Saturday, 23 September 2017

Photography - Summer in France

I thought I'd finally get round to posting some photography on here because I haven't posted any on this blog for, let me check... over 2 years (on May 31st 2015)! That sure felt like long ago. xD (You can view my photography tag here.) I acknowledge I promised to post pictures from my holiday in Morocco, but since then I've put in a new camera memory so I'll have to find the other one to sort them out! If you guys are interested though, I'll be sure to encourage myself to get round to it because I must admit I'm pretty lazy haha...

On the other hand, I do share most of my photography on my Instagram, which you can view here. (My cousin set up that account for me back when I went on holiday there so I do have, like, two pictures from my stay in Morocco. I have more downloaded on my tablet that I haven't shared though.) Just a little warning: you'd most definitely get spoils for some of my artwork in advance if you view my Insta!

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures I took in France over the summer holidays! I got to do some sightseeing around the Côte d'Albâtre (aka the Alabaster Coast) where I took many photos...

I photographed this randomly because I thought the colours would make a good shot.

This bookshop is super cute! (I didn't get to go in though.)
It says Le Chat Pitre... s'agrandit ! which roughly translates to "the cat who clowns around" and "has grown". It's a play on words of the French word for chapter, chapitre (because you don't pronounce the "t" in chat in French - that is, unless it's a female cat, in which case it would be chatte where you do pronounce the "t")
I lowkey wanted to go on this ferris wheel.
the marina
more of the marina
marina continued
Miam! (French word for "yum" haha) This is a variation of the classic Mille-feuille, which I'm sure everyone knows about. (The only place you can get a real, proper-tasting Mille-feuille is in France imo. Here in the UK they imitate it but it doesn't taste nearly as good!)
I took some photos along the sidewalk too...
I really want that bag in the middle. ;-;
ahoy maties
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions located by the Côte d'Albâtre, known as the Palais Bénédictine (the palace and museum of the Le Grand family). I would have liked to have properly visited this place but there wasn't time unfortunately. It's pretty fancy inside apparently! The site is best known for the making of liqueur back in the old days.
I need a banana tree someday!
The architectural design of this palace is formidable!

And I'll just stop here. C:

I'll make a new post sooner or later (maybe even next week) as a continuation since I have plenty more pics from my holiday in France! If you're interested in seeing more photography do let me know in the comments section below! Also, what was your favourite? ^^

(I was meant to post this yesterday according to my weekly bujo schedule but better late than never!)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Digital Process Tutorial: Genji (Overwatch)

At the moment I'm still slowly working through replying to comments on my posts - I'll do my best to get to all of them soon! :D

I decided to stick with my bullet journal schedule and post this today. I'll admit I was meant to write this up during the summer holidays and have it posted back then but now the school term is already in process! Time flies whoa...

I'm wondering if these tutorials/insights are helpful to anyone or just generally interesting? ^^

As I've shown previously, here's the original sketch. (Once again please ignore the top one!)

To start off, I was beginning to make decisions on what the background would look like. At first I began with an aerial-like view of Osaka Castle (Japan) and a rough cherry blossom tree. However, it doesn't fit too well as the viewing angle wasn't quite how I wanted it (I'll explain in the third step!).

Here I used another reference of Osaka Castle from a low perspective looking upwards (a completely different side). Again, I liked this but decided not to choose it in the final picture as I realised I'd have to draw Genji differently (the focus would also be very different, drawing more attention to the castle instead).

Finally, I produced this clearer background with the (somewhat) correct viewing angle (using the black line cutting through horizontally there). It's a good idea to have at least some knowledge of what your background will eventually look like if you're planning on a complicated one. Another important point is the viewing angle in your background - i.e., do you want a straight view, high view, low view, etc.? Otherwise, the entirety of the perspective can result in a mess and it's pretty irritating (I had this problem with my other drawings, specifically this one and this one). The reason I chose a normal viewing angle here is because Genji in the original sketch fits the line perfectly (notice how his eyes touch the horizon line). Moreover, when I was examining the real-life references, I tried to imagine which point on the wall (below the castle) would the average eye just about meet if a person were standing on the bridge in this picture.

