Thursday, 8 December 2011

Visual Composition

Visual Composition is the key idea of producing imagery that is pleasing to the eye, i say imagery as it goes for all visual stimuli and medias. It is the process of combining principles to produce imagery that attracts the viewers eye. These principles of Line, Shape, Colour, Texture, Form, Value and Space can be powerful on their own, but combined together they can produce professional pieces of art.
It is important throughout my progression in this course that i should exploit these compositional aspects at all times, but it isn't in till this point that i have really dissected my own work to show how my personal artwork is effective or not.
 Firstly i will talk more in depth about each aspect of visual composition and how it can be effective. Line is the use of lines to direct the flow of the viewers attention and draw a figurative path that the eye dances across. This is usual the first aspect of visual composition that is adopted. Art in its most basic form is line drawing, but this doesn't make it any less necessary or important in producing visually pleasing stimuli. 
 Shape is the principle of  producing areas or masses that resemble things seen in real life, or at least pulled from real life. Shapes are used to produce images and create focal points within a visual target. This makes a piece of work have something interesting to look at and prevents the user from getting distracted too quickly. Shape is adopted shortly after Line normally when i child starts to produce figurative drawings or stick characters with circular shapes for heads, as development progress's as does the complexity of shapes. unfortunantly because arts tends to be frowned upon and drilled out when your younger this is where visual composition ends for most people. Unless artistically inclined most people have a mediocre ability to draw and interpret shapes, thus preventing them from producing more complex and compelling art work. 
Colour is something that is hard to understand and involves understanding, in part colour theory and how colours interact with one another. It is also understanding that colour is light and different subjects react to light differently, producing a vast range of variation in the colours that we see. Colour can be taken in a literal or abstract form and can be used to describe feelings, emotions or messages. Such as blue is normally associated with cold but can also be depression, sadness or calm. Colour symbolic as well as literal, and making sure you understand this when producing aspects of work is important. It can leave a painting feeling dull or make it vibrant and lively. It is the most overlooked of compositional techniques, as if you cannot nail how i colour is supposed to look, the viewer will always have a slight nagging, not matter how perfect the other aspects of visual composition may be, that there is something wrong. Even in abstract pieces colour still has to be produced effectively to convey a message and ultimately entice the viewers eye and imagination.
When it comes to producing composition effective in concept art and 3d pieces the same principles apply. Without a thorough understanding of how these aspect react with the human mind, you will find that you paintings or scenes are always lacking something. Even if you final outcome doesn't turn out brilliantly, if it is fundamentally valid, and interesting, then it is still a success of understanding visual composition and producing worthwhile work. Below are some of my personal work that i have dissected with these fundamentals as well as some other laws of composition;

"Luca Pacioli was known mostly as a mathematician, but he was also trained and keenly interested in art. De Divina Proportione explored the mathematics of the golden ratio. It is often said that Pacioli advocated the golden ratio's application to yield pleasing, harmonious proportions."The Fibonacci spiral is a natural occurring mathematical equation that can be applied to art, as it is a way of producing the most visually appealing image by creating a spiral and working out the most appealing area of a painting. It is the area where the eye will try to stay and it is important to produce something interesting within this area."

It is always important that if drawing land you have the focal point most prominent in the picture, by having a high horizon line the viewers attention is inevitable drawn to the larger area and your focal point. By producing a key component on one side of a painting as well you are creating an asymmetrical image that is more natural and enjoyable for the viewer. Another theory is that odd numbers also avoid symmetry and produce something that is more appealing and more visually impressive. Symmetry tend to imply man made, by using the Rule of odds you can frame objects of interest with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting for the viewer and creates a sense of ease and pleasure. An even number of subjects again produces symmetry which isn't natural and can be distracting. Framing your key aspect with others can be perceived as more friendly as it isn't forcing awkward confrontation with just one subject matter and feel's less threatening. One object surrounded by no interesting surroundings, can be aggressive or unsettling subconsciously. By framing the object you created a better composition and make your visual imagery more pleasing to the eye.

This painting and the one below demonstrate the power of flow lines and lead lines directing the viewers eye constantly towards the centre of the painting or towards a key focal point. Also by following key drawing principles you are creating an unequal ground/sky plane  which makes the painting feel more enjoyable. Again having key focal features of to one side and framing it produces a more enjoyable painting, unless symmetry is required or wanted. Symmetry isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just tend to distract the viewer from what you are painting.

The rule of thirds is that by producing a grid on any medium and dividing it in to thirds. will create areas where at least one focal point should be. For instance on the painting above the right vertical line follows the edge of the train, creating an area that will automatically draw the attention of the viewer and produce a good composition. The rule of thirds again ties in with the theory of uneven numbers being more enjoyable and natural.

