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Workshops Ryan Church COUNTRY: USA CLIENTS: Walt Disney, Universal and Lucasfilm Ryan is a leading concept artist and a senior art director at ILM. He was concept design supervisor for Star Wars: Episode III and he also taught entertainment design at California’s Art Center College of Design. www.ryanchurch.com PAINT AIR BATTLE CINESCAPES Ever fancied creating dramatic cinematic scenes like this air fight? Ryan Church takes the pilot seat… efore beginning a concept sketch or painting for a mov
  efore beginning a concept sketch or painting for amovie, I usually work withthe director and review thescript for that particular scene. In the caseof this tutorial, the scene is an air battle. To create this illustration two-dimensionally, I begin by researching actual aircraft in order to understandtheir construction, the main featuresrequired for flying, their markings,materials and reflective properties. Allthis research will help me to create Ever fancied creating dramatic cinematic scenes like thisair fight? Ryan Church takes the pilot seat… PAINT AIR BATTLECINESCAPES fictional aircraft based on something known and understood.In this scene, I decide to paint air combat ships fighting across a night sky.In the final composition, the eye willmove from left to right with a largeaircraft in the foreground contrasting against the light of the background andthe rocket exhausts. It will becomeevident as your eye moves across theframe that a large ship is closing in on asmaller ship, which is itself chasing threeother planes farther ahead.I decide to use smoke andcondensation trails (contrails), as well asthe light from the rocket ship in theforeground, to move the eye quickly fromleft to right as the scene unfolds. It isimportant in such a composition to havea foreground, a middle ground and abackground. In this particular scene, themiddle ground depicts large airships instrong one-point perspective. They areplaced along the perspective line to draw the eye in and across, and create a senseof depth and space. The background B  Workshops DVD Assets SOFTWARE: Painter IX (Demo)   Ryan Church COUNTRY: USA CLIENTS: Walt Disney,Universal and LucasfilmRyan is aleadingconcept artistand a seniorart director atILM. He was conceptdesign supervisor forStar Wars: Episode IIIand he also taughtentertainment design atCalifornia’s Art CenterCollege of Design.www.ryanchurch.com   78 March 2006 Painter  UNI02.tut_cinescape 76 UNI02.tut_cinescape 76 8/2/06 9:54:11 am 8/2/06 9:54:11 am  In depthPainter IX air battle cinescapes draws you in, so you then see another large airship and some carefully arrangedground details. This is my favourite typeof painting – one that faithfully depictsin detail the aircraft’s design, but alsoillustrates the illusion of speed across amotionless frame. 1 Set up the workspace  To save on screen real estate, I set up my workspace with a custom paletteso that my tools are easily accessible, while those I won’t need, or use rarely, arenot in my way. To create a custom palette,just drag a brush variant out of the BrushSelector bar and onto the workspace. Icustomise my own brush variants, using the Brush Creator and the new BrushControl palettes (Window>BrushControls) and place them in my custompalette. Using both of these featuresenables me to streamline my workflow and meet my tight deadlines.For my custom palette, I choose:Digital Airbrush, Square Chalk, Broad Water Brush (from Digital Watercolour),Glow (from F-X), Eraser, Grainy Water (from Blenders) Wet Eraser (from Digital Watercolour), Water Rake (fromBlenders), Fine Camel 10 (from Oils) andCroquil Pen 3. I set my work up in FullScreen mode (Command/Ctrl+M). 2 Make a line drawing Once I have an idea of what thedirector envisages and how that scene isto play out, I begin a line drawing. Thisloose black and white drawing will beextremely useful. It will be shared withthe photographers and set directors toprovide them with a visual of the scene,as well as the overall feeling, action andmood that the director is attempting to evoke. A line drawing can be atraditional sketch scanned in andimported or a line drawing sketched inPainter IX using its Natural Media toolsand features. Painter IX offers many sketching tools to choose from, along  with a large variety of paper textures andcolours, such as Artists’ Colours, the new default colour set.I experiment with a few rough sketchesfirst, to get a feel of the scene and theobjects. I can restart quickly and easily,but in this case I like one of my initialsketches so I continue to build it up. Ibegin my line drawing in Painter. I usea brush or a pen that can switch from athick to a thin calligraphy line. Thisgives the same effect as that producedby an artist’s pen in a sketchbook. Youcan find an assortment of pens and 79 brushes in the Brush Selector bar. It’simportant at this time to establishperspective lines. These will help placemy subject matter into the composition. With this image, the aircraft will beflying through the air quickly, dodging and fighting. The horizon line reflectsthe angle at which you wish an aircraft to be flying into the scene. It also helpsto provide depth of field and the illusionof movement. 