August 7, 2019

Crystal Reed 100% vector portrait


Haven't been posting for a while. Life kept me busy, staying alive mainly. Started a new project some time ago: a vector portrait of Crystal Reed who plays Sophia Falcone in the television series Gotham. 100% vectors, zero pixels. Created once more in Affinity Designer, no other program was used. Reference photo you find here. Below I post the progress sequence, which will be slow I suspect. Oldest stage at the bottom, newest at the top. Please bear with me as I complete this portrait, that for the time being is a work in progress.

The face' pores were created with custom brushes that I gave Gaussian blurs, transparencies and in some cases 3D fx. In some areas over- and underlays were placed that I gave custom fills, transparency and Gaussian blurs. All fx and strokes were given the property scale with object, so that the portrait can be re-scaled to any size without losing quality and crispness. This was all done using the mouse. The hair will be done with the Huion 610 Pro graphic tablet.

Tip: if you click on an image, you're taken to Google's Lightbox (which are slides basically) that allows you to scroll back and forth through the various stages, that makes it easier to compare the stage differences. On a PC you can use the scroll wheel to flick through the stages, on a tablet you must click the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen and on a smartphone the Lightbox is unfortunately not available.





This is what the portrait may look like when framed.




Now I have to put it away and not look
at it, before I apply the final touches . . .



Drawing the hair is tedious labour
as can be seen in this outline view.






Started detailing the hair Did this with the
mouse because the pen battery was dead.






Finally I got around to working on this vector portrait again.
Did subtle detailing on the pores and accents, the eyebrows
and increased the height of the portrait. After this I hope to
start on the detailing of the hair and her dress.




Outline view of the image above this one.






Colour testing




Stage 13 - hair background added




Stage 12 - accents, highlights, shadows & lip creases





Stage 11 - upper lip details




Stage 10 - accents highlights and shadows




Stage 9 - working on accents and shadows




Stage 8 - added some shadow backgrounds on right side of face




Stage 7 - fine tuning location and shape of face components




Stage 1 to 6 - setting up face components














August 4, 2019

Blender 3D re-invented itself

The 3D world has almost completely been monopolised by Autodesk and their subscription fees have since soared beyond the spending capacity of by far most people. One could comfortably buy, drive and maintain a properly ensured car for that kind of money. And whereas the opportunity to travel is a basic need of life, leasing a 3D package for an extremely steep rental fee, certainly is not.





Donating a voluntary modest monthly amount of money would greatly help to continue the development of Blender that has finally made its UI more accessible to a larger number of users. Expanding its contributing user base would allow it to remain competitive.

A truly open source model without donations would make it difficult to survive for complex and regularly updated programs in a market aggressively attacked by corporations such as Autodesk. The Blender organisation offers a way for many users to benefit from far more reasonable terms than the corporate products, while by no means sacrificing functionality.

In addition, the recent alliance with Ubisoft has the potential to counter Autodesk's monopoly, especially since Blender in fact offers more than the average 3D program in terms of versatile capability. Blender offers advanced modeling, rendering, sculpting, 2D vector drawing and animation / screen capturing in one package! In more than one way, this is a magnificent development!

I would therefore urge 3D artists that formerly found it difficult to wrap their mind around Blender's UI, to check out the 2.8 beta release candidate that features many significant changes that make it a lot more user friendly - nowhere near the puzzling shortcut key driven workflow of previous versions. It truly blends all above listed options into one coherent and relatively easy to learn application.

I get it that hardcore Blender users find the changes annoying, but I think there are at least equally as many artists that could never get on good terms with the old UI. For the latter group and new users the renovation of the interface will probably feel as a blessing. In view of Ubisoft's involvement the aim most likely is to grow, which means that some of the functions that were hidden within Blender's former niche interface, needed to be altered to suit a more common understanding of how to operate the program. Which in my view the developers did in a wonderful way.

If Blender would have continued its niche approach of its interface, that may have hampered their aim to expand its user base and make its program more attractive for developers in the gaming industry (and in doing so for a great number of other users as well!), which would be a pity since the program has so many awesome functions, that put it on par with its hugely over priced commercial competition. This undoubtedly is why Ubisoft sought collaboration, that must have seen this is potentially a match made in heaven . . . .