Sunday, 25 March 2018

From 2D to 3D

Just to give a behind the scenes of my process, one thing that often isnt mentioned by illustrators is perspective, while its not as snazzy as other parts of the process, it creates a strong foundation for everything to be built apon and unified with. Its also one of those processes which takes years and years to master, and seems to be something you can never know enough about. 

Accurate map of Khufus pyramid redrawn and tilted for use as reference
 I spent years doing all my perspective by hand, first traditionally and then digitally by hand, I used to use alot of the old school techniques for calculating aspects in space, so for instance every space was calculated by breaking it down to squares and multiplying those squares in space. This could be very complicated like the tower house or just more about accurate spacing like the Pyramid.

In the pyramid I took the accurate map of Khufus pyramid in Ghiza and broke it down to squares, I think each square represented a 100m or breakdown of this, ie like half a square is 50m (its been a while since I did this so cant remember 100%) and then multiplied that back in space. It wasnt 100% accurate but it was in the ball park.

Bases of mastabas and accurate drawing of pyramids in perspective

Final drawing
Final painting

Doing it by hand was long, tedious and prone to human error. In reconstruction work you need to be as accurate as you can be, as there is alot of guesswork after a certain point, so this way of working has its limits, unless you wanted to do the much longer accurate architectural solutions but in commission work one has to bear in mind the budget and time restraints, no one wants an accurate architectural drawing as your final output.

Some of the interior perspective calculations of the interior, floor space widths and lengths were based on accurate maps of floors in Kilcrea castle. You can also see the figures from ground floor to upper floors accurate to each other and even the nightmare of a spiral staircase drawn by hand.

Final interior painting

But there is another way of working, and thats 3D. This is much more accurate, and its also faster, so saves time for both me and the client. What I do use an accurate map of the town like in Clonmel, as a base and then build my model on top. One of the criticisms of reconstruction illustration is its lack of accuracy but with 3D the layout is exact as one can be in layout and stays within budget and time limits.

Goubets 1690 map was used as a base as my clients believed this was the most accurate early street map and would have been more or less the same in the Cromwell siege 50 years earlier, except the addition of ravelins (the external V shaped things in front of the walls & gates)

Down survey map, we used this as the main source for the walls and gates besides what is extent at the site now
3D model of Clonmel over the map, you can see the shape of the plots and the streets are made in 3D and are based on Goubets map, the types of housing and buildings was decided after reading other historical sources.

Then I use this model as a base to paint over. Here is final painting of Clonmel
Plus, perhaps the most important part of it is that 3D allows one to spend your creative energy and time on the other aspects of an image, like the actual painting, the fun art part of a reconstruction. But drawing perspective by hand is an extremely important skill, one often neglected by younger artists these days, who jump straight to 3D or just a program to do their perspective.

Understanding perspective in an indepth way allows you to warp and change your perspective according to your narrative or expressive needs, and also is faster when doing quick sketches in both traditional and digital drawing/painting. 3D may be more accurate but its also takes longer to produce, which is fine for longer images and reconstruction paintings but a real weakness when you need to bang out a sketch in 5 mins or even 45 mins to an hour, as precious time is waisted in 3D. Both have their place of course and neither should be neglected in modern illustration in my opinion.

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