First off, Long time lurker, first time poster but this isnt the place for that so ill get right to it.
Currently im working on some portfolio work (graduated with a games design degree last year) im not a novice artist but im still learning, albeit slowly.
There are various aspects to art i need to improve on and im very confident in how im plannign to do that. However, workflow in photoshop stumps me completely, i usually end up with a gazliion layers because i make mistakes
the piece im working on at the moment is a 2000pix x 4000pix (width/height respectively) and im planning on it being a vivid painting of a King or someone or royalty addressing a crowd in a church or castle (medeval setting) with an assassin dropping from above, Ive got the flow of shapes and how i want the scene constructed set out, but i just cant figure out how to start the darn thing!
do i start with the people? do i start with the structure? do i start with colour? or do i start with the assassin? Ive watched alot of videos from gnomon workshop about concept art but i just cant nail down an efficient way to start painting.
Thankyou in advance for any help!
(ps: im trying out a way of forcing myself to use better brushes so as to stop my work looking 'digital'...ive deleted all the photoshop defaults and made my own! hopefulyl it works )
hey James, one thing I strongly recommend in the case of environements, is that you should keep your layers organised in a way that the foreground, middleground,background are separated, this way you dont have to paint between things if you need to add elements. Since you can end up with so many layers, i like to use Layers Sets with names such as foreground, background, etc... You may also want to save some important silhouette/selection so that you can quickly select them ( trees for instance, or skylines ) Painting into selection is a good way to keep sharp edges sharp. If you plan to add atmospheric effects such as bloom, or lightrays, or fog, whatever, anything that affect the values of the subject, i recommend that you keep that on separate layers on top of everything, this way you can turn them off if you need to repaint something on your scene...
Try out custom brushes, but dont waste time having too much of them, you should try them out and eliminate the ones you dont use often..
And dont be shy to collapse layer when you feel that its safe, otherwise your psd will end up lagging and the lag will drive you insane.
About the process, a lot of people like to start in greyscale, adding the colors after with blending modes such as overlays or colors, try to experiment with that and you will slowly find a workflow that suits you. Personally i like to start greyscale for very rough sketches, such as thumbnails to explore ideas.. But i generally prefer to go straight with colors because it gives more control, and you dont have to paint everything twice.
As you are not yet comfortable with poopshock I'd recommend:
First, do some thumbnail sketches.
When you get a composition you like, work on the rough sketch for it. After that, finalize the drawing by fixing the lines, as one would with inking. If you are like me and want the picture to not have lines, your lines could be simpler - you just need them to guide you.
Next one would want to flat the work, so that selections can be made more easily. Just lay down some flat colors in a separate layer so that you can select those with the wand and then just paint in that restricted area on another layer.
There are multiple ways to go about the next steps, one of them is painting the value of the image first. Grayscale, trying to find the right amount of shadow, light and contrast. With layers on "color" you could paint the colors over this.
Another way is directly painting onto a single layer, laying the colors without the grayscale painting as a base.
As for where to start, I generally go from the bigger picture to details. So I'd start setting the scenery, the mood and the lights - not looking to refine anything, just studying the lighting of the scene.
Things like hair, skin, clothing... should be left for when the scene is already working.
The best rendered lips are worthless if there is no mood or the lighting in crappy.
Regarding the brushes: I'd recommend using the photoshop ones (plus yours), just play with the settings. You can always add layers with textures or pull off a few effects to change how it appears to be. It is good to know how it works before going out and about on your own - kinda like you have to know the rules in order to break them.
thumnails do a lot to help you determine the design issue in any painting/drawing. each requires a different approach and there is no one answer. So lots of planning is the only sure answer. And lots of practice!
How do you want your work to look? Painterly, concise, soft, hard, ect.
How much detail do you desire to put in.
What is the focus? Design or composition?
These are some of the questions (imho) that should determine your process.
Anyways this may not be much of an answer, but remember that approach should never limit creativity, but rather let your design determine its own technique to best convey what you desire.
That's such a basic element to game design. I hope you didn't have to pay for an education that didn't even teach you that.
Trust me, thats a whole other issue with the university i went to. Essentially it ended up the majority of us stayed just to get the degree. Lets put it this way, only ONE of the 5 tutors i had, had actually ever worked in the industry and it was 10 years since he left.
I taught him how to apply zbrush skins to maya models and export them into the unreal editor...the new one....they were teaching us 2k4 :/
so mountain of debt, not got the skills i need, its pretty indicative of European universities at the moment and the job market in general, grades mean nothing now, everywhere wants industry experience.