3 Ways to Use Models as Reference Animation & Comics

Drawing backgrounds and different angles are often challenges for artist, which include animators, storyboarders, comic artists and mangaka to name a few. I’ve come up with 3 easy ways to help and take your art to the next level. Using Dolls and Toys, Making Paper background Models, and Using Digital 3d software and games

This article is accompanied by a video tutorial:

Using Dolls and Toys

When wanting to draw characters from different angles, it’s useful to use posable dolls as reference. In the example below, I wanted to draw a cut where a knight was charging towards another knight on his horse. I also wanted the ‘camera’ to pan around the character as he ran to make the shot more dynamic. Drawing the charging scene itself is a challenge, because horses are difficult to draw for most people. However, drawing a camera pan really adds another layer of complexity to the design.

I got a posable Harry Potter doll and sat him upon a horse statue with a pencil in his hand, placed them on top of a Lazy Suzan turn table and took videos from different angles and positions. I then used a dragon shaped piggy bank over to the side as scale reference.

This is solution is extremely easy and cheap to re-create. I didn’t need reference for details, so it didn’t matter to me what kind of toy I used as long as I could move the limbs to the position I liked. Artists are known for using the wooden mannequins as pose reference. However, some toys have a lot more articulation and have the added benefits of coming with face, hair and clothes, which gives you more points of reference.

After that, I can import the footage to my computer and watch it in slow motion to study the poses. Depending on your artistic style, you can copy the poses in your own style, or draw directly over the videos and rotoscope it.

Making Paper background Models

When I was a little kid, I remember making paper doll houses with my cousin Stephie. The process was extremely easy, all you had to do was fold paper to make boxes and trays. This became the inspiration for the next process.

Drawing backgrounds to scale is a real skill. I’ve read plenty of books and know the formular of how to draw perspective, but let’s face it, drawing accurate perspective is BORING. Haha, (soz background artists :p). Here is another very easy way to create reference that you can use multiple times for backgrounds and settings.

In this example, I wanted to draw the inside cloister of a cathedral. The architecture is very repetitive in that there are arches, symmetrical windows and columns. While it is possible to copy photos and have a still background image, what if you want to walk down the halls or see the corridors from different perspectives? The answer is having a 3D model where you can go around it from all angles!

To do this, I went into photoshop and made an A4 canvas (the size of my printer paper), and on the long plane, I drew the basic shapes of the corridor. I drew an arch with symmetrical windows and columns and copy and pasted them next to each other. Using the ruler tool, I made rectangle and square shapes as guides. That way I could print out the shapes, cut along the dotted line and glue the parts together. I made several of these rectangular cuboids and placed them in the position I wanted. I placed the models on top of my cutting mat, which had a grid on it. Using the grid can be useful too because it shows the lines moving towards the Vanishing Point, which can be an extra point of reference. After that I used a Go-Pro type camera with a warped fish-eye lens to go down the corridors. (You can just as easily use your phone or webcam to do the same thing.)

In the same method above, you can export the footage to your computer and use the shots for reference by copying the footage or rotoscoping it.

BONUS TIP: If you want to draw a scene in different times of the day, or with special lighting, you can position desk lamps around your models and study the way light and shadow hits them.

Using Digital 3d software and games

This method is a bit more difficult, because it depends on having extra skills and computer software. If you know how to do it, you can create 3D models on a digital animation software and use that as reference. I personally, I can’t use 3D software, because I get motion sickness. Instead, I use the Sims 4 to help create scenarios. In the Sims you can create houses and buildings and have your Sim character perform actions like dancing or eating. You can either take screenshots or using a screen capture software, record what’s happening. This can be useful for everyday life scenarios. However, if you want something more complex, like a plane taking off, you wouldn’t be able to do that seeing as there are restrictions within the game. Though, if you are making a fantasy type story, you could always use a fantasy style 3D game as reference too.

WARNING: I’ve noticed that a lot of Webtoon/ webcomic artists have been using Google Sketch Up in their comics. However, instead of using it as reference, they have been tracing over the shape in such a precise way that the backgrounds end up looking very boring. I would suggest that you use these methods as guidelines, but to

Background Art For A VTUBER – Speed Draw!

