Selected Works

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paintover #4: Annalory Sarallo

For our last paintover of 2014, let's take a look at a landscape from  Annalory Sarallo

If I recall correctly, Annalory is a bit new to working in digital media, so I'm glad to see her using some cool textured brushes in photoshop, but sometimes these brushes can be a distraction when setting up the fundamentals of your scene. For this reason we'll be taking this image down to simple color fields to make sure everything makes sense, and then we'll build it back up.

In addition to reducing the image to simpler shapes, I'm also doing some color studies to see if we can capture a specific light in the scene. Currently everything is super saturated and could use some tweaking

As you can see, reducing the image to simple shapes allows you to quickly try out color schemes easily. I use photo reference to give me inspiration for different type of daylight set ups. I could do dozens of these light studies to get exactly the look I want, but in this case I'll go with the closest one to her original image.

Once we have that decided, we can go in a make more complex shapes and color grading- for example, the road that goes back into space is more believable when it's bent as it follows the contours of the landscape, and also as it's value and color are softened as it recedes in the distance.

Once this is all in place, we can now go back with our fancy texture brushes and spice up the image- depending on the style you are working in, you may use very little texture, or you may use photomaterial. I'm using a simple hair brush to suggest the texture that was in the original. Always be mindful of going overboard with's very easy to do! When in doubt, less is often best!

 I hope this helps! happy painting!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Paintover #3 : Lorenzo Tosi

For week we'll be looking at some studies by Lorenzo Tosi

As we can see, Lorenzo has a good feel for light and space in many of these. Notice how the most successful studies have clearly defined spacial groups defined ( fore ground, middle ground and background ) as well as a clear sense of light.

 Since Lorenzo has a good grasp of these principles, I'll take this opportunity to talk a bit about staging as another way for you to make your pieces more successful

If we take a look at study A, we see a fairly neutral camera angle- it's not high or low, wide or narrow angle lens. As a result, there's not alot of drama or emotion to this piece. But let's take a look at what would happen if we tweak the camera just a bit

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paintover #2 : Mirko Failoni

For today's paintover, We'll be looking at the work of Mirko Failoni 

Mirko's in class study shows an adventurer in a mountainous landscape.

While the space and tone are reading pretty good, I think we can push things a bit, but more importantly, I want to see if we can push the details a bit to imply a bit more narrative. 

More after the page break!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Paintover

For my students from the IDEA academy in Rome, I'll be doing some paintovers on their final assignments from our workshop- and first up is the talented Annalisa Leoni

Annalisa had concepted a very cool character living in a barren futuristic world, and she started this piece as part of the environmental assignment. I like the mood she's created here, but I think we can push things a bit to make the scene read better, with just a few tweaks

These would be my suggestions to help to establish a more epic feel, as well as to emphasize the graphic look she is leaning towards:

1. The background mountains are all the same height in the composition, and are quite low- I'm going to bring them up and make them a bit uneven to give a better sense of depth and danger. I'm also going to touch up the furthest mountain to push it farther in the distance. Notice that with this light, I will give the mountains some details on the dark side, as well as a bit of direct rim lighting

2. we want to give the sense that the character is really moving into the scene, so I'm going to create some compositional elements to lead the eye in that direction

3. The artist created some really nice lines in the landscape to establish the space- I will simplify and enhance these lines

4. Finally, I will adjust the tones and lighting on the character as well as her shadow to help place her in the scene.

you can see the steps on this GIF

and the final image ( with some simple lighting to give some extra epicness)!

These are all really simple tweaks that any of you can use to help give you works that extra push! Now go out and paint!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Paintover!

One of my Academy students, Emre Ekmekci recently turned in a prop assignment for critique, and it thought it would be good opportunity to talk about some lighting concepts.

here's his original:

As you can see Emre has a solid start but we could probably tighten up the lighting a bit help with his render and also the overall feel of the piece and push it even further with some simple tricks.

To start with I'm putting down a couple markers to remind me where the lights are coming from. The Warm key light is coming from the left, but it feels a bit patchy at the moment. The Key is generally the most important light in the scene, so it's a good idea to make sure that it's consistent and unified on your subject.

On an new layer I've brightened up the light side, paying special attention to any edges or plane changes which might catch a bit of extra light. It's important to note that although I've chosen to brighten the highlight on the barrel of the gun for this demo, the important part of this step was to unify the lighted surfaces so they feel consistent. I could have stayed with his softer bright spot but it would have been a subtler look and not as obvious for the purpose of the demo.

Likewise, I did a pass with the secondary light, making sure to hit all the surfaces that are facing downwards. I also gave the light a bit of overspill on the upper surfaces- this is not really accurate to the position of the light, but I just wanted to give a bit of separation from the background.

As a final step, I went through and adjusted some drawing issues, such as the ellipse on the scope and scope hood{A}(it's still off, but hopefully you get the idea), as well as fixing the perspective on the butt of the gun{C} grip.
Finally, I knocked the lighting down a bit on all the front surfaces of the gun {B} since this would be receiving the least amount of lighting overall

I purposely didn't address design issues this time around because as a baseline, your concepts should communicate the forms clearly-you don't want your render to be a distraction! Perhaps in future paintovers we can talk design more!I hope this has been useful!