I personally see this concept illustrated brilliantly with photography - which point in the background does the camera's eye meet with? Is it facing skyward, normal eye-level or ground-level?

Here's where I'd began to work on the new layer of lineart for Genji (it didn't turn out to be the final however). I didn't of course work on it with the background layer showing (don't do that haha), I was only checking what it'd look like against the features of the background afterwards. 

Then I realised I'd forgotten certain features of Genji such as his wakizashi (lower right) and other details (in grey above) and I happened to be working on his right arm because it didn't look right (I had to use my own arm as a ref lol) so I completed these unfinished tasks on a separate layer, lowered the opacity and then created a new layer for the new lineart. (This was really inconvenient midway when I had already started working on the newer lineart, so do check that you haven't missed any details before proceeding!)

As shown here, the lines are very thick in some places despite this being the "new" lineart layer, so I had to create a new layer for even newer lineart that appeared more smooth.

So, here's the new smoother lineart! (The lines are a lot less thick and sketchy now.)
Honestly, creating smooth lineart like that in professional art is super annoying and painful (perhaps my most feared step in digital art hm...) On the positive side, it worked well. ^^'

I chose the base colour of the background as this cyan-blue because it would later serve as the primary colour for the sky.

On the right in the canvas I selected a rough colour palette I wanted to use in the colouring process. If you've seen my previous process tutorial of D.Va, you'll have noticed I mentioned that I'd be revealing a better technique of colouring I'd discovered! 

I used just one colour and spread it over inside the lineart and over (with no transparency gaps inside). Then, I used the selection tool (the magic wand looking one or whatever it's called xD) to pick the area where the colour had passed over the lines into the background, and erased it. The selection tool didn't pick up all the excess at once though so I had to select each part bit by bit. (I really need a video here to explain haha.)

Once that was done, I selected the shape left over inside the lines and later made the lineart layer visible so I could add colour (still keeping the selection around this shape visible until I'd got to the shading stage). The reason I like this colouring process rather than the general one, where you don't use a selection tool and manually erase the excess colour, is because it's so much neater (I think it would work well with lineless art too).

Close-up! As you can see, I went over the lines a lot within the shape, not outside. This is a lot easier to fix up. (The shape is still selected here although it might be difficult to see.)

All cleaned up!

Comparing it to the background...

Now this was the stage where I'd just finished adding shading (yes I know, huge jump!) and finally deselected the shape. If you use this process do remember not to deselect until you've added the shading! Otherwise, you'll most certainly either go over the lines or have a hard time trying not to.

More on the shading in this stage: I had in mind that the light was coming from somewhere on the right (I'll do the same to the background later on...)

Another major step I accidentally skipped was actually taking a screenshot of me having drawn a new layer of lineart for the background (over the sketchy one from earlier). This stage here shows the sky I added on a new background layer too... and I love the effect! I used a special sponge brush to add those clouds and several blues blended together for the sky itself.

Once again, I skipped a lot here and reached the step where I'd done the lineless colour stage. I was trying to imitate the brick texture on the wall from the references I was using and did so by sketching lots of various coloured big dots and blending them together using Krita's "smude_soft" brush.

I must say, Osaka Castle was the toughest object to draw in this drawing and the architecture still doesn't look right in my final piece (specifically the bright side to the right). I can tell I really need to practice in the architectural domain of drawing! I think I had to use a lineless technique for this and that proved to be especially difficult. (I also used hundreds of references!) I did of course pick a colour palette too (mainly dark blues).

As shown in this screenshot, I've added a new layer of shadow to the bridge floor for the cherry blossom trees (there are actually more trees behind the viewer's eye I think). I did this by selecting the area of the plain colour of the bridge (as seen in the picture below) and on a new layer, I used a spray-like brush with the opacity lowered to achieve that shadowy effect (because I had selected the plain colour of the bridge, I didn't go over the sides with the shadow).

I acknowledge I keep skipping forward too much; let's take a look at the details in this semi-final background...

