As I mentioned in the previous post, this weeks task was to design a vehicle, starting out with silhouettes, taking those into more complex potential designs, and developing a final, for which we were allowed to use digital painting. I was up until around 2:30am painting it, which is the first time I’ve actually had to work until late to finish something. Ordinarily I like to get my work finished at least 3 days before deadline so I have time to tweak and calm down, but with only a week to do this project, that wasn’t going to happen. I expected to be stressed out as a result, but I think because everyone was in the same boat and I felt confident that I would have something to present by the deadline, I wasn’t freaking out despite the fact I was up so late.
So, I really feel the need to evaluate and talk about my final piece because I know it’s not great, and admittedly I can’t justify this other than cry ‘I ran out of time, sir’ and ‘I’m crap at painting right now, sir’. I’m trying. 😦 I tried some techniques I had learned from livestreams with artists such as Peter Mohrbacher and Jonas De Ro, such as using gradient maps to establish colour palettes and the likes, which was a really cool and satisfying way to work. Unfortunately, despite trying about a million different unusual and off the wall colour palettes, I ended up settling for the typical and mundane every-next-gen-game-esque red/brown/green palette. Shame on me. I originally had really wanted to make the wings of my craft iridescent, much like bird feathers really are, but I simply don’t have the ability to even hint at it. I’d had an idea in my head of an almost-fantasy crazy looking bird thingy that I could imagine super future indian aborigines using, but something so organic would require a lot of time for imagineering, coming up with the mechanism of how it works, and actually rendering it to look believable and cool. So yeah, that didn’t happen. At all.
Textures in general are pretty shocking, as well as lighting, atmosphere and general cool-lookingness. The only thing I can really say I pulled off was the perspective but even then that’s only a simple form of it, and to be honest if you take a closer look at my aircraft in the scene, they don’t really look quite right, do they? What I need to do is a) study like mad from my How to Draw book, b) understand lighting and colour theory, and c) quit the cour– I mean, do material studies. It’s a frustratingly slow learning process.
I also feel the need to explain to you how my vehicle actually works, because I’ve had a few questioning looks and I’ve just been sat there wanting to fall through the floor. Bird wings give them the power of flight by being lightweight and (obviously) flapping to create pressure differences above and below the wing. As the wing pushes down, pressure below the wing is much greater then above, causing lift. Having two pairs of wings negates this action- that can’t happen because the pressure above and below the wing is screwed up by the other set of wings. The dual-wing setup has different purposes; to act as a support when the aircraft is on the ground (as you can see in my final), and namely to increase general agility. The aircraft takes off from being stationary as a harrier jump jet or helicopter would, by using the top pair of wings. Once in the air, the wings can rotate individually on their axis where they connect to the main body to act as airbreaks for faster turning while one pair remains spread to stop the entire craft potentially overturning in mid-air due to drag. In normal flight, the wings angle themselves so they are staggered and so do not interfere with one-another’s pressure differences. The wings can also act in unison, locking together during high-speed dives, and the flexible neck area can move using the overlapping plates to maximise speed. When this happens, the ‘elbow’ of the wing has a covert that moves forward to improve airflow over the top of the wing and reduce drag- called a ‘bastard wing’ or alula in birds.
Overall, considering the fact I haven’t really painted from imagination in Photoshop before, things could be worse. I’m very critical of myself because I want to improve and I have levels of ability that I aspire to greatly. I need to learn to like my work and accept that I am going to improve slowly but surely. There’s a lot that I want, and need, to learn but I need to walk before I can run. Next week is my 3D project in which I create a street scene, and I’m really hoping I’ll have time to start my studies again over that time. As far as I know, this weekend is also pretty much free to do what I want with (something I can’t really comprehend right now), so I’ll sort my van project a little more and crack on with some more drawing and painting. I got out my virtually untouched oil paint set the other day, which is all lar-de-dar in a mahogany case and was disgustingly expensive. I really want to do some oil painting of my parrot, but I need to find some MDF board to work on really as I can’t stand canvas texture. That probably won’t be something that happens this weekend but it’s something there to do at some point. Corel Painter is also a new tool I’ve added to my arsenal to play with, as I sometimes find Photoshop really frustrating with how non-traditional and rigid it is.
Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do this weekend. Learn the ways of Painter!
Full vehicle project here.