Thursday, March 29, 2012

Class Today: To Do

I will be late for class today.
I am on a committee requiring me to be absent for part of the class.

Please do the following during this work day:

Use paper cutter in classroom (hope it works) to cut your Agopolis pics so the there is a bit of white all around - if it 1/2" on one side, for example, make it the same as that all  around.  (If you need to matte these you will need the white space.)  Please post on wall across from class room for parents' weekend.  Please do carefully, of course.

Please post your Work in Progress for your Art Direction group.
Post whatever you have: sketches?  narrative? reference images?  ???
Please post using tags:  Your Name, Art Direction, Name of Group
You can look at other classes and see how they approach the same problem:  a learning experience.

Thank you, and Gig'em.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sharon Clahan

I really like these paintings. I thought I would share with yall. I think the light is amazing

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Talk Thursday 12 or 1: Games Guy

Our third VIZA faculty candidate for the Assistant Professor in Interactive Visualization position is Dr. Brian Allen. He will be here March 28 - 30, 2012.

Dr. Allen will be giving 2 presentations on Thursday, March 29th:
12:00 PM, Langford C414
Background and scholarly/creative work*

1:00 PM, Langford C414
Mini-course or lecture for students*

Blue Sky????

Blue Sky Studios will also be here next week, April 5-6, to interview and give a presentation. Details on the presentation are being worked out.

They will be interviewing those of you who have interests in rigging, visual effects artists, lighting, technical directors, modeling, etc.

If you are interested in applying for their positions, please send me your resume and a link to your website/demo reel by noon on Friday, March 30th. They will then provide me with a list of students they will be interviewing on Thursday, April 5th.

Happy demo reeling!

William Niu

A student I used to go to HS with. Here's a trailer for his thesis project:

and here's the link to his blog:

Another Art Student

Worth your time to explore this student's site - which Caleb is following.

He refers to James Jean in describing one of his sketches. One place to start  is below.
(Also look at james jean fables cover, and his website.)

Print on Canvas & Donate Emerald City?

Howdy Dr. Saslow!
 My name is Sara Palacios and I am currently a Freshman Animal Science major here at Texas A&M, as well as a passionate advocate for the Fight against Cancer as my dad died of brain and lung cancer on January 31, 2008.  On Friday, April 27, I will be participating in the Relay for Life in my hometown, New Braunfels, Texas, and the theme is "There's No Place Like Hope!"
 I am emailing you on behalf of my team, whom are all Aggies and huge supporters of my journey here at TAMU! We are searching for someone to create a painting of Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz for us to put in our auction to raise money for the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life! I am wondering if you might find some time in your busy schedule to create such a piece of artwork! ...since it would be a donation from yourself, and TAMU Art Program we would, of course, give credit where credit is due by putting your information or the information about the Art Program at TAMU in our display, as well as the name of the donator (yourself) and where you are from (TAMU) on the back of the canvas, therefore giving a piece of TAMU Art program to someone.
 I am, of course, accepting of a rejection to this request, as you are a busy individual with duties far more pertinent than this, but I do ask you to consider the good you are doing, and the positive impact you would be helping make on cancer patients and their families and support groups everywhere.
 Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this request. If you have any questions at all, please give me a call at (210) 382 7475 or email me at
 Once again, Thanks and Gig Em'
 Sara Palacios
 Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 2015

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Remember:  3 talks needed this semester....
M 5:30 Wright Gallery
T 12:00 or 1:00 or both:  Candidate 2 for Games/Interactive Faculty Position
Th 12:00 or 1:00 or both:  Candidate 3 for Games/Interactive Faculty Position

Info on first one.  Other 2:  Viz Needs Your Input
Lecture by Dr.Thecla Schiphorst, visiting artist
Monday, March 26 at 5:30pm, Wright Gallery, Langford Center A

Thecla Schiphorst is a Media Artist/Designer and Faculty Member in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her background in performance and computing forms the basis for her research which focuses on embodied interaction, sense-making, and the aesthetics of interaction. She is particularly interested in the poetic forms that cultivate affect, materiality and experience-modeling within human computer interaction. She is a member of the original design team that developed Life Forms, the computer compositional tool for choreography and has worked with Merce Cunningham since 1990 supporting his creation of new dance with the computer.

She is the recipient of the 1998 PetroCanada award in New Media awarded biennially to a Canadian artist, by the Canada Council for the Arts. Her media art installations have been exhibited internationally in Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia in many venues including Ars Electronica, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF), Future Physical, Siggraph, the Wexner Centre for the Arts, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the London ICA. Thecla Schiphorst leads the whisper[s] research group an acronym for: wearable, handheld, intimate, sensory, personal, expressive, responsive systems.

