Friday, July 30, 2010
Another quickie cartoon but I really rushed through this one and once again, I'm less-than-thrilled with the results. Tried to keep the coloring VERY basic on this - just highlighted edges and a chunk of shadow on each bit. The only thing remotely adventurous on this one is my crappy water background and even that was a disappointment. Oh well...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This one kinda blows. I'm posting it as a "could-have-been" experiment that went wrong. Not that it's entirely bad--I like what the cat character is all about and the jetpack is kinda fun but almost everything else about it is a let-down.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Not much to say about this one. Spent more time on it than it really deserved but the only unique/interesting features in the thing is more "texture games" and an attempt to fade out my sketch lines a little bit more here and there.
I wanted to litter the yard with a couple of scattered toys but after two days I was getting pretty sick of looking at this one.
AND as usual, the colors and contrast from my Cintiq to the color-calibrated monitors was a horrible shock. It's pretty annoying to work in a particular mode and assume that your color intensity/contrasts are good-to-go and then see that you've really missed the mark. At some point I am going to have to find a way to keep previewing my colors on another monitor while I work on the Cintiq. (I could probably do that by having Faststone image viewer pointed at the .psd file so that it updates with every save. Nice.)
Oh yeah, ONE MORE COMPLAINT: looks like the blogger jpg compression really went to town on some of the details on this one. The dog's hair, the distant rooftop, the boy's face are all mottled and full of chunky noise garbage(tm). Grrrrr.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Tentatively dipping my toe into the dreaded BACKGROUNDS. I thought that I would try something relatively easy for this one and although the background might look rather involved, it's nothing but a photo of a concrete wall with a few hard shadow layers thrown on it and a bit of tinting. (And the big moon in the sky is a 5-second brush smudge that's been masked out with a feathered edge)
Here's a quick thumbnail process shot of the rocks going from concrete image to cut out mask, to shadow overlay to hue tint to color multiply.
Oh, I did try something else new for this one. After drawing over my original sketch lines in Photoshop, I went back and applied a little color to them, just to see whether I liked the effect. It was a little strange looking so I blended a half-half black line with the recolored line and the effect is generally cool. I''ll likely try it again with a future bit.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Went back to try a faux watercolor in Artrage and since I was in the neighborhood, I figured that I would try and skip the sketch re-hash phase and draw directly with the tablet. I used the ink pen in Artrage and I think that with a little practice that I could end up with a line that I'm happy with. Even so, I miss the sketchiness of the pencil and variety in opacity even though the digital line has the advantage of a variable thickness without needing to revisit the line over and over with different pencils. One other hassle with the digital pen/pencil is that my patented cross-hatching technique is much harder to pull off.
I guess I need to do a ton more of these before I make THE CALL.
Another note to self: I'm seeing a VERY noticeable difference in the color transitions from the cintiq to the other monitor. Along the jawline of the cartoon girl the transition from dark to light is somewhat subtle in my original version but looks hard and sharp on this monitor - much more contrast between the colors. For such an expensive gadget, it would be really swell if the cintiq's colors were more true.
One more reminder: next time, LOSE THE LIPS on the little girl. Save those for more "adult" faces - plus, her face needs to loosen up a bit and not be so rigid in comparison to the other faces.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
So here's the deal with this one. I spent about 5 hours on Sunday trying to paint clouds as part of my uphill effort to learn how to paint "environments" and after struggling with the whole concept, I had nothing but some hideous blobs to show for all the time spent. Had some computer down-time today so I broke out photoshop and started doodling a cloud and about 10 minutes later I had the peachy thing that makes up the bottom half of this cartoon. It's almost exactly what I had in mind the other day. I'm not striving for photorealism here but something a little sketchy and raw but that still shows a bit of real-world volume.
Anyway, I had a cute cloud but it seemed weird to simply post it as is so I whipped up the raccoon (possibly as an unconscious riff on Chris' balloon-beavers) and plugged him in to make thing a bit more of a semi-composition (without REALLY being one).
I think the next thing for me to try is a simple ocean scene that uses a bit of color and sky. Yeah, we'll see...
OH, on another note, redoing a few of these lines in Photoshop gives me the idea that I want to try and do a 2nd round of sketching within Photoshop itself on a future cartoon and see how that works out as scanning in my pencils is bringing in a LOT of crap-noise that I can't seem to clean out very easily.
ANOTHER note to self: the flat areas of color on things such as the raccoon, balloon, etc. are really bugging me. I have to find a way to texture things a bit without it getting out of control and muddying the graphics. Work on that.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I did a little experiment this evening. I took a simple cartoon, gave it a texture-color application that was a different than my normal thang and realized that I had a choice to make with the paper cut-out results. The choice was: whether to/how to outline the thing. I'm not feeling very verbose and don't feel much like explaining the thought process (or absence of) behind things so I decided to just post the three versions side by side so that I could review things later and make THE CALL.
At any rate, here they are. From left-to-right: no outline, simple outline, and original sketch outline. If it's not obvious, the original sketch outline is a lot rougher than I would normally keep but I wasn't in the mood to clean the thing up for a simple experiment.
And as usual, I'm undecided on which of these works best for me. The no-line approach is rather fun BUT I think that a lot of the "character" in my cartoons comes from my scrawly pencil lines and I'm not sure that I am comfortable with losing those.
I think the next variation of this mess is to try and take this same cartoon and really give it a "painterly" work-over. Something like I started with the zombie graveyard scene a couple of months ago. We'll see.
Okay. So I came back to this one the next day and did another version without outlines but I tried to color in a slightly more "painterly" manner (see above). Not too bad but I still miss the sketchy outlines. However, on a brighter note, I think that I am finally getting the hang of blending colors properly in Photoshop without the annoying banding. I guess the secret is using a diffuse-edge brush with a lighter touch rather than hanging with that hard-edged brush that I had been using. More practice needed.
Oh, one last note about all of this concerns my danged Cintiq tablet. For a gadget that cost so frigging much, it sure would be swell if the colors on it were accurate. I am still finding myself horribly surprised by the difference in the colors that I *thought* that I was working with when the composition ends up on another monitor and so far I haven't found a way to calibrate or color match the settings that's really helped.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Did this quickie 90-minute cartoon based on a "game" going on over at www.unit-16.com. Nothing much to add other than that. Move along.