Thursday, September 17, 2020

Megastructures Lowres Buildings

A bunch of low res futuristic buildings I made as background elements for various "Megastructures" images.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

New Photobash Pack from Utah

Added a photobash picture pack from Arches National Park in Utah to Artstation and Gumroad. Great for concept art, matte paintings and general reference.

Used these photos extensively for many of my "The Story of Inc" artwork.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

What is a Tangent? And How To Solve Them

A tangent simply is an area where two things in an image are nearly touching or actually touching, and in doing so create a visual mistake that the human eye doesn't like. It can lead to confusion in the viewer, like it can draw the eye to a part of the painting that's unimportant, it can just feel wrong or strange, or it can confuse the viewer as to the relative depth of the two objects. This lesson explains in more detail what a tangent is, and the best ways to fix them in your own artwork.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Wrting A Concept Brief

A Concept Brief is a document that a client / art director makes for the concept artist to explain what they'd like them to design. It includes information like what the object / character is, what format the art should take, reference images, etc. Watch or read this short lesson on how to write a good concept brief, or if you're an artist, what things you should expect from one. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

New Photoshop Brush Pack

Added a Photoshop Brush pack of Tree Silhouettes to artstation and Gumroad, great for far away trees and super closeup trees that don't need any interior details.

And here's a painting I did many years ago with these brushes, along with a tutorial discussing how to make your own tree brushes



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Revised and New Assets Available On Gumroad and Artstation Marketplace

Began the process of moving over my art assets to their new home on Gumroad / ArtStation marketplace. or

Each pack contains a mix of previously available assets, updated assets and brand new assets. Hopefully you'll find the new stuff worth the $1-2 I'm asking for each pack.

First up is my texture pack, now with 15 brand new high res textures. Metal, Concrete, Paint, Rust, Cloth, Leather, Marble, Weathering. Check them out here

Next is my robot material pack. If you use 3dsmax and vray, everything you need to make a good rusty and worn industrial robot.

Used the robot materials to do all the texturing on my "Inc The Robot"

And here's a video tutorial showing you the best way to use these materials:

Third pack is my material variety pack, 32 materials including Concrete, Pottery, Plastic, Marble, Clay, Fabric, Leather, Glass, Metals, and Test / Utility materials.

And finally, once you've applied the materials to your models, you'll want some neutral lighting rigs to test out your materials for consistency. 

And here's a tutorial discussing the value of a good neutral lighting rig, and how to make your own:

That's it for now. And I have 4 more packs of all new assets in progress of reference pictures, brushes, previs models and spaceship textures that I hope to have ready in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Concept Design For Games Vs Film

Having now worked for almost 3 years doing concept design for games (after a 16 year film career as a digital artist), wanted to write an article about some of the differences I've noticed between concept for film vs concept for games...

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Update To My Painting Starship Hull Tutorial

People frequently ask me "Can I use an image like your Starship Hull as a texture?" The answer is no, not as is, but with some alterations they can be. For a more details, see the update to my "Painting Starship Hulls" lesson:

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Exhibiting at Lightbox Expo Online 2020

No in-person this year unfortunately, but I'll have a virtual booth in their Online Expo along with 100s of awesome professionals in the entertainment industry. Got a sneak peek at the expo format and it looks amazing! So join us Sept 11-13th!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Megastructures Update #3 Aug 2020


Welcome to the third official Megastructure Book Project Update! For those new to the project, Megastructures will be a visual encyclopedia of scifi megastructures, everything from orbiting space habitats to solar system spanning stellar engineering projects. Dyson Spheres, Ringworlds, O'Neill Cylinders, etc. Each structure will include a scientific explanation, followed by paintings and diagrams that bring the concept to life.

Since our last update 6 months ago, we have completed another 20% of the artwork, for a total of 81% artwork complete. I think we're still on task to finish all the artwork by end of 2020, with 2021 focused on layout and publishing.

Some of the latest images we've finished include the Birch Planet, Launch Loop, Worldhouse Roof, Undersea Habitat, Movable City, Seastead, Cloud City, and Dyson Sphere. I have 2 more paintings to complete myself, and our roster of guest artists have 7 paintings to complete, and then the artwork is done.

One of the steps of making a book is the "Rough Layout", where we put together a rough copy of the book to make sure we have all the art we need. The final book will be laid out by a professional, and will be fancier, may have a slightly different aspect ratio (currently slated to be a vertical format with a 2 page spread minimum for each structure), have background, etc. But I decided to include a 2 page spread from the layout rough just to give you some idea on the general format: Painting (or in some cases, 2 or 3), Diagram, and text for all 40 Megastructures. Expect it to really sing once the real layout and graphic design pass happens!

Thanks again for following along, will continue to provide updates as we go!

- Neil

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Top 10 Most Viewed CG Education Tutorials

Decided to take a closer look at which of my 148 CG Education tutorials were the most viewed. So took a look at the stats from the last 5 years, and have compiled this list, maybe some of these will be as helpful to you as they have been to others.

10) "Contrasts In Composition" Learn all the different ways you can use contrast of size, shape, value, etc in an image to direct the eye

9) An oldie but goody, "Anisotropic Reflections In The Real World", where I explain what they are, what causes them, and then shows tons of real world photos of different types

8) "Rounding The Edges", learn all about Chamfers and Fillets and how they add realism to your models!

