To 3D or not 3D

3D. Threeee deeee. It sounds like a damn Star Wars robot.

It would be the Jar Jar Binks of the robot world, let me tell you.

Once again, for those in the back: I don’t do this 3D stuff. I like the way it looks, I greatly admire people who can create gorgeous art with it, and I would be very sad if I did not have the many many hours of entertainment 3D based media has given me over the years.

But really, I am getting nothing out of doing it. I have zero interest in the ultra detailed characters like in 3D movies or in the latest games, and while I adore the cute little low poly models of any number of excellent little indie games, it’s a solely aesthetic appreciation.  The time I spend struggling with whatever the hell that damn symmetry modifier is doing this time could be far more profitably spent drawing something.


So I’m going to attempt to wrestle this around so it’s relevant to me.

I’ve already linked to this tutorial, but I’ve also found this one, which works on roughly the same principal. I’ve downloaded Sketch Up to play around with, and I think it’ll work out pretty damn nicely for interior scenes. I need to get some more practice in it, plus, it’s one of those programs that need a mouse, and I don’t have one of those at the moment.

So I cracked open 3Ds Max. It’s been a while.

tree turn around

And after a reasonable amount of time, I uh, came up with a tree.

cheap nasty backgroundtree environ twotree environ

A little bit more playing left me with a smallish environment, with a couple of trees, stretched and rotated, and with a seriously squashed sphere as a ground layer. I messed around with the planes on the ground to make it look more uneven, before I rendered it out (or, you know, screencapped it out because faster)

And then came the fun stuff. It doesn’t really matter that there’s no texture, or that the lighting is rubbish, because it’s solely there as a base for painting over.

tut layer one

In photoshop, with the 3D layer at ~60% opacity

tut two

Sketch layer on top – I had a little trouble with scale on the person up the tree which was fixed. An interior would have shown off the potential for perspective work better, buuuut I may have been one and a half movies into a LoTR rewatch at this point, so foresty elves it was.

cheap nasty background copy

And the “finished” sketch over the top. By finished I definitely mean ‘needs at least six more refinement layers until it looks much better’ but for demonstration purposes, this is just fine.


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