ISOLATION AND FOCUS
John started the workshop by asking us "what makes a good image"? The students said things like.. design, detail, composition, value, color etc... lots of stuff. John's point was that there SO many things to juggle at one time. His approach was to isolate one element and work on it one at a time.. -> composition -> design -> props etc... Because he kind of works on this artistic principle one at a time - I found his approach to be really improvisational - he was really creating his piece as he goes along - instead of sketch out the rough idea and fleshing it out. This was a very fast and direct approach - he finished his piece in a 2 hours with full detail and polish - with another 1.5 hrs left of the workshop to spare!
I didn't take photos of this segment. But basically John take a cool image, posterized it.
- duplicate, rotate, scale it -> to make his graphic black and white composition.
This is similar to method that James Paick & Charles Lee uses for the initial part of his composition.
UNIQUE VISUAL LANGUAGE - make textures from photos and stuff.
John recommends creating your own visual library so you aren’t regurgitating the same thing over and over again. Basically, he took a T-rex skull, and made patterns of it so that it became a floor plan, tower, pillar etc...
I can see lots of applications for abstract, sci-fi, fantasy for this technique. In John's line of work - he needs to create a lot of designs for his art director. With this method, he is able to create a visual language that is unique and completely original - cuz he JUST CREATED IT!
John taught us to make props THEN make the environment.** (Kill 2-3 birds with one stone)
I think this was a valuable lesson - because I feel like it makes the painting feel more authentic then just "stock image" props. In a production environment - you are able to accomplish multiple tasks this way as well!
Other tricks and notes
- John does mostly key frame and mood pieces.
- do the photo textures, then make a mask for the lighting.
Soft Shadow for people - dab it and then stretch it out.
- paint on top of the person. add some stuff.
- matte painting trick - copy layer gaussian blur and lighten layer. mimic photography.
- unsharpened mask, and mask out the focal point
This was the demo that John completed for the workshop in 2 hours. The uses of photo textures is really clever. He makes his own photo textures through his unique compositing method. The person in the white has suit is cut out from a photo - but he painted on top of it to add interest. My favorite part of the workshop was when he added that person. Once he added the guy in - I could understand why John had to do prep work with the environment and made those design choices.