06 April 2022

Some current work

What have I been up to? Well, there's always something. Recently, I finished another illustration. This was a big, complicated one. It was hard for me because of all the complicated parts and construction settings I had to include in a limited area. I took longer on it that I had planned initially. It came out better than I was hoping for a while. But if the client is okay with it, that's the important thing, right. The agency I did it for put up a movie showing how the image progressed from early sketch to the end result. You can see it here. 

28 January 2022

My work from 2021

It's a bit late, but I thought I should put up work from last year. I don't know that there's much good work, but here's what I have. As always, I did additional work that isn't ready to show in a public forum for one reason or another.

Is this an illustration? Maybe not, as it's mainly a photo. It might not be very exciting, but you do what you have to do. My job was really to create text that looked like it was in the ground, more or less. It had to match the perspective of the photo and I tried different versions to see what would work. I don't know if this does, but it's what eventually got chosen.

This one probably isn't exciting, either. It's a 3D model I had to build for an animation I was working on. I say 'was working,' because I still haven't finished it. It's not for my lack of effort, but it's still being reviewed by the end client. Sometimes, projects can take a long time, depending on how much red tape companies have to go through. For what it is, I guess this little model came out okay.

Here's a shot from that same animation. These little items are geophones that are strung together and planted in the ground. You may notice a similar ground cutaway to other work I posted from the previous year. They are sort of part of a series. I like how this one was turning out, so I hope to finish it someday.

I've been doing a little work for OUR, Operation Underground Railroad that is an organization seeking to free sex slaves in a crime commonly called 'human trafficking.' This was for a digital billboard. It's nothing much, just a bit of image editing with some typography. It's what they were looking for, so I do what I can. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to create more promotional materials for them in the future.

Here's an actual illustration, finally. It's pretty good and I've done something like this before. It won't win any awards, but I tried to do something cool with it. The important part is just the little patches along the runway. As long the client is happy, that's what counts, right? 

Here's another frame from a 3D animation. This one also is still in progress and I'm waiting for approval so I can continue. I didn't build this bit seen here in the upper left; I just organized it for animation and textured it to fit along with the rest of the scene. Yes, it's another ground cutaway.

I taught Life Drawing again this summer, which was nice to do again, since I didn't have it last summer. I hadn't done this kind of drawing for a while, so I wanted to give it a try and make sure I could still do it. I did some practice charcoal drawings before I returned to the classroom. Here is one of the first ones I did. Sorry if this might be NSFW, but it's art. I ended up doing quite a few, as it was fun to do some traditional drawing again. I still try to be classy. This one is currently in our faculty show we are having at UNG.

After a few black and white drawings, I wanted to try and add some color, but in a fun way. I didn't want to do full-on color, but I liked the idea of looking for source material that had an interesting splash of color where I could work with pastels. These are all just on newsprint, so they aren't great works of art that will last for posterity. They are just fun little exercises. After drawing the the red coat, I hesitated for a while on the idea of adding some red as reflected light on the figure. Unlike with digital art, there's no going back once a decision like this is made. Luckily, I liked how it turned out and looked for more ways I could implement this technique in future drawings.

Here's another one. I did this drawing with the idea of recording my work so I could turn it into a tutorial. I've done a lot of digital art tutorials, so I thought I should try some traditional art. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much video my camera would record in one take, so I lost a bit, but I did realize how to do this and pulled it together in the end. In addition to the tutorial videos, I made a time-lapse one so you could see the drawing come together (except the part I didn't record) in just a few minutes. You can see it here. Sorry if the music isn't great. I had something cooler that was a good duration. It was an instrumental piece and the music publisher is in Germany. But a day or two after I uploaded it to YouTube, I got a copyright infringement notice from them. Weird. 

Yet another one. I did say that I ended up doing quite a few this year; this is just a small selection. You can see a lot more of them in my gallery on Deviant Art. This one is a bit different. I kind of like it, especially the contrast between the natural curves of the figure and the hard, artificial edges of the chair. After the other tutorials, I had a request to do one based on drawing the face, so I recorded that while I was working on this drawing. A figure drawing isn't the same thing as a portrait, so getting the likeness right isn't the prime concern. The face looks good here, but it doesn't exactly look like the model. I'm only a little bit disappointed.

