my 3d journey

Hi friends,

It’s been a while, as always! I have been thinking for the past couple of weeks that it is probably time to check back in again over here…

I’ve always been a 2d artist, and my drawings have also looked very 2d – I avoided using perspective in my work because it was daunting and all very organised, unlike my messy sketches.

But, if I didn’t already mention, I need to get a handle on (of?) 3d art for my new job. I also have been wanting to learn how to make 3d models for a while! So perhaps since a month or more ago, I’ve been doing short tutorials on blender. All of them are free on youtube! Mostly I followed a tutorial series by Jacob Lewis to learn the basics of the UI and then I did lots of little tutorials by Manuel Graphics. If you want to learn and are a bit nervous about it, I really recommend downloading Blender 3D (it’s free) and doing some of these tutorials to get started.

image of a 3d model hot air balloon above the sea with a blue sky

I’ve been putting my 3d stuff on a new tumblr I made – also I’ve been reblogging on to my main tumblr too – to keep track of my progress. If you have any suggestions, or perhaps even any questions, please let me know.

So far I haven’t done that much 3d stuff in my actual job, as I have been mostly doing visual development and game design for upcoming games and then working on environments for another more developed game in Unity (a free game engine – you can build games using it), which I am also learning to use… but, I think as I learn more I will be able to become more useful at my job.

image of a 3d model nintendo ads game console in pink with a grey background

AND, if you want to do art related things in the games industry, I would recommend both learning 3d modelling in Blender (or another program like 3DSMax) and getting acquainted with Unity.

In other news…

Some of my 3d stuff I’m making is for a small indie game project which I will give more information on soon! That is, when I’ve gotten my act together and produced more assets…

I have a giveaway at my tumblr! Please join in by reblogging/following if you would like and are on tumblr… Or, if you are on wordpress and want to join, please leave a comment telling me about a new skill you want to learn – make sure you enter your email or a way for me to contact you when you do comment, though.  I would really appreciate it, otherwise it may end up me just having a prize draw among my real life friends! The prize is an item from my shop, whatever you like.

artist giveaway of 1 item from the shop, ending sept 7th 2015

I will try to do more giveaways in the future.

Digital Painting Process – Notes for a friend

Here are some notes on my digital painting process (photoshop), for a friend’s request. I will upload pictures and such later- so for now this post is probably only useful to that 1 friend until then. Just some quick notes. I haven’t been digitally painting long at all, so I am no expert. This is just how I made a painting myself.

Note; this particular piece started out as some sketches of a city environment. Then the scenes were combined to create one big piece. During this piece, since it was my first digital painting in so long, I made tons of mistakes and had to fix them loads.

Sketching/general brush choice: Regular round brush, size up to 15 pixels, 50% opacity
Painting details brush choice: Regular round brush, size 5-15 for details/smaller bits, 20% opacity

  1. I researched different imagery to do with cityscapes – including photos of cities, photos of particular scenes within them (e.g. a Chinatown gate), buildings, and other peoples’ paintings of cityscapes.
  2. I sketched out about 6 or so small thumbnails of scenes within the city.
  3. Opened up PS and made a big canvas. Sketched out the city on a normal type layer above the background. Tried to do the overall shape and placement of main bits and then added more and more detail (too much! Shouldn’t have added so much so soon). Turned this sketch layer to 50% opacity or so.
  4. Sketched over it again in more detail, adding in all my plans for shading, on a separate normal type layer. This also turned out to be a mistake anyway since I should have not gone into detail so soon.
  5. Made normal type layer underneath the 2 sketch layers and added in basic colours, no shading, with a 100% opacity brush.
  6. Checked over the sketch so far and realised I needed to resize things – people, cars – which were too big compared to buildings.
  7. Realised I didn’t have much practice in actually painting in colour so asked my friend for advice and she told me she usually paints the stuff at the back first and then works forward.
  8. Decided to try that so started from the back, making the farthest back stuff less contrasted, less detailed and faded out. This meant that I had to redo the furthest back stuff since in my sketch it was the darkest. So, I slowly painted on top of all of that.
  9. Then, I started painting over everything, moving gradually forward and towards the foreground.
  10. To paint things in my environment, such as buildings… first I added block colours for shading (looked like cel shading), and then with a fine round brush at 20% opacity I would smooth it out and add detail. Once I had done the regular shading I also added in lots of reflected light (since it is a city it had lots of neon and glowy things) to the edges of the building, which made it look a lot more interesting instead of being coloured blocks. For shiny windows I had a new layer, drew the filled in box of the window in a bright colour, then I had another layer underneath and used an airbrush type brush to add more of the same colour around the window. I used gaussian blur to spread it out a bit and if needed I also reduced the opacity.
  11. Did not shade the water much at all, basically just added in a few bits around places where objects/land was touching or near to the water, because there was so much of it and I had already spent days doing the city, and needed to wrap the image up for a deadline.
  12. Added in little details such as the vehicles.
  13. Found a yellow and blue gaussian blur background on google images, put on a layer on top of all, fiddled with layer types until found which looked best (need to check what type ended up with). This was a really important part of my process since my colours usually end up quite muddy, muted and dull, so adding the gaussian blur on top helped to make it a lot more exciting and pulled the picture together. The fading blue part of the blur helped to define the water without me having shaded it loads.