Agopolis-WIP (chris)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PDF to Print Agopolis!

Please look at your work again -
consider suggestions from fellow students on the grading sheets -
make any changes -
and print today or Thursday morning upstairs -
free and calibrated. 

Printing:  Bring in PDF to print.  Not jpeg.

Leave border around image.
Printed 16" on 17" paper should leave c 1/2" all around.
(Border is good for matting)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Arctic Winter- Agopolis

(Image removed: too large.)

Agopolis - Academic Building WIP

Agopolis - Cameron Coker - "Desert Storm"

Agopolis:The Movie

Agopolis - Stephanie

Agopolis - Sage

Laura Murphy - Agopolis Final


Amber: Agopolis & Concept Art Progress





Agopolis - Krista

Agopolis - WIP


Elizabeth- Agopolis

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Michelle Robinson - the Disney Animation artist who helped teach the course last year - is following this blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Agopolis WIP



Moebius = Inspiration

Hello Vizzers:  Look at examples below – from one of my favorite artists, Moebius, who just died – for Character Design, Complexity of Grouping of Characters, Perspective, Dramatic Light and Value to Create Depth – and Incredible Imagination and Creativity. 

Moebius fan, Rick Carter, the production designer who won an Oscar for art direction on "Avatar," said the effect the art is unsettling:

"The inspiration I always felt from the art of Moebius was that I believed he truly saw the imagery he depicted and was actually not making it up," Carter said Saturday. "His imagery appears as if it was sketched from a real-life subconscious world/existence.",0,6227066.story 

Jean Giraud, or Moebius, stands in front of a fresco made from his art.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ARTS 325: Final 6 weeks

Hello Students,

For the final 6 seeks I have planned 2 projects of 3 weeks each.

1)   Art Direction collaborative project: 5 students design new characters and settings for a common fairy tale, including intensity chart and color script, design of 3 characters, concept art for 2 settings, and poster uniting all.  (This should satisfy people interested in character design, or concept art, and the big picture.)

2)   Independent project of your choice, any subject, any size, any way in PS.  Recommended:  concept art of a place that integrates characters into it.  Some students in the past made application to a prestigious competition by Lucasfilm (no requirements from them yet) (see last year’s blog).

However, since this may be your last semester here, you may have an urgency to study something else that you missed along the way and that you need for your future.  Let us see if the course is flexible enough to consider alternative problems for you.  Please email me if you have any thoughts on this (  We will discuss this the first class after spring break. 



PS  Please remember your work is due that day.  Print upstairs where printer is calibrated to your computer in the lab.  Use the roll of good proofing paper that is there.  Make sure your work is minimum 300 ppi, and printed at high or highest setting.  Check door for access times.

Thursday, March 8, 2012




Agopolis WIP

Cameron Coker - Agopolis WIP


now what?

Interactive Holographic Cinema today @ 2

Chris Portales will present his thesis defense today at 2pm in 417D, Evans Media Center (Library Annex).

Interactive Holographic Cinema
In mainstream media and entertainment, holography is often misrepresented as single perspective non-stereoscopic imagery suggesting three-dimensionality. Traditional holographic artists, however, utilize a laser setup to record and reconstruct wavefronts to describe a scene in multi-perspective natural parallax vision (“auto-stereoscopic”). Although these approaches are mutually exclusive in practice, they share a similar goal of staging three-dimensional imagery for a window-like viewing experience. This thesis presents a non-waveform digital computer approach for recording, reconstructing, and experiencing holographic visualizations in a cinematic context. By recording three-dimensional information from a scene using the structured light method, a custom computer program performs stereoscopic reconstruction in real-time during presentation.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Light and the Range of Values: Notes from Dick Davison....

A drawing is successful if there is a sense of LIGHT in it.
Ironically, you create a sense of light by developing the shadows.
Every shadow has variations of darkness.

The photograph is the standard of reality in the present age - by mimicing the eye.
The EYE sees the world in a pattern of light and dark, and so does the camera.
The camera captures the spaces between things that bring out the reality of the objects in the image.  The eye recognizes shadow shapes.
Because you can think (unlike the camera) you have a brain that separates the world into things, and so you miss what the camera records, and what your eye actually sees.

There is a hierarchy of lights and darks, a vast range of tonality, and ambient light too.
Look for lightest light and darkest dark:  everything else is between those in value; everything else is moving toward light or dark.

The only perfectly white areas are highlights: everything else is darker than pure white.
If they eye and camera see translucency and transparency, then that is available to you in your art too.
The edges of shadows:  Where are the sharp edges of shadows?  Where are they fuzzy?
Shadows on rounded forms are darkest nearest the light, and then are grade off to be lighter with the bounce light effecting them.
There shouldn't be outlines.  Sometimes you do not even realize they are there.
Push the value range.

