Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Digital Doug Project

Visual-effects company Digital Doman is working to create the long-dreamed-of virtual actor.



Called the "Digital Doug Project," it starts off by replicating the face and mannerisms of Doug Roble, Director of Software Engineering at Digital Domain.

The team begins by making extremely detailed scans of Mr. Roble, capturing the way the facial features wrinkle and pucker, and the way the blood flow changes with different expressions.

Digital Doug, courtesy Digital Domain
The method uses machine learning to process the data from an informal performance capture, made without all the special markers. The result is a virtual Doug that any actor could puppeteer.

It offers a hint of the powerful toolset that is emerging to assist movie makers and gave developers.



The ultimate output of this technology will be a whole cast of virtual actors, both human or non-human, which can be precisely controlled by any performing actor.

(Link to YouTube video)
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Meet Digital Doug: Digital Domain's Doug Roble On Motion Capture
The Near Future of Performance Capture
Unreal Engine podcast about Digital Doug

Monday, December 10, 2018

Last Light on Big Clouds

Big Sky Country, oil on panel, 6 x 12 inches
I'm attracted to the last sunlight on big clouds at the end of the day. The color of light on the clouds shifts from a warm white at the top to dull red-orange farther down. The base of the clouds merges with the general tone of the sky.

I explain this phenomenon in an earlier post Sunset Color Bands:
As the light passes nearer to the surface of the earth, more and more blue wavelengths are scattered out by fine particles of dust and by the air molecules themselves, with only the longer reddish wavelengths remaining. In other words, the light gets dimmer and redder as it approaches to the earth’s shadow line.
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Previously:
Sunset Color Bands
Fast Food and Big Boxes
The Golden Hour
More in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tribhanga Pose

Tribhanga is a classic stance in Indian sculpture that emphasizes the flowing, sensual line of the figure. 


Like the contrapposto pose of European sculpture, it involves an uneven distribution of weight and a shifting of the axis through the pose.


Tribhanga literally means 'three parts break,' the breaks being in the neck, the waist, and the knee, giving the pose a gentle "S" movement.
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Tribhanga on Wikipedia
Recommended books: 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Combining watercolor and gouache

Marko asks:
"I just wanted to ask you about painting process when combining watercolor and gouache. Is there some procedure, or the right way to paint gouache over watercolor, or I just switch to gouache? Is it OK to do first layers with watercolor (like underpainting) and then, if it is that simple, to paint over that with gouache? Also is it possible to do glazes with watercolor over gouache? To twist the procedure?

Marko, First off, there's no right way or wrong way to combine watercolor and gouache. But you don't really need to switch between them.

It might help to think of gouache as a very close cousin of watercolor. In fact, gouache IS watercolor—if you use it without white.

That's because, compared to the days of "designer colors," nowadays, most modern manufacturers don't add much in the way of opacifiers to their paint, but instead give you a lot of pure pigment. Likewise, watercolor essentially becomes gouache when you add white to it. 


So in terms of procedure, you can start your painting with gouache used transparently and gradually bring in opacity with thicker paint and more white as you need it.  That's what I did in this painting, for example.


(Link to video on YouTube)
Regarding your question about doing watercolor glazes over gouache: It is theoretically possible if:
a) The layer of gouache is absolutely dry.
b) The glaze isn't too wet.
and c) You lay it down in one stroke with absolutely no additional touching.

If you tend to be someone who noodles around with a glaze after laying it down, you'll lift previous layers. If that's a problem, you can use an acrylic gouache, which will has an acrylic binder, and will seal between layers.

I would suggest painting a still-life object using black gouache alone, using water to thin it for your lighter tones. Then try painting the same thing with black and white mixed for the gray tones. Try this test and see what happens. You'll learn a lot.
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Previous Related Posts
Gouache Ingredients: Info from Manufacturers
Gouache: Tubes or Pans?
Gouache Insights from Caran d'Ache
Materials:
Jack Richeson Watermedia Pocket Plein Air Brush Set
Pentalic Aqua Journal
How to Make a Sketch Easel
Holbein gouache
Schmincke watercolor
PDF of Recommended Gouache Materials

Friday, December 7, 2018

Paint Your Kitchen (Or a Friend's)

In case you missed it, we're doing a "Paint a Kitchen Challenge." Here are some paintings from the past for inspiration.

