Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Into the Ancient Ruins" (Complete)


Whew! This one took a while - I really pushed myself to learn new things - new ways of rendering water, foliage, skin, stone. Care with how I handled the light, multiple light sources. Marie, my commissioner, was blessedly patient throughout its creation - and thank goodness for it. I feel like the results winded up being my strongest digital piece yet - I'm really pleased. Thanks again, Marie, for commissioning me to illustrate your wonderful characters!

Also! For anyone not yet aware, I now have an "Inspirations Blog" on Tumblr, set specifically for anything and everything that I find visually interesting, inspiring, or moving in some manner. I also tent to post image progression on there, as it provides a great slide-show feature. For progression on the image, check out its entry at The Shimmy Spot.

Cheers,
Mel

Friday, February 18, 2011

ARMSmasters: Tyr


Cross-posted from The ARMSmasters Project. Mike and I are amidst an effort to nail down finalized reference sheets for each member of the ARMSmasters cast. First on the list was one of the characters whose design has remained quite iconic and concrete since early in on in his conception, Tyr, which is now up in our Artwork gallery. I've often found myself describing Tyr as a living sculpture - his hulking body-builder physique makes him fascinating to draw, as much as his intelligent, approachable nature makes his intimidating size and strength a curious and interesting juxtaposition of character.

Creating these character sheets is proving a great deal of fun, as well as an exploration between what makes Mikes Style and mine our own - how each of us approach drawing shapes in different manners. My ultimate goal with these, of course, is to tailor them as closely to Mike's wonderful style as closely as I can. I receive initial rough sketches for every pose, every expression, and begin to tie them down more and more - each phase of tie down altered with Mike's red-line revisions. Once the line work reaches final approval, the final color treatment for these character sheets is made to reflect all of the final, polished elements we would like to bring to the finalized animation: dual layers of shadow, a gradient light layer, as well as colored line work. 

Below is an example, starting from the initial rough sketch I received through flat colors, of the revisions process these character sheets are going through, as we work to nail down the final look for these reference sheets.



Cheers,
Mel

Thursday, February 10, 2011

MDTG: Color Thoughts


My roommate asked for some thoughts and help with the color design for the film that he’s currently working on. As I’m an absolute sucker for color (And seeing as he is my buddy) I happily obliged. Above is a comparison of thoughts - what Pat handed me and what I, in turn, handed back to him as food for thought. Some of my accompanying notes:
  •  Avoid using gray for a basis of color. It has an unfortunate talent for draining the life out of the hues around it, and tends to make the eye choose desaturated, sickly colors to try and match it: This can work in some instances, but there is ultimately a great deal of warmth in the story Patrick is telling with this film; it may serve better to reflect that in its color design. Pat’s also going for the warmth and sophistication of renaissance painting - gray as a neutral is about as far from that visually as one could get. Best avoided.
  • Try not to use pure white for anything accept the glint of white light in the eyes. In this case, the same thing goes for gray - No touchie. Sepia tones will treat this design with more kindness - and better evoke the warmth found in renaissance painting. Emilio especially is a child with a  great deal of life and spark to him, like a little candle flame Whereas. Mia Talbert, in my own in-progress film, Caravan, was the polar opposite in her color design - she was supposed to look drab and miserable, like a plant that’s been kept indoors too long. Emilio, on the other hand is a happy, healthy child when tucked away in his own little world of imagination. You want him to look like he has blood running through his veins - a sense of warmth. Using a color tone for his shadow - I used a deep brown on a multiplied, low-opacity layer here, for example, and various tones of off-white to tan (all in warm hues) for Emilio’s colors helps. He instantly looks cheerier and more comfortable.
A quick, fun collaboration. More may be on the horizon. You can find much, much more on Pat’s film, My Dad The Giant, here at its official production blog.

♥Mel

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Into the Ruins (Line Art & Flats)


A quick update to show you the clean line art and flat color stage of my current in-progress commission for Marie, of her characters Tyra and Marthin. Below is the line art of the rough sketch seen in this entry, and above, the flat colors, including some simple gradients to begin to explore the overall look and feel for the lighting. More updates will be coming along soon. Thanks for viewing!


-Mel

Monday, February 7, 2011

Roughage


A couple of rough sketches for you all. The above is the approves rough sketch for my current in-progress commission, including the thumbnail I settled on for the image. I'm having a brilliant time drawing Marie and her husband's lovely characters, Tyra and Marthin, again. The concept behind the image:

Tyra and Marthin are just entering an ancient ivy-covered mausoleum, its stairs likely winding down miles below ground into ethereal and uncharted ruins. As they've just entered, Marthin is traveling ahead just a little ways, reading the ruins with excited curiosity, to be certain they are not walking onto a trap or curse of any kind. There are curious stone edifices cropped up out a pool of crystal water, they covered in glowing, mysterious markings The pool itself has a small waterfall, pouring from a stone gargoyle's mouth. The light back by Tyra, she further up the stairs near the entrance, poised to fight at a moment's notice, would be brighter and beautiful, the ancient paneless window behind her allowing light to pour in from the deep forest outside. Down by Marthin the light would be darker and much cooler - he's heading underground, after all - and he would be lit, on one side, by his glowing staff, and on the other side, by the glowing hieroglyphs he's reading upon the wall.


 In addition, here's a couple of quick early-AM ARMSmasters-related doodles created while working on the project's newly launched production blog. They're rough and a bit dodgy, but were amusing to create whilst pushing around HTML and cropping thumbnails all the same. ;)

Cheers,
Mel

Ketrina DeLioncourt in 3D


Hey everyone! It's not often I share other folks' work on my blog, but this happening was far too awesome not to. Many of you may remember the character model sheet I created for miss Kat Bongard of her pirate RPG character, Ketrina DeLioncourt. Well recently, a very talented San Fransisco-based 3D character artist and modeler, Tim Woody, was kind enough to take on modeling Ket in 3D.


While the model itself is still a work in progress, the results already are absolutely beautiful - I love how well he's captured her design and character, and am very grateful for his time in effort in bringing Ketrina to life in 3D. I'll be sure to post the model's progression toward completion, as I receive it. Thank you again, Tim!

-Mel

Friday, February 4, 2011

ARMSmasters Production Blog is LIVE!


After a week of hard work putting the site together, The ARMSmasters public production blog is officially live! Please stop on through, follow us, and stay tuned as we chronicle our animated development process. Thanks, all! 

-Mel