Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's a lot like having a Tardis of ones's own!

(Click to see these at full size, about 1000 pixels wide)

I guess there were two reasons I neglected this blog for a lot of 2012 -- and they were both interconnected. Anyone who's been glancing at the text of these posts knows how my life went ballistic and spare time flew away like a swarm of bugs. That was the basic reason for me not being able to post -- but it's a lot more complex. Having maybe half an hour going spare, over coffee, in which to do some artwork is one thing ... having a computer that can do something significant in half an hour is something else!

The truth is, in 30 minutes on a struggling computer, you can only get very "ordinary" art. Very average. And as you get more skilled at this stuff, the results you can achieve in such a short time start to get disappointing. So, in the end, you might waffle on with a piece of art and then actually abandon it, because what you were able to do was never going to match what was in your imagination, and then time ran out, and you have to race back to work...

But here's the thing of it: change one parameter there, and the whole picture changes. Umm ... change the computer! The classic fantasy painting in today's post, is a good example. It started life as a complex render filled with textures and reflections and displacement thingies and mapping whatsits. Render time? Just over two minutes. Then, into Photoshop to go through a process involving about eight layers of stuff to come up with this:

... the eye is utterly, completely fooled. You can see how it was painted for cripesakes! You can see how the paint was laid on the illustration board, you can see how a hog bristle brush slapped the texture onto the columns, and which way the brush strokes are going, in the skintones. You can see the last faint trace of the outline sketch, juuuuust showing through the paint, from where the original drawing was transferred to the board. Right?

Wrong. Sorry. The whole thing, from render to Photoshop composit, took about 45 minutes flat. It's all a trick of texture and overlay values. I wish I could tell you it took 40 hours to paint, but that would be a BFF (Big Fat Fib).   

The other render for today is a "frame from the motion picture" type piece of true 3D creation. A few days ago, my computer would have strangled, choked, and hung up, if I asked it to render this. Three trees, vines, grasses, textures on everything, opacity maps, reflections on this, refractions on that, maps everywhere ... half a dozen lights, and then (ulp!) raytacing. If the old machine had somehow managed to render this, it would have taken around three hours to finish up. Render time on this one? Eleven minutes

There is no substitute for processer power! Here's another spin on the movie-frame piece ... this one hasn't been processed to look like a painting, but I've played with the hues and saturation, to get an "illustration" quality rather than something that's actually pretty close to photographic:

Long story short ... what can be done, now, in a rather short space of time, is very significant indeed. Bottom line ... I won't be neglecting this blog quite so much! And the images that have been locked up inside my imagination, trying to batter their way out and not succeeding, will start to see light of day!

Jade, 29 December (rapidly running out of 2011)

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