Isabel Codrington
It's free to enter. There's no entry fee. You can focus on ingredients, the appliances, the tools, the dirty dishes, or the chef or the cook. But try to capture some of the overall scene or ambiance, rather than making an artificial still life.

Anders Zorn
Media accepted include watercolor, gouache, casein, acrylic, or oil. You can also include pen, ink or water-soluble colored pencils. Palette of colors should include no more than four colors plus white. Along with your entry, please list the pigments you used, and a photo of your painting easel in front of the motif.

Carl Bloch
Please post your entries on the Facebook Event page "Paint a Kitchen Challenge.” Enter just one piece. If you do two pieces, please upload your favorite of the two. Also include in your entry a photo of your easel with your work-in-progress in the kitchen where you painted it. You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: December 20th.
Helen Allingham
Five Finalists will each receive a "Department of Art" patch, a free Gurney video tutorial download, and a 5”x8” Aqua Journal sketchbook. The Grand Prize winner will receive the foregoing items, but will also receive a set of brushes, gouache paints, and sketchbooks donated by Pentalic.

Jessie Wilcox Smith
Winners will be announced on December 22 on the Facebook Event page, on this blog Gurney, and on Pentalic’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Anna Ancher
More info on the Facebook page: "Paint a Kitchen Challenge." If you don't have Facebook, maybe a friend or relative can upload for you and mention your name.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Geology-Inspired Art in Poughkeepsie

Mer de Glace, by Henry Moore, 1856, watercolor
There are just a few more days left for the exhibition of geology-inspired landscape art at Vassar College in the Hudson Valley. The show Past Time: Geology in European and American Art includes work by Frederic Church, William Trost Richards, Thomas Moran, and Viollet le Duc. The show includes:
"sketches and studies made by European and American artists from the 1770s to the 1890s who were engaged with a new, scientific emphasis on the Earth. In this arguably golden age of art and science, artists traveled and investigated the land internationally, noting Earth’s craggy features keenly in their watercolors, drawings, and oil sketches made on the spot or back in the studio. From a topographical, often strata-focused means to a later mode that evoked nature’s great transformational powers over time, this major loan exhibition explores European and American artists pursuing geological wonders."
ast Time: Geology in European and American Art is at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and the show ends December 9, 2018.

If you miss it, there's a catalog: Past Time: Geology in European and American Art

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tumblr Called Out for Flagging Innocent Content

Tumblr has announced that it will be banning all adult content starting December 17, which has led some media watchers to predict the doom of the platform. 


What attracted my attention was the online backlash from users who were amused or upset about innocent images that were flagged as inappropriate. 

There are far too many images on Tumblr for humans to filter, so they have to rely on automated systems to flag banned content. It makes you wonder how their AI filtering systems are programmed, and exactly what features they are looking for. 


The stated rules ban "photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. The new guidelines exclude text, so [written] erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breast-feeding and after birth photos." 


Read More:
BoingBoing: Tumblr bans all adult content, such as "female-presenting nipples"

Monday, December 3, 2018

'Should I Pursue Illustration?'

Chinese art factory workers copying Repin's portrait of Stasov

J. S. asks: 
"I'm currently 27.5 years old, studying Computer Science at my local university but feeling quite miserable. Though the pay will be great once I'm done, life has to be about more than the money? 
     I've read various posts on following your passion though I lean on the pragmatic advice given by Cal Newport on not following your passion but instead to choose a highly valuable skill, get really good, and make a living that will allow you to support your passions so to speak.
     That being said, if I'm miserable in my current path and quite honestly the situation I've gotten to (mainly just being 27.5 with no real skills, no degree, never really finished anything...etc) perhaps pursuing something that has a little bit of spark to it (from my point of view) is worth while?
     My biggest fear is choosing to pursue illustration, not being good enough, being broke, and then being just a little bit older maybe 30, 32, and being in the same situation I am now.
     I know this email is quite heavy, but do you have any advice? Any hurdles you've faced in life that turned out for the better?


James Gurney responds: 
I want to answer your question because I wrote "Follow Your Dreams" in a lot of peoples' books, and I feel that advice might have led a few people into your predicament. I don't know enough about you to give you really personal advice, but I'd like to offer a checklist about how to to be successful if you do choose an art career.

1. Decide what kind of art you like to do.
Make sure you like the subject matter, the materials, the scale of the enterprise, and the way it's marketed. In other words, if you want to paint murals, make sure you like ladders.

