don't worry guys, there's a write-up to go with these and the final weeks of the course, but i'm a little swamped right now and all i have is notes... in the middle of moving house, baby due this week, new job... so much going on!
so i'm really sorry the writeup isn't ready just yet, but i'll post it when i have a little more time.
in the meantime though, please allow me to thank again:
Jon Troy "Hazardous" Nickel
Jonah "Mr. Skullface" Gilbert
Chris "Funky Bunnies" Whitaker
Yekaterina "Katia" Bourykina
All of these guys have been so supportive and helpful throughout the course, they're amazing guys and they're a real tribute to the studios they work/have worked for.
to Pior Oberson
for moral support, and for his fantastic statuette which i used for reference when building my base mesh.
and to Laurens "Xoliul" Corijn for his fantastic shader. i hope he gets his website hosting issues sorted soon!
I've learned so much throughout this course it's unreal. it's honestly been a major turning point in my life and i hope i continue to grow and evolve as an artist. i'm looking forward to making you guys proud to have worked with me!
I originally decided not to make a work in progress thread... and keep a diary throughout. I was hoping to post it all at the end of the course in one big go, but Ive just read through week one and realised how huge this is!
So now Im going to keep a diary, and post once per week. And once a week only. Ill simply update the diary each week so everyone can follow my progress. Please dont be offended or upset that Im not reading the thread so much or that you think Im ignoring feedback. Thats really not the case! Im just trying to keep my feedback circle small, and try to make sure I follow the course more than I follow the thread.
While I welcome all criticism and certainly value the feedback of the community. I felt that in this instance it might actually detract from the usefulness of the course if I pay more attention to the forum than the course itself. Especially when it comes to presenting the work in a way that is useful for people when they come to read it and try to learn from it.
Its important that I give a word to the younger members (and their parents). There will be nudity following. Ive tried to keep it as tasteful as possible, but try to bear in mind that a lot that goes into making a human figure must come from studying anatomy... and I feel its important to cite all of the resources I use in this process. Thanks!
So without further adieu, here it is!
Useful links and credits
Before i get into the meat of this thing, i'd like to post any useful links, along with credits where they're due.
Hazardous' course thread - Miku
Funky Bunnies course thread - Dizzy
Katia's course thread - Lady Mechanika
Skullface's course thread - Zero suit Samus
Briggs course thread
!PLEASE READ WEEK 2 FOR INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING THESE FILES!
Regular proportions ztool
Regular proportions .obj
Heroic proportions ztool
Heroic proportions .obj
for the topology manequin he's produced. while i don't own one, the photo's on his site have proved invaluable in the creation of my base mesh.
The group has been talking together on Skype for a while now, about three weeks or so. And right at the beginning, Hazardous provided us with a course overview document. This overview outlined the direction the course would take, expectations, and how the course would be broken up.
Week one would be focused on choosing our girl, and gathering reference of them. There was no style restriction... we could choose realistic, comic, anime, statuesque, whatever we liked! And knowing that there were no restrictions presented me with my first problem: the freedom of choice.
I know myself... I know I can be indecisive sometimes. Its a habit I need to get out of. But I also know I have a tendency to aim far higher than I can actually accomplish. Hazardous told me theres a skill in understanding your limits and working to better them at the right pace. What I took from that, was that I should pick something that challenges me a little, but still has elements within my comfort zone.
So with that in mind Ive spent these last couple of weeks (before the course starts) choosing women I liked the look of, thought were interesting, and gathering many images of them. I made mood boards and concept bibles of each, I also researched their statistics... height, weight, chest and hip measurements etc. Tried to find one that would stand out to me as something I would enjoy, and would be interesting... and also something that would provide me with that little bit of a challenge.
- My first choice was Diane Kruger, who played Helen of Troy. I gathered many images and actually really liked the idea of making Helen of Troy, but after discussion with the group we figured it would end up as more of a cloth study than of the girl herself. And so I decided not to use her.
- My second choice was Machiko Noguchi, a character from the Alien vs. Predator franchise, namely the books and comic book series. A human female (Japanese descent) who wears the armour and weaponry of a predator, hunting aliens etc. Seemed right up my alley! The only problem was lack of reference, the comic books are old and poorly drawn, the novels have detailed descriptions but ultimately thats down to the readers interpretation, and all of the artwork youll find on Google is fan art.
- My third choice was Scarlett Johansson, as the Black Widow from Iron man, and the upcoming Avengers flick. There was no lack of reference for her both in and out of costume, shes certainly a beautiful woman, and her outfit is figure hugging, so it would be a good choice if I wanted to do something realistic and womanly.
- My fourth choice was Rogue from the X-Men. No I dont mean the films! Again there is a lot of reference, but it was quite challenging picking out the genuine marvel work from the fan art in some cases. There are also some fantastic figurines and statues of her which really catch the eye. This would be a great choice if I wanted to push the boundaries of form... marvel heroines are certainly known for their sexiness, while having stylised anatomy.
