Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arting some spaceships

I've had my coding hat on for so long, I was afraid I'd forgotten how to art. However, we're working on a promo video for ExoMiner this week which the coding tasks can take a back seat for a little bit whilst I get the video together.
  This has also provided a good reason to get on and turn some of last year's concept art in to models,
Here's a sequence showing the process from concept art to the finished model of one of our scout class ships in the game.
  In the game, craft like these are fast, efficient and good for quickly exploring an area but have weak hulls and aren't able to carry much cargo.
  I'm fond of bold colours and shapes in science fiction design but grounded in some sort of reality where some thought is given to what all these gribblies and technododads actually do as well as trying to create a worn, lived in universe where appropriate.
  Whilst working on ExoMiner, I've figured out a pretty speedy pipeline for modelling and texturing assets, all using tools I've written myself or open source tools such as gimp and blender.

Scout ship concept from last year. This was drawn in marker, scanned in and digitally coloured.  I've done a bunch of these and they're not very finished but help me keep on track when modelling.

Took about a day modelling and texturing in Clayworks, Gimp and Blender. I used box modelling and sub-d surfaces but no sculpting for this model as the texture maps handle the subtle paneling just fine.

And then rendered in Blender's Cycles. Note the triangular 'hard points'. All smaller ship have a number of these for attaching components.

And an action shot with the modular space station for good measure

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Not so much a painting, but good fun anyway. Lighting out over the Bristol Channel.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My wife's currently obsessed with Pearl Jam so I did her an oil painting of Eddie Vedder all swishy haired and singing for her birthday. This is my second foray in to oils and I think they're great: going to be doing a lot more oil painting if I get the chance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


After painting Tyrion Lannister, I thought it's only right that I paint our own imp, Tirion. The name 'Tirion' is Welsh for 'gentle' - her name was quite uninspired by the Game of Thrones!

So, here's my latest digital painting. Again, painted in Krita using a wacom bamboo.


And the process animation:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tyrion Lannister

Another study piece from a photo reference, again painted using Krita and a Wacom Bamboo.  It's everybody's favourite Bacchusian small person with a rapier wit and a heart of gold, Tyrion Lannister:

With this image, I'm trying to practice subtler lighting effects.  Here's the process gif, which has ended up looking a bit like ageing in reverse. My preliminary sketch was pretty rough:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Open source painting

NEXT model, painted in Krita with a Wacom Bamboo, from photo reference.
One of the great things that's come out of discussions about Adobe's new pricing structure is a bit of publicity for open-source alternatives.   Whilst gimp is fine for photo and texture manipulation tasks, I've always found it a little clumsy for painting. It's better in 2.8 and by no means unusable but it never seems to flow.  I've been looking for an open source alternative and did this painting to try out Krita.

Krita does feel better for painting tasks than Gimp so it fills a need. I did find the fact that the brush seemed to forget my size setting irritating and brush resizing is a little slow but all in all, it has a good solid feel to it. Open GL support (which should speed things up) seems sketchy at the moment - I actually found it slower using hardware acceleration, at least on my card (NVidia 9500).

Other affordable alternatives that I like are:

Sketch Book Pro and Paint tool SAI, which still has the best blending brush I've used so far.

I like open source, always available tools. I hate messing about with licences - I use different machines and I'll upgrade/reinstall/mess up/recover at least one of them quite frequently. Messing about with restrictive licences complicates this process and has, in the past, left me without the tools I need with a deadline looming.  Free software and unlimited trail/nagware doesn't treat the customer as the enemy or a sheep to be fleeced, which is a good first step in a positive relationship.
  That said, I'm a software developer and this stuff isn't easy. It takes skill and a great deal of time: it deserves remuneration, which is why I'd ask you to buy your commercial software and please donate to open source projects.

Also, I've been playing with the rather wonderful linux command line tool 'convert' which is great for doing batch conversions of images and, amongst other things, for making animated gifs: