Hello everybody! My name is Nikita Veprikov and I live in Kremenchug, Ukraine. I've been engaged in the 3D graphic arts for more than three years already and it takes up the greater part of my life. My latest work is "Artist" and I'm going to share the process of its creation in this Making Of.
Before I start, I just want to mention that I will not be describing how to model something, how to put textures on objects or how to use ZBrush. There are already heaps of lessons on these themes out there on the internet and therefore I will only stop for those moments that I consider the most interesting. Also I will expound some of my considerations. I don't pretend to be an expert on innovation and I'm not saying that I'm right; it is just my ideas on one regard or another.
Everything, certainly, begins with an idea. If you begin to draw without an idea, you may spend a lot of time doing nothing and simply not knowing what to set your mind on. The less time you spend on the reasoning of an idea, the more time you will spend in the future in the process of its realization. Having a natural gift for drawing gives you an enormous bonus in terms of that qualitative first sketch. I, unfortunately, don't possess such a gift and that's what I have to explore different ways of creating and developing an image, such as using reference images.
When I drew "Killing of Prayer", I used reference photos of myself to help with the posing. To give myself plenty of time to prepare for each shot, I took the pictures with a 10 second delay between them. Later, looking through the footage, I noticed that my cat had sneaked into one of the photos and was sitting and looking devotedly into the camera, apparently attracted by the blinking green indicator. This immediately inspired me to come up with the following (Fig.01).
To help fix the idea in my mind, I created a text file with a quick description of the concept. I always do this when I want to record an idea because I may not work on it straight away and I need to be able to recall what I have seen, even after a large period of time has passed. On my hard drive I have about 50 such ideas saved in this way. I always look over them when I'm thinking about creating a new picture.
This time, it wasn't quite like that. After finishing my previous picture, I already knew what I was going to undertake next, so I opened a file with the sketch of the cat and launched! As you can see, the initial sketch doesn't look like the final picture and I will therefore endeavor to explain the evolution behind this idea.
I personally see nothing shameful in an idea changing during the creation process. A picture is not created for one day; moods change and more interesting, fresh, new ideas come along - it's great!
I began modeling from a character, because at this time I didn't have an exact picture of the environment in my mind. During this entertaining process, I stumbled upon the picture of a cat sitting upright. I liked the pose and so decided to put my cat in a similar position. After rummaging around on the internet, I managed to collect the following reference images (Fig.02).
When I adjusted the pose of my cat, it seemed to me that it didn't benefit the cat to be sitting on the floor and so I decided to construct a padded stool for him to sit on instead. This immediately led me to make a decision about the color spectrum I was going to use in this piece (which ended up being red, green and gold). Here's a small extract from the book The Complete Color Harmony, by Tina Sutton and Bride M.Whelan (please note that this might not exactly match the original because I translated it from Russian):
"Burgundy and deep green, when applied with a gold color, generates a feeling of opulence. These dark, pompous colors - used in such different materials as leather and taffeta - create a dramatic effect. They are associated with riches and high status."
If you don't own it already, I'd really recommend getting this book for your shelf. And never ignore the laws of composition or color combinations. They were developed a long time ago and have been perfected over the years and presented to you on a plate.
Moreover it's already impossible to surprise somebody by just realistically rendering a mobile phone in the centre of a shot. If you want your work to please and be memorable, then every area of your image must be finished to a high standard. It's no good having great color choices and composition if your technical execution is lacking (and vice versa). You can think about it mathematically: grade each section out of five and then multiply them together to get the final score for your image - the higher the better! I agree that this is a primitive method, and there are lots of different factors to consider beyond the three I've mentioned, but I think it's important to keep things like this in mind if you want to produce really great work.
Okay I've been become a bit distracted from the theme, so let's return to "Artist". Here's one of the test renders at this stage (Fig.03).