View Full Version : Juggler's break - WIP

10-08-2007, 11:03 AM
Here's a little "making of..." for the Juggler's break. Didn't take much pulling on my sleve, hehe. I'm proud enough of it to understand how interesting it could be to look at the progress. On this one I deliberately kept stages for my own records, so to say, to reevaluate my own process and how it may change or how I was bouncing around at this early stage of my still life painting exercises.

As a little recap, this is painting number 2 of my attempt to learn something from painting objects that are right next to me. How do I interpret illumination, contrast and color. It's not at all about form, except that I was hoping to home-in some more on the cloth, while I kept it very lose here. The mask was a curious choice, because of all the brutal details (as far as I'm concerned, because I'm a littly lazy for such things). However, I thought it's a compelling motive to translate.

The juggling balls are there for the color, of course. I've been trying to capture more complicated bounces and different saturations in one image. It did turn very much into a contrast exercise and I had a fantastic (I repeat FANTASTIC) opportunity to observe the difference in saturation when colors face the light as opposed to facing away from the direct light. Sounds obvious, but even mild changes in direction that are almost hard to detect have a noticable influence on the saturation of a color. Look at the yellow sections of the balls!

Anyway, first a little larger look at the final image:

10-08-2007, 11:08 AM
You may notice the laziness of mine in all the details or much rather the missing details. At some point I just figured it wasn't necessary to exhaust myself any further on trying to hit those just right.... it honestly began to hurt my eyes, squinting at my little setup and feeling the right brightness levels to stay consistent. I also felt like I could deviate too much eventually and let those details get the best of me, while the image itself may begin to suffer. Anyway...

Let's start from the beginning:

1. There was the big "let's get the colors of my wall, lit by my desklight" just as perfect as I can. Sure, my monitor is insanely bad for that, because it's a cheap LCD that has dramatically changing levels depending on from where you look at it and always has a vertical gradient no matter where you want to put your head at to compensate. But anyway... here it is.

10-08-2007, 11:10 AM
2. The sketch...

To see if I can "thumb" the proportions right (whereby I didn't even use my thumb) I made a little pencil sketch in a second layer. Because the mask is the most complicated object and the only thing I was really worried about I started with it first...

10-08-2007, 11:15 AM
3. still sketching...

Once I had that in an acceptable form to me I scribbled in the rest, still in proportion mode. It's pretty interesting, if you calibrate your brains to some key shapes, everything becomes relative to them. In my mind I would draw guide lines into the air, lining up with prominent shapes. Like the center of the eye-holes, distance from the upper edge of them to the top of the mask, cheek lines. I would build triangles in my mind as reference and then tried to line my sketch up to those. A whole lot of subshapes would emerge, but they've all been either extended lines or triangles. But it's dangerous, if you deviate too much over time, you have to readjust in case of question, before you'd proceed, because otherwise it will distort easily. Having made all the tiny ornament shapes on the mask, I had already gotten some practice in that, so that really helped to come to some consistency in the overall proportions...

10-08-2007, 11:19 AM
4. let's rock'n'roll...

After having taken a longer break to figure out if I want to get myself into this one or not, I pulled myself together and started laying down the color fields. Again I took more care about the color hue and contrast to the wall to stay as consistent as possible with what it is that I was looking at. It's really fascinating to judge the brightness of objects relative to each other. So this was the first good opportunity to examine contrast.

10-08-2007, 11:24 AM
5. still laying the foundation...

I could have put the two steps (4 & 5) together in one, but I figure it might be interesting to revisit the fact that I went into the mask so much before I even finished laying all the major colors in. The reason being is very simple, I think. I had to find out just how hard it will be to make those details and I was very compelled to see how well the metallic feel of the paint and ornaments on the mask could come across. The tiny metal pearls (balls) and there brutal highlight were also something I wanted to see right away, because I needed to see if it feels right before I make the whole thing and find out that I havn't left enough upward range for the brightness to make those guys come across ok.

10-08-2007, 11:27 AM
6. impatience and self-motivation

To relax and to endulge a little I couldn't resist to render out the balls a little more neatly...haha...they never changed after that. Anyway, sometimes I need to do that to pump myself up for the rest of it. If something starts looking nice it is like nitro for the battered engine and really explodes it into fullspeed again. I think I can easily make you believe that they were a tremendous blast for me to make.

10-08-2007, 11:32 AM
6b ...on to the details

Back to the mask again, because I was really anxious, literally scared, to deal with those and couldn't wait. It's painful to work with uncertainty, which is why I had to begin scraping that uncertainty away...

Here's a bit of a close-up on the mask of the same snapshot from above (#6)

10-08-2007, 11:42 AM
7 ...but first...BOUNCE!

