Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thank you for a good semester

Thanks for a good semester, and good luck next fall with new courses here, or wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing after graduation.  Please feel free to email me with new work or news of your creative life.  Remember Gnomon videos and subscribing to if you want to learn more, and remember to intentionally fight for personal creative time to continue develop your creativity.  Try working without deadlines, and working until the work is just exactly what you want.  No one knows how long you worked, they only know what you created.  You can use the 80% rule when judging others (ie let it go), but the 110% rule when judging your own work.  This is easier when you give yourself - take for yourself - the time for iterations, polishing, redoing after new inspration, throwing out, putting in, rethinking, refeeling,  reknowing.  Save flattened copies along the way. Good luck on your continuing creative evolution.

I will have the work at the Village in my office.  And I have the work from the VIST show there too. But I am gone to Berkeley CA for the summer.  If you are near there during June and July, send me an email at and we can meet for lunch.  What will I be doing there?  Art!

Monday, May 14, 2012


1.     Paul Debevec

He is head of the graphics laboratory at the institute of creative technologies. He talked about the progression of making 3d things look fake to making it look real and believable and how they have developed technology to make facial 3d models look believable and crossing the uncanny valley in particular Avatar and spider man.

2.     Tim Fields
He talked about the gaming industry and how its being fragmented out in that there are more opportunities for people to become a part of it. How different platforms are making it easier for more freelance people to work on new games.
3.     Blue Sky

Talked about how they were able to get light to interact with clouds in an effective and cheap render wise. Developed a cloud generator and created a library with different seeds. Having a team of a few people working on specific things.

Gnomon Tutorials

Lighting with Materials:
It was very useful in that it helped me learn more about shading and how to apply to a 3d model. The artist who made the tutorial was very good at explaining how to make the material and how lighting and shading should be applied.

Maya fluid tutorial

The artist Wayne Hollingsworth gave a very good tutorial on how to create believable fire. The tutorial taught me how to add texture to the Maya fluids and using the dynamic fields to make a smoke bomb effect. It also gave a good explanation on how to create oil and wispy smoke as well as how to create ground dust.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

final post

The two Gnomon videos that I tried to watch but couldnt because my computer would not let me watch them. Were speed painting to matte painting with Rainart and Speedpainting to concept art by David Levy. Above are some things that I made by pulling the brushes from the dvds. In addition to my Final which is a snippet from characterizing the show Party down.

My two talks were Andrew Ellis Johnson and Hooper Turner. Both of them were particularly interesting. Andrew was very political. What I got from his work was a very comical approach. He also
pointed me to a group called improve everywhere.

Hooper Turner told me that I was a performance artist when I spoke with him one on one. He pointed me to artists that I should look up. Tom Sachs, Thomas Demand, Francis Bacon, Irving Norman, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Hirshhorn, Eves Kline, Olive Harring, Katy Smither, etc.. Very nice dude. Gave me his day in New York and how he manages painting and working. Very inspiring. 

That's about it. 

Talks and Videos

Last week I burned a cd of my paintings and slipped it under the door to your office, I hope you found it!

Blue Sky
Blue sky talked about their method for creating clouds. There was so much technical work involved, it was a bit difficult for me to follow. I thought the results they showed from Rio were beautiful, and I was really impressed by the complexity of their process.

Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts talked about what it takes to be a TA at their company. It seems like this position required a lot of technical skills, but very little art. Personally, their talk just confirmed my lack of interested in the gaming industry.

Pixar actually begun by talking about their facilities in California, which really gave a feel for how fun it would be to work there. Then they got into the work they did on Cars2, really getting into the process it takes to get a final shot. It was interesting to see how the shots progressed with each step- from story all the way to final lighting. After their talk, I wanted to watch a few Pixar movies so I could really appreciate how amazing the final product is.

Gnomon Videos:
Creature Design Illustration- Nick Pugh
In this video he takes one of his creature drawings and paints it in Photoshop. He used a picture of his daughter to use for his color palette. Using the color-picker, he takes color directly from the photograph begins to block in color on the creature drawing. After he achieves the tones he likes, he reduces the opacity on the brush and begins to detail and blend-in the drawing. The reason he uses this method of color-picking, is to render believable lighting and color on his creature.

