Saturday, September 29, 2012

CFSL Workshop Interview

An interview for next CFSL Workshop.

Une interview pour le CFSL Workshop.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Los Angeles 2050

An environment study of a cyber punk L.A.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sexy Orc Final

I finally decided to stop working on this illustration left aside for a very long time. So, even if I would like to make many changes on it I'll just leave everything the way it is. 
Mainly done with Corel Painter with some color adjustments in Photoshop. Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

ZBrush - Brush Size and Wacom Touch Strip

Another trick today. Something that I really believe could save a lot of time and optimize your workflow when you are working with ZBrush.

The brush size is by default set on one hotkey: S. This opens a slider that you can move from left to right to set your brush size. Another way to do it is to press the space bar in order to open the mini interface that allows to manage a couple of settings, brush size included. Handy but not perfect in my humble opinion.

Default Brush Size Hotkey: S

Maybe it is because I am really used to change quickly the size of my brushes in Painter and Photoshop with the touch strip of my Wacom I just need to have the same gestures when I m working on other softwares.

To do this it is very simple. First install this Brush-Up-Down.zsc file in your ZStartup>ZPlugs folder (I found this plug a couple of weeks ago in a ZBrush forum, can't remember where exactly). Basically this little plugin allows to increase and decrease your brush size by 2.
Then when you will open Zbrush you will find it in the Zplugin>Misc Utilities menu. Just set a hotkey for the decrease size button and the increase size button. To do this you will have to Cmd+Alt (Ctrl+Alt on PC) click the button and then assign any shortcut (I used , and ; because I have an french Azerty keyboard on my Mac)

Then go to your Wacom Tablet Preferences and assign your new hotkeys to the touch strip.

Enjoy, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here. :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Photoshop and Symmetry. Opposite directions...

We all know that Photoshop is a great tool, and even if some digital artists work mainly with other programs like Corel Painter there will always be a moment when you need Photoshop.
Painting, scaling, adjusting, deforming, warping, enhancing, optimizing, etc... you almost can do whatever you want with Photoshop. Almost...

There is apparently something that Adobe don't want to develop, a tool so useful that could change our everyday work with Photoshop, a tool that is already implemented in so many other softwares: Artrage, Corel Painter, Sketchbook Pro and even Alchemy... The symmetry tool!
I still don't understand why there is no such a useful feature in Photoshop. 

But is there any way to do it? Can't we use a script or any kind of trick to simulate these real time symmetry tools you can find in Painter or Sketchbook for example. Unfortunately the answer is no. Nothing that will look the same or work identically. 

The first method we all tend to use when we work in Photoshop is to draw first half of the drawing on a layer then duplicate it (Ctrl+J/Cmd+J), then flip horizontally this second layer. And repeat this action as many times as necessary. Most of Photoshop users do this.
Of course we can script this action to make it less repetitive but we will always have to, at least, reposition the new layer.

Duplicate first layer. Flip horizontal.

Another method, more creative, consists of creating a Smart Object from your initial layer, then duplicate this smart object and flip it horizontally.
When you double click on your first Smart Object it will open a second Photoshop document (.psb file). Organize and arrange your windows with a horizontal tiling in order two see what you draw in your instance (.psb file) and the result in your main document (.psd file). Unfortunately this instance is not updated automatically and you will have to save (Ctrl+S/Cmd+S) whenever you want to see the result. So it is quite good but not perfect.

Transform your layer in Smart Object, duplicate it and flip horizontally.

Double Click on your Smart Object Layer.
Arrange windows to show your master document and your Smart Object.
Draw in your smart object and save to update your master document.

So, that's it? Nothing else, better or optimized in Photoshop?
Well to be honest I tried another method but this one is definitively very tricky. First of all you need to work with Photoshop Extended version to be able to work with the 3D tools. Then the idea is to create a 3D instance with the 3D Photoshop menu, then create a plane in a 3D Software (3DS Max or Maya for example) then duplicate the first plane and flip it. But this method is highly unresponsive unless you have a NASA computer. Complex and laggy it will not help you working on big documents.

So no miracle or super trick to draw with a real time symmetry tool in Photoshop. Just do it with other software that already allows you to work with X axis, Y axis, custom angle axis, etc... Waiting for the day when Adobe will implement it in Photoshop. :(

Saturday, September 1, 2012

About Color Picking in Photoshop

I have been asked many times how I manage colors in Photoshop and mainly how I pick them using the tools available in this software. To be honest I have never been a huge fan of Photoshop Color Picker.
First of all because I find really annoying to open this window (even though there is a F6 shortcut) that interrupts the workflow. Second because I am maybe really used to work with the Corel Painter Color Picker that I consider optimal.

This is the default Color Picker in Photoshop:

In Photoshop CS6 you have now the opportunity to pop up a Color Picker HUD but I still consider this one a little bit tricky and not handy because you have to press Ctrl+Alt+Cmd keys. Even though you could on your Wacom Palette assign those keys to any button I still believe this is not the best method for picking up your colors.

Fortunately Photoshop allows us to choose not only one method: Standard Color Picker, RGB/HSB/CMYK Sliders, Swatches or even third party extensions that can do the job.

Let's talk about these last ones and especially three of them: Kuler, Painter Wheel and Coolorus.

The first one, Kuler, is already by default in your Photoshop extensions. You have to select Window>Extensions>Kuler. This will open a basic color wheel with a luminance slider. The advantage  of this color picker is that it can be always available while working and last but not least a really nice feature that helps you building complementary, monochromatic, compound, shades and triad schemes.

The second one, Painter Wheel, was one of my first extension I used. It simply reproduces the Corel Painter color wheel. A circle color wheel with a triangle allows playing with luminosity and saturation. Just great!

The third and last extension is named Coolorus, which is a combination of the two previous ones. So you will have a Corel Painter color wheel with the ability to construct your complementary, triadic, tetradic, etc... schemes. I encourage you to give a try to this one and support his creator.

This is obviously not exhaustive because you can find other third party extensions but I have tried to sum up what I consider the most relevant and useful. Hope this can help you. Enjoy!