Category Archives: Backgrounds

Backgrounds paralax-like

My goal is to make 3D backgrounds that feel 2D. I think I should make them by using distinctly 2d textures and overlay them on 3D models.  But before that I think I have to cheat a little bit. So I tried to copy the paralax effect.

I made the following sketch and added values. Just to see some more depth.

25 D test1

Next I made a sort of roadmap. I’m not very good at organizing my work after I started. So good preperations are always important.

In the pictures you can see the different layers. 1 is near to the viewer, and 7 far away. After that I just started to draw the entire piece, keeping the different layers in mind.  I tried to mimmick Moesbius’s ‘ shapelanguage’ . But in the end I want my work to resemble Kazuo Oga’s coloruse/lighting.

The next step was to tweak the colors and values to make a bigger distinction between the different layers. 25 D test

After that I decided to change the color of the moon and ad shadows. I just added an extra layer to all the existing layers, setting the transparancy to 30 and painted the shadows in black.

25 D test4

Below you can see the different layers.

 

And finally a short animation in Blender. But somehow I could not get the ratio of the camera to change. I wanted to get a more vertical composition. Just like my drawings above. But I didn’t succeed in doing so. If you know how to alter the framesize…please let me know.

You  can see this is made with the pre-shaded layers.

Enjoy

Blender test week two

So my tests in Blender are getting somewhat addicting. I can’t wait to get home from work, just to exercise in 3D modeling and sculpting.  The idea of working in Blender was to have a tool to make backgrounds. 3D backgrounds to a 2D animation…of sorts.

Then last week I made a donut…..just to get my bearings around Blender.

So this week I followed another tutorial. Again by Andrew Price. See here to follow the tutorial yourself. I made this….a building. The same building as in the tutorial.

The tutorial is pretty good to follow, except for a couple of small actions he doesn’t explain. But then again, I think this tutorial is for more experienced Blenderers. At one point when making the railing he omits to tell how to disconnect the copied part from the array. It took me over two hours to find out what happened. But in general I’m very gratefull for his tutorials.

Just look at his website for more tutorials in making 3D objects (mostly for architecture).

Now I’m learning a bit more on modeling organic material. But after that I will probably return to modeling buildings and environments. And later on how to use textures, homebrew textures.

When I was in China with my wife I took the following pictures. I think it’s a good idea to try my hand at those. These buildings are a bit more like my concepts.

I like the second last building the best. It has a real feel to it.

Blender test

OK last time I made some buildings in Sketchup, but I wanted to have more detail. So I decided to use a proper 3d-manipulation program…and…..since I don’t have any experience working in Blender I did a tutorial online. A very good one at that.  A beginner’s tutorial made by BlenderGuru. A nine part tutorial in which you learn how to make a still life: donuts on a plate.

donut tutorial

Of course the subject has nothing to do with the S8i story. This was just a way to learn about blender; the User interface, shortcuts etc. etc. The tutorial focused on a photo-realistic render.

But photrealism is not really what I am going for. My goal is to make the backgrounds with blender, but still using hand drawn textures. The overall feel should remain that of a cell animated feature. I want the backgrounds to be reminiscent of the work of: Kazuo Oga (the man is a genius!) and of Jean-Leon Gerome (another genius!)

I’m still in doubt: should I make the characters in 3d or keep them 2d.

Like you see in my (GIIMP) sketch below I work with gradients, shadows, highlights and rim lights. This is possible in cgi (3d). But not as much in 2d animation. I really want to make an animation that remotely looks like this sketch. And I should find out what mix of 2d and 3d would be best.  The sketch is made for a prologue. More on that next time.

uniform try 2

OH……..I noticed I need a new computer.  My computer takes almost 5 minutes to render just one frame (the one with the donut).

Background sketch(up)

After a long break I decided to draw something again. But I wanted to try a new thing. So I made ‘textures’. The goal was to make a background which is easy to modify. Below are my textures used in the scene.

These are some of the drawings for a slum like neighborhood. Similar to Kowloon. I drew these in GIMP. So they are ease to manipulate. Next step was to make it 3D. Or more 2,5D. I wrote down the dimensions made cubes…and started sticking the  textures on sketchup models.

testscenekl

Above are two buildings made from 3 cubes. The 2 for the buildings and one extra for the ‘150’ sign. The 150 has no particular relevance.

