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Thread: Cover Art and Computer Graphics
May 20th, 2005, 09:51 AM #61
Some artists really embrace the 3D realm, considering it just another tool with which to express themselves. For the non-artist who is comfortable with the technology, it can really unleash creativity, since it removes the learning curve for other media like paint or pencil; it makes dealing with (and learning about) perspective on a 2D surface much easier, since you can move "real" objects around in real time; and it makes experimentation much easier. ("Don't like that pose? OK, how about I move this hand behind the back, and tighten the grip on the sceptre, and oh let's make it green instead of blue...") And all done with just a few mouse clicks.
May 21st, 2005, 01:08 PM #62
I've created a few new images; rather than post them all here, I've attached some thumbnails. If they look intriguing, you can pop over to my site under the Artwork button, and see them at a larger size.
May 21st, 2005, 05:14 PM #63
May 21st, 2005, 10:46 PM #64Originally Posted by alison
Anyway... I don't think this is related to sampling, which is generally taking portions of somebody else's music and incorporating it into something new. In that case, the original music was not intended to be "sampled", so unless the original artist gave permission to do it, I would think that he or she might take exception to its use in a new work (as might the music publisher, should one be involved).
One of the things I'm going to do in a couple of days is post a few pictures showing the process I use to put these images together, since people might find it interesting. I'll show the various model bits and how I alter and combine them together to come up with an image.
Oh - and thank you! I'm glad that you like the images I've already done!
May 22nd, 2005, 12:52 PM #65
I think it's seen as artists making tools for other artists, which are paid for -- the paint analogy, because the models are essentially software programs. But there is a real piracy issue as well, since unscrupulous people can redistribute or sell models that are not their own illegally, just like software programs. And more traditional artists may get their images on the web and have those downloaded, stolen and turned into models. And there may be some point, if artists are making a lot of money on a poster or something, where the model suppliers are going to demand some extra money. It's the kind of thing that has to work itself out on the web and hopefully will stabilize into standard practices. The graphic arts community has been using the web longer than anyone, so they'll probably work it out pretty fairly and on a global basis.
May 23rd, 2005, 05:08 AM #66
Actually Kevin... I think it is time to put Kevin Radthorne at the top in huge embossed letters... like ya bloody mean it... and then put the title down the bottom in smaller letters, plain coloured covers with stylised emblems, seedy photos or artist renditions... just like the professionals do it.
May 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM #67Originally Posted by Rocket SheepOK!
May 23rd, 2005, 05:03 PM #68
Okay, now you're starting to get a little juvenile on us. And enough giant moons in the background!
But this really does show the possible range, doesn't it? I've recently noticed that the cover art for sf/f books has gotten a lot more varied in terms of design. There's a lot of mainstreaming -- text in bright colors, no artwork, minimal graphics -- going on; a lot of chick lit styles -- drawn figurines, minimal artwork, pastels and neon pastels; some surreal, moody, noir stuff -- blurred photos, shadow figures; mystery style -- props like script fragments, candlesticks, clocks mushed artistically together with odd lighting; and still a lot of the traditional sf/f art but in a variety of styles, sizes, positioning, color choice. It's good, I think, but publishers could go much further and really run with genre fans' comfortableness with cover art to try a lot of new stuff. And they can go retro too, with the buxom beauties in bikinis with the dragons, but give it that anime style or some other fillip.
May 23rd, 2005, 10:02 PM #69
Hmmm... by "seedy" I actually meant blurred or grainy photos of run down streets, building, shipyards etc... things with a dystopic feel... but each to his own type of "seedy" eh, Kevin...
Doesn't Crighton put his name in embossed capitals tho?
May 23rd, 2005, 11:20 PM #70Originally Posted by KatGOriginally Posted by RocketSheep
All right, "seedy": run down streets, buildings... Let's try this then...
May 23rd, 2005, 11:47 PM #71
Yes, well... 14 beer kegs will make you feel a bit seedy in the morning...
Needs, litter, grafitti, smashed windows, shoes on the wire and someone to steal those beer kegs.
