Friday, October 31, 2014

"It's Halloween! Who you gonna call?" Speed Sketch and Render 2560x1600 - ArtFlow

Reassurances. "Who you gonna call?" - ArtFlow

I finished the Kinky Halloween piece for a fetish art community and had some time left before work. So I did a really quick sketch and render of a Ghostbuster ghost trap. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day time photography with the Nexus 5. HDR/Macro/No Post Edits.

City Hall from the Parkway

Bike Path on the River

Harold T. Lash - Philadelphia based Painter.

Mr. Mosquito

What happened?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Iron Man update - 1280 x 800 upscaled to 1920 x1080 - Sketchbook Pro/ArtFlow

Iron Man - created using Sketchbook Pro for Android. Edited using Sketchbook Pro and ArtFlow. 

I completed this version of Iron Man some time ago but the original background was a placeholder. I never got around to creating the background I had in mind for the piece. After looking at the original file on my Motorola Xoom today, I decided to kill the background entirely, change the colors a bit and darken the shadows. I used ArtFlow to tweak the palette and upscale the image from 1280x800 to 1920x1080. 

This was one of the first pieces I completed using the Xoom shortly after Sketchbook Pro released for Android. Those were some exciting times as the potential of tablets beyond media consumption devices started to become apparent. Especially with the original Asus Transformer with the keyboard dock. 

At some point I'll revisit Iron Man using some of the new rendering techniques I've learned but at a higher resolution.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bijumaru Hayasa 2014 - ArtFlow - 1920x1080.

Bijumaru Hayasa - ArtFlow - Final

Bijumaru Hayasa 2014 - ArtFlow - Early portrait version

This is one of my favorite characters that I created for the fantasy story I mentioned in previous blog entries. I tried many different color schemes with him but for some reason orange is the only color that seems to fit. It's very weird. 

For this piece I jumped back to the Motorola Xoom for the extra screen real estate. It's also one of the last hurrahs for the device as I'm looking to buy a 32GB Nexus 9 soon. The Nexus 7 2013 has been a true workhorse. It's handled many creative tasks so well that it truly is one of the best purchases I ever made in my life. But the only down side is the actual screen size. Sometimes, pieces require very broad strokes but 7 inches doesn't really allow for that. Enter the Nexus 9. That doesn't mean I'll stop using the Nexus 7 though. The Nexus 7 is still excellent when larger, broader strokes aren't necessary.

 For this piece I decided to go back to using a larger variety of tools for greater range of techniques. I used the airbrush tool for base colors, shadows and some highlights. I used the a soft edged pen tool for additional highlights, the flock of birds in the distance and details in the moon. I used a textured paint brush for the trees and little touches here and there throughout the piece and I used various pencil tools for details and outlines. 

I struggled a bit with the lighting on this one. Originally, the moon was placed where you see it in the portrait version. But I changed the position and placed it more to the left so the left side of the landscape piece wouldn't be so empty. This change came later in the design process and unfortunately, the lighting on the character was already set which caused some consistency problems. I ran with it because the Xoom has limited RAM and working in 1080p meant less layers to work it. I had to merge down layers as I worked to free up RAM so I could add new layers when needed. The character was already merged, locking the lighting scheme in place (unless I started over from scratch). 

Overall, I'm happy with the final. I'd like to find better ways to render trees though and I'm always practicing with lighting and atmosphere. I'll explore these topics more in future blog entries. I may switch back to Sketchbook Pro too for a project or three because it has superior textured brushes than ArtFlow.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Descent - Final - 2560x1600 - ArtFlow

"Phew" I reworked sections of this piece several times to try to find a best practice to get the multiple light source effect I wanted. I'm happy with the result overall although I'd like to get a bit more depth for the clouds in a future piece. I used a separate layer/layer effect to create the red variant because the character is being pulled into a realm very similar to hell. I wanted to try to make the piece a bit more ominous but the red is overpowering. I decided not to pursue that development path. I'll create other variants later, as the story behind this particular scene is one of my favorite in my  fantasy story. But for now, I'll call this piece "done" and move on to a couple of other ideas. 

ArtFlow - Nexus 7
The Descent - ArtFlow - Nexus 7 (2013)

The Descent - Red Devil Variant

The Descent - Line art

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Descent WIP - 2560x1600 - ArtFlow

The Descent WIP - ArtFlow

There is a scene in fantasy story I wrote about a female mage being pulled into a realm that looks like a twisted combination of classic depictions of heaven and hell. She's caught by surprise and attacked my minions while this takes place. I had a lot of ideas for the scene but started with this concept in more of a comic book format. I wanted a blatant image of the character being pulled down. I'm working more with the pencil tool in this piece for the shadows instead of relying solely on colors too for more of a comic book feel. I may have to increase the canvas width at some point because of a few details I'm considering for the background. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Various Photos Captured with a Nexus 5.

