Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Sparky » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:19 pm

You are a Genius, Kureeji!!! :mrgreen:

I hate the 40 character limit.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:45 pm

Composition (part 2)

Rule of Thirds

Uh oh, it says "rule" in the name. The Rule of Thirds is more of a tool, though, that can help you determine a nice composition. Essentially, the idea is that if you divide an image into thirds vertically and horizontally (making a 9x9 grid), it'll serve as a good guideline for where to place the elements and objects in your image from the focal point to the background. Both the lines and the segments can be used.

Let's look at that waterfall picture again:

Image

The waterfall basically runs along the left vertical line. The dead tree fills the rightmost vertical space. The bottom horizontal segment, as well as the far right and left chunks, create a frame with the foliage.

Image

The single tree follows the right vertical line. The island fits in the lower third, while the treeline sorta flows along the topmost segment.

Image

The grass fills the bottom horizontal segment. The treeline generally follows the upper horizontal line, leaving most of the top horizontal for the sky. The strip of sand and rock runs very close to the lower horizontal line, while the chunk of trees on the right are boxed in by the right vertical line.

Keep in mind that this is a guideline, not mathematical perfection. Basically, the ratios created by the thirds (1:2 and vice versa) tend to create a more interesting composition than a 50/50 split. Why? Well...

Visual Weight and Balance

This one might seem a little weird, but it's basically the idea that since we recognize that gravity pulls things downward, we generally find it more aesthetically pleasing if "heavier" aspects of an image are more oriented towards the bottom. It's easy to find exceptions to this "rule" but the general concept is still a good one to keep in mind. For instance, if you have two-thirds of your background image dominated by ground, and then have the sky taking up the remaining third, the lower segment looks "heavier." It's even possible for the ground to take up one third, and the sky the remaining two, and still have the smaller part carry more weight with darker colours and more details (grass, rocks, trees, ponds, etc..) because sky tends to look more empty in comparison.

Now, keeping the idea of "weight" in mind, consider balance. For one area to look "heavy," you don't want to create a sense of imbalance. Otherwise, you risk drawing the eye only to the heavy portion. You want different "segments" of the picture to feel balanced out in some way. For instance, using the "rule of thirds" idea, you don't want, say, the upper segment to look too heavy, or the far right section to have all the focus. Think about ways to balance it out. For instance, an "empty" section of sky might be broken up by lots of contrasting clouds, even if the rest of the picture is ground. What can help in this respect is...

Framing
Again, looking at the rule of thirds, you can attempt to create a frame within your image using negative space. Basically, using those segments, you can create an L or U shape, usually to "close in" around the negative/empty space... or, you can allow that negative space to dominate the image, making it the frame to your more detailed focal point.

Let's look at examples of these different aspects of composition using a single image.

Image

Here's a rule of thirds overlay, showing how the horizon fills the bottom third while the beach station and its tower fill out the right side of the image. The roof fills its own segment, as do the people with their dog.

Image

Now, we can see how the "heavier" aspects of the image (bottom/right) create weight and frame the lighter negative space created by the sky (upper left).

Image

So, with all that in mind, plus the fact that the people and dog are shown on the left but facing the right (with plenty of space before them, so we can tell where they're headed), we get a sense of flow all across the image: from the left, the eye travels to the right, upward, and then back towards the empty space, staying within the image.

Image

However, this picture can also serve as an example of something that should be avoided...

Tangents

In visual art, a tangent describes an area where two lines touch (not intersect).

Image

Here, the head of the woman in the middle "touches" the horizon of the water. This is considered a poor visual aspect because it can cause confusion and disrupt the visual flow. In some cases, it might cover and hide crucial aspects of the background. It can also mess up your perspective and visual depth. It's generally better to have such aspects overlap; for instance, the guy on the left overlaps the horizontal lines.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Daluna13 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:50 pm

Hey my photo teacher taught me that rule :D
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby KyleJCrb » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:18 am

This thread is awesome. This is top-class advice, folks! You'd be doing well to take it into consideration with your own works.

