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Lessons:10Length:1.6 hours

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Free Preview: Thumbnail Sketching for Environments


  • Overview
  • Transcript

In this course we will be exploring tools and techniques for creating thumbnail sketches for environments. We will discuss things such as: how to gather references, breaking down complex ideas, world building, exploring ideas, and how to create compelling/believable images. By the end of the course you should have the confidence to express your environment ideas through thumbnail sketching.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Hey guys what's going on, and welcome to. Thumbnail sketching for our environments. I will be your instructor. My name is Kailin Chalk and I am a concept artist and a visual designer working in the entertainment industry. Some of my clients include Industrial Light and Magic, Cryptozoic, CT Masses Academy, and the Robot Pencil Mentorship. So today we're gonna be talking about how do we create these three environments that you see before you? So we're gonna be talking about the benefits of thumbnail sketching, why do we do them, why are they important, how can they help you in your day to day work? Talk about gathering reference and inspiration so you can have something to reference when you draw from your head. And we're gonna be talking about how do we use Photoshop to create the three images in front of us. And then we'll also talk about adding finishing touches, all that kind of fun stuff, and then talking about making these in a presentable way that you could show to a client or your boss. And so hopefully by the end of all this you'll have a much more of a normal and a much more of a comfortable approach to create environments. So whether it's for yourself or whether it's for a boss, you have a game plan on how to approach these and make these in a timely manner. So without further ado, welcome to the tutorial, and let's get right into it. I'll see you then.