I will add to this when I can! Then it can be useful for everyone.

a week on

Dear friends,

It’s been a week since I started my new job and luckily, since I have regular hours, work days and all that, I’m able to write another blog post to you all! A few updates before we begin; I put my shop back up. For the moment it features older stock because I haven’t had a chance in a long while (being in Japan and all that) but I hope to create some more new work. I will likely put up some of my sketches done while in Japan and I hope to create new stickers and felt brooches. I’m staying away from shrinky dink at the moment because it is pretty unreliable!

Anyway, today I just want to talk to you all about my new job, since I haven’t really elaborated on it very much. While I was in Japan I was very lucky to notice a job advertisement on facebook, for a 2d game artist. If you have been following my blog you might remember a while back I worked on some game dev projects with my friends. One of the people I worked with was part of this company that was advertising on facebook. I thought I’d give it a go. So now I’m here, in Wales, helping to design games for West Coast. It was a lucky break for me and I was fortunate to have already worked on a relevant project, which also gave me a bit of an idea of what to expect.

The company is actually working hard on a kickstarter project right now, to raise money to create a remake of the game D/Generation, originally released in 1991. You can have a look at videos/the demo/etc. here. :)

So, that’s what I’m doing. As I’ve said, I’ve been here only a week, so I wouldn’t say that I have much experience at all. But so far, if you’re interested (perhaps you want to do game art related things and are pretty inexperienced like I was/am?) I’ve spent my days doing tons of sketches and notes for an upcoming game here. It’s been pretty challenging for me as it’s involved drawing landscapes – something I always avoided – as well as buildings, other inanimate objects, character design, etc. For me, character design is probably the easiest thing out of those since, as you may know, I spend so much of my time drawing people.

At first I didn’t have a tablet to use so I focused on doing lots of pen drawing – no colour – on regular printer cartridge paper. But the other day I received my tablet, so now I’m working on creating some mockups and presentations of my designs using Photoshop. It feels very luxurious using Adobe CC, something I never thought I’d get to try out given its monthly fee :)

This afternoon I think I will finish up the character designs that I drew earlier on Photoshop, and I will try to convert some more of my paper sketches into fully coloured digital paintings/illustrations. It is really nice to take stuff from the sketches and to finally add colour to them…

I’m sorry that currently I don’t have any images to show, this is because I’m working on a new game and thus we are keeping things under wraps for now. Perhaps when things kick off a bit more for this particular game, I will be able to show and talk about the artwork.

If you’re hoping to see some new drawings and sketches still, you can have a look on my tumblr, where I’ve put my personal scribbles and bits.

Spring finally came – and then came summer – and then I came home

Well, I started writing this a long while ago – and now, I’m home – so I’ll share the short bit that I originally wrote, plus my own update.

So, a long while again, as is usual for my blog at this time. Spring has finally come! I was waiting and waiting in March and then at the beginning of April (I think, it’s been a while though, so…) we finally had some hotter days. Now, the temperature is usually above 20c on a good day, so all is well. It’s probably hotter than the UK is right now. Work-wise, things are as usual. I’m busy a lot of the time and there are many projects to work on and often there isn’t enough time. I hope I can make some better progress on them by the end of this month. Today is Wednesday, so I start at 11am and finish at 8.30pm. It would be 8pm but I decided I’d prefer to have an extra 30 mins break in before my last class so that I can be more prepared and energised for it. While it’s nice getting to sleep in until 9am I do prefer starting early and finishing at a regular time, so I can spend time doing other things in the evening, or seeing friends. At least I have the weekend for that, though. I also have some fun news to tell you all soon, but not yet. More on that later.

