Friday, November 13, 2015

REVIEW || ImagineFX | Issue 127 - November 2015

REVIEW || ImagineFX | Issue 127 - November 2015
Detail from "The Hero of Time" by Evan Amundsen

ImagineFX Issue 172's theme is Game Art.  Although I am not generally drawn to this genre, the lessons, advice, and tutorials featured were phenomenal!  I left with a greater appreciation of the gaming industry, and a reverence of the artists featured.

Hands down my favorite article was a workshop by Remko Troost on how to "Gear Up Your Game Characters" (pp. 62-67).  Fantastic advice with tips were given on optimizing/customizing your digital workspace, the importance of rough thumbnailing and sketching for clients, summarizing your clients vision in three descriptive words, rendering with a variety of styles to keep creativity flowing, details on how to go from sketch to full rendering, creating realistic weapons and costumes, and using the lasso tool for speed painting.  I highly recommend reading this article in full!

Before this month's issue I was not at all familiar with mobile gaming careers.  The mobile gaming feature (pp. 20-23) covered various studios, their projects, and pros/cons of the field.  There were some gorgeous character and concept designs within the pages.  Later taking a look into mobile game studio Wooga (pp. 48-49) I learned that they would take talent over experience, and a perk working for them is they allocate a budget for artists to use at their own discretion in order to improve skills.  Both the description, and advice that came with it of Svetlin Velinov's studio space (pp. 24-25) left me again dreaming of the perfect digital home studio.  Among the thoughts shared about his home studio were:  the potential negatives of distraction and never getting out, optimizing layout so everything is in reach, descriptions of his various monitors and tablets, and keeping a sketchbook close at hand to emphasis the importance of doodling.

The Q&A section (pp. 32-39) was brimming with advice on various subjects:  nailing the human figure's proportion using the standard "8 heads high" rule, creating reference images from sketches and using stand ins, not spelling out every detail for viewers to also save you time rendering, tips on achieving atmospheric perspective, creating magical lighting effects and the structure of motion, understanding the properties of ice to better render it, and getting expressive eyes (as it turns out is more than meets the eye) by using facial anatomy and body language.

In the section featuring Geoffrey Ernault (pp. 40-43), I gleaned two pieces of advice: using free time to learn new techniques and software, and after explaining how artists like himself are sometimes never satisfied, "it's not about being perfect...but being content with what we are doing."  Dan Howard's sketchbook (pp. 50-54) featured fresh character designs, sketches and roughs.  The workshop on how Evan Amundsen created the cover image (above) was 'fan'tastic, I learned a lot about using layers and some short cut keys too!

Just wanted to list some tips I gleaned from the Workshops section:  using mood to identify a family of hues to work with (p. 74), various shortcuts and pro secrets throughout the workshop sections,  advice to "never let yourself get discouraged when you're struggling...failure is ninety nine percent of the artistic process" (p. 78), creating a digital 'tracing paper' effect to fine tune digital sketches (p. 82), and getting to look into the process of creating a video game boss (pp. 86-89).  In the reviews section books that stood out to me were Women of Wonder and The Big Bad World of Concept Art for Video Games.  And finally in the FXpose Traditional section, I enjoyed reading about the influence of past artists on the two women featured (pp. 100 & 102).