Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Animation Background Painting – Tree trunk

Animation Background Painting - Tree Trunk

I painted this yesterday with the intention of making a short animation on top of it. The drawing was based on one of my photos from Panama. The process of painting is similar to the one I discuss here.

I scanned in the approx. 8.5 x 12 inch drawing (based on the 720x480 pixel ratio) at 300 dpi. In Painter, I made the drawing a "gel" layer and painted a base color layer beneath it. To emphasize the tree trunk being in the foreground, I painted another layer above the drawing, smudging the pencil lines. All the painting was done with the wonderful chunky SOFT oil pastel.

As I was doing the painting, I tried a few things I hadn't done before. First, I wanted to give a sense of dampness to the scene, even though it wasn't so in the picture. I generally associate 'wetness' with 'white highlights,' so I put a few white highlights on the tree trunk and on the ground.

White highlights on ground
I think the effect is not as strong as I'd like, but it's something I plan to experiment more with in the future.

Next, I wanted to add more texture to the mossy bits. In a book of paintings by an amazing background artist who works for Studio Ghibli, I saw that the artist used small flecks of vibrant greens and blues to give more life to moss. So I tried it. The moss base color is fairly pale, and I chose the flecks to be closer to the lighter, more vibrant side of the spectrum.

Textured moss
I think it worked well. I need to get my hands on that book and take a closer look at how he does it ...

Finally, while I was solving a color problem, I discovered a neat little trick. I put the final details on the painting and realized that the tree trunk itself was too light, especially considering the darker background elements.

Textured moss
So, I made a layer over all the others and completely covered the tree trunk with a medium pale brown color. I set the transparency to 38% and the layer style to multiply. I then used the eraser brush to gently remove some of the layer in order to keep certain areas bright. I realized as I was doing it that the pattern started to resemble shadows created as light passes through tree tops. I redid the erasing process in order to maximize that effect.

Textured moss
Again, I could have gone further with the effect, but at least I have the trick stored away for use on a later painting. For example, I could have made the brown layer more opaque. Here is the same layer on multiply, but at 100% opacity.

Textured moss

1 comment:

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