Also, that sketch in the first post is the finest piece of art Lea has ever created.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Tigsie » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:47 am

http://colorschemedesigner.com/

I cheat with this ALL the time! :3
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Tcat » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:52 am

I don't think this has been brought up, but a quick way to remember complimentary colours is pretty simple:
HOLIDAYS! :D

Orange/Blue(black) = Halloween
Red/Green = Christmas
Purple/Yellow = Easter
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:17 pm

Tigsie wrote:http://colorschemedesigner.com/

I cheat with this ALL the time! :3


I'm still making up a nice list of resources for the start page. This'd be a good addition.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby The Shadow Emperor » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:30 pm

Isn't there some other technique in compositions...I think it's called a...golden rectangle or something? I dunno.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:41 pm

The Shadow Emperor wrote:Isn't there some other technique in compositions...I think it's called a...golden rectangle or something? I dunno.


I think you're talking about the golden mean/ratio thing. Yeah, there are lots of tips and methods for all this stuff; I'm trying to give a general basis for everything without shoving a textbook down anyone's throat. There will be more references and tutorials linked in the first post for people to pursue things in depth if they so desire... eventually.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Jeremy Acorn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:32 pm

Kureejii Lea wrote:
Tigsie wrote:http://colorschemedesigner.com/

I cheat with this ALL the time! :3


I'm still making up a nice list of resources for the start page. This'd be a good addition.

Agreed. This will help if I'm feeling lazy with some projects at work. Thanks, Tigsie! :D
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:28 am

(Very) Basic Human Anatomy/Proportions

"But Kureejii Lea," you say, "why do I need to learn anything about anatomy and proportions? Especially human anatomy? I plan on drawing cartoons/animals/monsters/aliens/anthropomorphic toaster people of my own design!"

Yeah, that's nice, but remember what I said at the start of all this? About having a strong foundation? About learning the rules, then breaking them? Right; here we go.

I've noticed that, regardless of whether they're drawing friends or anime characters or anthropomorphic cartoon hedgehogs, a lot of new artists have trouble with basic anatomy and proportions. Sure, they know that their character has a head and a body, and from there there are arms attached to hands that end in fingers and legs with feet and toes and the head probably has some eyeballs or some other protrusions on it. Sure, you know what a body looks like; you have one, after all. So what happens? The problem stems from the details: you end up with hands dragging past the knees or necks attaching directly to shoulders or eyeballs floating up in the hairline. You have the basic idea, you're just not quite sure how that all comes together. Basically, it's a matter of ignorance -- and I'm not saying that to be mean. It's just literally a matter of not really knowing any better. How do we combat ignorance? With wonderful, tasty KNOWLEDGE!

One part of that is observation. Look at what you're trying to draw. Pay attention to its form, how it works, how it's shaped. Not sure how a knee should look, or where ears are placed? Look at people, photos, magazines, the mirror. Use visual references. The other part is, well, studying. Yes, observation is part of that, but ultimately you should know about what it is you're trying to draw to at least some degree. If you don't know what something is supposed to look like and just wing it, frankly, it'll probably show. Knowing things like the shape of muscles and skeletal structure will help immensely; they will teach you how a body is supposed to be able to move and what gives it its structure. Remember: strong foundation. Right down to the squishy, gross stuff.

Now, the proportions part of all this is less to do with how/why bodies look a certain way and the size and placement of its parts in relation to each other and the whole. In other words, making sure everything lines up properly and consistantly. So, along that line...

Image

...eesh. Sorry, guys, the Vitruvian Man this ain't. The more detailed, in-depth stuff will go in the reference section, but I think my scribbles will be enough for a general example.

Anyway, this is a rough illustration of proportions on male and female figures. This is done using an eight "head" scale, which is to say that the figure's overall proportions are measured using the height of the figure's head as a point of reference. Frankly, I used eight because it's a nice, even number commonly used in media, but generally, a realistic human is probably close to something like seven/seven and a half or so. Ultimately, it's not that important; what is important is using it as a measuring tool of sorts. This method helps you determine where various parts of the body line up and how to keep their sizes consistent overall. You can see the general lengths of the arms, legs and torso in relation to each other, as well as where things like elbows, knees, hands, hips, the navel, etc. are placed.