May 23rd, 2005, 11:53 PM #72
I thought it might be fun to show the steps involved in creating one of these images that I've been doing. All this talk of “3D models” and “meshes” and “morphs” otherwise can be a tad confusing. I’m going to illustrate how I created the “Rogue White” image, which is the left-most of the three thumbnails I posted a few messages back.
First thing to do is select a figure to work with. This one is Stephanie Petite 3, from DAZ3D (I’ve blanked out the private bits for propriety; all these models are anatomically correct). The figures are very complex 3D models, with internal joint structures that mimic the human body, allowing you to pose them realistically. They also are deformable, so that you can make them skinny or fat, with large noses or small, Vulcan ears, whatever. Finally, you can texture them with different skin colors.
As you can see, the default model is not terribly good looking. So the first thing I want to do is select some character morphs and textures. A “morph” is something that changes the structure of the model to something else. In this case, I’ve chosen the Irina morph created by Blackhearted. It alters the base Stephanie model into one with a lot more muscle tone. It’s a little hard to see the change here, at this size and with no texture yet, but our Stephanie has now become quite buff.
Let’s add the Irina texture. Ah, that’s better. Now she looks like a person, and you can see the muscles a bit better.
(Hang on, more coming; I have to submit them in batches...)
May 23rd, 2005, 11:55 PM #73
Next step is the face. The Irina character comes with both head and body morphs, but I don’t care for the head morph so much. So now I’m adding to it another morph, this one just a head morph called Morgana by Thorne and Sarsa. At this point I can also change things: the eye color, the lip color, and change the makeup as well.
She’s a bit bald at this point, so let’s add some hair. This is also a model, with it’s own set of controls for moving and layering the hair. This one is call Leah, by DAZ3D. The default appearance has the right side hanging down in front of her face, but I moved it back (how does anybody see where they’re going with their hair in front of their eyes like that?)
I’m also going to make a subtle change to her expression now. I have full control over her face: eyebrows, cheeks, mouth, etc. In this case I’ve just tweaked her mouth to give a half-smile on the right side, just to give her a slightly confident look.
May 23rd, 2005, 11:58 PM #74
She’s been standing here very patiently, getting cold, while I mess around. Let’s give her some clothes. These are the parts of the Rogue Red outfit by Frances Coffill. Each of these is also a model, designed to conform to the base Stephanie figure. By “conforming,” it means that the clothes will move with Stephanie when she’s posed.
Here are the clothes attached to the figure. Since the clothes are designed for the base figure, if you modify the figure (as I did with the Irina morph) you may have to adjust things. Since Irina has some pretty big muscles (and a slightly larger chest), all of those body parts “poke through” the clothing models. One way to adjust that is to “turn off” those body parts that will be hidden by the clothes anyway, which is what I did here. You can also adjust the clothes themselves, which frequently have their own adjustments like “muscular” or “voluptuous” to fit different body shapes.
Next I wanted to change the textures of the clothes. Frances Coffill had created a set of several additional textures for the outfit, and it was this white one that prompted me to want to do this picture. I’ve applied the revised texture to each clothing bit here. The clothing set also comes with its own sword prop, which I’ve included. Note that there were no pants with the clothing set – what Frances did was provide a texture that actually changed the color of Stephanie’s legs to look like leggings.
May 23rd, 2005, 11:59 PM #75
Now, about that sword. It’s been “parented” to her right hand, which means that when she’s posed the sword will stay with her hand. But at the moment it’s just floating beneath her fingers. Get a grip, girl!
Each of the fingers has all of the joints of a real hand, so you can manipulate them to do whatever you want. Posing each finger manually can be tedious, but fortunately I have a set of canned hand poses for all occasions. Here I’ve used a 10% torus grip, and then adjusted the angle of the sword to match the grip.
Time for some action. Typically I run through a number of pre-defined poses, looking for something interesting. I settled on this last one, which originally had her right arm pointing down. I bent her arm to bring the sword up to over her shoulder. This pose gave the air of confidence that I was looking for.