So what has happened since then? Hmm, well, I can’t really remember Spring all that much. I had a couple of days off during Golden Week and my friends and I went to Aomori prefecture, to Lake Towada. At some point we also went to Akita prefecture, to Kakunodate, but I think that was before. Then, Spring was fast, there was lots to do, and summer came around. It got really hot – one day it was 32c, which was way too hot for me! But, it was an experience I guess.

Summer was busy as I was set to finish on June 16th. So, I spent some of my time preparing for that. When I finished work on June 16th, I then had a few days to close everything up, clean up and so on, which was pretty stressful for me.

I’m pretty tired at the moment so I don’t know what else to say, really!

Before leaving Japan I also spent some time with some good friends, and we had good food (sushi) and a party the night before I left Morioka. I also had some kind friends who escorted me to the station to catch my night bus to Tokyo the next evening.

I’m going to miss Japan and I miss a lot of my students too. But I have somewhere to go for the moment and I will definitely be back to Japan whenever I can visit.

Yesterday, I moved into my new place in Aberystwyth. Well, not new as it is the same home that I stayed in during my masters year. I got a job! I am starting tomorrow. It’s art related. I will elaborate on it soon. It’s a Mon-Fri job which I am happy about – I look forward to having the whole weekend free to meet friends or travel. I’m also hoping to reintroduce my online shop, selling art and crafted things. I will post more when I have more information!

Anyway, thanks for reading this very fragmented post and hope you are all well. More news soon.

recentlies

Hey friends, it’s been such a long while! I can spend a bit of time online tonight as I won’t need to get up until later tomorrow, so I popped on to wordpress because I have been thinking about updating my blog for a while now. Then, I discovered the beginnings of this old post, from 9th February. It’s now the end of March! So please enjoy the beginnings of my old post and then after that, the start of my new post.

Early February 2015

Life has fallen again into its usual patterns here. I do the work thing in the first, main part of the week. On Saturday night after finishing work I usually crumble to cravings and go get an Indian takeaway. We used to have Indian takeaways every weekend back at home. In the second, smaller part of the week, I try to catch up with chores, study some Japanese, and attempt to negotiate a sort of social life, as much of a social life as possible for a shy, introverted type person like me.

The routine part is good, I suppose, although lately I’ve also been a little stressed about my job. This is mainly because I want to be the best I can be, and I want to deliver worthwhile and exciting lessons to my students so that they’ll enjoy themselves and want to come along. I want to give them something positive.

There are a few events and bits and pieces coming up at work and that’s exciting, because it keeps me busy and gives me new experiences, although I usually end up feeling nervous too.

Late March 2015

Brief weather update: we may have had the last snow of winter last week. We’ll see – my student said it could even snow in April. I have my fingers crossed because I don’t want to continue with using 5 blankets, onesie, jumper, tracksuit bottoms and a hot water bottle at night. Please hurry up, Spring! I’m looking forward to sakura.

Well, we’ve moved on quite a while from my last post. The events that I wrote were approaching… I can’t really remember what they even were. But, I suppose that means they must have been ok.

As for updates on things like my social life… I think that’s improved somewhat lately. I have gotten to know some friends a bit better and it is nice to feel a part of a group. Unfortunately though, a lot of people are leaving this Spring. Moving back to home countries, or getting jobs in different parts of Japan… I hope they have lots of fun and I wish them all the best. It was lovely to meet them and I hope I can meet them again. Still, more people are moving on soon! I will miss these people!

With the Indian takeaways… I have been trying to convince myself to stop having them for the sake of my health, but I continue. Although I hope I can call myself a little less indulgent than before. Recently I have been enjoying cooking and making weird salads. I have discovered how amazing avocado is and try to find a way to add it into any dish I make, but I am usually too impatient for it to ripen and end up eating weird, hard avocado slices.