Here's what it looks like without the cherry blossom tree and shadow in the way. The vanishing point and horizon are very important aspects to consider here:
The black line there shows the horizon line and the circle highlights the vanishing point - this is the point where the whole picture flows into, kind of like water rushing down a plughole. (Alright, I admit I was lazy and came up with this diagram above in Paint. xD)

Along the wall, I've added extra cherry blossom trees (using the references I had of Osaka Castle). The more they get closer to the vanishing point, the more they become smaller and less prominent (which is quite obvious). Also, I added those extra details of greenery towards the right side to show where the other side of the river bends.

In the photographs I was using as references, they showed another red gate along both sides of the wall with lamp posts so I briefly added those in with a just couple of lines with the line tool and small doodles for lamp heads. 

This part shouldn't have taken too long but I fussed over it too much! On this side of the castle to the left there are a few trees below (obviously I didn't draw their roots or the hillside because I was lazy and it was hidden by the bride anyway xD). I used a few brushes for this step, adding on those lighter shades on top after applying the under shades.

Now for the cherry blossom tree! This was a complicated part because I didn't want it to appear too dominant so as it would distract certain parts of the picture including the castle and the bending of the river. I started off with a layer underneath the branch layer and chose a darker shade of pink for the blossom behind the branches.

Then, I created a new layer on top of the branch layer and chose lighter shades of pink again using the spray brush (I did my best here not to go too far out).

Here's what the picture looks like without the cherry blossom tree (but still with the shadow on the bridge because I like it haha).

I used one of my favourite brushes here to create the line of blossom from the top left corner towards the bottom right corner. To achieve that realistic effect, I had to adjust the brush to a small size as it entered the top left corner and I gradually increased the brush size as it reached the other.

Here's the result!
There are some extras on Genji I forgot to screenshot and explain earlier, including the shading from the cherry blossom tree and the lighting (e.g. on his hair) you can see above.
On the whole I really like how this turned out and as I've already mentioned previously, it's most probably one of my hardest art pieces yet. (I was listening to the soundtrack from The Last Samurai a lot when drawing this too... I think it even inspired me haha~ ^^')

Extra tips...
  • If you're planning on drawing an advanced background like me, try to find a couple of useful references - ones that show the correct angle and viewing point for instance. (If you're looking for pictures with the right viewing point but can't find them then I suggest using a camera to snap the right shots yourself! ^^)
  • Always remember the direction in which light is coming from. 
  • Try experimenting with new brushes! 
As always, if you have any questions or would like some tips/advice feel free to ask below! I'm by no means a professional artist (I'm still learning myself xD) but I might be able to share some useful tips and tricks I've learned through tutorials elsewhere or my own experiences. :)

To see my D.Va process tutorial, click here!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Digital Process Tutorial: D.Va (Overwatch)

Back when I was drawing those D.Va and Genji digital drawings (see this post) I decided I'd take screenshots of my progress to give everyone an insight into how I draw my digital drawings... so here's the post! (Please excuse the fact that I was too lazy to crop the taskbar out of these screenshots... xD)
Click on the pictures for better quality!
Whilst drawing them I was also thinking it would be an interesting idea if I set up a speedpaint in future - anyone interested? ^^
I screenshot this after drawing the new layer of re-done lineart (on top of the traditional drawing layer), where I was beginning to pick a colour palette. With my Genji piece however (which I'll reveal in a separate post), I discovered a better technique of colouring inside of the lineart, so here I used the old technique! I'm sure most people who use art programs like Krita are familiar with it, but here's what I did:
  1. create a new layer underneath the lineart layer (name it "colour" for organisation)
  2. colour the whole area over with the colours you want to use so there are absolutely no transparency gaps inside (you might have to go over the lines to ensure this); note: you don't want to leave any transparency gaps inside, otherwise your background colour will show through
  3. when you're done, pick the eraser tool (whilst still on your "colour" layer!) and erase the excess colour that has gone over the lines (without going inside the lines)

