Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Membrane book cover

I was recently asked to create a book cover for an e-book written by Don Densmore.  While the book is quite descriptive, I was given free-reign to design the book cover as I envisioned it.  Don was great to work for and was very happy with the illustration I created.

His book can be found here:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/membrane-don-densmore/1118923338?ean=2940149278824



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Places I Have Never Been #4: The Stepped City Of Andahar


Another image created in PD Pro Howler.  This one is pretty much a straight render with no post processing.  What's fun about these images is that they tale very little time to create, yet the results are almost always impressive.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Places I Have Never Been - 3: The Green Fields of Monrovia

Another landscape made with PDPro Howler.  This one was done like the others but I used special particle brushes to create some vegetation on the foreground hills.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Places I've Never Been 2 - The Wizard Plains

Here's another image made with PD Pro Howler, and the awesome new filter called Puppy Ray that turns any image into a height map and eventually a landscape.  There's lots of control over lighting (including global illumination), camera placement and more.  I did do a lot of color correction and also added the foreground vegetation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Places I've Never Been, Number 1

I've been using PD Pro Howler for many years now.  It's a fascinating paint and animation program but its lack of opaque layers limits its usefulness when it comes to digital painting.  Even though version 9 doesn't fix the problem, it does add some incredible new features that I'm having a blast playing with.

You can now take any kind of image and use it as an elevation map that can then be raytraced with global illumination to create all sorts of fantastic landscapes.  This image uses a floor plan I found on the internet, that was then distressed using some of Howler's filters.  The resulting image was then combined with a color map to give it a desert feel.  The images were then used by the built-in raytracing filter to create the image you see here.

It's all incredibly fun to play with and hopefully I'll post many more interesting images in the near future.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Samsung Ativ 500t review for the digital artist



While I've long lusted after one of those amazing Wacom Cintiq tablets, the new breed of Windows Pro tablets provide a lot of the same functionality for less money.

I purchased a refurbished Samsung Ativ 500t Windows 8 tablet about a month ago.  It's been a love-hate relationship since I'm trying to unlearn things that I can do on an iPad as well as get used to the dual Windows 8 interface.  The app side works much like an iPad but the Desktop side works just like a regular PC.  Therein lies the problem since many Windows programs aren't designed to work with a touch screen.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas!

video
I've been playing around with iClone and PDPro Howler lately.  This scene originally started out as a kind of scary and ominous animation created in iClone.  With some animated filters and lots of color correction using PDPro Howler, a lovely winter scene was achieved.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

From another point of view

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece of concept art showing a ship blasting off from a fortress.  As much as I liked that image, I wanted to try it again but from a closer and more dynamic point of view.  The elements were created in Carrara then brought into Photoshop where I composited everything the way I wanted.  Finally, I used an app on my iPad to give my Photoshop image a more painterly look.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Concept Art


This concept image was done for a friend who's written a really lovely sci-fi, musical along the lines of The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast.  It's full of really ingenious song lyrics and the plot is lots of fun too.

I'm in the process (slow as it is) of creating some conceptual images and character designs for this project.  This image represents a crucial point in the story when the heroine escapes the villain's fortress and flies off to adventures someplace new and exciting.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Korg Experiment.m4a


Having recently acquired some Korg equipment, I thought I would try to create a new piece of music with it all. This piece was recorded to my iPad2 using the Multitrack Recorder app. A Korg Monotribe supplied the initial groove and drone, while most of the other instruments came from a Korg MicroStation. Finally, I used a Korg Monotron Delay synth to add some cool spacey effects into the mix. The whole project took a couple of hours to do!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Samuel Slater Video

Here's a video about Samuel Slater and the American Industrial Revolution that my daughter and I made.  She did a lot of the research and we co-wrote it together.  We shot most of the video during a recent trip to Rhode Island and we filled in the missing pieces from images found on the internet.

The goal was to share with her classmates a personal connection to some piece of American history.  My hometown of Woonsocket, Rhode Island is not too far away from Pawtucket where Slater built his first textile mill.  This allowed us to make this film and share it with her classmates who would probably never have the opportunity to visit this historical area.

