Wednesday, June 29, 2022

New Video Tutorial: The Final Push

As many of you know, I've been playing a lot recently with AI generated artwork, especially creating robot designs. However, one thing I've been unable to achieve in midjourney (the AI I've been currently using) is a 3/4 view of the robot designs. All of them end up being frontal view only. This is likely because the images the AI trained on either haven't been 3/4 view, or maybe they have but that particular attribute hasn't been labeled, and so the AI hasn't learned what a 3/4 perspective is. While I'm sure this will be fixed in the future, I've been playing with giving the robots depth by projecting the artwork onto simple 3d geometry. So this tutorial discusses this technique which I used to make my painting "The Final Push".

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Final Push

The mechanized war front! This image uses a little ai, some 3d, photobashing, hand paint, pretty much every technique under the sun. Will post a lesson tomorrow on how I made it, in the meantime, hope you enjoy the painting!

Monday, June 20, 2022

New Written Tutorial: 10 Things To Check Before Calling A Painting Done

Just posted a written tutorial on the last steps I take before calling a painting done. Art isn't finished, it's abandoned, but before you abandon it, give these a try...

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Battle Droid 4

Another batteldroid, same technique as before, midjourney based variations on my original painting, then photobashed the variations to make the final robot.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Same Settings, Different Base Painting

Example of identical AI settings but applied to different base paintings. The 1st robot's color and camera lens details appear in the AI version.

The 2nd is redder, and has the inset holes from the prompt painting.

And the 3rd's swords appear as spiky limbs in the ai results.

Fun to find all the details from the original paintings that get captured in the ai results, and all the ways they heavily deviate. Hope to see more fine level control be added in future iterations.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Robot Head Sketch

This was NOT made with the help of AI, wanted to prove to myself I could still make art the old fashioned way :D

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Megastructure Book PDF is available

Now that the hardcover copies of the Megastructures book are well on their way to the US distribution center, the Digital Edition of the book has been released for those who'd prefer to read it on their computer / laptop / ipad, etc. Check it out here:

Friday, June 3, 2022

New Video: How To Use AI In Your Photobashing Process

AI (Artificial Intelligence) artwork has been a huge subject of experimentation and debate these last few months. Whether this is a fad or the future, who knows. But if we are going to use AI, my goal is have the AI assist me rather than replace me, I want to find that balance between my own artistic ideas / style and that of the algorithm. And while AI continues to evolve, and so workflows will as well, I wanted to share with you my current attempts at finding that balance. So this tutorial will discuss the methods I've been using to incorporate AI artwork into some of my paintings.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Battle Droids

A collaboration between myself and the Midjourney AI. These images started as an older painting of mine, I then modified them using a text prompt in Midjourney, the AI provided me with a bunch of variations, then I painted over top one of those variations using Photoshop. My goal is have the AI assist me rather than replace me, trying to find that balance between my own artistic ideas / style and that of the algorithm.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Baroque Spaceship

Another AI / Neil collab. Started with a rough painting I did of a spaceship, the AI provided 8 variations, I then photobashed elements of a number of these paintings together to make the final design.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Alien Flower 1

Another AI / Neil collab. Started with a rough painting I did of flowers, the AI provided 20 variations, I then photobashed elements of 6 of these paintings together to make the final design.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lightbox Expo 2022

I'll have a table at this year's Lightbox Expo, the show is back in person after 2 years of online only. Will have books and art prints for sale, or just come by to say hi! Tickets now available

Monday, May 23, 2022

Megastructure Promo Books Arrival

Just a quick little update, I received my promo copy of the 2 book types via airmail. So happy to see them in the flesh (or is that in the pulp?) Check out these pics I took. Will post again once I have the boat information.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Alien Portraits

My time experimenting with AI is done, now it's time to make some real art with these tools! These started as older paintings of mine, modified using a text prompt in Midjourney, then painted over top in Photoshop. Approx 50 / 50 AI and hand painted / photobashed.