2. Develop your skills in that area.
You're going to face a lot of competition from people who know their craft. Learn yours. You don't have to go to art school, but if you're going to teach yourself, you've got to be really focused and organized. You've got to DO it, practice it, get your hands dirty every day. You won't learn to draw or paint by binge-watching art videos.

3. Find out what excites your audience.
If you're going to make a living at art, you've got to create art that people want to buy. That means experimenting with variations on what you do, and seeing which sells best. Social media can give you analytics, too, but you really need to test it in the marketplace. 

4. Build a business plan around it.
If you get this far, you've got to channel your energy and build a business. You can't sell one painting alone. You've got to build a body of work that stands out from the rest.  

5. Stay flexible, because things will change.
The technology for creating and distributing art will continue to change. And tastes will change. That will cause some doors to close and other doors to open. Almost anyone who has been a professional artist for more than a decade has had to reinvent their business, moving from illustration to gallery art, or from what they thought was a secure studio job to something else.

So yes: follow your dreams, and find your passion. We live in an image-hungry world, and the world is waiting for a person of vision. I think the advice you quoted from Cal Newport is good too: It's OK to have a day job and do art for your personal fulfillment in your spare time. 

But if you want to be an artist, don't do it for the easy money. It's a rocky and narrow path. Be ready to work hard and work smart. It's great to want to fly, but you'll have to build your own airplane and learn to fly it.  
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Book review:


Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Drawing Effect

Mort Walker, cartoonist of Beetle Bailey
British researchers have shown that memory is greatly enhanced when a person is asked to draw something.  Scientists call this the “drawing effect.” 
"Drawing was a better memory aid than visualizing the words, than writing a description of the physical characteristics of each word’s meaning (designed to encourage deep-level encoding of the words), and more effective than looking at pictures of the words. The drawing advantage also remained when participants were given just four seconds to draw each word, and whether they performed the tasks alone or together in a lecture hall. The researchers think that drawing has this effect because it involves lots of different mental processes that are known to benefit memory, such as visualization and deep-level elaboration." 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Announcing the "Paint a Kitchen Challenge"

Lunch Prep, 9x12, casein
I painted this little demo while looking into the kitchen of a community center at the SKB Workshop.

Anna Ancher, "Girl in the Kitchen" (Danish, 1859-1935)
I'd like to invite you to join the "Paint a Kitchen Challenge." You can paint your own kitchen, a commercial kitchen, or a church kitchen in water media. You can focus on ingredients, the appliances, the tools, the dirty dishes, or the person cooking. But try to capture some of the actual scene or ambiance, rather than constructing an artificial still life.

Pentalic is offering some cool art supplies to add to the other prizes I'm offering: a free video download and a "Department of Art" patch.


GUIDELINES
• Free to enter. No entry fee.
• The scene can be painted in a private kitchen or a commercial kitchen, but it must be painted mostly or entirely on location. If you want, it’s OK to finish it up with photo reference.
• You can focus on ingredients, the appliances, the tools, the dirty dishes, or the chef or the cook. But try to capture some of the overall scene or ambiance, rather than making an artificial still life.
• Media accepted include watercolor, gouache, casein, acrylic, or oil. You can also include pen, ink or water-soluble colored pencils.
• Palette of colors should include no more than four colors plus white. Along with your entry, please list the pigments you used.
• Please post your entries on the Facebook Event page "Paint a Kitchen Challenge.” If you don't have your own Facebook account, you can have a friend or relative who has an account upload them for you. Just specify in the description that the art is by you. The Facebook Event setting works well for these challenges because people can share feedback with each other.
• Enter just one piece. If you do two pieces, please upload your favorite of the two.
• Also include in your entry a photo of your easel with your work-in-progress in the kitchen where you painted it.
• You can enter as soon as you finish the piece, but no later than the deadline: December 20th.
We ask that all entrants follow @Pentalicart on Instagram and Pentalic’s Facebook page. Also, please use the hashtags: #paintakitchenchallengeand #PentalicandJames
• I'll pick five Finalists, and they will each receive a "Department of Art" patch, a free Gurney video tutorial download, and a 5”x8” Aqua Journal sketchbook. The Grand Prize winner will receive the foregoing items, but will also receive a set of brushes, gouache paints, and sketchbooks .
• Winners will be announced on December 22 on the Facebook Event page, on my blog GurneyJourney, and on Pentalic’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Albert Anker, "Girl Peeling Potatoes" (Swiss, 1831-1910)