1.2 Benefits of Thumbnail Sketching

So, before we get into the actual drawing and painting of our thumbnail sketches, I want to talk about briefly just the theory of thumbnail sketches. Talk about where they come from, how do they work, and some of the the benefits on why we do them in the industry today. So, let's get right into it. So, why do we do them? So, some people always ask me, hey Kalen why do I have to do a small sketch? If I know what I want to do in my head, why don't I just go and do the full painting right now? It saves time, right? Well, that is very well true. Some people can nail out a painting and do it right the first time. Do five hour painting, hit it right, the director loves it, the client loves it, but in reality, more times than not, you will never hit the painting right the first time, there will always be feedback. And so why do we do them? Well, thumbnail sketching, or you can call them rough sketches, it helps warm up the brain. Just like anything, like sports, if you were to play basketball, and you had to play a basketball game, you'd probably want to stretch first, and warm up, take a few shots, get the brain going, get the brain kind of thinking about the idea of basketball. Well, the same thing about art. You want to warm the brain up for creativity. So, this helps those doing little studies, doing little drawings, little thumbnail sketches of environments. All those things help us get in that mood to create environment sketches. So, warming up the brain, just like you warm up the body when you exercise, you still have to warm the brain too. So, it's very, very important. So, that's why we do warm-up sketches or thumbnail sketches is what you can call them. Another thing that makes it really, really important on why we do them is the time versus cost. Well, in a typical eight hour workday, sometimes you have to work on multiple projects, you have to do multiple ideas. It's very risky to do a five hour painting in an eight hour day, and the boss doesn't like it. As opposed to doing maybe ten or maybe even, five or 10, 15 drawings in five minutes. Well then you've only wasted a couple of hours and that way you have more variety to give to your client, to give to your boss. So if they don't like it well then doesn't matter, because you only wasted five minutes, as opposed to doing a five hour painting and your boss doesn't like it, your client doesn't like it. Well, then you wasted a lot of time and you wasted the studio's time and money and so, thumbnail sketches for environments, all that stuff is really about cost efficiency as well. We want to be efficient, we want to be able to communicate our ideas as effectively as possible. So, we look at next thing, is it's about ideas, not an idea and so, the one thing is that usually when you give someone one five hour painting, usually you only give them one, unless you're super fast. If you can do a multiple paintings in five hours, than you're much faster than I am, but for the most part, you want to give them ideas. Most of the time studios and clients pay you for your ideas and they want you to draw out anything in there that you can think of even if you think it's not even gonna work, even if you think it's gonna be a lame idea, they just want to see it just to make sure. They want to make sure that just in case that you didn't have a better idea, they're always gonna make you do it one more time, two more times. They're always gonna make you refine it, cuz they always want to test you to make sure and see you know what, I wonder if he or she can can do it better. I wonder if he or she explored this idea, and then that's why they'll make you do them more. So, if you give them more right out the gate, well then they can at least see that you're thinking of every possible angle, every possible way, this idea can go and then that way you give them choice. And so again, the thumbnail sketching and environment sketching is really, really nice is because you can do a bunch of them and it gives the client variety before you go to do that five hour painting, right? So, that's why it's very, very awesome to do them and the best thing that I can say is explore and problem solve. A lot of times when your drawing's very, very small you're solving a lot of problems for your environments and because you warm up you're probably gonna do some bad drawings, and those bad drawings are actually very, very important because they help us problem solve. We can do the bad drawings and we can say, you know what? You know what, that didn't work in that drawing for that reason. Maybe the composition was off, and then you go, hm, I should probably change the perspective and so you do another drawing, and then you go, yeah, the perspective's better but maybe the values are a little bit off. And you do another drawing, and you're doing these small, small drawings and you're problem solving so that when you get to that five hour painting, you know exactly what you need to do, because you've messed up so many times in a very low stakes low cost format, as opposed to making a big mistake in a five hour painting. So, a good way to illustrate this is to think of a web of ideas. So, let's zoom in here, take a look at this. Let's say that this is your idea and all these little dots or little ripples are the directions that you can take your environment sketch, okay? And so obviously you can go to the left, you can go to the right, you can go up or down, and notice right here I put one minute versus eight hours. So, if you just jump from here to an eight hour painting, you could go possibly in a very wrong direction, okay? So, think of it like driving without a map. So, if you go in this direction, and then you find out, oh crap I've gotta go that direction. Well, then you gotta drive all the way back and you've gotta weave through to get to the final direction, the final painting. Well here, if I go this direction, or even this direction, this is like a five minute drawling, let's say that I'm off and that the director goes oh, no, no, no, I want to go right instead. Well, now I can only go back five minutes and I can go right again. Does that make sense? So, as opposed to going this way, if I mess up, I have to go eight hours back and go back this direction. And so by doing small little drawings in every single direction, and those directions, just think of them ideas that you can take the environment somewhere, you're giving the client something to look at. You're giving your boss something to look at and then your boss can say, you know what, I don't want you to go this direction, I want you to go to that direction and you can go here, then you can go there, and he goes, you know what come back, let's go this direction. And then eventually you get to the final painting, and so that right there is very, very valuable because the small sketches kind of test the waters. So, think of this almost like a ripple of ideas, right, like a water droplet of ideas and it allows for more feedback in art direction and that's one of the greatest things that environment sketches can give to you. So, again, one of the biggest things is we'll go back here to review, is it's great for warming up the brain. Again, time verses cost is very efficient and saves money to do small sketches verses doing a bunch of really huge paintings that takes weeks and weeks and weeks. It's about ideas, right? It's about getting multiple ideas and showing the client, showing your boss and so again, it's about exploring and problem solving, right? You want to make mistakes you want to figure out ways to make the drawing better. So, that way when you go you have a much better idea, you have a much clearer path. And so these little drawings, it's almost like you're in the fog of war and you're going different directions and they figure out which is the best way to go. And then once you do all these sketches, and you say, okay, this is actually the way I want to go. And this actually helps in your personal work too, not just for bosses and clients. Whenever I do personal work and I have an idea, I have no idea where this painting can possibly go and so it's almost like I'm lost in fog and so I'm going in every single direction, figuring it out and then eventually once I do all these sketches, in a couple of hours I can go, you know what? I think this is the best way to go, and then I head in that direction and I kinda figure it out as I go, as opposed to just jumping into a painting, right? It doesn't work out. That can be very risky. So, again I just wanted to talk about that stuff and hopefully that makes sense and let's go into the next thing. So, we're gonna talk about some, gathering reference and inspiration for and getting some exploration sketches and then we are going to get into the thumbnails. Okay, so I'll see you then.