Oh yes, the case of bouncing lights. This is a great reminder of just how tricky it is to read the color of what you're looking at with your own eyes. Since there is no such thing as color-picking you have to sense the proper hue of the area you're interested in and how it relates to colors around. This, unfortunately, is also the kind of thing where artrage likes to tie your right hand to the back of your chair and put a 70 pound weight on your left, if you dare to try drawing with it (unless you're left-handed, which would render that into nothing but a mild inconvenience... so, please, imagine it to be the other way around then!). There doesn't seem to be ONE particularely successful way of dealing with artrage's color blending behaviour, unless you've figured out how to let it all go and rage on with something that's about right. Maybe there's something I could still learn, but anyway... I ended up doing either some "let's see what happens" maneuvers by using thinner on 100% and dry ON and ease in a kind of tone (more or less red or yellow, mild adjustments of kinds). If I knew exactly what color I want I would go down with the thinner to around 50% with dry ON. Blending the edges of those colors with 100% thinner and fully loaded is what I've done mostly, because you have definitely control over the shapen of your gradients then, but it's very beasty... there's a real reason for why it's called artRAGE and not artChill...

Anyway, before I forget, look at bounce light on the cheek and side of the face. It's quite amazing how accurate even DaVinci's observations were in regards to what color of a neighboring object gets picked up by what part of the object in focus. Sides which face a particular object do pick up more of it's color than those which face into a different direction even in small increments. You'll see the criss-cross pick up of the balls colors on the cheek. The flat part on the "snout" picks up the yellow of the ball further back, while the cheek bone faces the other balls red side. I think that's a curious observation. Intuitvely I think I would have made the snout more red, assuming that it was closer to the red ball. That's what those studies are really good for!

So much text for this...(?)

10-08-2007, 11:42 AM
That looks great Taron. Really well observed in both tone and colour. The cloth subtleties in the brown and ochres are gorgeous.
Nice stuff , Really feels solid.

10-08-2007, 11:51 AM
oops, Nick, I'm not done with the tutorial, yet, hahaha. But thanx!

8. High -lights and -hopes

This is the inching towards finding out what's the most efficient way of making those details come out. At that point I was still a little shy about the contrasts within those details. To not tumble right into disaster I simply started by playing around with the highlights. What's there colors, how do they vary. What brightness do they have in various areas and how bright are the allowed to be.

10-08-2007, 11:56 AM
9. Confidence rising...

Yes, yes, I now felt quite confident that I had found a good method for them. By now I also had abandoned looking at my pencil sketch (turning that layer on) and simply eyeballed the rest. Once you can be somewhat certain about proportions and overall placements it's a very good idea to simply think of the shapes for what they are again, go up closer to the object and look at it from different angles. I was a little afraid to that earlier, because I was worried I would lose the relative placements of everything. So easy to make an ornament too small or to kinked or from a wrong perspective. So now that I gained enough confidence I would also move closer to my mask and look around to examine the shapes more accurately.

10-08-2007, 12:01 PM
10. Time to relax a little...

So, now I had two good reasons to go away from the mask for a moment. Number one has been to make sure I don't spend time on ornaments which will be hidden behind that third ball. Reason number two... well... relax and have some last boost before the grant finale.

Don't let me get into my battling with AR on the blending... have a careful little look a the cloth and see some of the rather curious discolorations. The obvious one next to the ball was meant to be bounce, whereby blending it with more tender love had not really been possible to me. The other little offbeat deviations are all that I could do without losing my mind, haha.

10-08-2007, 12:05 PM
11. Now let's add those details...

Yes, now that it was clear what would be visible and what not, I could go ahead and finish up the mask... let's put these two steps together...

When it came to the remains of the ornaments on the temples (side of the head) I became rather sloppy and tired, not even worried anymore. Those things were just like a fly-by and look just as unelaborate as they were. But I figured, it's enough. The crackles had been a real pleasure, by the way, because it's somehow rejuvinating to simply ignore everything for a moment and just freeform crackle around on an object that otherwise was so maticulously labored into existence.

10-08-2007, 12:08 PM
That concludes the little WIP (post mortem(?)) of "Juggler's break". I hope it was somewhat informative and entertaining. Tune back in next week when we look at "Balls of fury"...ah crap, they already made a movie with that title....hmmm... :wink:

10-08-2007, 12:57 PM
Just a fantastic job on the tutorial. Very thoughtful, clear and inclusive
expositions. Your conscientiousness has made it all the more sublime experience for us. Thanks Taron.

10-08-2007, 02:10 PM
It's an excellent tutorial and the painting is stunning. I'm sure I will benefit from this a lot. Thanks. :D

10-08-2007, 02:19 PM
Crikey. That's stunning. Thank you very much for posting that, Taron.
That's a great progression.

10-10-2007, 08:11 AM
thankyou for the trade secrets!! :D

D Akey
10-10-2007, 08:32 AM
How could people not want to try this, the results are so masterful and the tutorial so helpful.

Plus you're present here in the forums, unlike somebody in a book or looking at one done by somebody who has moved on.

Take heed folks.

Get it while it's hot.

10-10-2007, 09:14 AM
HAHAHA!..... AAAAHHHH.... havn't thought about it that way, yet! :lol:

Nah, I'm kidding, this is exactly the kinda thing that makes me so happy about here! I'd almost want to start a little project thread or so, where we can share the learning experience. I just need to figure out a good way of isolating out the tasks. Let's have a little school.

I'm not perfectly sure, yet, how entitled I really am to teach, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot! :D