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The human brain is a fantastic library of images. The more you watch the world around you, the more it gets enriched. All one needs to do is to observe every detail around very closely, suggests animation filmmaker-illustrator Vajra Pancharia. He discusses pointers that help him create engaging visuals.

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Cave birdy
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Dojo Training Centre
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Concept illustration for a game
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28 days later after infection

How you see is what you draw.

You derive your mood and emotions from your surroundings. That’s how each element works for you. For instance, nature, for almost all of us is always beautiful and serene. So while painting landscapes and environments you tend to bring out spatial and ethereal feel in them. Of course, the concept plays a great part in determining the details. Similarly, many a times, the surroundings push your emotions to an extreme. That’s when your characters become dark and edgy.

Tomcruise
Visuals
Environment

The story decides the character.

The heart of the story should be the soul of the character. While the story acts like a container, the character is the content. They both work hand in hand to drive the narrative. Above all, aesthetics and clarity matters a lot. They complement each other if you feel the core of the story and bring the small nuances from it visually to the characters. A small gesture, which is appealing, can tell the entire story effectively.

Interior Sketch
MONSTREOPUS
Wolverine

Perspective is your camera on paper.

The world around us is in a 3D space. But we tell our stories through a 2D medium, like paper. That’s why one needs to use few tools to aid the narrative. The most important of them is perspective. It makes viewers’ attention focus towards a certain area in an artwork. Visually, perspective can be used to enhance storytelling, adding more dynamism to some parts. It can also mellow down certain areas to give importance to others. If used wisely, perspective can surely do a good job of conveying an idea.

Naseerudin Shah
Happy holi
Visuals
Hangout

Colours make your stories move.

Colours are the most dynamic part of an artwork. In the real world, they change so quickly that capturing the mood becomes quite challenging for an artist. One needs to learn colour behaviour and understand how it affects the viewer. The best way to go about understanding it is to paint from real life with traditional mediums. This increases your visual sense and helps you choose the right colours which can be later applied on the digital medium.

Relate to exaggerate.

You get best ideas for your character from the surroundings. First identify who, your neighbour, maid, postman, bus conductor, or people in a mall, resembles your character best. Then spot the characteristics, both in behaviour and appearance, which make them what they are. These are the qualities that can bring out the emotions. A good way to understand these features is to enact them out in front of the mirror. That way, you are able to absorb these qualities and translate them into your designs.

Visual development for a game level
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Environment Concept
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Creature Design

Be open and observant.

There is a storehouse of positive energy that surrounds us. It manifests itself through characters, images, stories and every element of nature. You need to keep your eyes and mind open to grab all of it. Ideas, imagination, aesthetics, colours, forms and everything else that make your visuals are born out of this energy. It is the key factor that gets translated into your visuals. Everything else is incidental.

Visual development for a game level
Visuals
Crow
Visuals
Forest Design

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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 

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Vajra Pancharia
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After doing his Bachelors in Communication Design from Symbiosis institute of Design at Pune, Vajra Pancharia pursued Masters in Animation Film Design from IDC, IIT Bombay. Currently, he works as a freelance artist.


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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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

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Before you even think of the character, you need to grasp what is going on in the game, says illustrator Shyam Deshpande. The story gives way to an ecosystem that automatically translates into details for your character. He shares few of his guiding principles.

Character
Hot Date
Character
Moon

Interrogation Before Imagination.

Even before conceiving a character, think why you even need to paint it. There are few questions one needs to answer to get the character right. Like, what are you trying to portray? What is the reason for his/her existence in the game? What is the story he/she dwells in. These form the base of the artwork. Take time to answer these questions. And rest assured, you are going to get a fitting character.



Character
Gaddafe

The Story is The Key.

The first job is to think about the plot of the game. Say, if it’s located on some alien planet, you need to think how the character will exist. Is it a safe happy place or full of unknown creatures? One needs to think about the persona of the character and accessories basis that. For instance, should he/she carry some essential weapons if it’s a scary place? Moreover, how these weapons should complement the character.

 

Like, a cave man shouldn’t be using a gun so you need to give him something which is primitive. Even the costume will have hints of a similar, natural material which is easily available on that planet. In other words, if you have a grab on the story, it will help your imagination to come up with the details.

Character
Lord Vishnu

“Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character”

In Character, Abstraction And Realism Merge.

Of course, abstraction and realism are two different things. But at times, especially in cases of character design, the thin line between the two dissolve. Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character. While painting one, they define the silhouette based on a relatable figure. Depending on the demand of the concept, the look of the character tilts towards abstraction or realism. But ultimately, there is a hint of both in every character.

Mastercopy: After Repin


Character Concept

Exaggeration is a Choice.

There are lots of factors in a figure that makes it appealing for the eye and interesting for the mind. Artists generally look for volume, rhythm, body language, expression and interaction between the forms in characters. While creating for a game, one needs to decide which forms or elements one needs to emphasise on.

 

Directed by the concept, it can be either one of the aspects of the character or one of the supporting elements. Then comes the expression and the physical stance. Say, a character supposed to be king exudes lack of confidence in his body language. This can be totally confusing for the artwork. At the end of the day, you need to choose the elements to exaggerate and give the character a completion.

