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d382 Photoshoops


I’d been only thinking about it for a long time, but the day finally came when I decided to start using Photoshop, and that was that.

I’m using the “free” CS2, which may be 10 years old, but it’s still newer than both OC1.1 and PSP7 by another three. As my stance continues to be “software only gets worse”, I’m not going to go so far as to say the former is “better” yet, but it certainly has more features both of the latter combined. For the most part, the transition was relatively painless, much like the “transition” to pen – most of the graphic editing features in CS1 work the same way that they did in PSP7; they are just organized differently. I even learned about PSP features that I didn’t know existed (like layer blending modes).

The biggest change for me is switching from the OC brush engine to the PS brush engine. The OC brush engine actually has a couple sliders you can tweak, but the stock brush is pretty good at everything, so in my drive to Keep It Simple(, Stupid), I had for many years only used two brush settings: the stock one and something to do fills. I don’t think I can just use the stock brush settings in PS, but so far I’ve been able to get decent results by only changing brushes and manipulating opacity and leaving everything else alone.

So far I’ve done four paintings in CS2, and two have been pretty good and two have been pretty mediocre. Apparently I still don’t really have this painting thing down, as I can still sink a ton of time into a painting and have it turn out mediocre. Which sucks.

This is one of the two better ones. It’s Shinku from Rozen Maiden. The third season aired last season, and I was somewhat disappointed because while the relatively popular first two seasons were about the dolls, the producers inexplicably decided to make the third season about Jun.

This is the other of the two better ones. It’s Colette from Tales of Symphonia. This painting is actually somewhat of a remake of the same from 2005. I think the 2005 was made in PS as well, albeit 7 instead of CS2.

My continued efforts to find a solution to the cursor accuracy problem was a strong driver for trying a different graphics suite. PS does seem to eliminate the green delta, but the continued existence of the blue delta still makes drawing harder than I think it should be. All four of the paintings I did were digitally inked, but the linearts were still kind of rough, and I still definitely can’t comfortably draw from scratch on a tablet yet. More on this subject in a later post though!

The styles of Shinku and Colette reflect what I now consider my two major “branches” of coloring, something closer to paint and something closer to cell-shade, respectively. Much like how I kit-bashed several models together to make papercraft Titanic, I kit-bashed multiple tutorials to make these paintings. I really like Shinku’s background, which was done in PS from scratch, but I think Colette’s figure turned out better. Colette also has some places where I tried to color the lineart, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, but is apparently more difficult to do well than I had imagined.

If there’s anything I’ve learned (or relearned) in this process, it’s that everything still comes down to having a fantastic lineart, in which case the coloring doesn’t need to be spectacular. As such I’m going back to just drawing for a bit after this.

Published by D, on December 10th, 2013 at 2:09 am. Filled under: d_paints Tags: No Comments

Weekend (mis)Adventures 1: RC Planes

IT’S A POST BY J!!!!!!!

Ahem. Anyway, now that I’m back on the same side of the country as D, we try to get together every weekend to do something. At some point we figured we might as well document some of what we’re doing and put it on Nonsense Wars. That’s the entire point of having a blog/website right?

Step 1: Do stuff.
Step 2: Take photos of yourself doing stuff.
Step 3: Post photos of yourself doing stuff to internet. Maybe write about yourself doing stuff.
Step 4: Do more stuff.

Some of you might object that “??? […] Profit!” is missing. That’s not how the internet works for most people.

Anyway, on to Step 3!

Read more…

Published by J, on December 1st, 2013 at 4:45 pm. Filled under: d_others,J_others Tags: , , , , No Comments

d381 Tales of Xillia Paintings 2013


Well, as it goes: another month, another post…

I haven’t been quite as prolific with paintings in 2013 as I was in 2012, but I’ve been turning out a good number and variety nonetheless. I say time and time again that my constant struggle is one to simplify tooling and process, to make the finished product with as few tools and as few steps as possible. For the past couple years this has been a theme in my life outside of drawing as well as I’ve continuously tried to get rid of junk that I don’t need.

Anyway, this quest has led me to keep revisiting tried methods of painting, which is how this first one is done.

Pure pencil linearts have been done time and time again with varying degrees of success. Even this particular flavor of pure pencil lineart – more or less a sketch with little to no touchup – has been done enough for various Tales group paintings that you can see the evolution (The years are 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2013 respectively)! Overall I think I definitely did better on this than on the Graces 2012 painting with the same process, but it’s one of those cases where I can’t quite put my finger on why.