How to Draw Cars- Scott Robertson
This video is essentially how to draw cars in different perspectives. In this lesson he refers back to one of his older videos on basic perspective drawing, and applying those skills to draw cars. When he draws cars, he begins by drawing ellipsis (the tires) and creates references and guidelines to begin drawing the proportions of the car...It's been a while since I've done a technical drawing, so this video was a fun way of brushing up on doing rough drawings in perspective.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Andrew Ellis Johnson - I had a class with him, and he had us bring in images and interrogate them, it was very interesting to dissect pictures and try to come up with every possible reason for every single part of the image, from the color, to the text. The thing that stood out to me most about his art was that he used this idea or concept of interruption. The entire time during his lecture there was the sound of a goat in the background, and it was constantly making noise and disrupting the talk, so it was hard to concentrate at times on his speech that he was giving. The point however was to decide what was important, the goat interruption or the words in which he was speaking. His art is very bizarre and if you are not highly educated or know the background of his art, many of the symbols and purposely used physical pieces are not understood, and the whole of many of his pieces are completely confusing. 

Leah Duncan- Leah was much more abstract, and did many large scale projects. She likes to reach as much tension on a 2d surface as possible, she draws inspiration from Matisse and Picasso. Especially Picasso because he ignored perspective and painted loosely and confidently. It was interesting to hear her say that you should concentrate on what you want from a painting and then not try to clean it up or perfect it if the idea is already visible and understood.

 Thecla Schiphorst
My favorite of hers was a Dream Machine that her and a grad student had worked on. It showed a computer taking in images throughout the day of different places and then had a display as if the machine was sleeping and based off of the images it had seen that day connections were made and a series of images or short movies were played as the "dream". And she talked a lot about de-habituation which can re-tune thoughts and thought processes, which I found very interesting.

Gnomon Video's

I watched the Gnomon Video From Speedpainting to Concept Art with David Levy, and made a few brushes.

I also watched Introduction to cityscape matte painting by Cole Dylan, where he used real cityscape images to get his illustrations started, and then added on more concept like buildings and such.



For my final project I wanted to redraw my character from the Hansel and Gretel assignment with a different, more illustrative approach. I chose a green color pallet (it worked well with my original composition), and kept my painting loose, as i like to see the energy that my brush strokes leave, and I'm not really all that great at keeping it tight.
Here's the progression of her portrait (reference used after the first sketch (haven't gotten permission from the artist yet...)):

Here is the rest of her body, where i decided that it would be fun to mix a flat, graphic style with the painterly appearance of her skin (inspiration):

For the background, I wanted to continue the interplay of the different styles, use a Japanese ukiyo-e theme, and try out different stock brushes in PS (inspiration, inspiration2 ):

And combined together (with some contextual shadows added)(if you want to see it larger, right-click the image and open in a new tab):

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Final Project

For my final I created a spaceship using industrial design techniques.
Blocked out some shapes with charcoal brush to generate some ideas:
Sketched out one of the designs in 3/4 perspective:
Drew over with cleaner linework and added values:

Artist Talks
Adrew Ellis Johnson
Paul Debevec
Tim Fields

Gnomon Videos
Scott Robertson- Industrial Design Rendering - Bicycle
  trace drawing using path tool in PS to outline all the forms then shade afterward
  airbrush lights and shadows using "preserve transparency" to keep sharp edges
  add more paths for absolute white specular, erase soft edges into them
  learned: metal flake texture can be made with color dodging the hotspots with same hue, lighter color

David Levy - From Speed Painting to Concept Art
  create complex brushes by compounding simpler brushes, and changing opacity, scattering, and angle jitter settings
  gives you free high detail, even with speedpaintings
  use same brushes really big to brainstorm design ideas for structures and vehicles
  learned: use sharpen filter before saving brush preset

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cameron Coker - Final

Cameron Coker
Final Project, Artist Talks, Gnomon Videos

I hope to work a bit more on this one...not only is it small but I really need to work on the shading, get some harsh darks and lights in there...

Artist Talks

Paul Debevec

Paul Debevec talked about his work as Associate Director of Graphics Research at USC ICT beginning as a humble graduate student making 3D environments from video shot from a kite all the way to doing high resolution facial maps for major motion pictures such as James Cameron's Avatar.

Electronic Arts

Andre Thomas and Chris David visited campus to talk about the skills required to be Technical Artists for one of the most successful videogame publishing companies in the world (that's EA in case you were wondering).
Electronic Arts produces games from numerous subsidiary studios including Insomniac Games (Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, etc), Crytek (Crysis, Crysis 2, etc), Bioware (Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, etc), Maxis (The Sims, Sim City, etc.), and EA Sports (Madden NFL Series, FIFA Series, Tiger Woods Golf Series, etc).

Tim Fields

As a veteran producer, game designer, and team leader in the gaming industry Tim Fields gave an intimate, informal talk about his experiences and where he sees the industry headed in the future. Tim gave us a unique look at the role of social games and mobile gaming in todays market and even visited the seniors upstairs to check out our independent game design project.

Gnomon Videos

From Speed Painting to Concept Art with David Levy

A lot of good tips and tricks that helped me understand photoshop and all its tools, especially when playing with custom brushes, perspective, and Effects Layers. A lot of what I learned here I used in my final Knight image.

Matte Painting for Production with Jared Simeth

What I thought would be an intermediate tutorial on quality matte paintings in photoshop became a sobering look at the techniques that professional matte painters use to create their gorgeous backgrounds such as modeling the scene in Maya before using rendered images as a foundation in photoshop.


I used color schemes and brushes by

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I usually don't do abstract stuff, so I decided to paint a bull in the style of the international logo for Spain. This was pretty hard for me, I kept wanting to clean up the edges and fix the proportions - but I forced myself to be as careless as I could.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brandon's Finals

I'll just post all my finals on this page to make it a little bit easier.

Final Final

Concept Final

MSC Final

My notes from the gnoman video that I watched.

Most important elements in digital painting
-realistic light and exposure
-painting in a photographic style
-match the plate
-moving the elements
-technically sound
-strong focal point
-good first read
-strong composition
-camera movement

3 steps in creating concept art
photographic reference

technique to adjust curves
lock off colors you want to keep my clicking on the spot in your image
find out where various colors are

mask by copying one of the channels and use that as a mask. Change to black and white using curves

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

finals for everything, artist's talks

final work: playing with adjustment layers & blending modes

team : Caleb & the Kicklighter's
my role : color script, poster organization/design, intensity chart

Gnomon video: The Mechanics of Color (see write-up on March 1 post)

talks: Andrew Ellis Johnson, Thecla Schiphorst & Mike Levy

1. Andrew Ellis Johnson
 Of Andrew’s works, I think the easiest to understand was the “Charge,” the trumpet with the altered mouthpiece. The inspiration was clear, and he executed well making a visual pun out of the hypocrisy of the world’s reaction to the Rwandan genocide. 

I’m not sure if it was the aesthetics necessarily, but his apocalyptic piece with the millstone balanced on the wine glasses appealed to me. It would definitely intrigue me if I were to see the installation in person. I mostly enjoyed his emphasis on the materials employed–and how those ought to be significant to the idea behind a work, too.
2. Thecla Schiphorst
I enjoyed the fact that Schiphorst's large-scale pieces almost all stemmed from her postcard sketches, which I loved. I liked her beautiful linework, and was less interested in her later works which seemed to stray from that. 
Her "hobby"-comic strips-made me smile. I enjoyed seeing a little of her imagination. 

She seems to have a childlike view of art, in the best way possible: The representation of things she sees, the obsession with a very saturated color, the simplicity of using colors and shapes and subjects that appeal to her.

3. Mike Levy
Not exactly an artist, but an interesting lecture given by the founder of Texas Monthly at May's Business School. I enjoyed hearing about his life before founding the magazine, and how much perseverance it takes to start a business, particularly a visual one.
Because I'm interested in possibly pursuing graphic design, it was beneficial to attend this lecture. One thing I learned is that I should avoid going into print. It's dying.

Self Portraits - second thoughts

You know I have had second thoughts about self portraits for downtown show.

If you want to print yours somehow and mount it on board I leave outside my door,
You can go down to the Village any time and add it to the portrait wall.
The show will be up the whole month, so you have time.

Make a label using ones I put in the bag of boards outside my office.
Just write it in with pen by hand.
I particularly like Liz's first one, and Niki's in uniform
which are printed on not-very-good paper and in front of me right now.
Medicines worked.  I'm better.  I'll be in at c 10 am.  See you at 2:30 at my office or 3 downtown.  Mary

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Final- Daphne

I forgot to post my final earlier, sorryyyy

PLEASE DO: Titles for work

I can't fine the list of titles for the Scholarship Show Friday at The Village....
Please email me titles

It is up to Y'all and Donna

Hi, still sick.  Saw doctor, got drugged and cat (sp?)-scanned, still sick.
Here is what happens at 2:30 or so on Thursday.  Good Luck!  Mary

So Donna said she would help hang the show downtown. 
Pick up work at my office c 2:30, hang c 3:00.
TITLE, YOUR NAME, PHONE, EMAIL on back:  hope some of you can do this.
   USE PENCIL:  Don't let ink get on another image.  
STUFF NEEDED:  Pics and Posters in my office; laser thing to align work (Bill should have it),
Labels from Catherine or in my mailbox, sticky corner squares in my mailbox. Should also be a book where people can write what they think.  Anything can work.  I may not get to this.  Anyone have something?
WHAT GOES WHERE:  Make sure image Has clean surface, without dust, etc.
Information panel is to left of door when you look from inside to outside,
Probably self portraits arranged nicely on wall to left also, nearest bar.  Should be a lable for each - at least if I know about it.  We can wing it of need be.
Hang self portraits not perfectly in a row, but whatever looks good. Usually right facing on left side facing toward center, etc for other side. 
Probably art direction on right wall wall as you look out.  Also put nearby art based on that:  character design, etc.
Probably A&M future pics along wall after bar and toward back, probably in groups of 4: two above two with cross of space between 4 pics, and labels toward the outside left and right.  Got it?
What ever looks good.
Probably lots of your original art wherever space is left!
Posters with arrows pointing to Vizagogo show next door - back to back in window of door o rnext to that,  Arrow should point toward Federal Building across alley.
LABELS are with Catherine.  Stick on wall, to left of pic, bottom flush with bottom of pic or directly belowimage flush at left edge - or whatever Donna says.
STICK UP with little square sticky things I got at Michael's.  Hope this works.
Put more on pics that need more. Press hard after stuck up to help it stick.
SIGNATURE:  Should be in PSD file already.  If not, you can sign:   don't smear. Do't overpower image.
LEAVE WITH ME:  burn DVD of all work including these pics These pics should have a flat PSD file, so edition number can be added if any are purchased.
Enjoy party that evening.  Show up UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH.
Invite people to your  show.  Put it on your resume.

Hang in there.
... and THANKS to the good peple who put up Wednesday's show.

Hanging Show Today - I'm Sick


 am not going to make it to Geren by 9 am today or later even.  Sick.  Weird.
All your work is on floor of my office.  Maybe Bill or Ricky Ferguson has a key. I emailed them.  You are on your own to hang a nice show.  Talk with Donna and Dick.  Probably on one side of grey panels.
Group like with like.  See how much you can get in.  Catherine has labels if you want them.  If they are too big you can cut them down.

I hope there is someone there to hear this :-)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Missing Monogriffin and Space Gretel

Don’t have 2 Art Direction Posters unmounted for Geren Show:  Monogriffin (one I have is cut wrong)
and H&G in Space.  Got them somewhere?  Can bring tomorrow, Wed, to put up??? Email me.
(VIPs will see this show - and probably other one too - on Friday.)

Thank you

Come by office at 2:30 Thursday to collect work and take it down town.
Or meet at The Village, 210 W 26 at 3:00 or so.
Here is a copy of the big poster that will be in show explaining it.