Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Photos in art: Cheating?

For a long time, I've considered using photos in art something of a cheat, but anyone who's watching the games industry will know that realistic cinematic imagery is often the way a lot of concept art gets done, which inevitably means using photos in your work. So, in my pursuit to get into the kind of high end companies I want to, I've recently been trying to get my head around more realistic environment art. I was lucky enough to get an interview at a next gen games company and as a result had to do a bit of photobashing of environments. 

Here's two of the images I've done in the last couple of weeks. The Colorado Plains image took more time, oddly, without verticality in a landscape, it's down to how cool you can make the clouds and light look. The Rainy Afternoon image only took me 5 hours. Far from bragging (I think speed can sometimes be a double edged sword) I'm actually still baffled by how I managed to turn something like that image out an afternoon - though having a solid deadline helps as I got the plate images at 2pm on the afternoon before the interview! 

The thing with photo bashing is I'm still in control of the composition of most of the elements, and in a way, it forces me to be a little more creative as I have to work with whatever the photo elements give me. I still have to find ways to make fairly boring images look epic and exciting, I still have to add mood with light and shadow and colour. All the things I do with hand painted stuff. I have to say I think with photo bashing that Value is king. If your values aren't right and you don't blend the layers of stuff properly it'll stop looking like a coherent image and looks like you just pasted a bunch of photos on top of one another. 

A lot of it is knowing how to adjust colours, levels and add lighting where you need to, but working with photos takes a little of the control of the design away from you. For me, that's a good thing, because I can easily spend ages noodling over the design of something, believing I have to make it my own -  something no one's ever seen before! Using photos actually makes me think of the bigger shapes and forms in an image, not how cool a grate on the pavement is. Definitely a good thing.  I don't have any plans to abandon my desire to paint everything - I do still think you learn more if you have to hand paint everything, but the sheer speed of using photos is pretty mental. 

And to finish up, I want to say Titus, who's little tips, tricks, input and amazing portfolio has kept me on my toes for these kind of images. Go check out his stuff! TITUS LUNTER ARTWORK.