One of the reasons I want to simplify drawing process – other than for the sake of simplifying – is that I want to be able to draw detailed backgrounds without having to draw them twice. This means that I don’t want to have to draw it in pencil and then go over in ink, nor do I want to draw it in pencil and go over it again in digital ink. Going all pencil is one direction I could go, but with pencil I have that whole smearing problem, and increasingly more relevant is my increasingly passionate hatred of eraser crumbs.

Going all digital is a little more interesting because even after many false starts (almost as many as pen), I am still convinced that it is ultimately the way forward. That being said, I am increasingly convinced that the false starts are from beginning to hit the limits of my tooling, and that goes for things other than cursor accuracy now. My latest gripes are not being able to zoom out more than a certain amount in OpenCanvas and how the program renders everything without anti-aliasing at any zoom level other than full size. The former obviously makes it very difficult for me to look at a drawing in it’s entirety, which is especially important if I’m going to draw stuff digitally from scratch, and the latter makes it very difficult for me to visualize actual line quality when zoomed.

Of course, the accuracy problem is still more annoying especially for drawing, which is part of the reason I keep trying to let paint do the work. This next painting follows the same theory, but I am also trying to do some better background work as per my last post. Initially I intended to digital ink the figures and remove the background lineart, but I didn’t.

I thought the lighting here would be difficult to do, but I just did it like element by element, little by little, and I think it turned out pretty well. I did a tiny bit of erasing/touchup on the single-weight pencil sketch, but I didn’t do any color adjustments on the paint – for the most part I think I’m becoming decent at getting the colors that I want the first time around.

Published by D, on October 29th, 2013 at 9:38 pm. Filled under: d_paintsNo Comments

d380 130920 miscellaneous sketches


Recently I did some sketches, and I had some thoughts! It’s been about a year and change since Ink, and the best thing it’s done for me is make me draw more with pencil.

I’m not really talking about quantity, as that just doesn’t happen. Two years ago I wrote about drawing and sketching and about how I usually drew instead of sketched. I’d been feeling that the added effort required to hit this drawing tier was limiting my drawing in the same way that the added effort required to make a painting was limiting my painting. The overhead has also made it harder for me to just “go and draw” than it had been for me when I was a kid.

While not necessarily a cause or effect, I’m confident that backdrawing with a harder pencil contributed to that overhead. At one point H6 backdraw with HB lines had been the only way for me to get clean drawings, and then both H6 backdraw and clean drawings became the norm. When I switched to HB backdraw with ink lines to get those clean drawings, I discovered that I could get decent quality sketches using HB backdraw with HB lines. It’s now come to my attention that the latter may have been just as enabling as the former.

For a long time, I’ve had difficulty putting figures and non figures together in a way that doesn’t suck. I’ve physically written and mentally noted some theories, but having this low-quality, low-effort sketching ability has helped me execute: most of these doodles are about scaling figures and backgrounds and having them interact with each other.

This is a ground level view of my neoclassical station from the start of Ink. I think the more aggressive angle gives it a better sense of depth; this is actually much closer to the view that I originally wanted but apparently couldn’t implement. The light battleships up top are mockups of a model I might build in Lego.

This is my favorite one of the lot. It’s hard to draw figures and trains at the same scale because figures are small and trains are not, so you have to draw tiny figures or giant train parts… and that’s hard. That being said, I think the giant train parts turned out pretty good.

This is the cab of the 7-9 Series steam-electric locomotive I keep drawing. It’s probably a little small relative to the figures, but likewise scaling is hard. I semi thought through what all of the levers and dials did, which is what makes this sort of greebling hard for me these days; I don’t think I did that nearly as much when I was a kid. For much the same reason, I mostly reuse designs now and only occasionally introduce new ones.

This is my second favorite of the lot. The conductor is actually from here. The condenser isn’t actually part of the original design, but I felt like having it.

I originally thought the 7-9 Series was a legacy design that survived the BKS era, but I couldn’t find an original drawing, so I assume it originated as part of my 2006 BKS/CL locomotive reference set, which codified some legacy designs like that AT01 Series Atlantis class shay, and introduced some new ones like the 7-9. These drawings are based off an updated 2012 revision.

Published by D, on September 22nd, 2013 at 9:24 pm. Filled under: d_sketchNo Comments

d378 Chikara 2013


This painting was actually done back in July. It has a couple “first in a while” elements: the first Chikara painting since 2007, the first digital lineart since 2010, and the first cell-shade painting since, well, last year. Also of note is a from scratch, no lineart background that isn’t just a tree. Or a shadow. Or a rectangle.

Read more…

Published by D, on August 22nd, 2013 at 1:25 am. Filled under: d_paints Tags: No Comments

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