Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lesser is to Greater as Greater is to the Whole

Little over a year ago I attended a visiting artist's lecture.  The artist was animator Sam Nielson, here are some examples of his work:

I broke his lecture into three sections, I won't expand on these points at the moment, but maybe we can go more in-depth in later posts.  The sections are as follows:  Design, Technique, and Value/Color/Lighting.

  • First, design your artwork with various shapes.  Don't put a bunch of objects together that are the same size, people will automatically put similar sized shaped together and if everything is the same it will look like an uninteresting blob from a distance.
  • Design your characters to be interesting visually: using an animation technique, add squash and stretch to your characters, over-exaggerate features. Once again variety in size and shape will create more interest
  • Your image needs to look interesting from far away.  Say that your piece is in an art gallery and the public are roaming from painting to painting. If one of those people turn around and see your painting from across the room it needs to be readable from that distance.  It will catch their interest and as they draw closer more details will be made available and they will look at the piece for longer than two seconds.
  • 3 Types of Prototyping (Planning your piece)
    • Concept Prototyping - quick thumbnails
    • Throw Away Prototyping - Breaking a big picture down and solving each problem
    • Evolutionary Prototyping - Figure everything out as you go, change things as you go
  • Lesser is to greater as greater is to the whole
  • Start with big brushes first! This applies to traditional and digital.  Work big to small.
  • Save edges for last
  • Everyone loves putting in details, but detail serves a purpose, don't over-detail.  Restrain the detail!
  • Make sure you can step aside and look at your artwork like a normal person would look at it
  • Use subtle value changes, so that you can change things without completely starting over
  • Side lighting creates the sense of action and if you want a sense of mystery use back lighting
  • For lighting a scene or subject simple is better, no need to over-complicate a piece, at the same time, don't be afraid to create exceptional lighting
  • Over Modeling - using too much light/detail in shadow.  In other words, where is your emphasis?  If you want to focus on something in the shadows then that is where your details are and there are very little details in the lighted areas. And vice versa. If your focus is in the lighted area that is where all the details are, not the shadows.
  • Direct sunlight is warmer/Filtered sunlight is cooler/reflected light is warmer
  • Softer light means weaker reflected light and vice versa

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