The final compositional technique i've shown is simplification, by focusing the attention of the viewer on the focal point (bird) they are not distracted by shapes and forms behind them. Keeping the attention on what you want it to be. Avoiding clutter in an image can result in the full attention of the viewer and again making it a more enjoyable experience. A way of doing this would be to limit the focal length of the shot, but can also be achieved by limiting the pallet and intensity of strokes.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

More Work Updates

Finally got round to producing something of a final for my war of the worlds. I tried so many compositions, probably should have done some prep sketches. I guess i'll learn. Going for the ferry scene with a play on composition. Subtle but i think i works, or i might just be tired of it.

Marmoset trial is going to end in a few days D: had to render out now or face a long wait for money. Anyway chest renders from a project earlier in the year. Diffuse is slightly to saturated i think the old renders were a tad better but it gives you the idea.

Don't think i had posted my trash project either. Reusable assets, and can work with or without certain components. Showing as a large area of rubbish. I might re-do my beer box, too red!
Unfortunantly i haven't scanned all of my sketch books yet but here is the rest of what I've done this last few months;

Loughbrough Prep Sketches & Finals

New Walk Museum Prep Sketches & Finals

Abbey Park Prep Sketches & Finals

Bradgate Park Prep Sketches & Finals

Leicester City Prep Sketches & Finals

Monday, 28 November 2011

Leicester Centre Final

My god, i have never spent so long doing a painting, this literally took me 7/8 hours, wtf. I think i'm going to do some prep sketches on Photoshop, and not care about intricate details. Mega happy with it though, i should be for the amount of time i pumped into it. Also had a little go on the cintiq's in the labs today, took a little while getting used to the fact  you have to work crouching over a little and i tiny bit of lag you tend not to notice with tablets. But they were brilliant.

Monday, 21 November 2011

War of the worlds orthos

Orthographic Tripod Standing an impressive 225 ft above the ground and equaling most buildings in stature. The alien war machine is a formidable and large enemy. It is a  living and breathing machine with organs and lungs, but is nearly indestructible from the outside. It releases a outstanding amount of heat which is funneled through the exhaust in the back. This vaporizes all waste material that it consumes and jettisons it into the atmosphere, whilst sucking in more air to breath. It carry's a asortment of weaponry including its size, such as the tentacle like limbs extruding its underbelly. These fire a deadly heat ray and are used to snatch helpless victims from the ground.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Abbey Park

Abbey Park Final, looks a tad to saturated by hey its autumn, spent a good 4 1/2 hours on this, i'm try desperately to speed up, i'm not overly happy with this, but hey got to post something, enjoys.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bradgate Park Final

Its early in the morning but i got it done, spent around 6 hours on this but i'm happy with how it turned out so mohwell.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Work Updates

Some war of the worlds tripod designs that i knocked up in about 20minutes, the lecture we had with Mitch Small ( A concept artist previously on the course ) really helped me speed up the way in which i worked. I am still no where near as fast as he was, but knocking up thumbnails that are just for reference is a damn sight easier now. Try to just jot down forms and shapes rather than obsess about small details when in reality i will only chose 1 of these designs as my final outcome. You heard it boys and girls, don't take your work to heart you'll just get hurt. Still enjoyed doing these though.

Marmoset is a gem of a renderer, and its a engine so it give a better idea of how your object will look in a functioning game. I'll probably post a more in depth review of my game design projects as they progress and once I've completed the other tasks. By here it is in its relative beauty.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Planning & Concepting in Game Design

