Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Story of a Happy Painter

Paint over a scene from Spirited Away to simulate overcast lighting
I took a workshop last year at the Animation Collaborative taught by Dice Tsutsumi. When I started the 'Film Design with Light and Color' workshop, all I wanted was painting practice and learning how the color and lighting theory works in film. I am a BIG film fan and I love to paint. My idea was that simple. What can go wrong?

What I didn't realize was understanding the light and color theory for film is simply not enough, you actually have to be able to execute the idea into concept painting. The concept paintings have to have the accurate sense of lighting as well as cinematically pleasing visual, and it has to support the emotional arc of the story. The painters' understanding of lighting has to be so accurate that the 3D lighters should be able to simulate the exact lighting using the 3D software based on the concept painting.

This might be a real high standard for concept artists in films, and could be geared towards specific concept art directors at certain places, but this is definitely the exact reason why I feel utterly lucky to live in this area. I get to be exposed to these kinds of mastery and get the chance to learn the craft.

The workshop was very competitive to get in. The only reason I was accepted was because Dice saw the potential to follow the curriculum from my traditional Atelier style figure drawings, and a mutual friend told him that my work ethic is great and I WILL WORK VERY HARD to meet the standard. (This is true, people. It's very true)

During that three months from Oct 2013 to Dec 2013, I'd never felt that much challenged art wise since the Ringling times. I painted and painted and painted except when I needed to sleep, go to work and workout. I ran between places because I couldn't afford to lose any minute. One night of hanging out with friends meant one less homework submitted to the class and I knew I would feel ashamed. I never felt I was good enough, because everyone in the class was concept artists and they were freaking amazing painting ninjas, and I?

I have a little bit of oil painting experience from school eight years ago only from observation, never conceptual, and I had no experience in digital painting. On top of that, because I had a very old dying laptop, I got a new desktop (Mac), and a portable painting device (Cintiq Companion, Windows8), which meant I had to set up the new machines and learn the new OSs, while juggling between Mac OS(desktop), Windows XP (laptop), 7 (work) and 8(cintiq) all at the same time, while problem solving all sorts of issues, and well, learning how to paint in Photoshop and learning how to paint BETTER in general.

The painting ninjas got out of the class with beautiful and breath taking color script of Where the Wile Things Are. I focused on color roughs, observational paintings and master copies. In the end, I found my painting skill improved dramatically, and I experienced the change in mind and brain in terms of painting impression instead of painting information. That was huge. The amount of learning I've got in that short amount of time was unbelievable, and even though I know there are so much more to go, I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I've got. I now have to keep the journey going, and slowly herd my effort and result toward my final dream goal: Film Making. I don't know how yet, but I will figure it out....eventually.

What a life and how much I'm in love with it. This gives me an endless happiness and joy as I improve as much as I want to, and as much as I work for it.

Master Copy : Richard Schmid "Exeter Cottage"

Master Copy 
Medium: Digital

The more I study Richard Schmid, the more I realize how efficient he is in strokes. Not sure how he does it, but every stroke counts. He's not interested in depicting EVERYTHING we see. He is interested in depicting EVERYTHING we feel.
A hard working genius. Who can beat that?

Lighting Study 2


Lighting Study

You can simulate lighting situation in 2D concept painting in two ways. 
One: Straight up painting. If you know for sure what kind of lighting you want, this could be the fastest way
Two: paint the scene in overcast lighting situation first, then tweak the lighting in layers in Photoshop. This way lets you try many different lighting situations in much faster way than painting each of them individually.

I tried the second method using one of the overcast lighting painting below


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dice Tsutsumi's Lighting Workshop : Color Roughs

At the end of last year, I took Dice Tsutsumi's workshop at the Animation Collaborative. I painted way more in that three months, than how much I painted over the eight years. It was an amazing experience. and I want to post some of the paintings from the class

Color Rough
Color Rough is a practice of painting over an existing layout to simulate a certain lighting and color situation. In this case, it's an overcast lighting. All layouts are Ghibli Studio animations.

First Color Rough
This is one of the very first digital paintings I've done in my life. It doesn't convey sense of lighting much, and the strokes could be way simpler, but I tried

Second Color Rough: is up there. Look up at the forest scene :)

Third Color Rough : This one was very challenging as there are so much going on. Containing the color in the range of harmony, and getting the sense of distance right was two of main things I struggled the most.

Fourth Color Rough: This is the one that I felt that I finally got the sense of Overcast lighting and I was quite happy with it.

Fifth Color Rough: Lighting wise, I was also quite happy with this one. Painting stokes could be better, but I'm still learning :) I used the exactly the same color from the original layout to focus on only lighting.