And below one with a character. Please don’t mind her face. Like I said, I haven’t been drawing for a long time. Also I put in some silhouettes of buildings in the far background. But it still wasn’t coming togheter.

testsceneckl

Some of my test scenes. In the second one I put in an extra layer, white. I got the feeling the buildings where compeding with the character. Even though S8i (character’s name) was in color. The scenes are okay, but not exactly what I wanted. They are still too much like painted boxes.

storyboard b15

Especially if you compare these to my earlier work on a (very unprofessional) storyboard. Even when I spiced up the scene with multiple buildings and a different viewpoint the scene wasn’t what I wanted. I think I doesn’t look bad though…just not good enough.

2 building test2kl

So next time when I’m going to make a background, I will probably make a model in Blender. With more parts sticking out of the box. Clothing drying in the sun, round waterdrains and airconditionings hanging from the side.

Hope you enjoy, and I’m open for suggestions or questions.

Background check

Here my progress in drawing a background. I really love setdesigns, and wish to get better at it. But I have to make use of cheap trickery to make my work look like anything at all. roadtrip1.4

My initial sketch. A road through a landscape…in case you can’t read my sketch.

roadtrip1.3

Then the actual line-art. I just fleshed out my sketch. Adding detail, changing horizons. Playing god in my own little make believe world.

roadtrip1.2

Then the colorflats. Well, I put some degree of color variation in them. Some speckles and the occasional shadow. And then the cheap tricks start.

roadtrip1.1

I put a lightsource in the scene itself. The sun. Next to that a gradient, red. From top to bottom.

roadtrip1

And then I put in two dark parts at the top and bottom, just to fake some sort of panoramic view.

My work isn’t as good as other backgroundartists….hell. I’m just an amateur. I want to make the backgrounds to be more cinematic. No blackoutlines for example. I’ll put up more.

Enjoy.

F500

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A drawing I made inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin III: the Castle of Cagliostro. I’m trying to learn how to draw properly. Have good character models, hard surface models (car), backgrounds and effects like smoke or clouds.

Layout

wpid-wp-1441884391521.jpgBefore trying to draw anything I like to know what I’m making. So I put my rough ideas on ‘paper’. Road, Car, mountains…note that I didn’t think about adding S8i untill later.  Also the billboard is something I added in at a later stage. Her hair fell flat against the background so  I had to frame it somehow.

Fiat Cinquecento

Of course an homage to Cagliostro. The chase scene in that cartoon is marvelous. Full of action, humor and consistent animation. Hayao Miyazaki knows his vehicles; planes, cars and even walking castles.

I used a method I learned from Thomas Romain. Known for the backgrounds in code Lyoko and Oban Star-racers. A couple of very nice animated series, especially Oban. I saw a post on Tumblr where he explained his workprocess. There is also a book on his work: ‘lost in animation’. The moment I know where and how to get is…I’ll update this post.

He had some tips when you want to draw something ‘complicated’ in perspective. He started out by drawing the object from the side.

wpid-wp-1441439691744.jpg

So there ya go, a Fiat500 from the side. Then he manipulated the image so it looked like it’s in perspective. Just screw, warp or change the dimensions. It’s really easy in GIMP, I guess same goes for other drawing applications.

wpid-wp-1441439688771.jpg

So…there ya go again. Of course this still isn’t enough. Next do the same thing with the other side (the backside).  I have to admit; I was too lazy to do so. Besides I didn’t really think the backside was so complicated. So I just sketched the entire car on top of this one.

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I always lower the opacity to so I can draw the ‘line art’ on a new layer on top, without being distracted too much.

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This layer is the definitive one. I like to keep my work a little bit sketchy. So much is lost in using perfect lines.

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In the end all the hardsurface elements will be made in Blender, but I want them to look like a 2d object.  Maybe rotoscoping, maybe some good cellshaders.

Mountains

I really like the work of: Kazuo Oga known for a lot of the Ghibli movie backgrounds. Also a huge fan of the artwork shown in Rime. I’m still trying to figure out who is the one responsible for those great backgrounds.