Character Concept
Hyena

Published in Issue 15

Gaming Art Special! 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 International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 

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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
Warrior
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Official
Fantasy Stories
End of the Story
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Dancer
Fantasy Stories
Barrel Through

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
Snake Girl
Fantasy Stories
Field Marshall Duda Agitator
Fantasy Stories
Pathfinder
Fantasy Stories
Asian Varior
Fantasy Stories

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
Satyr
Fantasy Stories
Sirens
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
Fantasy Stories
Golem
Fantasy Stories
Champion of Impulse
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

 

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It’s not enough to create a character. What makes a difference is the way you portray it. Illustrator Neeraj Menon works on one of his creations to render it a disposition that presents it in a new light. He explains the process.

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Render

Step 01

Started out with a basic sketch. Used a fairly large canvas, usually A4 at 300 dpi, in case you would want to print it out later. It also gave enough room to zoom in and add detail.

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Render

Step 02

Rendered the basic details on the face. Modified the drawing on the left arm slightly. Used only grayscale on the majority of this painting. Realised this was the best way to ensure values and separations remained correct. Blocked in the shape of the goggles and added in the orange lenses. This would be one of the only actual colours used in the entire piece. Used a basic calligraphic brush for most of this painting.

Render

Step 03

Blocked out the basic shape of his flowing coat. This would help form his silhouette. Also blocked out basic folds and lines at this step. Cloth is usually tough to render and it helps a lot to have ready reference at hand. It’s best to shoot your own reference if possible.

Render

Step 04

Added in highlights and detail on his coat, such as bullet holes and tears/rips. Also, to help in the design of his armour, opened up alchemy, a free drawing software. Saved the design and imported into a Photoshop file. The free-flowing shapes in alchemy helped come up with a unique design which could be used as a base for the armour design.

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Render
Render

Step 05

Started fleshing out the armour here. Added shapes and light. Also, added some screws all over it. Used a simple custom brush. Also, at this stage, added a layer of flat purple in pin light mode to give the greys a bit of colour. It helped bring out a sterile sci-fi look.

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Step 06

Modified the armour further and added more light and shade.

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Step 07

Added a hexagonal pattern on the armour to suggest high tech. Used a brush for this to control the size of the pattern. Used the texture setting on the brush and paint it in.

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Step 07a

Added some fiery/glowing edges to the bullet holes on his jacket and small wisps of smoke from them.

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Render

Step 08

Added in bullet impacts on his armour. Added some stitching on his armor which was a simple modification to the calligraphic brush and added some decals overall on his armour.

Render

Step 09

Moved back to the face again. Finished rendering the hair and added some cuts/wounds on his face. Used custom brushes for some of these, which were mostly scanned splatter effects. Such brushes can also be downloaded online.

Render

Step 10

Added in details on the goggles. Used a pattern to suggest texture/material on the frame.

Render

Step 11

Rendered the right hand and then moved on to the gun. Looked for references that would help.

Render

Step 12

Added light shade on the gun and added some screws and glowing bits to suggest it came from the same family as the goggles and armour.

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Render

Step 13

Used some photo reference to get the swordhand right. Added some rim lighting around the edges and tightened up some details futher. Removed the shell casings from the gun. Added a pattern in the background and some sparks with a red gradient in the foreground for an added visual boost. Also added a noise filter in overlay mode on the image for added texture.

Render

Step 14

Arrived at the final image.

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

 

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Neeraj Menon

Neeraj Menon is a freelance Concept artist, Illustrator and comic book colorist based in Pune,India. Graduated in Communication Design, specializing in animation from the Symbiosis Institute of Design. His work has been showcased in leading industry journals such as Spectrum 25, Ballistic Publishing’s Expose 9 & 11, ImagineFX, and many more.


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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

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Devaki Neogi is primarily a self taught illustrator. She was essentially trained as a fashion designer at NIFT, Bangalore, India. After working for few years in the apparel industry as fashion designer, she made a professional transition to ‘Illustrations’ as her chosen career. She is most keen on working on comics, and creating art for them. She has created the art for a few children picture books and comics. In comics, you’ll find her work in Zombie Broadway (Virgin Comics), Dr.Ajax (Pipedream labs), Mixtape (Manta Ray), Mumbai Confidential(Archaia comics). Currently working on a comic creator-owned project and designing/illustrating for graphics for kids wear.


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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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

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Sandeep started his career as an intern at Pixar Animation Studios. Currently he is a designer at Blue Sky Studios. He has also worked as a product designer for Titan.


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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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

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After doing BFA from College of Arts and Crafts, Lucknow University in 1995, Vinay Vikram Singh started his animation career at UTV Toonz, Mumbai. He spent a considerable time in the field of gaming art at Lakshya. Currently, he is the CCO of Rocksalt Interactive.


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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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

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Characters and their stories are but reflections of imageries that surround us. No wonder then, a glance at any of them and we find a commonality. Freelance artist Devaki Neogi explains.

People’s Actions Leads to Events

Even in real life, what human beings do lead to stories that define their lives. This is exactly what happens with characters in artworks too. Either these events influence the characters and make them the victim. Or, the characters influence the events and become the protagonist. Either way, the character and the event have an intimate connection. They influence each other and drive the plot of the whole story.

Style is an Instinctive Reaction

To the brief, that is. An artist’s style emerges. After one understands the objective and visualises the plot, one decides the flavour, or an after taste of the story. That’s the lead that helps in deciding what treatment is necessary for the theme or the artwork.

Freelancing is a Low-Risk Affair

Apart from the freedom and space that freelancing offers, it also helps you decide what’s professionally best for you. As an illustrator you always collaborate and as a freelancer there is no one else making those decisions. Hence, the risk is far less. You only deliver for what you commit. This, in return, helps you specialise, experiment and build a network where the possibility of creating goodwill at your name becomes the greatest asset.

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

 

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