I feel like my Japanese study is going well lately. Vocabulary and kanji are good and I have been able to maintain these reasonably well despite spending less time studying them (I want to catch up, though!). Grammar is a stumbling block. I know a lot of people think that immersion and memorisation of sentences is the best way to learn things… despite this, I still enjoy working through a text book and studying grammar. I still get the immersion bit from living within Japan. I do plan to start memorising sentences in the future though (a la AJATT.com), but not now. And that’s okay, because I’m not in any rush to reach N2 level.

Lastly, with art, I have been keeping up a sort of routine in that I usually try to get several hours solid drawing time in every Monday, my 2nd day off. It’s been pretty good. I have tons of ideas, however, yet when I come to execute them I feel confused and not sure how to proceed. The technical bits are ok, but just coming up with a meaningful composition is hard for me. Maybe I’m scared/intimidated, maybe I just don’t have it in me to do that kind of illustrative work – this is something I definitely fear. I should probably start with thumbnails first instead. Try different ways of starting out. Do you think that for some people it is just impossible to do something? Or is it possible to learn something that comes unnatural to oneself? Is this even unnatural to me or am I just lazy? Ok, less questions. I will just keep going and somehow try my best.

This weekend, I have an extra day off so perhaps I will either go explore a new town or I will use this time to super recharge myself, clean everything, catch up on studies and draw loads.

Recent Links

Portfolio: Yay, I finally updated my portfolio a little bit. My friend sent me a photo of the packaging I designed for him, so I uploaded it to my portfolio along with some recent sketches, and updated my description. If you have any tips about my portfolio (or actually, anything in particular) please let me know.

Tumblr: Since I mentioned that I’ve been keeping up with my art pretty well I thought it makes sense to remind you, my dear friends, this is my tumblr, where you can find all of my sketches.

James Victore’s Youtube: So I found out about this guy last year before I moved to Japan, watched his Skillshare videos, and watched loads of his Youtube videos too. He has even more now! So tonight I’m listening to even more! He’s funny, and very motivational for artists! Please listen and enjoy.

Thanks as always for reading. I hope you had fun. I am sorry there are no pictures in my Japan based blogs because I am tired and want to listen to videos now! If you want a picture-based experience of my life, I recommend just following my tumblr.

Elysia

Pictures from my birthday

This post I guess is more for personal/posterity reasons, but anyway I thought I would share a few things from the time around my birthday (19th January). Wanna catch up with what I’m doing art-wise? You can find some recent drawings on my tumblr. Most of my drawings done in Japan are using cheap felt tips and cheap pens since I don’t want to spend too much on art supplies, which would take up space/be a pain to transport.

5 packs of white hot chocolate mix, 1 pack of raspberry hot chocolate mix, photographed on my bed

My kind coworker bought me some delicious hot chocolate mix from the import food store and gave these to me a few days before my birthday. These are from Italy I think and they are lovely. I buy them from time to time for when I finish my workday.

photograph from 4th floor of apartment building, the view is of a snowy city residential area

On my birthday I decided to head out for a wander and it was very snowy.

2015/01/img_0195.jpg2015/01/img_0196.jpg

hamburger with avocado and salad

I really like the hamburger chain here: Freshness Burger.

photo of a lurcher (dog) on video chat (iphone facetime)

I got the chance to speak to my family and caught a screenshot of my dog.

photo of a mug which bears the slogan 'good luck' along with gold polka dots. In the background there is a laptop and another, smaller mug which contains stationery

I got a cute mug for my birthday from my lovely friend, perfect for drinking tea. I only just got into drinking milk tea after getting to Japan. Maybe my new love for milk tea has come hand in hand with my newly discovered patriotism…

photo of steamed rare cheesecake

This is my new favourite thing lately: steamed rare cheesecake from the bakery near the station. It only costs 170 yen (£1) and is soft, spongy and delicious. I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photograph of a table at a yakiniku (Korean BBQ meat) restaurant. There are 2 plates of meat, 1 bowl of rice, 1 plate of sauce and some other plates without food on them yet

My kind coworker strikes again! On the evening of my birthday we went to a yakiniku restaurant and I tried gyuutan (grilled beef tongue) for the first time. It was alright but not something I would order for myself. I myself ordered karubi – apparently short ribs according to wikipedia. It was super tender and yummy. Oh man, I feel guilty for posting meat on my blog. I still want to be vegetarian. I’m sorry I’m not making a good go of that! For the record, I usually don’t cook meat at home but once I go out this (possibly) evil meat eating beast emerges from within and orders whatever… (please don’t consider me criticising anyone who eats meat, it’s a choice!)

photo of a yakiniku (Korean BBQ meat) grill in the centre of the restaurant table. 3 pieces of meat are currently being cooked on the grill

Our last photo of the yakiniku grill. Not much to say here except that yakiniku restaurants are fun and I enjoy being able to BBQ it however I like. I’m glad we got to go on Monday 19th since we hadn’t been for a long long time.

