Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hello, ladies and gents!

In my on-going journey to become a better artist, I've begun a series of studies.  It started with a meatball.

I thought, "What would a steak look like if you squeezed it into ball form?  How would subsurface scattering affect the appearance of the ball, and what sort of textures would be found on its surface?  How does fat marbling actually look?"  And so on.  I decided to add on top of it a translucent skin in order to study how translucency works, and on top of THAT some clear slime to help me understand how reflections work on liquid surfaces.

So, here's how it started:

After receiving a few helpful comments from friends, I set off on improving my meatball.  I also took a swing at some translucent skin.

Top left: old version, top right: new version, bottom: new version with skin.
Again, friends came to my aid and provided some excellent observations with which I could further improve my meatball.  It seemed like most people were mistaking the skin for ice, which turned out to be because of the high amount of specular.  The meatball itself seemed to please people, but I felt the specular pattern on the meat's surface wasn't quite right.

Which brings us to the most current attempt:

I'm pretty happy with the meatball at this point, and the skin.  However, the veins could use a bit of help and the slime could use a LOT of help.  Fortunately, my friends have once again come to the rescue.  I'll be making corrections once I find the time and the itch to work on the meatball again.

In the mean time, I've decided to start on practicing fur and hair.  Saving hair for later and starting with fur, I've made these three attempts.

My first try wasn't horrible, but definitely needed help.  I'd managed to grasp the idea of fur forming into clumps instead of remaining a bunch of individual little hairs, but the size and spacing of the groups were too uniform.  In a way, the first attempt came off to me as feathers more than it did fur.

The second try was an attempt to overcome the even spacing/size issue... But failed horribly, probably because I did not remain focused while painting (yes, artists have to use their brains!  My goodness!)  I felt that the fur looked striped, rather than appearing to be rings of fur on top of one another.  I believe this is because I did not blend the shadows properly into the fur.  Alas.

The third try is... getting there.  I clearly still need to work on my fur painting skills, but I feel like I'm starting to get a grasp on certain properties of fur.

Anyway, I'll still be working on the meatball and furball again when I find the time.  Once I am happy with my fur-painting abilities, I will start trying out hair.

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