This may be the final round of photos for my Nexus 5 (N5) as I'm considering picking up the Nexus 6. These images were taken testing the usual features discussed in blog entries of the past, Lowlight Performance, Lens Blur, low F-stop+Flash and Depth of Field without the Lens Blur feature. The Nexus 5 camera comes better than advertised thanks to LG. The N5 even today is still offers a great value vs performance ratio as it's a flagship phone with a flagship spec but can be had for $350 brand new off contract. It will receive Android L/Android 5.0 and solely on the strength of that fact I may not buy the Nexus 6. The camera can perform as these shots were pretty easy to capture except for the chess pieces. Lowlight performance is no where near top-of-class with the N5, but the camera can still capture decent shots with even only a bit of night time or ambient lighting.

I may get lucky and find time to capture more images before the Nexus 6 debuts. If I buy a Nexus 6, I'll do a test run with it and see how the camera performs, posting the results here.

Long Walk Home - Captured with a Nexus 5. No post edits. 10/11/14

Long Walk Home 02 - Captured with a Nexus 5 - No post edits. 10/11/14

No place to go - Captured with a Nexus 5 - No post edits. 

Midday reload - Captured with a Nexus 5 - No post edits. 10/12/14

"It's chess, not checkers." - Captured with a Nexus 5. No post edits. 10/14/14

"It's chess, not checkers 02." - Captured with a Nexus 5. No post edits.  10/14/14

"It's chess, not checkers 03." - Captured with a Nexus 5. No post edits. 10/14/14

"It's chess, not checkers 04." - Captured with a Nexus 5. No post edits. 10/14/14

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wong Fei WIP Update 02. 1920x1080 - ArtFlow

In this update, I've changed the colors to the background/underpainting to control the palette in the rendering of the character. I used the airbrush tool for smoother transitions between colors in Wong's face but I kept with the pen tool for the sharp angles of his hair and some shadows. The highlights and other shadows of his skin were created with the airbrush tool with the more intense highlights created using the pen tool. I'm being indecisive about Wong's hair. Traditional anime design generally uses flat shades of color. In that case, Wong's hair is fine the way it is. But in trying to push the design boundaries of anime character creation, I'm considering adding some type of texture to it. I have no idea if that will work but that's the beauty of art in general. Many times, we're making it up as we go with no idea of the outcome. 

At this point in the piece I've run into a technical problem as well. I'm using my old Motorola Xoom for this piece for the extra screen real estate over my Nexus 7 tablets. But the Xoom has half the RAM of my Nexus 7 (2013), 1 GB as opposed to 2GBs on the N7. The higher the resolution used in rendering the piece, in this case, a 1920x1080 ArtFlow canvas, whereas the Xoom's maximum resolution is 1280x800, with only 1GB of RAM is limiting the amount of layers I can create. So I have to use some mental gymnastics in figuring out which layers can be merged so that new layers can be created to finish the background. Technically, I could leave the background as is. I like the brush strokes and the texture it creates. But when I created the background it was with the intention of being the foundation for a more developed scene. I'll play with it later today and see what sticks. 

Wong Fei - Current version

Wong Fei - earlier version

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wong Fei - WIP - 1920x1080 ArtFlow...On a Motorola Xoom

Not much to describe yet. The original Wong Fei character was completed a couple of years ago on a Asus Transformer but the quality isn't the best. So I'm re-rendering the character and cleaning up the lines while adding some elements. Just to see if the tablet can still function, this project is being completed on a Motorola Xoom. Yes, I still have one and it got updated earlier this year to Android 4.1. It still runs pretty good too all things considered. 

Wong Fei - WIP

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Captain Marvel/Captain America" 2560x1600 - ArtFlow

This is the final of a sketch I posted a little over a week ago. With the Avengers finding new popularity from the film release, my thoughts went to one of my favorite graphic novels from the 90s, X-Men vs The Avengers. Marc Silvestri created the artwork, Chris Claremont wrote the story. Captain America didn't lead the team then, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau aka Photon) did and she was powerful. Maybe too powerful. I've always liked her character and wondered why Marvel didn't do more with her. The chances of seeing Monica in an Avengers film are close to zero I think. But I'll probably revisit her again using the latest design as the design presented here is Monica's original look. Thank goodness for fan art. 

Captain America needs no introduction. I sketched him simply because I never have before. I didn't like Captain America until the Serpent Society was introduced in his series many years ago. I believe that was around the time of the death of Modok (at the hands of the Serpent Society). Those were great times to read comics, an inspiration that I haven't found in today's comic books. 

The Captains - Captain Marvel/Captain America from Marvel's Avengers. 

Original sketch created using ArtFlow for Android on a Nexus 7 (2013).