This is the last one. I was quite pleased with this drawing as I went back to my idea of adding a shot of color. The thin, diaphanous fabric was a challenge, but in the end I was able to pull it off. I spent a lot of time on this one, trying to get all the anatomy correct. I do like the hints of orange reflecting back on the skin and think it works well to pull everything together. As it was not the full figure, I worked a bit larger and could put a good bit of detail in the face; this one is pretty much a portrait.

My last professional illustration of the year. This one isn't much to look at and it changed quite a bit from the process of going from comp to final. For what it is, it looks pretty good, but I was disappointed in what I ended up with based on the client's request. Earlier versions were more interesting visually, but with commercial work, that's not the most important point.

06 December 2021

Published in 3x3

I had a personal digital painting from last year published in 3x3's Annual 18 this year. It won an award of merit, so no money or anything, but it's nice to win and it helps me toward tenure. Click here to see it. 

3x3 Annual 18

11 February 2021

Upcoming presentation of my work

Just a quick note here: I'll be giving an online presentation about my work to a local library. You can watch it live from wherever you are. It will be 16 February starting at 7:00 pm EST. Click here to watch. Since I wan't be seeing you, I hope you see me there.

01 February 2021

An important step toward tenure

 Today was a deadline for a big milestone for me: my pre-tenure portfolio at UNG was due. I've been working on this for a while, as I had to put together lots of documents, create a full CV, make mini-CVs out of it, put in reports, add student evaluations, respond to all that, and get it organized for the committee to go over when they meet. It was a bit stressful, but I've been working toward this for three years now. It was a bit of a surprise when it was offered, but I'll take it. This review is to see if I'm on track for the full review, which will come in another two years. I'm judged not just on my teaching, but also my research and service to the university and community. Challenging for a digital or commercial artist, but we'll see how it goes.

06 January 2021

My work from 2020

As I look back on my posts for the year, I see it has been a bit slim. I don't know that this worldwide plague we've been enduring has given me much extra time. I certainly haven't done as much freelance work this year as usual, but not as much personal work, either. For one thing, I didn't get to teach a Life Drawing class this summer, so I didn't get any nice drawings like that done. Even though classroom teaching was different and there was less face-to-face time in class, that doesn't mean it's easier for instructors. I think I spent more time trying to create online content for distance learning and figure out how to do things differently. But we all just keep going, right? So gathering it all together, here is what I was able to accomplish during the year.

Here's the first freelance illustration from early in the year. Yes, I know, it looks like so many other things I've done, but if you can do something, you just keep with it if the work comes. This is somewhat conceptual, as the drilling rig is shown in a cross section. Why, I don't recall; I just do what's required of me. If you've followed my recent work, you may recognize this design or color scheme on this rig. The view and all the details on this one were a bit complex and took me some time to do. Just to entertain myself, I added the cool sun reflection and lens flare from the window, but the client didn't like it, so I had to take it out. It's the usual story. But here is the version that I prefer.

The next image is actually a still from a 3D animation I worked on. Another artist built some of the models, but I had to do a lot to refine them and make them match the real equipment we were showcasing. As I work on projects like these, I like to try new techniques or learn something each time. This one is part 3D animation and part compositing. In an attempt to take my animations to the next level and try to make them more realistic, I'm adding effects like light wrap, motion blur, depth of field, and more immersive environments. There was a lot to make come together on this one, but I do like the final result.

Now this is something different. This painting has a bit of a backstory, and not a very pleasant one, I'm afraid. This digital painting was based on a photo my daughter took of her cat. He couldn't live in the house and when we moved, he decided to stay most of the time in the storm drain across the street. The neighborhood kids called him 'sewer cat.' Unfortunately, he didn't choose the drain on the corner of our yard. Maybe he liked living here so he could look out and see his house. 

