I drive my red mustang at night…

Well not really but I do work on digital projects at night…..Plus I had that Corey Hart song stuck in my head for a bit and the syllables are the same (bonus points if you know more of the song than just one line lol). Here’s a sneak peak of “The New Project”. Tonight I made a lot of over all tweaks and then got sucked into the tail lights. I think I got a bit carried away with the painting lol.

It’s funny, the more I paint the lights/reflectors the more I like them, though I guess I’m biased since I’m a painter and painting automotive lights (especially lit up ones) is an awful lot like abstract painting. Put on a base color, daub in some middle oranges, palette knife in some lighter vertical and horizontal marks and add a few strategically placed off white spatters and viola!…Well that’s what happened in this case. With the last Mustang it was alot more precise and pattern based which I also enjoyed. This car is pretty blingy in general but I feel like it’s off to a good start. That’s all for now, stay tuned for more progress pics and obscure music references! 🙂


The thing about 16 bit versions…

Is that when you’re cramming your brain with as much information as I have been, you tend to forget about them lol. I’ve got to say I’m getting quite a bit of millage out of this Mustang model,  I’m working on a new image that I rendered out of Bunkspeed this weekend for a studio visit that happened yesterday. (More about that later :-D).

So here’s the full image! Before and afters can be found in my portfolio.

This was a learning experience for sure. I was still pretty new to Bunkspeed at the time so it was kindof like flying a plane while trying to build it lol. I wanted to work with render passes which Bunkspeed doesn’t really do so I made psuedo passes with some material trickery and a bit of Photoshop magic.  I started with a diffuse pass which I used later on to make my paint color. After that I added specular, reflection, and warm/cool passes. I composited the passes in Photoshop to create what is called a beauty pass (I’m simplifying this explanation so no one falls asleep :-))  and from there I started painting. In case you read the 8 bit version of this project the part of the car that is all paint is the headlights/fog lamps which was my favorite part. Making the paint color was fun too once I figured out how to make it look like car paint and not shiny plastic. I also did a bit of work on the wheels with the rubber on the tires (armor-all effect holla!), the reflections in the rims and added the  Ford logos in the center of the rims.

Still awake? Sweet! So back to the studio visit. Not only did I get to see the inner workings of an award winning cg/retouching/animation studio and chat with one of the founders, I got to meet one of my heroes (the other founder) and it pretty much made my day. And yes I totally called my mom to tell her. 🙂

I’m currently working on a new Mustang piece. I found a night time city street backplate that I painted up all rich and mysterious and I’m playing with different effects that studios use to make cars look sweet; motion blur, selective color,  etc. I’m thinking about working some rain/mist into the scene but I might have to save that for the next project 😉 Maybe I’ll pick up Real Flow or Particular and make some particle effects (mmmmmm particlesssss lol)…probably overkill but I have been known to use Nuke for color corrections instead of Photoshop.

In other news, I have some pastels that will be part of Janice Charac’s 20th aniversary retropective show on the 22nd (more info in the exhibitions tab) so feel free to check them out 🙂 That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

Re-touched by an angel

Don’t hold that joke against me, I’ve been watching too much wheel of fortune and I’m a bit obsessed with the before and after puzzles 😉 So Howdy folks! While I’ve been beefing up the car portion of my portfolio I’ve been making ads for the salon and I got to do some beauty retouching which is always fun.

This photo was taken by Cheryl Willard, one of the other multi-talented receptionists at Beauty (SALON) by J. Lyle ltd.  I always love working with her photos because they’re always so clean and easy to work with 🙂 This photo was used for a full page ad in Downtown Publications’ paper which is just called Downtown. You can check out the full ad here. That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

Matte Hatter

Howdy Folks! I’ve been taking a break from car compositing/retouching to practice some real painting…well…real painting as far as digital techniques go ;-). I’ve been cramming my brain with matte painting tutorials and the more I learn about the process the more interesting it gets. My matte painting role model of choice is Dylan Cole; a friend referred to him as the “Syd Mead of our time”.  He made some great tutorials for Gnomon which are really easy to follow if you’re interested in getting into digital painting.

Enough chatter! I followed along with one of Dylan’s introductory landscape matte painting tutorials (yes he’s like my Bob Ross) and ended up with this almost finished sketch. (If you squint at it from across the room is almost looks like a photo! 🙂 )

If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck matte painting is check out this interview with Dylan Cole.

That’s all for now, stay tuned folks!

The thing about production…

…is that it takes quite a while when you’re learning and producing at the same time. 🙂 That being said, howdy folks! I know you’re all wondering the same general thing: “Where have you been? Are your thumbs broken? You can’t send a text?!!?”

For the past few months I have been learning how to composite and retouch with Bunkspeed and Photoshop. Which means I started with a 3d model, textured it, lit it, and rendered it out in multiple passes. Then I put the passes back together in Photoshop, made them all pretty, then did a bit of painting. Ok, it was a lot of painting. Bonus points if you can guess what’s totally fabricated (as in painted, someone pointed out to me after reading this post that it’s all fabricated as I did not have a real car to start with lol) ;-).

That was the super condensed 8 bit version. Stay tuned for the slightly more specific 16 bit version with before and afters! Until then,  here’s a sneak peak!

“Show me the tail lights!”

Over the weekend I had more time to play with the Mustang model and I must say this whole 3d thing is pretty sweet.  I used Bunkspeed this time around but after watching a few tutorials about lighting in Maya I think I’m going to try it that way next. Maybe I’ll add racing stripes eh? 🙂

This is pretty much what I got straight out of Bunkspeed’s renderer with the exception of some color corrections and a bit of painting on the tail lights that I did in Photoshop. I was starting to get pretty frustrated when it was explained to me that the point of retouching 3d renders is to get them closer to what a photograph would look like. It’s kindof weird to have to remember to add things that we see all the time like motion blur and hot spots in highlights but at the same time it’s really cool to be able to dictate how the model looks from start to finish. Now that I have a render I like I can start the retouching and compositing magic! I think this Mustang is begging for smoke effects. And fire!…Ok maybe fire is over kill…or is it? 😉 Stay tuned folks!

Long time no blog

Howdy! I realize it’s been a long time. A really long time. Like a month of Sundays long time. But I have a great excuse. I’ve been developing my digital skills. “But why would you forsake painting, your love, your life, for the digital dark side????” You ask.  Because the road to being a matte painter at Pixar (some day)  is paved with pixels. Ok that was a terrible joke. Even so, I’ve been cramming my head with tutorials and articles and practicing like crazy. So far I’ve learned a bit more about maya and lighting, nuke and color corrections/bezier curves/rotoscoping, bunkspeed and texturing/HDRI maps/rendering…oh yah, and a whole lotta photoshop.

This is an image for a full page Beauty (SALON) ad. To the left is the original stock photo from 123RF. This was actually a lot of fun and very similar to painting…just with different tools 🙂

This next one is a new development. A friend let me use this model they bought from turbo squid. (He was even nice enough to prep it for Bunkspeed Shot for me 🙂 ) I actually really like using Bunkspeed for lighting and texturing because you can get a pretty nice render to work with fairly quickly.

This was the first good render of this car, I’ll be retouching and putting it in a super cool car type environment over the next couple weeks. I have a different render going with a different angle (tail lights holla!!) and I used a gunmetal color for the paint…it should finish rendering some time this afternoon. I can’t wait to see it 😀 That’s all for now, I’ll be posting updates from time to time (I promise!). Stay tuned folks!