Author Topic: Art Discussion  (Read 10513 times)

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Art Discussion
« on: September 09, 2010, 11:10:21 AM »
It's occurred to me that while we all make and comment on each others art, we never really talk about outside of someone particular thread.  So if you have something art related you want to get off your chest, or need to ask an art related question to the community, it can be done here.

So to start us off. 

I downloaded the trial for Adobe Illustrator CS5, to see what kind of learning curve might be involved in switching from Paint Shop Pro.  Windows 7 seems to not like playing well with PSP 8 and I've seen a lot of mixed results about the later versions of PSP after it was purchased by Corel.
Anyway, I'm really liking it so far, but that's really sort of misleading because I've only scratched the surface of what Illustrator can do.  It's capabilities appear to be massive, but even with simple vector images, the results are impressive.
I'll definitely be purchasing the full version, when I can come up with the cash to do so.  For those that don't know, Illustrator runs between $550-600 depending on what version you get and where you get it.  So it's not exactly cheap.

And in the 3d world, Sketchup 8 is out.
http://sketchup.google.com/ 
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline Greg

  • Lord of Lava Lamp
  • Eminent Member
  • Posts: 6,995
  • Old Fart
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 11:46:08 AM »
I've been using Illustrator for years now, but I use a small fraction of all its features. These days when I do any artwork, I tend to just stick with the tools I know and don't try and experiment with any of the dozens of other tools and abilities it offers. I wish I'd been more active in learning how to using some of the more advanced tools when I first started using Illustrator, as these days I have enough difficulty motivating myself to any artwork, never mind learning new stuff. Also, because I only tend to do one big artwork session a year or so, I find myself forgetting tools and tricks that I'd learned in the past.

Still, I'm fairly happy with the sort of plateau I've reached in my ability with the program. Of course, Galen is really the one to ask about Illustrator.

Never managed to keep any interest in using Sketchup or getting into 3D at all.

Offline Diegoba

  • Member
  • Posts: 107
    • View Profile
    • About me
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010, 02:17:25 PM »
Has anyone used Inkscape? Seems to have a nice set of features, and it's about $500 cheaper than Ilustrator  ;).
I only played with a couple of times, but looks good so far.

Offline BorgMan

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 3,986
  • Artistic Assimilator
    • View Profile
    • Visionm.nl
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010, 05:00:40 PM »
I noticed that SU8 was out a week or so ago. I will acquire the pro version soon... or not. I'm not really sure what extra's this version adds...
*Doorbell Sound*

 "Hi, I am Elder 14 of 37 and this is my traveling companion Sister 29 of 128. We represent the Borg..."
"Oh Roddenbery, you guys again? Look, it's 8 in the morning and I don't have time for you OK? I told you last week..."
"But... Assimilation... Holopamflet!"
"Yeah right, you can leave it here but I'll throw it on the rest of the bunch I got from your other 'brothers' and 'sisters'. Now scram before I call the 8472 Squad!"

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2010, 01:12:01 AM »
Has anyone used Inkscape? Seems to have a nice set of features, and it's about $500 cheaper than Ilustrator  ;).
I only played with a couple of times, but looks good so far.

I haven't used it, but I've seen some solid results from others that use it on deviantArt. 

The major downside in moving to Illustrator, aside from the price, is that it seems I can't import PSP files, without losing all the information.  At least I haven't found a way to yet.  So I basically have to restart everything from scratch.  Though that does give me an excuse to start a new version of my Vitalogy Class....variant 47 is a go!  ;)
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline The Unbound

  • Active Member
  • Posts: 303
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 07:09:34 AM »
I don't do artwork nearly enough to justify spending the kind of money the professionals pay, for anything. I have used Inkscape for a while, though, and while it does the basics well, you don't need to look for particularly advanced functions before Inkscape runs out of polish. Everything that isn't on the menu bar comes as python scripts that, while they give the program very easy extensibility, don't exactly run in a slick fashion, although, in its defence, it is still in a pre-release version. But if you are one of those people, like me, who would probably never do more than scratch the surface of big programs like Illustrator, Inkscape should serve you just as well.
Steady on.

Offline Greg

  • Lord of Lava Lamp
  • Eminent Member
  • Posts: 6,995
  • Old Fart
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 08:54:56 AM »
Has anyone used Inkscape? Seems to have a nice set of features, and it's about $500 cheaper than Ilustrator  ;).
I only played with a couple of times, but looks good so far.

I haven't used it, but I've seen some solid results from others that use it on deviantArt. 

The major downside in moving to Illustrator, aside from the price, is that it seems I can't import PSP files, without losing all the information.  At least I haven't found a way to yet.  So I basically have to restart everything from scratch.  Though that does give me an excuse to start a new version of my Vitalogy Class....variant 47 is a go!  ;)

Does PSP not have an export function or allow you to change the format in which you save the fives?

Never used Inkscape, I went straight from Paint to Illustrator, which was one hell of a learning curve. Thankfully I'd already used Autocad in school a couple of times, so it wasn't totally alien to me.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 08:57:14 AM by Greg »

Offline Voron

  • Veteran Member
  • Posts: 1,567
  • still unknown
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 10:15:51 AM »
i tried inkscape once to see what it was like as i had at the time been using a copy of Ilustrator that was around 5 yeas out of date. I could not get a Handel on it no matter how hard i tried or long i spent i just could not get anywhere near the same results. After about i week and no real progress i got given a copy of Adobe CS and never looked back since,

I know that using a 400 plus program that i use maybe a 1/5 of the features is a bit of a waste but somehow i got to a point where i am happy with what i do
Kein Mitleid mit der Mehrheit

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 10:29:37 AM »
Never used Inkscape, I went straight from Paint to Illustrator, which was one hell of a learning curve. Thankfully I'd already used Autocad in school a couple of times, so it wasn't totally alien to me.

I was in the same boat.  AutoCAD helped me out immensely when it came time to learn Illustrator and 3dsmax.
"In God We Trust"

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2010, 04:25:37 PM »
Has anyone used Inkscape? Seems to have a nice set of features, and it's about $500 cheaper than Ilustrator  ;).
I only played with a couple of times, but looks good so far.

I haven't used it, but I've seen some solid results from others that use it on deviantArt. 

The major downside in moving to Illustrator, aside from the price, is that it seems I can't import PSP files, without losing all the information.  At least I haven't found a way to yet.  So I basically have to restart everything from scratch.  Though that does give me an excuse to start a new version of my Vitalogy Class....variant 47 is a go!  ;)

Does PSP not have an export function or allow you to change the format in which you save the fives?

PSP does both, but I've yet to find a file format that will save all the layer information created in PSP and make it usable in Illustrator.  So far anything that opens in Illustrator is all in a single none editable layer, making it really no more useful then a PNG or JPG file.

So in hindsight, I think I should have just skipped PSP altogether and gone from pencil and paper, to Illustrator right out of the gate.
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2010, 08:38:09 PM »
I'm not familiar with PSP, but could you save individual layers, then overlay them in Illustrator?
"In God We Trust"

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 09:31:41 PM »
Probably, though it would be incredibly time consuming (some of my stuff gets up to a dozen or more layers and each layer has multiple sub-layers) and I don't think they would be editable in Illustrator beyond erasing things, adding color, or drawing over them.

For example, here's a shot of the layer panel for the Falcon UAV, which is a relatively simple image, but still contains quite a few layers.
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2010, 10:17:37 PM »
Ok then...forget that idea. :P  Have you made any progress finding a solution, though?

"In God We Trust"

Offline Greg

  • Lord of Lava Lamp
  • Eminent Member
  • Posts: 6,995
  • Old Fart
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 10:27:15 PM »
Ouch.

I never remember to use layers in my work, everything I do is all on a single layer. I occasionally plan on using them when I start I new project, only to usually end up half way through the project before remembering the even exist.


Is it possible that you could export the PSP files to another program, then export from that to Illustrator?
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 10:29:23 PM by Greg »

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2010, 01:15:13 AM »
Juvat, no progress yet.

Greg,

I started breaking things down into layers, because PSP always seems to get bogged down when everything is in one layer.  It's like I can only handle so much information in one layer before it doesn't know what to do, even with my new PC with 8 gigs of ram, so it's not an issue with memory.
It also helps me keep things organized within the image.  Say I'm working on multiple views of a ship, then I'd break up each view into it's own layer, and then different parts of the ship into separate sub layers.  That way I can isolate specific parts of the image to work on if need be. 
Though that's just me, and if you can get by with only one layer, which judging by your work, you can, then more power to you.  To each his own as they say.
That being said, for all I know, that method might not even be necessary in Illustrator.  I'm not really far enough into it to know for sure.

It might be possible to export to another program and then export that to Illustrator, though I'm not sure how to go about finding the right combination of file to save the image in PSP, that will open in Illustrator.
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline Fiery Little One

  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 7,779
  • Live Long and Prosper
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2010, 02:12:31 AM »
When I did my stuff I used PSD and generally although PSP would tell me I might loose info, outside of text layers some times needing a substitute, I've never noticed a problem when switching over to PS.
Open your mind to new possibilities
-Trip(sort of), The Crossing

Offline Greg

  • Lord of Lava Lamp
  • Eminent Member
  • Posts: 6,995
  • Old Fart
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2010, 10:20:39 AM »
Oh, I'm aware of how useful layers can be in organising an image and I can already imagine how I would break down some of my artboards into various layers, I just never remember to do so. I used to get berated by my teacher at school for failing to do so in AutoCAD. Just a mental fialing on my part  ;)

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2010, 09:41:49 AM »
I'm good at remembering to use layers in CAD, but in every other program I just don't think about it.
"In God We Trust"

Offline Diegoba

  • Member
  • Posts: 107
    • View Profile
    • About me
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2010, 11:44:17 AM »
I was able to save a layered file in PSP as PSD (photoshop) and then read it back in to PSP, recovering all the layer info.
I'm guessing Ilustrator should be able to import from PSD?