Inspiration: Ralph McQuarrie, Concept Artist


Ralph McQuarrie, the artist who transformed George Lucas’s  earliest scripts into lush, vivid images of intergalactic expanse and light-saber combat that became the visual core of the “Star Wars” saga, died on Saturday at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 82. 
     Lucas:  “Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision ‘Star Wars, 
     When words  could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous  
     illustrations and say, ‘Do it like this.’ ”
Slideshow of Star Wars Concept Art by McQuarrie:

Monday, March 5, 2012

schedule this week: finish concept art

Week 3.  Final Details, Light, Mood
T  3/6    due:  posting of WIP to blog
                due:  dramatic developed image
                Work on color, details, haze, atmospheric persp., light, highlights, reflections, & shadows          
                Please give your work DEPTH with some indication of surroundings and space.
                Layer space into foreground, middleground, and background... at least MG & BG.
                Color lecture   
Th 3/9   Work day:  most of you need background developed!
                (Much imagination, creativity, and progress today!)
T 3/20   WORK DUE PRINTED first class after Spring Break

Agopolis: The Movie

(This is repeated from the handout for this assignment.)
File size:  16” tall x 24” wide @ 300 ppi.  24" wide is minimum width.  You could go 30."
This can be printed upstairs on paper which is 17” wide by any length.  (It is on a roll.)
Our computers are calibrated to upstairs Viz printer on third floor.

The future:  A science fiction fantasy has been written by an Aggie.  The book is a success, and a big-budget sci-fi movie is in the works.  The movie is set far in the future.  Since all education now takes place online, the buildings on the plains of central Texas have fallen into disuse and decay.   Tribes of hackers, rebels, old Aggies, great chefs, and interactive artists have set up communes in the buildings, and created environments to their liking. 

Environment:  Climate change has taken effect:  The climate has shifted to hot with tropical vegetation – or to an eternal winter.
The decaying buildings emerge from water – a giant lake?  The sea has come in 150 miles from Galveston?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Talk Monday, March 5, 5:30, Free and Necessary....

This is a remarkable chance for us all, particularly for Digital Painters!

Please attend the lecture by Berlin based artist Claudia Chaseling on Monday, March 5, 5:30pm, Wright Gallery, Langford Center A.  Claudia Chaseling is a painter working in large scale on canvas, walls/floors and objects, and in small scale on photos and in cartoon stories. Her central theme is landscape, how vast space and the dynamics of a place can be captured in interiors through color, without using parameters like horizon lines or central perspective, which could supply a quick orientation. Through cartoons, expressionistic and fictional elements her work expands into a psychological landscape. Claudia Chaseling is based in Berlin, Germany. She works and exhibits internationally in Europe, Australia and the US.

This counts as one of the three talks you need to attend this semester.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Matte Painting WIP

Matte Painting - WIP

Matte painting WIP

Still working on dirtying up the photo, starting with the floor.


Concept Art WIP - Krista

more reference

Gnomon color theory

color theory broken down, y'all:

hue = names of colors
value = perception of the brightness of a color
saturation = perception of intensity of a color

color harmony might be planned in advance, but the real compositional tool to use is color contrasts. good for drawing attention to different things in a comp, environmental lighting, and figure-lighting.

design studio press has some neat futuristic city digitally painted pics.

Gnomon video - Krista

Concept Design with Feng Zhu
Volume 4: Digital Painting

The artist took 2 line drawings and quickly painted them.

- Start painting on a layer with value, not white
- Zoom out at first and zoom in for detail
- Change opacity for value and don't choose a new color
- Blocks of value and then refine
- Start from dark
- Know your light sources, don't over light
- Help define shapes by adding shadows

Blogs etc

Mark Kennedy works for Disney currently.

Images of Paul Felix's work, beautiful layouts.

A cartoon a week by Asaf Hanuka.

Concept Art & Matte Painting Sites:

Know some others????

Aggieopolis: The Movie, Concept Art: Th 3/1 Schedule

T 2/28                  Due:  photos of things; reference images
Due:  have watched Gnomon video
Continue painting; solve perspective;  solve light source(s), solve value areas

Th 3/1              Due:  List Name of GNOMON video watched on website with brief description
                                       Tell us in class what you learned
                           Due:  perspective and light issues solved

                           PP talks: atmospheric perspective; color schemes
Continue painting:  create drama, reflections & shadows; develop color ideas
Post work so far: Label:  Your Name, Concept Art, WIP