Week one started with a bang. We all got together on Google+ (something I was sceptical about... Im not a social networking fan) but actually it has some AMAZING features. Screen sharing is just mindblowingly fantastic even if its in its infancy and lacks some features. Id strongly recommend it to anyone considering a collaborative project.
This week consists of choosing our girl, collecting reference, and... Drawing. Emphasis here on drawing. Im not a fan at all; I think I suck at drawing which makes me not want to draw which has led to it being a self fulfilled prophecy! I dont practice because I think I suck and because I dont practice I DO suck! But thats okay! This isnt a drawing master class and truth be told I totally understand the reasoning behind the drawing part of this exercise.
When top artists tell you to try drawing your subject before you model them its to help you become more intimate with the subject, to see it from more angles than you may already have and more importantly it actually helps you to find out things you might have missed at a cursory glance. There are quite a few things I picked up drawing Rogue that I would have missed if I didnt do it. The relationship between the shoulders and hips, the elongation of the torso... these are things you can make a guess at by looking at pictures, but when you start to draw the character you quickly understand how theyre exaggerated, and how easy it would be to go too far and make it all wrong!
Its at this point Im going to introduce you guys to a couple of things. I dont really have a massive concept bible. Instead I focused on a single fantastic reference. This would be my primary sheet, the one I use when all else fails.
Once I had put together the bible reference I started out on secondary reference. This would be fan art or other secondary sources that I thought were good reflections of the character. In some cases this even included real peoples faces, hips, chests etc. All things I felt would be good to use in building the model, things that screamed sexy, or things that really spoke to the character of rogue... the mischievous southern belle, cursed to love from a distance, that fierce and eternal tease. And finally it included any and all of the sketches and drawings I did, yes Im aware theyre horrible! But its spurred me into wanting to do more drawing which is a good thing.
Ive decided to upload the secondary bible in a .psd file, I think its important that you guys see how I built up the sketches (and help me do it better). I started by doing a block out stage, where I focused on main body shapes... the hips, ribcage etc.
An important note here is that I actually did my orthos first... and thats a mistake! Theres a lot missing from the orthos. They lack character, and in a lot of places they seem to lack all of the things I learned from doing all of the other sketches. They also werent as good! After sketching as much as I did for the rest of the sheet Id gotten into a much better flow, and by comparison the orthos were just bad! But thats part of the point of this course, to learn and do better next time. Heres how I went about the sketches
- Start out by gathering reference, scatter it across your drawing space, or put it to the top or one of the sides. But most importantly make sure its always visible!
- Block out your character, my blockout is in red. You can see I focused on basic shapes. A cylinder for limbs, very blocky shapes for the ribs and hips, and the head is made with a circle plus a blocky piece for the jaw.
- Use guidelines with your blockout... try to keep those sexy curves in there, let your blockouts follow those curves!
- Sketch over your blockouts... it doesnt have to follow the blockout 100% in fact if it does youre probably doing it wrong... remember that there are organs and muscles present that arent there in the blockout, the skin goes around those!
- Analyse your sketches guys! This is super important. As much as its good to get external feedback, make sure youre learning from your own work! By analysing, you can tell yourself okay, this part is important to get right... and it will help other people spot things you might have missed.
Heres the higher resolution .PSD file, for those who want it.
Analysis is important here. I wasnt just looking at women (although thats important); I was finding the differences between real women and marvel comics women...
- Real women tend to be around 6.5 - 7 heads tall.
- Marvel women tend to be around 8 heads tall.
- Real women have shorter waists than marvel women which make them appear a little broader.
- Marvel women have elongated waists, which makes them appear slimmer... they arent ACTUALLY slimmer; they just appear that way due to the elongation.
- Real women have soft features, soft jaw lines, delicate shoulders, and some bubbling at the waist/hip area.
- Marvel women have harder features, almost masculine jaw lines, broader faces, square shoulders, and curvier waist/hip transitions.
Its also important to note certain anatomical things... most of you probably know them, but for those who dont, here are some of the things I picked out.
When a leg bends, the hip doesnt... bear this in mind when rigging especially. It also creates a subtle seam on the body, which is an inch or two below the natural seam from the iliac crest and the crotch.
- When the leg bends, the arse cheek follows (see right hand sketch/analysis).
- There are living people with almost super hero proportions... find them and use it to your advantage!
- Breasts hang... even the small ones have gravity against them. This leads to a sometimes subtle natural seam beneath them. Pay attention to it as if you get it wrong it will make the girl look masculine!
- Breasts themselves add another curve to the body, they are ROUND, if you want to study the shape of a breast and dont have a girlfriend, or your parents think youre looking at rude images... try filling a balloon with water and hanging it against something to see how it hangs.
- Arses come in all shapes and sizes, sure my character has a heart shaped arse, but yours might not. Pay attention to what makes your characters arse special! Some women can be identified by their arse alone... its as important as the hands or the face!
- Remember, skin is like Clingfilm... it might occasionally form a natural concave, but more often than not it will simply stretch over a hole or gap. This is especially evident at the abdomen.