Thursday, July 31, 2014

Macro Monkey. Macro on the Nexus 5.

I've captured a lot of photos with my Nexus 5. But I never really used macro until recently. I noticed there are some people that have captured great shots in the Android Photography Group using the function but from my own experience I can't quite get them as clear as I'd hoped. This is in part due to the fact that I try to capture insects which can be incredibly hard. The butterfly images are a great example. I chased this particular butterfly around for 15 minutes trying to get good shots. It was as if he knew what I was trying to do and would always turn away from the camera just before I snapped the shot. Then he'd fly and land in an area that caused awkward angles or was hard for me to get too. I'll practice with the function as time goes on. I've neglected it for too long but when used correctly it can deliver impressive results. I'm not quite there yet so swing over the the Android Photography Group for better examples. 

My little friend - Captured with a Nexus 5 using Macro. No post edits. 

Butterfly Effect 01 - Captured with a Nexus 5 using Macro. No post edits.

Homeless - Captured with a Nexus 5 using Macro. Edited with Photoshop Touch. 

Itsy Bitsy - Captured with a Nexus 5 using Macro. No post edits.

The Little Guy - Captured with a Nexus 5 using Macro. Edited with Gallery.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Geek Lama 1280x800 - Sketchbook Pro + Pixlr Express for Android

This is the final and a couple of variants to the Geek Lama* piece I started rendering a few days ago. I struggled with this a bit because the original drawing was a character design that was never intended to have a background or other elements. Adding them as I was working on the piece was tough because what I imagined didn't work for one reason or another. So I finally settled on what you see here. Lama's character is one of my favorite from the batch I created for a original story. When I have more time to render out the other characters, I'll post them in this blog with the storyline. If fate is really kind, I may have some animation too. 

Geek Lama - Sketchbook Pro + Pixlr Express Variant 1

Geek Lama - Sketchbook Pro + Pixlr Express Variant 2

Geek Lama - Sketchbook Pro version

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Better With Time - Sketchbook Pro - Updated

Better with Time - Created with Sketchbook Pro for Android
I updated this piece a bit. Changed the tone of the woman's skin, deeper shadows and slightly changed some of the highlights.

WIP - Geek Lama* 1280x720 - Sketchbook Pro

In a bid to test the latest version of the app, I decided to re-render this piece using Sketchbook Pro on my old 2012 Nexus 7 at 1280x720.  After using ArtFlow for nearly the entire year, using Sketchbook Pro again is a bit awe-inspiring. It's a very powerful app with a lot of flexibility. Amazing that it's only $5 for the full version and was awesome even back in 2011 when the Xoom debuted. I still prefer ArtFlow over it for a number of functions but I wouldn't cry in my cereal if I were forced to use Sketchbook Pro exclusively for a time. Going forward I'll be using both depending on the project on tap.

Current WIP - "It's Dangerous to Go Alone."

I found an old sketch I'd created many years ago and decided to take it a lot further using some of the tools and techniques I've learned recently. This is the progress thus far. As usual, the image you see was created using ArtFlow on a Nexus 7 (2013) at 2560x1600 resolution. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

SuperSpandex!!! Final - ish

"SuperSpandex!!!" Created using ArtFlow on a 2013 Nexus 7 and a Brookstone Stylus. 2560x1600

SuperSpandex!!! 2560x1600
This is the final version of the piece I started in the prior post. I have to admit it was a challenge. I wanted more of an animated cell feel to the piece so I used the pen tool for initial colors and shadows, then used the airbrush tool for lighting but then went back to the pen tool to enhance the lighting in areas. I never used the pen tool to "ink" the character sketches. ArtFlow's pencil tool is phenomenal. I simply cleaned up my lines and then changed the contrast so the lines went from gray to black. At a later date, I want to use a vector based app for inking to test the results. For anyone new to this blog, the creative app of choice for 2014 is ArtFlow.

 I'm asked from time to time how do I achieve these results with a tablet and stylus that's not a Galaxy Note or some other Wacom powered device. Keep in mind that touchscreens in this era are capacitive, not resistive. Resistive touch screens don't respond well to fingers which is why they almost always relied on a hard tipped stylus. Think back to the golden age of Palm or Windows Mobile devices. We're using capacitive screens that allow for finger based input or soft tipped stylus input with superior accuracy. That means almost anything you can do on paper or canvas, you can do on a tablet. I mention this to remind people that ANY current era tablet can achieve results presented here and much, much more. My body of work is limited only because of my abilities and knowledge base, not the technology itself. A Galaxy Note is nice to have and Wacom powered devices are awesome but they are not always necessary. The biggest benefits to the Note series and Wacom powered devices are the pressure sensitivity and features that stem from it. But great works can be created on any iPad, Android tablet, Surface tablet or smartphone (if you can deal with the screen size) even without those benefits. Honestly, sometimes we simply don't have the money for the latest and greatest in creative tech. Especially in this horrid economy. 

What's presented here are alternative ways to still see your creative vision realized using less expensive, convenient mobile technology. I can't stress this enough. Let your talent speak through the technology, don't let the technology be your only talent. If a person absolutely needs a $2000 computer and $1500 of software just to create a digital sketch and render it, otherwise nothing gets done, then something is very wrong. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Comic Book Heroes Created in ArtFlow 2560 x 1600 - Take 2

This is still a work in progress but I wanted to show how far the piece has come along over the last few days. As you can see, I started with a loose sketch of the female character first. I changed the pose, head position and scale as I worked on it. Loose sketch lines to capture the character no different than I would create in a sketchbook using a pencil. Once I was comfortable with the female character, I cleaned up her line work. Shadows and details will be added later on a separate layer. I sketched out the male character on a second layer. I worked out the basic idea loosely. This is an example of why I love ArtFlow. The pencil tool is excellent. I normally use the 2H pencil tool, similar to what I'd use with real pencils. Actually I would use a 3H but ArtFlow goes up to 2H only. The lines at 2H are clean to the point that I don't miss a 3H pencil tool.

Cleaning up the sketch lines are incredibly easy, almost fun as it can be done far easier than working on paper. This allowed me to be free with experimentation without worry of possibly wrecking the piece. Same as the female character, I was able to scale and position the male character to get the best look and be worry free while experimenting with details, correcting and changing as I go. The key is to work on the tablet based on how you work with traditional medium. It's not always possible depending on your personal process. But if it is, then that's the key to making highly detailed work on tablets. Evolve the process from traditional methods to the digital world. I can't stress this enough. 

Hopefully this piece will be done shortly. I'll update the blog as soon as it's completed. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Uptown* From sketchbook to iPhone to Artflow on Android - Collaboration

This is a pencil sketch of a character design by my always awesome friend and partner in crime, Rayya. She took a photo of the sketch using her iPhone 4, sent me a copy of it through Hangouts and I colored it and created the background using ArtFlow. I went back to a resolution of 1920x1080 as opposed to 2650x1600 to avoid unforeseen complications . I'll experiment with the higher resolution again on the next piece.

 This collaboration was a great experience and again illustrated what's possible working with traditional medium and mobile technology across mobile platforms. The only difference I'd try on the next collaboration would be to use a vector based app (Sketchbook Ink or Simplector) for the background and the inking of the character. Inking in ArtFlow isn't bad, but I couldn't get the lines quite as clean or as sharp as I'd like. If Rayya sends me more stuff, I'll try out different rendering styles too. The quality of her sketches are excellent.