Background Art For A VTUBER - Speed Draw!

I’ve been using Adobe Character Animator CC to create a virtual vtuber avatar of myself to record myself speaking for some of my most recent videos. I think it’s great and really fun to use. For me, I get really nervous recording myself directly in front of a camera, (and it’s even worse having to edit the footage). Therefore, I think it’s amazing to have the opportunity to use my art to create a character of myself, which eliminates some of the stress, and lets me focus on the more important stuff – sharing my art making process and techniques with you guys. This speed drawing video is about how I designed the background art, based off my real desk. I hope you enjoy it!

Please CLICK on the video below to see the drawing process on how I created this background, which includes spoken commentary.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child/
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child/

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MUSIC:
“March 3 Song” – Jessica McLeod-Yu

Art Law Basics – Part 2

Art Law Basics -part 2

Originally Posted 23/04/2013

 Art and the Law? Part 1 

Starbucks Logo

Design art is different to copyright because it patents the shape, pattern and ornamentation
of the design, enabling the designer/ company to monopolize that particular design for 10 years.

Trade marks or ™  patents names and logos.  It is important to register your business name or domain main before someone else takes it and says you stole their name.

When enabling people to use or hand over patenting  rights you need a contract. Contracts can be oral, in writing, partly written partly orally or implied by people’s conducts or actions, but the best way is a written contract.

Contracts are like promises, which are legally binding and hold consequences if broken.  They are used to flush out issues and let each party know what is happening, without misunderstandings.

Licensing (giving permission Assignment rights (ownership)
Written contract yes yes
Verbal contract yes no
Retain ownership yes no
Time limit yes no
Royalties payed yes no
Geographic area yes yes
Moral rights yes yes

moral rights chart

Business structure

This was the area that I got a bit lost in, so I hope I can explain it ok (@.@)

You can either structure yourself as an unincorporated or incorporated business, which means is your business run by you as an individual or is the business an entity in itself.  Some examples of an unincorporated business (who works for profit) are sole traders, partnerships or joint venture and for incorporated it’s proprietary Ltd company and co-operative.

A person who is a hobbyist can earn income and doesn’t have to pay taxes, but at the same time they can’t deduct expenses from tax.  If they happen to make over a certain amount then they have to become a professional.

 The next point that was addressed was being an employee in a company compared to a contractor from another company/ or free lancer.  If you are an employee you have to work a certain amount of maximum hours, you have payed leave, workers compensation, tax and superannuation.  Also anything you create at work is copyrighted by the company you work in compared to as an individual.

Finally, the last point was on using your art for prizes and competitions.

  • They have their own terms and conditions
  • Are you eligible for it?
  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • What happens if you don’t win? (Do you keep your copyright?)
  • Do you license or assign your copyright
  • Non-exclusive licence
  • Moral rights
  • The use of your name and personal information (Do they give you credit for the final product?)
  • Warranties
  • Attendance at events (at your own expense)

 

Here’s an example of how artists can be tricked into signing off the ownership of their copyright. Presented by Catherine Moffat a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus:

Say for example, some of your friends are in a band and want you to design their logo, in return they will pay you a few dollars or buy you a few drinks, or something like that and because you’re friends, you say ok.  All is going well until your friends make it big and start touring, meaning that the original logo that you designed is now being printed on merchandise such as CD covers, t-shirts, hats etc…  After seeing this, you then ask your friends if you could get some royalties, but they then tell you that they have signed their rights off to their recording company.  The recording company then says that you have no rights to the image anymore because you sold it off for those few beers in the beginning.

The moral of the story is when agreeing to design something for your friends (or clients), make a licencing contract in writing, which states that you still own the copyright, but you give them permission to use your image.  If one day they get famous or use your image for profit, they would then have to pay you back royalties.  

“Personal Branding; The art of good business”

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“Personal Branding; The art of good business” – Directed Study Reflection.

