Friday, May 25, 2012
It's All In The Details
Click this pic to enlarge.
Today's topic is creating visual interest and richness through detail. This image is from the set of our upcoming project (news flash- this project is NOT about zombies. Shocking, I know).
The road is a sheet of white plastic (you can see at the bottom of the image where the paint runs out- don't worry that won't be on camera). The sidewalk is hardboard. The building's stone and brick elements are pink foam. The doorway is a combo of foam core and illustration board. All held together with hot glue.
In other words- the materials are very humble. It's the effort put into what is done with the materials that makes it fly. A picture is worth a thousand million words (or something like that), so by studying this image carefully, you can learn a lot about how to achieve similar effects. But I will say:
Photo reference at the start, keep that in your mind... then go your own way. Check back with photos later, or when in doubt. Take direction from that. Then carry on in your own mind's eye of what you are going for. Too much adherence to a photo will only result in, well, photo realism.
Textures and finishes are key. Always remember it's the last layer on something that the camera sees.
Build colours and textures up, by starting dark as a base.
Don't be afraid to be a bit bold with colour- check out how nice the blue door works with the brick.
Dry brushing means DRY BRUSHING. A really dry brush, with very little paint. VERY LITTLE PAINT. And you need contrast in brightness between the undercoat and the coat you are dry brushing, to get a nice effect.
"Flicking" paint as the the last addition to a paint job is awesome. You can see it here especially on the road and sidewalk. It looks cool (the tiny round shapes offer a great but subtle contrast to the bigger square shapes that are the bg), and for some reason it feels really satisfying to basically "splatter" something you've worked so long on! A final way to show the piece who's boss? Win-win.
We directed our intern, Jason Burch, to go for a "cartoony but realistic" look as he crafted this. By that we meant realistic proportions, details, materials (meaning stone should look like stone), and realistic finishes... but let it be fun at the same time, maybe a little "balloony" (meaning a certain bit of puffy to the shapes), let it be fun, with nice energy, and let the colours (while staying realistic) "pop" a bit.
He nailed it. We love it, it's going to look great on camera, and it's now served as a nice little teaching tool. Win-win!