Although i left this blog a little late i feel that i have benefited by the lecture that Mitch Small gave us the other day on concepting, so hear it goes.
Concepting isn't just important to the fundamental stages of game design, it is an integral part of every design process at every stage of completion. It helps artist work in a particular style and helps the final assets of a game be more similar in design to each other, by given them examples of design, architecture and color. From producing hundreds of prep sketches for every character, object, color pallet, scene and vehicle; this helps the design team pick through hundreds of designs and find interesting aspects in only a short amount of time. Ultimately saving the company money and you a lot of precious time and  a lot of feelings that would otherwise be shattered. For instance, if you had spent a lot of time polishing just one drawing that wasn't picked for the final game. Mitch made it perfectly clear that becoming attached to your work wasn't a options, as ultimately the design team would probably just disregard it. Spending a long time producing a spectacular painting that wasn't what they wanted was a waste, so producing pages of silhouettes first and refining these as they picked designs they liked is a much more efficient way of working. This will ultimately save time, money and positively effect your pay packet.
Once a few ideas have been thought of, and critiqued, they can be refined so that more detailed iterations are produced in numerous different designs. This level of escalation is important in producing workable material for games and what ever other project you may be working on. By producing visual material, you are producing reference which every other member of the company can use.
Every design process is a type of concepting, it involves thinking of an idea and producing iterations of this in till a final idea and process has been produced. Often it is important not to think of your idea, just focus on the outline and shapes that composes your ideas. This free form expression benefits your work as it encourages you to produce work you wouldn't necessarily think of. Even if your doodling ideas, there should still be a purpose behind this, it should benefit you towards your project.
To concept effectively, you need to be shit hot at organisation. We've already established that concepting isn't just pretty pictures, it's not even producing an endless stream of thumbnails. It requires a wealth of information and reference, which also requires a very effective file system. Imagine trying to find a picture file that wasn't named and lost in a sea of other files. It would be pretty impossible to quickly produce work, which would intern slow the entire project down and you would get fired and die..maybe..probably not. In essence concepting is planning and planning are organised tasks that will help you concept. With the right information and planning, you know your constraints and what you need to do by when. Get it?
In conclusion, concepting isn't just the fancy images you see in Imagine FX, in fact its about 1% of it, concepting is designing world constraints and reference material, that the rest of your company can work with to produce a brilliant game that ties in together. If it requires 60 5 minutes drawings of a character to get them right wouldn't it be better than a 2 hour painting that isn't at all what the producers want, and is effectively a very expensive waste of time.

Monday, 7 November 2011


My Loughbrough Final, i did this earlier in the year, but it wasn't till today that i put any detail on it, i think it turned out pretty well in the end.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Batmunkh Gompa Paint

After Crits I decided to bring it back to grey scale so i can understand distance better, i agree with everything they said. I've changed the walls scale and added some distance in the mountains, though possibly they could use a bit more. I've darkened the airship to bring it forward. Unfortunately i'm stretched for time between this and uni, but if i get a chance ill work colour into it again(: I'm happy with the composition and I've got a lot of triangle points working their way around the image to keep the eye focused. I really enjoyed doing these paints so if i get the next book i'll probably do some work for that too, and hopefully more on this (:

Year Two - Back At Uni

I've been back at university about two weeks now and i couldn't be more excited to be in a working environment again. Having the time off was great but after a month or so i found myself laying around not getting a lot produced. I've only been back a little while and i've already learnt so much both in visual design, game production and my understanding on composure and setting a scene. Looking from the work i've produced this week alone to what i was producing four or so months ago is intriguing. Considering that i hadn't produced that much work during the summer its surprising that I've improved so much. I think it's probably due to the fact that i seem to be in a different mind set than last year.

 I'm a lot more focused, i'm not sure if it's that I've grown up or that i'm just more aware of how important it is to do well this year and to improve on last year. I whole heartily see myself putting in a lot more hours, whether i do is another story ( I'll wait till my journal is finished for this week ).

But i think its right that i see myself as a potential employee rather than a full time student. I think the fact that I'm not a first year as well as given me a kick to buck up and absorb as much information i can from everyone. With everything that i learnt last year i think i have a better understanding of my ability and tools, so as to improve to a level that I'm actually proud of. I suppose that comes hand in hand with being an artist, you are constantly self critiquing and learning and yearning for a better outcome.

I'm still not entirely sure where i see myself going with this degree in the long term. Short term i see myself graduating and hopefully getting a career as an environment artist, though i like the sounds of being an interface artist, i absolutely don't want to push the art side out of my life, so hopefully something that incorporates that full time. But long term i think i see myself either rising through the ranks to a art lead or moving careers into teaching or design. As you can tell i still have no idea, but at least i know this course is right for me, and at least I'm happy with the idea of being here for another two years.

My aspirations for this year are too get as close to 28hours of self directed study a week which i don't see being a major hurdle ( I've managed it two weeks running ). Putting more time and effort into Digital painting ( I've set out to produce around two paints per project plus painting practice in the times in between to break down the work ). Understanding High Poly Baking and modelling and incorporating this into the work i will produce ( Mike has been helping me produce normal maps through baking and showing me ways to improve my modelling proficiency. As well as a lovely way to bake coins onto my chest project ). Last but certainly not least i aim to keep better tabs on what i'm producing on here ( I'm sure a post will follow this one quickly on what I've done so far ). So another year of blogging begins and hopefully i develop some amazing ability to churn out incredible work, hopefully...please? Oh Oh Oh and i aim to have at least one piece of my work on Chris's cool wall.