Here are some general notes regarding proportions and anatomy when drawing people. Keep in mind that these are general; people come in a huge variety of heights, shapes and sizes, so of course there are exceptions. Anyway:

-men tend to be taller and somewhat stockier/thicker of build than women.
-men have broader shoulders than women (think maybe three head widths vs two and a half)
-women have wider hips than men
-men's torsos are somewhat tapered; broader at the shoulders, narrower at the hips
-women's torsos are curvier: the shoulders and hips tend to have similar widths, while the waist is narrower between the two
-men tend to have larger feet than women
-shoulders are not straight across; they slope from the neck (think of a wide triangle -- the bottom line indicates the placement of the collarbone)
-the navel lines up with the elbows; many people tend to imagine it lower than it actually is
-hands tend to be about the size of one's face (just don't let anyone punch you after checking)

Now, keep in mind that many of these gender-exclusive details exist in adults, meaning they aren't really present until puberty kicks in. So, what about drawing kids? Well, kids are just smaller humans, right? So let's just scale down what we've already learned and...


Image

...what... what the...

Something about this doesn't look right. Think about it; sure, children are smaller, but are all their features that small? Are their heads tiny to the point of fitting in your hand?

No. No they are not. If you were thinking you could depict different ages by scaling the same body, think again; that's not how it works. As we grow, yes, everything gets bigger, but by how much varies as we age. Compared to, say, the legs, the head doesn't get a whole ton bigger. Basically, what you've got to keep in mind is that proportions for children are not the same as those for adults. While a late teen/adult will probably be drawn at around seven or eight heads tall, a toddler will probably be more around four or five.

So, now that we've got the realistic stuff out of the way... what about stylistic anatomy and proportions? Do the rules still matter if we're going to break them?

Yes! Cartoons, comics, video games and other media tend to exaggerate features for the sake of emphasis and appeal. Yes, men get ridiculously buff, women get tiny waists that shouldn't support their upper bodies, kids get big heads, eyes get huge, etc.. It all affects the visual impact you're trying to create. But regardless of how much you exaggerate features, you still want things to look functional and balanced, not to mention consistent.

For example... look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...

Image

...a man with a massive jaw, tiny facial features and shoulders as wide as a football field! Bruce Timm's general style is rather angular and exaggerates the proportions a bit to get that ridiculously-built "superhero" physique. That idea is obvious with just a glance; you instantly know that this character has a powerful presence. We've still essentially got an eight-head scale going on here, though; the proportions are pushed a bit beyond realistic but it still gives the impression of a basic human form.

On the other hand...

Image

...yeah, this guy is in some video games or something, I dunno. Seriously, though, Sonic is an example of extremely stylized design. His noodle limbs, huge skull and tiny torso obviously throw "realistic anatomy" out the window with the force of a nitro-powered rocket. However, he still has his own set of proportions; he's got a three-head scale going on, and his features are designed to look functional and balanced within that scale. There's a consistency to maintain to make him look right; if his spines are dragging on the floor, his eyes take up 90% of his head and this arms shorter than his torso, you know it's off. It may not be "right" in regards to normal human anatomy, but there's still "right" within the context of the design.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby ValorZard » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:11 pm

I have just started drawing and so far I can only do step by step stuff. i don't now how to do diffrent poses and how do you make charaters without step by steps.
Here are some of the step by steps i use:
http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/954/1/1/ho ... dgehog.htm
http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/8063/1/1/h ... dgehog.htm
http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/5879/1/1/h ... he-cat.htm

you can see there are all from dragoart.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby The JAP Studios » Sun May 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Tcat wrote:I don't think this has been brought up, but a quick way to remember complimentary colours is pretty simple:
HOLIDAYS! :D

Orange/Blue(black) = Halloween
Red/Green = Christmas
Purple/Yellow = Easter


I always go by:


Blue/orange =sonic an tails
Red/green =Mario and Luigi
Yellow/purple =Wario and waluigi
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby jkahn » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:50 am

This is all so true. And of course learning form and anatomy is very important as you mentioned. When coloring you are basically coloring in a 2D plane and need to bring to life a 3D form. The only way to do that is to understand how that form is built. Knowing the inner-workings of that form is a must.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby BlueBlur62391 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:16 pm

Why is drawing so hard!? I try and I try, but I'll never be a good illustrator! :cry:
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