7) Learn everything you want to know about "Reflections and Highlights" in the real world, and how to translate that knowledge to 3dsmax or your 3d program of choice

6) I go through my entire process for shading a hard surface model in 3dsmax. While a high quality version of this tutorial is purchasable, feel free to just watch the free version here

5) "Areas Of Visual Detail, Areas Of Visual Rest", a short discussion of placing detail in your image to get the most visual impact

4) "Procedural Patterns And Noises", showing all the various noises you can create in software like 3dsmax, Bercon, Darktree, Filterforge, etc

3) All the different ways to add Curvature based Edge Wear to surfaces in 3dsmax. Contains extensive written and video portions

2) Kind of a surprise in the number 2 slot, a tutorial I did about the "GGX shader", showing how to use it to really make better metal materials

1) Here we are, the #1 slot. And the most viewed tutorial, with 3 times the views of the 2nd highest, is "Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Shapes"! To celebrate, I recorded a brand new video for the lesson, so check it out below!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Futuristic Crate 1

A Scifi Crate, the bread and butter of Film and Videogame design.

Friday, July 24, 2020

New interview with Digital Art Live Issue 50

Big thanks to Online Magazine Digital Art Live who have posted a new interview with me discussing recent and future projects. It can be viewed here (Page 74):

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated July 21st 2020

Here's a video tutorial discussing what is "Chromatic Aberration", different methods of adding it to your pieces of concept art, and a plea for going subtle.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Disintegration Art Drop #5

5th and final art dump post for V1 Interactive's "Disintegration".

1) and 2) The Old Meg was a giant prewar hovership that crashed into a mountain and became the primary base for the outlaws. After creating the ship, next was exploring what it would look like integrated into the mountain. Land slides, morning mist, and of course some tiny birds for scale smiley Also included the original rough painting, to show the progression.

3) - 6) A bunch of props for the "Integrated", the bad guys in the game. The goal was to take their aesthetic, which consisted mostly of fins and flat panels, and combining them with props like antennas, roadblocks, reactors, comms centers, etc. The goal was to be able to tell from a distance they were integrated based on the silhouette. These were all quick 3d sketches with a toon shader, I felt kitbashing these type of more abstract props was faster in 3d then 2d drawings.

7) and 8) Probably my favorite painting of the project. Ever since I watched 1984's "V" as a kid, I've loved the visual of the giant flying saucer hovering over the earth, and it was awesome that this project gave me the chance to do one. Included two version, one with more contrasty light, and one in stormier conditions.

9) Key Frame showing a pivotal part of the game's narrative. Electrical disturbances cause the anti-gravity on the big ships to malfunction, and large chunks of rock and other ground debris would rise and fall chaotically. This painting was to show what that might look like.

10) and 11) Some bad guy destruction. Included is the final painting, a rough painting, and a bunch of thumbnails I did to help figure out the best moment and composition for the final painting.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Disintegration Art Drop #4

More work from V1 Interactive's "Disintegration".

1) and 2) A bunch of thumbnails of pre-war military vehicles. Each row was a different vehicle type, a tank, a truck and an ATV, and each column was a different style.

3) Another outlaw base painting. Was given a greybox render from V1, and I painted / photobashed / modeled overtop all the details

4) Style guide for the outlaw base in Iceland. Military + near futurism. Showing off the silhouettes, details and other things that made the building language unique

5) Tasked with creating and adjusting a number of Outlaw gunships. The first image are silhouette thumbnails for a brand new gunship

6) Art Director Marcus Lehto liked the negative space on the first ship and so the second image is doing variations on that theme.

7) Then I was handed a render of another ship and asked to flesh out the details on the cockpit, gun and wing.

8) various options for the cockpit and weapon.

9) details of the final two contenders for the cockpit.

10) and 11) The Old Meg was a giant prewar hovership that crashed into a mountain and was an outlaw base. Some silhouette thumbnails

12) the final silhouette for the ship.

13) a rough 3d mockup of the ship, which underwent a few more silhouette tweaks.

14) and 15) A drawing of the details on the ship from the top and side view, drawn in photoshop over top the rough 3d model.

16) and 17) a front 3/4 view.

18) and 19) back 3/4

20) and 21) bottom view

22) And finally an inside view showing the bridge details.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Disintegration Art Drop #3

More work from V1 Interactive's "Disintegration".

1) More design exploration for the city. This one focused on the streets, showing how plazas, stairs, monorails, etc could add a lot of vertical elements.

2) Also continuing the explore just how overgrown and damaged did we want to make the city.

3) Final image is an example of the simple 3d geometry I'd make to paint over anywhere that I wasn't provided a greybox setup.

4) and 5) A bunch of city props. Again, near future city, so the props needed to be near future as well. The 1st and second images are general human sized props.

6) and 7) For these I learned one of my first important videogame concept rules: if you're making a first person shooter, you need stuff to hide behind. That's why there's so many crates and barrels designed for videogames smiley In this case, since you had a whole gravcycle to hide, we needed larger props for you to duck behind. Stuff like fountains, monuments, statues, kiosks.

8) A monorail system that breaks apart into smaller pods for last mile transportation. This would be wreckage in the city.

9) A first test of city wreckage.

10) These were a bunch of futuristic logos I made for buildings in the city.

11) A mood piece of the integrated seeking out our heroes in a small ruined town.