Monday, June 4, 2012

PD Pro Lens Flare animation

Lens flares are terribly overused and cliched but I always loved the look and PDPro has some great animated lens flare effects.  This image started out as some random sketches that I did to test out some built in brushes.  I then took that image and manipulated it, then did some simple animations that eventually became this nebulous space effect.

This piece of software continues to amaze me, though I continue to wish that it had opaque layers rather than the clunky default multiply mode.  You can get opaque layers but you've really got to work at it and it really slows down any creative workflow.

Having said this, I still find PDPro to be an incredible bargain and it's paint and animation functions are pretty remarkable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Desert Ship


Well, it seems like I'm doing a lot of these renders.  Here's yet another image that started as a Curvy3D model.  All the modeling and textures were laid out in Curvy3D.  The textures were then refined in Photoshop and the model was exported as on .OBJ file.  The file was then opened in Carrara 6 Pro, where it was placed onto one of Carrara's standard environments, lit and rendered.  The finished render was manipulated a bit in Photoshop, where I also added the camel for scale.  This was all done in an afternoon's time!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Curvy Car


This car was created with Curvy3D and was originally intended to be a spaceship.  I started out with some jet engine shapes.  Once I had placed the cab on top of the engines, it looked too much like a car.  So, I turned the engines around to make them into wheels.  The shapes, deformation maps and textures were all worked out in Curvy3D, though I eventually reworked the textures in Photoshop to clean them up.

I exported the model from Curvy as an .OBJ file and opened it in Carrara.  The reworked textures were reapplied to the model in Carrara.  The completed model was placed onto one of Carrara's stock landscapes, where I lit it and created the rendered image.

All told, this image took about 4-5 hours over a couple of days to do.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cityscape

This image was created using Curvy 3D, Carrara and Photoshop.  The basic model and texturing started in Curvy3D.  The basic textures were then reworked in Photoshop.  The Curvy model was exported as an .obj file and brought into Carrara where it was lit, retextured with the Photoshop textures and rendered.  The rendered image was then opened in Photoshop where the levels were tweaked and some effects were added, such as the little pin points of light.

All in all, the image took about 3-4 hours to put together.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Howler Landscape



This is another image created with PD Pro Howler 7. I've been experimenting with different brushes and landscapes just seem like a natural subject. A number of post-effects were added after the original painting to accentuate the brush strokes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Planet Skimming with PD Pro Howler



This animation was done with PD Pro Howler and shows off some of its built-in effects.  Using PD Pro's built in 3D engine, I was able to animate a height map so as to create the illusion of flying over a landscape.   Some stars and a planet were then added using the swap buffer (shades of DPaint on the Amiga), and then some animated lens flares were added on top of that.  Finally, a zoom effect was added to the entire animation to give it more of a sense of forward motion.

Hamster run cycle



This animation was created with PD Pro Howler.  As a digital pencil test system, it works great though it lacks some features that would make it a more professional tool.  On the plus side, it offers tons of special effects for stills and animations.

This run cycle is for an animation I'm doing with my daughter for a song we co-wrote about her pet hamster.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Curvy 3D spaceship


I did this image using three programs. The basic model and texturing were done in Curvy3D, which is available at Curvy3D.com. Curvy probably predates programs like ZBrush but works in the same way by using displacement maps to alter the geometry of your model. This model started as a very basic lathed model but the displacement image really gave it some very cool detail.

I exported the Curvy model as an .obj file and brought it into Carrara 6 Pro to light and render. I also added a bump map to accentuate the details and give the ship a greater sense of scale.

After I rendered the model, I brought the image into Photoshop where I added the background, lens flares and engine exhaust.

From beginning to end, this image took between 2-3 hours.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Howler image


A quick followup to my earlier post about PD Pro Howler, I put this image together in about a half-hour's time using some additional tools that come with Howler.

This image started as some fractal noise that was then extruded using the built-in 3D engine. Throw in some lens flares and a few adjustments and you've got an instant prog-rock album cover. Cool!