Art Learning Resources

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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Auro-Cyanide
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Art Learning Resources

#1 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:48 am

I can honestly not remember if there was a topic for this or not, but it's about time we had one if we haven't already. Writing has one and I think it's a great idea.

If anyone knows of any quality art learning resources, whether they are a useful tutorial or an explanation of one of the fundamentals, a good book or website or a post on the forums here, please link it here and I will gather it all into one post so everyone can have access to them. I'll be adding in any ones I know as well. Hopefully this way we can build up a virtual reference library for art resources. I'll be breaking the resources into different categories so you can browse for what you are looking for (which will be a bit of a work in progress while I figure out the best way to sort everything).

So far I'm focusing on resources that help you develop your art skills, but if someone wants to gather free art resources here too, that can be arranged. I'm also focusing on finding ones that are general and explain things well, as opposed to ones focusing on drawing in a particular style for instance. There are lots of resources out there, I'm trying to condense the ones that might be useful to everyone and that help further the understanding of art. If any one has any questions or suggestions, feel free to ask or tell me :)

I'll be adding to this as I go through what I have (I really wish I could find that cool guide on light...)

------------------------

FAQ

-Do I need to do my visual novel work digitally?

Nope. There is Nothing stopping you from creating traditional work for your visual novel. However, the work will need to be scanned or photographed at some point. It's also a good idea to have an image editing program to give your images corrections and to remove backgrounds.

-Do I need a tablet?

Again, no. Plenty of people use a mouse to create their digital work. However, if you are serious about your digital work they can be a very good investment and save yourself some wrist pain. There are a number of brands available, with the most prestegious being Wacom. They can range from hobbiest all the way up to professional and the prices change accordingly. Do your research into what will suit you best and is within your price range.

-What digital programs are there?

(If people can add to this list I would be grateful :))

Bitmap Programs (pixel based)

-Adobe Photoshop- Photoshop is an industry standard amoungst professional digital artists. It is extremely flexible and is capable of pretty much anything in regards to creating art. One of it's main strengths lie in it's adjustment and correction abilities. On the downside it can be a bit overwhelming to beginners, can contain a lot of tools that you might not use and has a huge pricetag.

-Coral Painter- Up there with Photoshop in regards to digital painting, Painters main draw is that it is extremely good at mimicing traditional mediums in a way that is easier than Photoshop. It's a high quality program and can set you back a bit.

-Paint Tool SAI- This program is much cheaper and is a good start for beginners. Many people find the stabilizers useful for lineart and the colouring tools pretty intuitive. I personally think the UI isn't as nice and there are some limitations with layers, but nothing that would bother anyone too much. Downside is that it only is available for Windows and even with winebottle, SAI will not often not recognise tablets on Macs.

-The GIMP- Is totally free and available to download. It is basically a rip off version of Photoshop and has some of the basic tools. It is capable of most basic functions and if you are looking into just trying out a digital program to see how it works. Downside is that it can feel like it lacks a lot, but hey, it's free.

-Deleter CG illust 4.5 and Deleter Comic Works

-ArtRage Studio and Art Rage 2

-Artweaver Free

-RealWorld Paint.COM

-Clip studio paint (Japanese only at the moment)

-Fire Alpaca- A free digital image program. Good for Windows and Mac.

-MyPaint- Free and apparently has an impressive range of tools and brushes.

-OpenCanvas- Only supported on windows

Vector Programs (point based)

-Adobe Illustrator- The industry standard for vectors, it is a very strong program capable of most of what you would want. Downside is that it is expensive.

-Adobe Flash- Actually more of an animation tool, Flash is capable of producing vectors.

-Macromedia Freehand- Macromedia was bought out by Adobe many years ago but many old school people swear by it. They also wish Adobe would hurry up and import some of the better features into Illustrator.

-Freehand- is a free open source vector program available online. I haven't personally tried it out by I expect it to be a scaled down version of Illustrator.

Animation Programs

-Adobe After Effects- an extremely powerful animation tool capable of professional standard graphics and exporting into a wide range of media formats. Very expensive.

-Adobe Photoshop- Later versions (7 and up I think) are capable of creating GIFFs through the use of layers.

-Adobe Flash- a strong animation program that uses vectors.

-Anime Studio- has a small range of different animation programs for sale.

-Plastic Animation Paper- Available for free on Windows only.

-Pencil- is a free open source animation program based on traditional techniques.

-Toon Boom Studio- Has a range of programs for sale at different levels.

-DigiCel FlipBook-http://www.digicel.net/flipbook.htm

-Live2D- Only available in Japanese at the moment. Focuses on 2D animation through 3D.

3D (Thank you to Humbert for providing the 3D program information :D)

-Maya - Maya is the gold standard of 3D and has been for some time now. It is a good all rounder and is the software used most often in all types of production environments, whatever that means. I like Maya. I have spent the most time in Maya and, though I often leave her, I always come back in the end. If you were family, family mind you, and wanted to know what 3d software to invest money and time in ... Maya and Zbrush.

