This is my second render of a pencil drawing I completed many years ago. The original I rendered using Photoshop 7 but I have mixed feelings about it. So I decided to give it another go and like these results far better. I don't think this is a result of better software (although I like using ArtFlow far more than Photoshop these days) but more of a case of individual growth and improved skill over the years.