3 Rotate the page I turn my canvas by using theRotate Page tool in the toolbox (locatedin the Grabber flyout) and apply a few light lines across the page where I want my horizon line to be. I skew thishorizon line to one side, to suggest dynamic space. In this composition, thehorizon will curve from the lower left to the upper right. I use the Fine Camel10 brush (Oils brush category) to fill inlight lines in varying base colours of blues and greys. It may take a few triesbefore you get the lines you want where you want them.Once I have my look, I create a new layer and go over my sketch with a tight line drawing. This helps me nail downthe design more accurately. I check my perspective, tighten up the design andcreate the template on which my painting  will be based.   4 Block in the scene I call the blocking-in stage‘painting with the lights turned off.’ Iapply a tonal value to the canvas. WithPainter, I can alter my canvas colour or tone by applying a colour overlay. To dothis, I select a colour from my Colour palette, and go to Effects>SurfaceControl>Colour Overlay. I chooseUniform Colour from the Using list andleave the default Model at DyeConcentration. Using a mid-tonedground further increases the tonal rangeof the medium. Whites provide lights andhighlights, while blues, browns, and March 2006 UNI02.tut_cinescape 77 UNI02.tut_cinescape 77 8/2/06 9:54:24 am 8/2/06 9:54:24 am  blacks provide the mid-to-dark and dark tones. The use of toned paper or canvas isa popular technique used predominantly from the 16th to the 19th century inEurope, so seems appropriate.Because this aircraft battle scene takesplace across the evening sky, I want toevoke a certain mood and depth, so Ichoose a blue-grey tone for the colour overlay. This functions positively as anoverall tone for the sky and as a mid-tonefor the aircraft. I adjust the opacity to alower setting so the lines of my drawing become visible through the colour.On a new layer, I begin blocking incolour and tone with translucent mediasuch as the Detail airbrush, found in the Airbrushes category. This enables me topreserve my line drawing for as long aspossible. For this, I select a colour to act as the base for my aircraft, in blue-grey.Using long calligraphy strokes, I fill in themain objects in my composition. I canthen go back in easily with the Eraser toclean up some of the lines. When I havethe illustration completely blocked inusing translucent media, I beginrendering with opaque media, such asSquare Chalk, found in the Chalk brushcategory. By decreasing the Grain on thisbrush variant (in the General controls of the Brush Creator) I reduce the amount of paper texture showing through. 5 Work up the air ships I begin working on the aircraft by dropping my previous layer and opening a new one. Given the dramatic and dark nature of this scene, I choose to build upmy aircraft using mainly monochromatic colours. At this point I need to decide onforms using long flowing lines, following the shape of the object. Since this is on anew layer, I can go out of the lines andstill go back in and erase without affecting my background.I complete the basic form, then saveand bring up a new layer to begin working on the larger plane that’s in theforeground. I find the Glow brush usefulfor this, because it creates a reflectivequality along the top of areas facing thesun and the rocket exhaust. I apply long smooth strokes of graded colours in redsand yellows to create the fiery effect for the rockets.t  7 A dramatic sky I start work on the background by copying the canvas onto itself. I click Select>All, then Edit>Copy, then Edit>Paste in place. I lower the opacity by moving the Opacity slider on the Layerspalette. This enables me to work insmooth uninterrupted strokes. I go back in with my Eraser over the aircraft  without removing my work below. On anew layer, I use the Glow brush to createa gradation of warmer colours in thelighter areas, such as oranges, reds and yellows, and cooler colours in the shadedareas, such as greys and blues.For clouds, I use the Square Chalk brush with a basic colour paletteconsisting of whites, greys and blues. Iadd some warmer tones, such as reds and yellows, to clouds closer to the light source of the rocket to give theimpression of reflected light. I block inshapes using quick motions. Using thistechnique, along with Painter’s ability toa time of day and establish where my light and shadow will fall. Using anairbrush from the Airbrushes category, Icreate monochromatic gradations fromlight to dark on the vehicles and the sky,illustrating the highlights and shadows. This begins to give shape and dimensionto the painting. I start to establish formsin the background, such as a fadedcityscape and other smaller vehicles. 