As some of you may know from one of my previous blog posts, I created this website for one of my university courses (Directed Study).  I didn’t set myself a specific outcome, but rather treated this project as an experiment to try bunch of new things and see the results.

My aim included:

  • Defining myself as an artist by defining my own brand
  • To create a professional online portfolio
  • To create social media accounts and establish a stronger web presence
  • Collaborate with other artists
  • Learn employment skills to use in the work force.

 

Looking back, I have successfully achieved all these goals.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.44.02 pmOne of the obvious outcomes is the creation of this website. I used a visual style template to set everything out and an ordered structure.  Not only that, but the WordPress back room features make maintaining the website easy to use and manage, and the support forum was very helpful whenever I had questions.  I even learned about analysing web traffic and statistics to know which posts were popular, and who my readers are.

What I would change in the future is the web layout.  At first I though that the highly visual and graphic template was a good choice, however I think it’s too confusing.  There are too many elements going on that a first time visitor might not realise what my website is for (to be a portfolio).  So next time I would make the home page simple and to the point was a visible menu bar.

I also learnt that all social media websites function differently.  Some are easy to use, while others are complicated.  Also, each social community has it’s own features and systems which affect the activity and interaction of my accounts.  While I know that all the sites are different, i’m still trying to figure out what makes them different, and how I can use these systems to my advantage.

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I’ll combine these next two points together since they’re so similar.  Collaborating with other artists and defining my own brand.  A few month ago my friend Manon and I collaborated and did a performance artwork together called Kamikaze Sisters, which I wrote about in a previous post.  This work was about showing our creative styles in both our daily lives and through our artistic practices.

21evil laugh

I am pretty versatile and work in a variety of creative mediums ( Drawing, modellingphotos and installations, writing, animations and more), so during this time, i’ve been working on unifying all their styles into a singular brand.  This is also a continuous process since i’m still developing and growing, however this experience has taught me to reflect on what I consider to be my style and which mediums I like using the best.

In some ways I feel as though my art is very scattered and confused like my website layout, yet in others I can see unifying themes.  Because I’ve done so much already, I don’t think the solution is doing something new again, but rather refining what I have.  Picking and choosing which aspects of my art that I like, and discarding what I don’t need.  This is another project that will take some time, but it’s good to keep in mind.

Over all I’m satisfied with all the work i’ve done so far with this project.  Because of it, I’ve been able to go further than I have before by learning more about myself and my goals for the future.

Don’t worry though, just because this class is over, doesn’t mean my blog is.  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for future updates.

-Jess

27 thank you

Touring an Animation Studio!

Two weeks ago I was privileged to visit the Sticky Pictures animation studio in Sydney for a tour.

Sticky Pictures is an Australian animation company who specialises in children’s programs such as: Pearlie, The Dukes of Bröxstônia and Pirate Express, which is currently in development.

As some of you know, one of my passions is art and animation, however sometimes it can get disheartening sitting in my room all by myself being overwhelmed by such huge tasks, and not knowing whether I’m doing the right thing or not.

Therefor it was great being able to see how the professionals work within the animation industry.

At Sticky I met a lot of the team including Michael; one of the script writers who personally guided me around explaining their processes, Stu; one of the producers and script writers and Suren; one of the animators who sat down with me to critique my portfolio, as well as giving constructive advice on how I could get better.

At the time that I visited they were working on a new series called Pirate Express, which is cute cartoon about pirates mixed with Greek mythological influences.

The studio was set up with a bunch of computer stations with pirate reference materials around the room in timelines, planners and concept art hung up on the walls.

When I was there the animators were creating character and prop sheets for Pirate Express using Photoshop and Flash. These sheets are then used as reference (for the animators in Canada , whom they were working with this time).  These sheets are then used so that the characters and props are consistent in colour and size, when the actual animating takes place.  Michael then explained that because they are a small company, Sticky collaborates with other companies overseas in the UK and Canada, and delegates the work depending on the type of project they’re working on.

Over all I can say, it was a pretty cool adventure, and I’ll continue to work hard at improving my own art!