I can only say I still have a lot to learn about drawing backgrounds. The line-art is no problem for me. But coloring it, making it believable…THAT is the challenge.

wpid-wp-1441884662939.jpg

So this is a learning moment: I know I have to improve the way I draw trees, mountains…well backgrounds in general.

S8i

The character was already designed. I drew these kind of clothes for the first time though, wanted to give her more of a vacation feel. Although it was somewhat difficult to find an interesting pose: I actually wanted to tell a story. Failed of course, and came up with a more traditional position. So here she’s just resting on the car.

(picture of character in outfit, and color choices).

The first version had her leaning like this:

wpid-wp-1441439698687.jpg wpid-wp-1441884662936.jpg

wpid-wp-1441884662937.jpg

But somehow It just doesn’t work. A: she’s too big.  S8i wouldn’t fit into the car. B: it’s a bit boring. I always have the problem that I can’t spot the problem after I’ve drawn something. I have to step away for a couple of hours/days.

A couple of days later…

OK I revisited the picture. And yeah, she’s way too big, and I just don’t like her pose. She just stands there. Being observed. It feels wrong to me. That’s why I gave her something to carry, some idol she’s holding.

But you already knew that. The picture on top is posed different, and she’s smaller.

Hope you enjoyed my stuff.

Personal bubble

Here you see a couple designs I made for the house of S8i’s parents. It’s a rather big building. Hand-made by her father, an engineer and a bit of a tec-geek.

Sketchbook
Down here is a page out of my sketchbook. I used to carry that book with me all the time. Most of the sketches I made on vacation with my wife. Vacation is a wonderful way of coming up with stories. Especially adventures; you meet interesting people, see different parts of the world and sometimes you start to think in a totally new way.

On this page you see my first attempts at giving S8i a back story. That means thinking about the parents and the place she grew up in. Developing her free mentality.

I started this out by drawing the bathtub. We really want to have a bathtub in the house, so one day I started looking for a good one on internet. I found an ancient tub on an archeological website. Apparently the Inca’s used to have elaborate water systems including bathing areas.
concept boek 20

Floor plan
After the first attempts at the house it was time to think about everything the building should contain.
floor plan concept
It’s not to scale. Please keep in mind I’m not trying to create some kind of dreamhouse. Just a place where the protagonist grew up. So, in this picture you could see there are a lot of rooms. Not just for the parents, and S8i. But for at least four guests at a time. My idea was: give S8i a childhood where she came into contact with lots of different people. This would make her interested in stories of far away places, and give her the capability to judge people correctly.

Render
My first color render of the house.
simple render
Nothing too fancy. Just a way to get a feel for the colors. I want to make the backgrounds in a mix of 2d and 3d, a bit like some of the Ghibli movies….Yeah big fan here. I did some tests using Blender. But still have a lot to learn. The house itself is situated somewhere in the forest. I’m thinking a bit like the black forests in Germany (Hah! I feel another camping trip coming).

Blender
And as last a render I made using my own texture maps. Still looks too smooth. It’s not 2d enough. But it’s a start, and I really liked the lightdynamics. In case you’re wondering I used cycles render, not the standard Blender one.
terracot
Hope you enjoy.

Reference material IKEA

OK, I hope you understand I’m not a master animator, or even a professional one. This is just a hobby. I try to get better every time. So most of my posts will consist of my practice work.

Reference material
Reference material is a must, so every week I’ll put some pictures online. Next to these pictures I’ll upload some sketches. It’s really cool to design a post apocalyptic world, this new world is not necessarily an evil or bad world. It’s just different. There are hints to the one we are used to live in, but the occupants are more or less oblivious to the previous societies.

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Above is a picture of a standard IKEA. I wanted to see what this store would look like after several hundreds years of ‘botanic abuse’. So in my first altered version I just added some sketched plants. As seen below. 20150812_1452553

In my last sketch I put some extra lines. So to make it easier for me to see the building in reference to the characters. In the end I will probably not have a mix of real live photography and sketches. But make a blender3D/GIMP 2D drawn background blend.20150812_1452552

Hope you enjoy.