6 Airbrushing Once I’ve built these objects up, Iopen a new layer, choose the colours for each of the vehicles and apply themusing the Wash brush. I just want a soft hint of colour, so I use the airbrush toblock in large simple values. I begin withthe smaller planes and establish their    80 March 2006  Workshops UNI02.tut_cinescape 78 UNI02.tut_cinescape 78 8/2/06 9:54:36 am 8/2/06 9:54:36 am  resize the brush directly on the canvas(hold Command+Option or Ctrl+Alt,and drag the pen on the canvas), I createcontrails. They gradually get smaller,from the planes across the sky, implying movement and speed. I continue creating patterns in the sky, applying light andshade to the clouds, depending on wherethe light sources hit them.I need a Blender, such as Blur or Diffuse Blur, to smudge the chalk linesand create a more dramatic cloud effect  with more shadow and pattern. Using theblending brushes I can push and pullexisting colour on the canvas in the same way I would work with traditional oilpaints. This creates the realistic painterly effect that clouds have as they fade intothe atmosphere.Once I have established a basic background that I’m happy with, I usethe Detail airbrush to create atmosphereand give shape to the composition. Iapply light fluid motions to the edges of the canvas to provide depth to the lit andshaded areas. Because of the dramatic light source on the left, I decide to adddarker gradations on the right and moveto lighter colours the closer I get to thelight. This helps to push the clouds intothe background.I pause and step back from thepainting. Zooming in and out by using shortcut keys (Command/Ctrl +, tozoom in, and Command/Ctrl - to zoomout) I can ensure I am not overdoing any one particular area and provide asense of how the scene is coming along.I also flip the canvas (Canvas>RotateCanvas>Flip Canvas Horizontal), to get a mirror image of my painting. Thesetwo techniques enable me to check my composition and perspective and gainsome objectivity. 8 Add more details  When I have built up the overallcomposition, I drop the layer, open anew one and get to work on the details. This is what I refer to as ‘turning the lightson.’ I am careful not to overdo any onearea, because the objects in thebackground are more out of focus thanthose in the foreground. I also look for  where there might be reflections in theglass and add details to the wings, weapons and hull area. I collapse thelayers and bring up a new layer  whenever I move on to something new,such as placing in accent colours. Once Ihave a good base of colours and details, Iuse an airbrush to add more shadows,and the Eraser to remove paint, to bring back the layer below. Building upshadows and highlights brings theaircraft to life.I add in some darker colours aroundthe areas that I’d expect to get a lot of smoke exhaust. This is not a new vehicle;it needs to look dirty and worn in places, with oil and dust built up over years of flying. There needs to be some oil anddirt around any gun barrel or jet flames,too. The Square Chalk brush is useful for creating this effect, along with anairbrush with a dark blue-black colour.I continue to build up details,collapsing my previous layer and thencreating a new layer with each stage. I usea fine brush to paint the details of thepanel lines and paint in some small windows. The panels become smaller at the front of the plane as it is further intothe painting. This is where my srcinalperspective lines prove useful. I stepback from my image before deciding totighten any areas that seem messy or need a bit more work.My final touches are the contrails fromthe smaller planes flying into the middleground. They help give perspective to theaircraft in the foreground, but they alsohelp to lead the eye into the scene.I create a new layer and use the Glow brush for this. I try a few different streaksacross the sky to see which one worksbest. By creating a new layer before doing this, I can make a few attempts without affecting the layer below. Once I like theeffect, I drop the layer.I check to see if I need to go back in and warm up some of the clouds and work them up a bit more in order to balance thefinished image. Adding more contrast gives the scene a more cinematic effect. When I feel like I have achieved abalanced dramatic effect, I step away frommy finished piece.    T   h   i  s  w  o  r   k  s   h  o  p  o  r   i  g   i  n  a   l   l  y  a  p  p  e  a  r  e   d   i  n   t   h  e   C  o  r  e   l   P  a   i  n   t  e  r   I   X   H  a  n   d   b  o  o   k .   R  e  p  r  o   d  u  c  e   d  w   i   t   h   t   h  e   k   i  n   d  p  e  r  m   i  s  s   i  o  n  o   f   C  o  r  e   l .  w  w  w .  c  o  r  e   l .  c  o  m 81 March 2006 In depthPainter IX air battle cinescapes UNI02.tut_cinescape 79 UNI02.tut_cinescape 79 8/2/06 9:54:45 am 8/2/06 9:54:45 am
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