 The process is actually a ton more simpler when you're actually doing it haha. I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about anyway~ xD
Here's where I'd erased all of the excess colour (from above)! As you can see, the lineart is looking pretty neat but it's also a bit plain because the shading and lighting elements haven't been added yet.
In this step, I started adding shading to D.Va's hair. Now there's two methods you could do this:
  • method 1: pick black (or another dark shade - even dark purple works in some ways) from your colour picker and lower the opacity to something like 50% (you can lower it more to make the shading appear lighter)
  • method 2: simply pick darker shades of the colour you're shading (this is the common method but it can be slightly annoying when you have to hunt for the exact right shade of a colour to make it work)
And we're done with the hair! It might look like a piece of cake but I must admit it did take a while (I had to make sure every single line went in the right direction). xD (I went for the opacity method btw!)
Here I wanted to add a glow around her so I started off with ordinary white with the opacity lowered to 25%. It's very important that you know the direction in which the light is coming from (hence the glow on one side of D.Va's face and shading on the other)...
... as demonstrated here
(excuse the poor diagram)
In the traditional drawing, I drew D.Va with bubblegum (also mentioned in the title!) so here I selected the circle tool and coloured it in with a light pink on low opacity (to give that see-through effect).
Here I decided to use a new brush to add that pink glow around the lineart. The reason I chose this colour is simply because it emphasises the prominent pink in the picture. It works by highlighting those key elements (the bomber jacket, bubblegum and war paint).
As you can see, the drawing that I've zoomed, in all of the pictures above was actually this small on the canvas. Therefore, I decided to expand it! (It's a good idea to avoid this step if you can, though, because the drawing can become slightly... faded? It's hard to explain. Try to start big by filling your canvas in the first place instead!) 
At this point I couldn't decide if I wanted the background stamps to be mainly white or just pink with white sparkles. In the end I chose pink because as I've already mentioned, it's the main theme in this picture. The former is perfectly fine (if you see it that way) but I knew it would distract attention away from the pink theme, instead by drawing you in to the white aspects of this picture (the white glow for example).
And we're done!
At this stage you can decide whether or not to add your signature/watermark. Ever since October 2015 (when I joined Tumblr) I've always added my signatures to my drawings (especially the ones I've worked the longest/hardest on) because I continually see cases of art theft/reposting/whatnot without permission from the artist (which is very unethical and sometimes even unlawful). However, I've heard a lot about artists not wanting to add a signature/watermark because it can have a bad effect on the overall appearance of the artwork, which is pretty understandable. Here I'm not telling any artists out there what to do, I'm just presenting facts - you decide! :)

Here's the final piece!
(I'm sure this is obvious, but if you're using an art program that has its own file extension, you'll have to convert it to a format that can be displayed elsewhere (e.g. on Blogger). To do this, click "save as" and change "save as type" (situated under "file name") to something like .jpg or .png. I always choose .png because unlike .jpg it has a lossless compression that doesn't lose any of the quality but still reduces the original file size (in my case, .kra, the krita file extension).)
Extra advice:
  • Remember to name your layers and organise them into groups as soon as you start drawing (this can help a ton with organisation, hiding/showing layers and removing layers)
  • Remember to mirror your image horizontally every so often (this will reveal a lot of your mistakes which you can correct as you go along rather than discover them all much too late)
  • Remember to ALWAYS save! I've lost work in the past from not saving and it's the most annoying feeling you could ever imagine. To save yourself from this catastrophe, save your file before you even draw anything. After that, continually use the CTRL + S command at least every 5 minutes, or after doing something big.
  • It's also just as important that you back your files up. As soon as I've finished drawing for the day, I back-up my drawing onto a memory stick and at a later day I email the drawings to myself as well (so I have a copy over the net) - although it would be best to use a medium like Google Drive. It's best to back up the original file (e.g. in my case, .kra) rather than the converted file (e.g in my case, .png) because assuming you lose the original file, the converted file will only have all the layers merged together into one.  

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions concerning art advice or this drawing process at all please do ask them in the comments below! Also, if you're looking for a professional, free art program out there that is compatible with drawing tablets (e.g. Wacom), I highly recommend downloading Krita. It's easy to use, has a great range of tools and you can create so many things with it. (And no this isn't sponsored. xD)

Edit: I know I haven't named my layers here but don't be like me!