“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Friday, September 29, 2006

BACKGROUNDS_90 minutes









............Oh, all right...these didn't take 90 minutes - it's just habit that makes me type that. BTW, these images are old. Older. No new art here, people. No new art. Move along, move along...

Anyhoo, here are some backgrounds I did for Upper Deck for their Marvel 'VS.' collectable card games, as well as some conceptual images for 'Starship Troopers' (the CGI cartoon version - not the feature film).

When designing backgrounds for a stand-alone image, like the ones for Upper Deck, my main focus (much like I would for an image that has a character in it) is to establish a strong, readable composition that incorporates a certain depth of field. In the case of a two dimensional image you can try to accomplish this in several ways. One way is by using a foreground, middle-ground and background element(s) - with the majority of detail or 'spotted black' areas in the FG layer and less so as properties within the image recedes. It's not a hard and fast rule (if you notice on the third set, first image - the background mountain range is blackened in. That positive shape, along with the positive shape in the FG, is used to draw the eye into the busy linework that is the 'Squadron Supreme' structure at the center of the image), but for the most part it works for me.

In the case of concept design (ie. the Starship Trooper images...waitaminute, now that I look at these, some of them are from the 'Men In Black: The Animated Series'...so there you go), most of the stuff I draw is dictated by what's necessary as it's written in the script. After a few rounds with the art director and the episode director, we work out the space that they need for the action to take place, or the mood that they're trying to capture, etc. The primary thing that I focus on is that it's about communicating the idea of form and function regardless of how futuristic or primitive the theme and concept may be. The 'flourish'...the thing that makes it uniquely *my* design...that comes later. Way later.

Keep in mind that I have no idea of what I'm talking about, that I've fallen ass-backwards into every job I've ever gotten, and that I'm pretty good with the trickeration and making my employers think I'm competent - which means I'm a liar and I'm going to hell. It's only been through the good graces, infinite patience and sage-like teachings of my former BG supervisors (Peter Chung, Alex Stevens, Vince Toyama, Jonard Soriano, James Tucker, et al) that I've managed to go on professionally this long. And now, having confessed that, no one will ever be fooled again. That said, let me say this: Backgrounds *are* important. And more often than not, wholly necessary - if for nothing else than to convince and immerse your audience in the world you're trying to create.

Oh, and your lucky numbers are: 2, 15, 34, 47, 67.

11 comments:

axel#13 said...

These look great! What more can I say?

Chris Sims said...

OMG! You're like a one man army. I am soooooooooooooo jealous! ( In a good way)

Patrick Gray said...

Nice stuff....once again. Backgrounds have always been the one thing that I can't seem to grasp, and it amazes me when guys like you can clement just seem to have such a handle on it. Awesome stuff.

Kevin Dalton said...

O_O

skills to pay the bills man.

i love the organic ones the most.

Michael said...

some crazy good environments
how small do you work them?

Wandingo said...

It doesn't make sense to me what you can do but you are doing it.
AMAZING WORK like always.

Nora said...

WOW. amazing, you have a really strong sense of compostion.

Pipocalavera said...

I Really hate you-----
you make me feel so small!! noooooooooooooooooo

Spud said...

wow..This is a lesson learned. Eye candy and stucture!! awesome..

Do you mind if I put a link in my blog?

ivan brandon said...

GAH!!!

Julia said...

*takes notes*