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2010, 12:40:33 PM »
I tried saving something as a PSD, then importing it into Illustrator.  It manages to maintain the layers well enough, although they look somewhat distorted.  The problem remains however that I can't edit the components of the layer (the actual lines making up the drawing), only the entire layer as a whole as if it's the finished product.  So it does me no good to import a drawing from PSP (even after saving it as another file type) because I can't edit the drawing itself.
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2010, 02:50:27 PM »
Here's an idea...just copy all of the objects in PSP and paste them into Illustrator.  I do that with AutoCAD all the time.  Works like a champ. :)
"In God We Trust"

Offline Jimi James

  • So Say We All
  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 9,321
  • Abandon Ship
    • View Profile
    • The New Haven Chronicles
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2010, 10:22:39 AM »
That doesn't seem to work either.  Either PSP doesn't copy all the objects in the layer, or Illustrator doesn't read it, but when I copy and paste something from PSP into Illustrator, I get a flattened image.  Illustrator did see that there were multiple layers present, but they weren't editable in a way that made it any easier then importing the file straight from PSP.  In other words, nearly useless.
https://www.patreon.com/JonMichaelMay
Help me make art, by joining me on Patreon. Various subscriptions tiers are in place, allowing you to support my addictive art habit for as little as $1 a month.

Offline shran

  • Veteran Member
  • Posts: 1,377
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2010, 08:19:38 AM »
And now for something even more fundamental.
When designing, I noticed a lot fo people go fot the looks more than for the practicval application of designs In Universe. Given, it is a bit silly to design ships for a fictional universe expecting them to actually work, but still. Nowadays I prefer to think of a design more as plans for an actual construction, even if it won't get uch further than concept art. Practical implications of the designs.

Also, when I see ships eing modelled, I usually see the artist aspiring to as much realism as one can get. Now, I think there are at least 2 ways of achieving that realism. One would be of filling in as many details as possible, another one being to design the ship to actually function in-Universe with accompanying specs and a sensible image.

How does the rest of the board think about this? Shoudl oen design a ship primarily to make a nice and pretty picture, or should the designer also aspire to design his works in such a way they would funciton decently? Obviously, the former form is less work due to not bothering with the practical aspect as much, but would it be more satisfying to have worked out some other flaws as well?

Applying such a sense of realism obviously has implications in the designs. They will probalby have more specs attached to them, as well as lengthy discussions about what would be more practical. Also, many details or signs of systems would be obscured on the outer model, as in my view it would be more sensible to put them on the inside of the ship with better accessibility, without having to do any spacewalks to repair them.

In short, should we try to keep practical application in mind when designing a Trek ship or anything else for that matter?
A terrible enfant called Peter/
Once sprinkled his bed with a gheeter/
His father got whoost/
Took hold of a cnoost/
And gave him a pack on his meeter.

Offline Juvat

  • Prolific Member
  • Posts: 520
  • USAF Weapons Instructor
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2010, 02:13:55 PM »
I am firmly planted in the school of thought that prefers designs that make "sense" from an engineering standpoint.  Take my most recent design for example: the Rapier-class.  I had started out with a sense of where certain things were going to be and how this and that were going to work, but I decided to draw up actual deck plans to see the exact location of everything.  Granted, a three deck ship of less than 100m isn't the biggest challenge as far as exacting details are concerned.
"In God We Trust"

Offline Bernd

  • Administrator
  • Distinguished Member
  • Posts: 7,865
  • Lord of the Bored
    • View Profile
Re: Art Discussion
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2010, 03:22:51 AM »
Well, there are fans of "hard sci-fi" who would criticize Trek designs from the outset as being unrealistic.

I always try to keep the following rules in mind:
- Designs made for a certain fictional universe should comply with the aesthetic rules of that universe. A Trek ship doesn't work in the Star Wars universe, or vice versa.
- Even though the design rules may be dictated rather by the fictional setting than by real technology, some basic principles of engineering should not be violated. For instance, even with the most advanced forcefield technology it is not possible to have a 300m long nacelle on a 1m thick strut.
- Designs are made for people, so they have to be ergonomic. The coolest looking laser blaster is useless when you can't take aim and pull the trigger simultaneously.