Monday, May 16, 2022

New Video Lesson: Using Shapes & Patterns To Define A Fictional Species

When working on a Scifi or Fantasy project, and you need to create a new species that feels coherent and believable, the first stage I usually go to is to define the species Shape Language, Patterns and Symbols. From there, so many other design choices just fall into place, and the final results tend to be more consistent. So this lesson is a discussion of one of my latest environmental concepts, and showing how Shapes, Patterns and Symbols were used to define and strengthen the story and design of this species. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

New Video Lesson: Referencing, Asset Management & Push vs Pull

If you're a student using a 3d application such as 3dsmax, Maya or Blender, you've likely had a single scene which contains all your objects for a particular shot, and you've likely worked on it exclusively by yourself. But that's not how things are done at bigger film and game companies, where you have a large team that needs to share pieces of this scene, working on top of each other to create the final shot or game level. So this tutorial is a quick primer discussing the theory behind Asset Management so if you work at a bigger studio you have some idea of how you're going to slot into the system.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

AI Artwork, The Road Ahead

If you've been following social media these last few months, you've probably come across a ton of artwork generated by Artificial Intelligence. AI can take two different images and mix them in surprising ways, it can shade a line drawing, or it can even generate artwork by providing it a line of descriptive text. Tons of artists are starting to play with this sort of software, including myself, and so I felt now was a good time to go over some of what these sorts of applications can do, and have a brief discussion of where this may all be leading us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Techno Baroque

Was invited to be a part of a project a friend has in the works merging tech & the baroque. As a fan of the 1984 Dune film aesthetic & artists like Juan Gimenez, I jumped at the chance & started developing this alien species. Will add to their culture & planet as time allows.

The first image is an environmental concept shows off the homeworld, architecture inspired by baroque, artdeco, and a touch of Southeast Asia.

Second image shows off one of the alien species environmental pods, allowing the ambassador to survive on planets that do not share their same biological needs

Third is a rough painting showing off a forest on the planet. Worked to find recognizable shapes in the plants, but with a few surprises.

And the fourth image shows the thought that went into the shape language, symbols and patterns that make up the planet's visual language.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Lith Exploring The Interior 1

"When I see an alien device sitting in front of what looks like a big alien door, I'm going to assume it's a doorbell." he said, "The question we need to ask is do we want to meet whatever's on the other side"

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

New Video Lesson: Concept Design For Games Vs Films

While both videogames and films use concept artists, and while the majority of the job is the same, there are some subtle differences between the two mediums. And its helpful to know the differences, especially if you plan on switching between the two fields. This lesson discusses the main difference, and shows 10 examples of things I noticed moving from films and games.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Alien Plants

One last AI test, a bunch of variations of alien plant life from a single seed image. None of these would be perfect as is, but there are elements in each one that I could take and expand upon to create some interesting designs. Text prompts include stuff like tentacles, alien, spikes, mandelbulb, etc

Friday, April 22, 2022

Fan Made Inc The Robot

Student Natalya Sa'at has made an awesome fan model of my Inc The Robot. Really impressed, check out her work!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

AI Art: Disco Diffusion Structures

While I have some reservations about AI artwork, I figured it's time to try out this Disco Diffusion thing. It's actually pretty neat. I gave it one of my paintings as input, and it modified it based on the phrases I provided. If used as a unique form generator, I can see it as a great way to create a rough idea and spark our imagination. I just hope we don't hit a point where they're good enough to remove the ability for a commercial artist to make a livable wage.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

AI Artwork: Vizcom S2R AI Shading Tool

Played around with Vizcom's S2R AI shading tool. Supply a drawing, it uses AI to do the shading in 1 click. First image is a rough pen drawing and the 1 click results. Image 2 is the result with 2 min of extra hand paint. Image 3 is another robot head test. And the final image is trying it on something flatter. The AI seems to work best on rounded surfaces, maybe because it trained on a lot of car sketches? Still, some neat results with a more rectilinear spaceship.


Monday, April 11, 2022

New Video: Fighting Mech Analysis

2 months ago I posted a written version of this tutorial, had a chance to record a video of it, so check it out if you prefer videos. It's all about giving your concepts a strong visual hook using my favorite fighting mech franchises as examples.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Megastructures: Movable City

Part of the "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia" book project, on sale now at

A Movable City would be a livable structure that could be moved, or would be in constant motion.

One of the originators of the idea was architect Ron Herron (in 1964-66). His Movable City, which he called a “Walking City,” had a beetle-type form. It was a city mounted on giant, telescopic steel legs. Other designs include hundreds of crawling legs (like a centipede), a city atop enormous treads (like the NASA launch pad crawler), or a city being pulled or pushed by large, motorized vehicles (like tugboats pushing a barge.) Due to their size, Movable Cities would travel at incredibly slow speeds.

Moving your city could have a number of advantages, such as avoiding natural disasters, escaping man-made disasters like irradiated zones caused by nuclear warfare, migrating to more temperate climates during winter months, or moving to new locations that had resources your city needed (once you’d used up those resources in your current location).

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

March Starship Doodles

A couple of March starship doodles...

Friday, March 25, 2022

Megastructure Printing

Got a little weekend present for you. My awesome printer On The Mark sent over these photos a few days ago from the factory in China. We've got ink on paper!! :D