1

A character is incomplete without its costumes, props and environment. Especially if it belongs to the world of fantasy. Therefore, to render a character in totality, one should be very clear of its complete image right from the beginning. Concept artist Milton Das explains creating an artwork of a warrior, complete with its accessories. Here is the step by step process.

Warrior

Step 1

Started with an empty canvas. As a practice, avoided using white. So filled it with dark blue green. This would be the base colour.

Warrior

Step 2

Added some rough ground colours. Also, darkened the edges of the frame so that the eye didn’t wander off. Since the composition would have most of its highlight at the centre, didn’t put any other element towards the edge. Blocked in the rough mass of the character.

Warrior

Step 3

Added a bit of details and a secondary light source below the legs.

Warrior

Step 4

After a satisfactory pose was struck, started to fill in areas. But avoided rendering every place of the image. One should place points of interest at even places. So that despite the eyes moving off, they would find something interesting to look at and eventually come back to the main focal area.

Warrior

Step 5

Fixed the overall composition. Also, made the edges of the twin blades pointing backwards which further reduced the chance of the eyes moving elsewhere. Did some colour corrections and added a stronger light coming from below.

Warrior

Step 6

Added some more elements in the background. Fleshed out the dead monster a bit and added some inscriptions on the sword. Time to render the details.

Warrior

Step 7

Started with the sword first. It is human nature to look at things the main character is looking at. So added two faces in the lower left corner to balance the large hydra (the 3-headed snake) from taking away viewer’s attention. Noticed that the left hand side of the image felt a bit heavy.

Warrior

Step 8

Balanced the composition by adding 3 heads on the right. Rendered the lower blade with flames. Also, worked a bit on the armour. Lastly, added a bit of yellow on the parts that got light from the weapon. Made a point to not use burn and dodge tools while drawing the flames lest they went out of control. Used a soft brush to define the glow then did the details with a hard round brush.

Warrior

Step 9

Rendered the armour and added smaller details. Changed the hair because it was looking a bit too stiff. One would require a lot of patience while detailing this part.

Warrior

Step 10

Finally, did some colour corrections. Copied the whole image and pasted it in a new layer to apply the effects. One could also use a masked layer to do this. Arrived at the final image.

Published in Issue 16

We always wish we had someone to show us the right way of doing things when we were starting our professional journey. And that’s why we have based this issue on graduates. The cover feature is an ensemble of advice from top names of the industry. We have also showcased few talented fresh graduates from across the country, keeping with the theme. You’ll find Tom J Manning and Pallavi Sen share their international exposure as well as insights behind their unique approach. Also featuring Shreya Shetty, a prominent concept artist, who shares the secret behind the believable characters she creates. She believes, with practice and patience, anyone can be a good artist.

 

Order Your Copy!

Danny Jose, compiled some of his character illustrations to create a display of his work. The illustrations are amusing; with care taken to give each character its own idiosyncratic personality. The colour palette is wonderful and the noise added to the texture adds appeal to the overall look.

 

Connect Here

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 44

 




Having Fun with Character Design

Consistency is imperative while creating a series. This can be achieved through the use of line style, tone, colour palette, a specific art form, etc. Here is an illustration series created for The Lily News by Ana Duje, an Argentinean graphic designer and illustrator who currently works between Hong Kong and Barcelona. What makes this unique is the minimalistic art style, the starkness of the white lines and bright pop of colours against the pitch black background.

 

Connect Here

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 44

 




Story
Story
Story
Story
Story

It’s interesting how all of us grow up with individual memories and experiences. It’s fascinating how transforming these memories to stories can create opportunities of telling unique tales that can emotionally connect to a universal audience. Animation filmmaker Balasubramanian explores his own memories and maps them to create engaging visuals and films.

KING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. As the ruler
MYSTERIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. In his mystic world

Everybody is Somebody

All of us grow up in a certain environment, surrounded by visuals, which are unique in their own right. For an artist and storyteller, it’s imperative to go back to these memories to find figment of characters and stories. Everyone’s upbringing defines the visuals, mood, emotion, choice of colour, lighting etc. that one works with. One should be aware of it. After all, it’s always an emotional turmoil and an urge to communicate that makes one a creator. Be true to these feelings and you’ll end up creating engaging stories that will connect and speak to the audience.

RELIGIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Performing a tantric ritual

The Story is the Key

The process of narration can begin with a story, or a character, or justa few visuals. Any which way, it all boils down to one core story which is what you are working on. And this depends on a lot of factors. Who are you talking to? Which cultural mindset do they adhere to? What is the lifestyle and belief set they dwell in? And many more such questions that need to be answered before you take it forward. Next up, the story gives way to the elements of the craft – design, look-&-feel, camera angles, colours, lights etc. The key is to keep your story simple. If struck right, it will never fail to hit the audience and move them from within.

Ideation for an Illustration
WARRIOR SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The fearless warrior

For Your Eyes Firstly

A film is primarily a visual medium. Therefore, it makes sense to pay extra attention to what you are sketching. The visuals should be appealing enough to keep the audience glued and be attentive to the narration. While the story dictates the visuals, it is usually the choice of colours that define the mood. And to top it, use a careful arrangement of lights to heighten the drama and movement of the frame.

THOUGHTFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Glimpse of his incredible brain
FIGHTING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The magnificent warrior

Normal is Boring

There is no fun in being normal. As filmmakers, our job is to blow up proportions of a character or a story that turns it into dramatic, engaging and moving. Exaggerating characters and elements is, therefore, one of the most prominent tools. Caricaturing is an age-old phenomenon. Therefore, the idea of exaggeration brings with it lots of challenges and opportunities at the same time.

POWERFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Displaying supernatural power
FURIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The indestructible force

Hold on to Your Thought

There are umpteen visuals, sounds and incidents happening around you that hold seeds of stories. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and grasp everything that you can. You never know what is going to strike you, when and where. And once you have got the thought, hold on to it. Spend time with that streak of an idea and develop it into something that becomes a part of yourself, in a true and honest manner. That’s how you become a storyteller that’s uniquely you. Hit upon an idea, form a story and then leave it to your instincts to do the rest.

RIDING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. On an incredible journey

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round…

 

Order Your Copy!

The realisation of your idea doesn’t have to be technically correct, but it has to look authentic and believable. That’s how your stories find their way to the heart and mind of the audience. Gaming Studio Grafit Studio shares tricks that make learning this art easier.

Fantasy Stories
Official
Fantasy Stories
Dancer

Almost all stories are alike.

That’s the hard truth, however creative you think you might be. Therefore, the challenge is to present them differently, make them special in some new way. One needs to strive to make made-up stories come to life, to make a beholder believe in whatever is happening on the screen. This trick is not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s worth learning. As soon as you have an idea of how the details work, it becomes easier to ride the whirlwind. Understanding the very core of the subject gives an ability to create believable lighting, surfaces, materials, etc.

Fantasy Stories
Asian Varior
Fantasy Stories
Pathfinder

The plot comes first.

No matter how great your character is, with the poor idea, it is a lost cause. Even super-tough attitude and superhero outfit won’t conceal the weakness of a raw plot and poorly written dialogues. A good plot’s purpose is to reveal something about the characters, confront them with thought-provoking choices, throw them in a situation where their personality gets exposed. The appearance, costume and other details follow this core theme established by the overall plot.

Fantasy Stories
Fantasy Stories
Lamia

Good work is all about skill and sense.

With tools evolving, it’s becoming easier and faster to create art. But the availability of improving tools doesn’t cancel the importance of knowing what you’re doing. Without skill and sense, it’s impossible to create good, an eye-catching image with its depth and atmosphere, regardless of what tools you are using. The core idea always comes from inside. No matter which medium you are using, the basic sense of colour, anatomy, perspective and other skills are must-haves. It’s important to be mindful of technology and style while you create. Sometimes you can give your idea a boost with a proper combination of tools and skills, resulting in a better outcome.

Fantasy Stories
Golem
Fantasy Stories
Gladiator

Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with Internationally renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives. So, go ahead

 

Order Your Copy!

It’s a long way from an idea to an animated film. Particularly when you are creating your characters, environment etc. and then animating everything to come up with a nice narrative. Animation filmmaker Sonia Tiwari experienced that journey while making the short film ‘Bhavri’. She explains the process.

Storyboard and Animatic

Assuming that a solid story and basic character descriptions are in place, the first and foremost helpful thing in animation is a series of storyboards to visually put together the shots in progression. An animatic is putting storyboards on the editing timeline along with corresponding sound effects, voiceover and dialogue. It helps in getting an idea of timing, pacing, acting choices etc., which are very essential for animation.

Shot Analysis

Each shot must have a motivation. Before animation begins one must know the background story of characters, their body language, emotions, physical action, what needs to be conveyed in this shot and what is the time limit for the shot etc. If the shot needs to be for only 4 seconds, we need to cut down on the amount of physical action and make sure there is just enough animation to convey the emotions clearly.


3D Animatic

If one has a 3D animation pipeline, it’s important to begin with a 3D animatic or pre-viz reel, where we assemble all 3D assets such as models, rigged characters, stage setting, props, lights, textures etc. and block all the camera angles. This helps in animating to a camera, making one only animate stuff visible in the renderable camera, instead of animating everything there is in the scene. An important tip is to ‘reference’ all 3D assets in the scene, instead of importing them, so that it is easy to update modifications made to original assets.


Animation Thumbnails

Animation thumbnails can be inspired by the storyboard, but here is where the animator really breaks down the animation and plans out the use of animation principles like weight, anticipation, exaggeration, timing, pacing etc. Using video reference, acting out in front of a mirror, noting down the timing etc are all great resources to draw thumbnails from.


Animation Blocking

This is the first step in taking all the previous animation homework and putting it into the scene. In a 3D pipeline, many animators block the animation with a stepped tangent (used in Maya), block holds and gets the timing as accurate as possible. This is where all the ‘key-poses’ are blocked out and in most cases, all body parts are keyed together. Nothing is offset as of now, just to get a neat view of the overall action. Some animators find it easier to use spline tangents (used in Maya) right from the blocking stage. It all depends on individual convenience.


Animation First and Second Pass

This is where we layer in details in the blocking. For example, if a character is jumping and landing, both feet won’t land at the same time, they will now be offset. While in blocking we only blocked the key poses, now is the time to offset, add in-betweens, expressions etc. It’s all about getting the emotion right and balancing holds with motions.


Feedback Cycle

Ask your fellow animators or seniors for feedback, fix the shots, ask for feedback again and again till the fixing is finally done. One must also know the overall production deadline to know when to stop taking feedback and hit the render button. No shot is done 100% but it needs to be good enough for the production schedule and project requirement.


Final Animation

Accumulating all feedback and references, fixing and layering details in animation, bringing it as close to the director’s vision as possible, letting it go through post-production process and making it fit just right in the overall sequence, makes a shot final.

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round.

 

Order Your Copy!

Pin It on Pinterest