Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Brainstorming, part of Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush Photoshop and Maya.
Let's leave the digital studio for the next couple of movies and take a minute to focus directly on the concept of the creature. Using traditional drawing materials can help ideas flow without fancy software and buttons to get in the way. One thing that trips up a lot of beginner concept artists is that they compare their drawing skills to the slick finished work of professional artists. Finished concept art is usually very highly detailed, beautifully rendered and painstakingly crafted. Beginner designers often feel like every drawing they do has to live up to those standards or they're just not cut out to be a concept artist.
I'm going to let you in on one of the biggest secrets in concept art. Those slick paintings that look so good are just the end result of a whole process of sketching. Before sitting down to create finished art, a concept artist will go through page after page of loose doodles that they probably be embarrassed to show their mothers. Some of the doodles I make are so abstract that they don't even seem to be relevant to the project. It's just one way of loosening up your mind and your hand so that when ideas come you'll be ready to capture them.
The biggest mistake you can make is to try to sit down and just do that one finished painting or drawing. When you never see the stacks of sketches that built up to a finished drawing you can get a distorted idea of how the artist created it. You may get discouraged that your attempts at finished art either look awkward or unrefined, and think that you just don't have it in you. The problem is not necessarily that you're a bad artist but rather that you didn't realize that a ton of rough drawings must precede the finished work.
These rough drawings help you explore different ideas and designs. They help you read out clich degrees or bad ideas. Loose or accidental scribbles can inspire new ideas you never would've come up with otherwise. I try to avoid laboring over a single drawing and making it anatomically perfect and beautifully rendered. In your sketches try to loosen up and do pages full of quick, gestural shapes, then once you've got lots to look at, take a step back and examine what you've come up with.
Nobody else needs to see the work at this point. You understand that the squiggly line represents a backbone. Keep the drawings so fast and loose that only you understand them. Don't worry about any details of the creature at this point. Just deal with the overall shapes. Never fall in love with your first idea or design. Always work out variations and different ways of looking at it. Very rarely your first idea will be a winner but if you don't do a whole bunch of alternatives, you'll never know what else you could have done.
You will never have the confidence of saying this idea is the best compared to all the rest.
- Brainstorming and refining a character concept
- Installing custom brushes
- Optimizing tablet settings
- Posing the ZSpheres in ZBrush
- Sculpting muscles and midsize shapes
- Working with DynaMesh
- Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
- Creating topology for animation
- Sculpting fine detail
- Cleaning up a mesh in Maya
- Creating the UV layout
- Lighting and shading
- Painting texture maps
- Posing with Transpose tools in ZBrush
- Batch rendering a turntable animation
Skill Level Intermediate
1. Preparing Your Workspace
2. Designing the Creature
3. Basic Sculpting in ZBrush
4. Basic Modeling in Maya
5. Creating Topology for Animation
6. Creating the UV Layout
7. Creating a Pedestal Environment
8. Lighting and Shading
10. Posing the Model
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