One rainy day, we were informed that a dead cat was in the street in front of our house. I went out to check and at first I didn't think it was him, but when I opened his eyes to look at him, I knew it was Mighty. That was his name. Picking his body up to move him out of the road and telling my daughter was one of the worst days of the entire stinking year. Anyway, when I saw her Facebook post about him, it included some interesting photos she had taken. I like this one and had never seen it before, so I decide to to a painting of it. I did change the eyes to have more open pupils than the little slits from the picture as this reminded me more of him. I also had to come up with a lot of detail that was only barely there of his black fur in the shadows. I made a canvas print of it and gave it to my daughter as a gift to try and cheer her up.

Here's something I had been working on for a long time and intending to do it for even longer. It's from a photo I took during my time in Vancouver for SIGGRAPH. For some reason, I was fascinated by the streetcar wires criss-crossing each other in the intersection, so I stood out in the middle of the street, trying to get a good set of photos to work from. I guess I was putting it off for a while because I had been busy, but also because it looked so complex. 

But I finally started on it and worked on it bit by bit during downtime in my classes. I started with the wires, cables, and all that hardware just to get it out of the way first. After a while, I got into a groove and began enjoying it. But I actually stopped work on it to work on the previous image, which I cruised through in a few days and then I returned to this one. By the time I finished it, I was quite pleased and glad I finally made myself get it done.

For a long time, I wasn't creating any new art. Then this project came along. It's a still from a 3D animation. This one isn't that exciting, but it's what the client needed. the final animation included some motion graphics and titles added in After Effects. I had to do a pretty much final image as a comp for approval. It was done as a Photoshop illustration, but then I had to recreate it as 3D geometry in Cinema 4D. I'm still waiting for approval to get the final rendering done.

Yes, it's another still from an animation. If it looks somewhat similar to the previous image, that's because they are part of a series that I'm in the middle of. This one was a bit challenging, as I had to build some more complex geometry and also render glass and the lit LEDs. It took a lot of test rendering, but I think I finally like the result I got. This project is still in progress and it's moving along at a slow pace. But that happens sometimes. I think when it's all done and fully animated, it will look pretty cool.

And the last one. I was really struggling to get this done so I could add it to this year's group of artwork. It's from something I saw a few years ago when I was working in Utah for the summer. As I was driving along the highway, I saw the sun going down over the mountains in the west. I think there might have been some fires somewhere, adding a lot of particulates in the sky. This building being lit by the setting some appealed to me for some reason, so I found an exit, parked somewhere, and took a bunch of photos, trying to find a good vantage point. I wasn't really satisfied with them, but they worked well enough to serve as reference for a painting. I finally started during the fall semester, but again, it took me a while to really get involved in this one. But I just pushed through it and finally enjoyed working on parts of it. Is the final painting great? Not really, but I guess it's okay. It's actually a Harley-Davidson dealership, I believe.

So that's it for 2020. Not a great year for my artistic output, but like all of us I just pushed through and tried to accomplish something. I actually did more than this. I worked on creating animations based on some of my past work and tried to gain more VFX skills in After Effects. I'm also involved in projects where I'm creating imagery for products and technologies that are currently in development and there's a lot I can't share. I'm also putting up more tutorials on my VFX playlist on YouTube. So there's always something going on. Still, it's nice to be able to have something nice to show when the year's over. Let's all look forward to something better in 2021.

06 December 2020

Creative Quarterly competition

Now this is something cool. I've been sending out entries to various contests and art shows. Creative Quarterly journal of art and design is a professional publication showcasing working and student artists. They do a competition each quarter and I decided to see if I could get some notice. My experience has been that the kind of work I do professionally doesn't tend to win awards. I think some of it is good, but it's just not artistic, symbolic, or arty enough, even for professional art and design competitions. But I guess this time, something worked. 

For Issue 59, I got submissions chosen in the professional illustration and fine art categories. No money or anything like that, but it does help me in my research work going toward my tenure application. I also had entries chosen in Issue 61 in the professional illustration category. 

It takes a while to get the winners up and online. I'm still waiting for the printed copies to arrive and they are now accepting entries for Issue 63, but the gallery for Issue 59's winners is up and you can see it here. I'll try and see if I can come up with more work that they might like.

Click here to see my fine art winning entry.
Click here to see my illustration winning entry.