 

Well, that’s my mini-photo haul. I hope that it was interesting for some of you! Now, it’s Monday 26th. I’m on my day off and tomorrow I’ll be back at work (I do Tues-Sat).

I’m feeling the urge for mini steamed cheesecake now so I might take that opportunity to cycle to the train station… Or perhaps I’ll stay home, haven’t decided yet. Should probably stay home since I need to save my 8000 yen in my wallet to pay my lovely coworker for the internet. Otherwise I’ll have to draw out more money… gah… cheesecake.

double-trouser weather

Hi friends,

It’s been a while; my first post since November. December was a super busy month as I had to help out as usual at the kindergarten, plus I also had to prepare my own Christmas party lessons for my students. I worked until 20th December, and after my final shift I packed, and my coworker and I took the night bus to Tokyo. The next day, we had our flights to the UK. I had a transfer in Copenhagen, which I thought would be 11 hours. Turns out that I had not really read my ticket properly and it was actually 15 hours overnight. I wandered around for the first few hours looking at all the nice food in Copenhagen airport. Then I holed up in a corner of the transfer lounge on a crickety sofa with my blanket and tried to sleep while many people walked past staring, airport buggies drove past and occasionally parked right next to me.

But anyway, I finally got to the UK eventually and was able to spend 9 days with my family before returning to Japan. I got to Japan on 1st January and my coworker and I spent a night in Tokyo. We got the chance to explore Shinjuku (probably fashionable or something), Akihabara (electronics and stuff for people who are very very into anime) and Ginza (crowded, expensive place for window shopping). Now I’m back in Morioka (cold, Northern place) and I start work tomorrow.

As expected, it’s cold here and there’s some snow… but it’s not too bad. Not as bad as it was in December. Today the sky is clear blue and I can even walk around without my coat zipped up. That’ll probably change soon though, I’m sure. In my post before last I was celebrating ‘trouser weather’, but now we’ve reached a point of ‘double-trouser weather’, and maybe we will even reach ‘triple-trouser weather’ soon. I’m not really looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to March when hopefully it’ll start to get warmer. I miss not wearing heavy clothing, and I miss not spending money on heating. The winter months are going to be expensive since a tank of kerosene costs £10 and I’m not sure how long one will last me…

I don’t have that many updates for you all, since I have been off work and resting at home lately, but by tomorrow I expect my life will become hectic once more. I’ve been keeping my tumblr mostly up to date with my drawings and so on, so for the art front you can find all the stuff there. Today, I suppose, is mostly just a regular, everyday life kind of post that probably only my family (and a handful of strange friends) will be interested in. But I’m okay with that!

I suppose I should talk about my new years resolutions. Of course, we all make loads of resolutions and then they all flake away in January. Maybe we hold out to February, even. And some brave souls even manage to keep up their resolutions throughout the year. At least we can see how far I get. I have a few but I have tried to keep them very easy for myself.

  • Work hard and survive at my job, try to be as good as I can possibly be – but of course without burning myself out.
  •  Once I eventually return to the UK I want to give a proper go at working towards being an artist. I don’t expect to be able to be a full-time artist or anything like that, but I hope that I will get my shop going, keep drawing regularly and try to take part in more cons, competitions and so on.
  • Make soap. This is perhaps a strange one but I would really like to try making soap, because it seems like fun and I like things that smell good.
  • Try to save money every month by sending some of my wages into my English bank account. I already do this, but I want to keep doing it, because I would prefer not to be broke once I am in the UK.
  • Try to do stretches before bed. I am bad with anything to do with exercise, and healthy things. I reckon that if I have ‘do exercise’ as a resolution, it won’t happen, but maybe I can at least start, get 1% there, by beginning to do stretches. I know it sounds very tiny and simple but I have never exercised regularly in my own free time before so… baby steps.

Anyway I hope everyone had a great new year and I hope that 2015 works out well for us all. Let me know if you have any resolutions too :)