-3DS Max- Max is the Swiss army knife of 3d software. It has all sorts of buttons that do exactly this and exactly that. If it has what you want, you could get the job down with less of a learning curve and in fewer steps. If it doesn't have what you want, you can purchase expensive addons that add extra blades to your knife. Lucky for us the Swiss didn't think of that.

-Softimage- Softimage and Maya were once the big boys at battle. Maya's predecessor modeled the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and Softimage was the program that animated it. Softimage had great promise of finally being able to compete with Maya but Avid, they bought it from Microsoft who almost flushed it down the toilet, didn't understand pricing at all so they chucked it to Autodesk. It is a very nice program actually, with some great latent abilities but Autodesk has relegated it to the gimp position as a helper to Maya or Max so ...

-Houdini- is a powerful procedural based 3d software package. Houdini is complex, addictive, and geared heavily toward Special Effects: particles, water, flocking, Lsystems. You want to create a whole city from a bunch of modular building parts? Houdini! You want to animate the love scene in your newest VN? Not Houdini!

-Lightwave- is a 3D program from Newtek like the ones above only not quite as good. It is still used by some studios, often in scifi TV series. They have been promising the the coming of their next gen CORE release which will put them back in the game. Not as bad as Duke Nukem Forever but it has seen one hell of a long delay.

-Modo- made by the lightwave crew that started up another company and another 3d package. Very popular at present. Started as modeling only, added this, added that. Now it is almost an all rounder. Almost but not there yet. Still, very good at modeling.

-Hexagon- Currently free from DAZ3D http://www.daz3d.com is a general boxmodeler without a renderer. On the plus side, it has tools to make sculpies for Second Life.

-Bryce- Also currently free from the above, it's designed to assist in the modelling of landscapes with a minimal amount of additional content. Stiff learning curve for procedurals, but if you can master that, you can master anything.

-DAZ|Studio 4- The pro version is free for the moment, but the basic version is always free, and has everything a conventional artist might want: A single human figure that can be morphed into men, women, and kids of all ages, and then posed and looked at from any angle. Don't like the posing controls myself, but that's me.

-Poser- Similar to Studio, except that it includes the ability to run dynamic hair and cloth simulations. Posing controls are easier to use, and it comes with a number of different models to choose from. You're going to pay out for the extra features, but that's not actually a Bad Thing, especially in the sub-1k range. It also has a full set of animation tools, including keyframe and full graph right in the UI. Good if you're on a budget and need to be able to see a walk cycle or gesture on the fly. http://www.contentparadise.com

-TrueSpace- Big for direct polymodelling and squishy shapes called Metaballs. Version 7.2 is free, but it'll take you some effort to find. The experiment and learn curve is gentler than most.

-Carrara- Also to be found at DAZ3D, you're going to pay for this one, but it has a very nice renderer and can accept Poser files as well as the models you make yourself via box or spline. Current version also renders pretty landscapes, and has dynamic hair, fur, and a way to simulate the effects of wind on dynamic objects

-Google Sketch-up- Has a free and a paid version ($795 for the Pro version that has a renderer) and is a relatively intutive program to use that will cover your basic functions.

-Blender- Also has a free version. The learning curve can be said to be a bit difficult.

-Mudbox- is a sculpting program

-Zbrush- One of the industry standards for scultping and rendering.

-Sculptris- related to z-brush, this sculpting program is currently free to download.

-MARI- Another 3D sculpting program.

-Make Human- An open source 3D program for creating humans.
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:54 am, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#2 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:49 am

RESOURCES
----------------------

Fundamentals

Colour Theory

An excellent tutorial on not only light and colour, but also shading and form.
A note on Light and Colour
How I see Colour

Anatomy

Andrew Loomis's books available online (the majority of his books are out of print and there is a campaign to save them)
Video serious based on Andrew Loomis's work
Understanding Anatomy: Part 1234567
Robert Beverly Hale 1sy Lecture
Acland's DVD Atlas of Human Anatomy
Coelasquid's tutorial where she talks about head shapes, facial features, and muscles
Manly, manly muscles
Quick and Dirty Anatomy Guide Arms and Sholders/Neck and Shoulders
Hands- Tips and References
Expression Guide
Lackadaisy Expressions
A guide for Faces
Proportions Guide
Hair

Perspective

Perspective and Composition: Part 1Part 2
Placing Figures in Perspective

Composition
Screen Direction

Animation
Some pages from Preston Blair's animation book
$100,000 animation drawing course for only $8

Style
Understanding Your Style-1
Understanding Your Style-2
---------------------

How-tos and Tutorials

Characters

Species Design Methods
Character Aging Sheet

Backgrounds

Environment Tutorials by k04sk
Scenery Painting


Design and Interfaces

Media and Techniques

How to smudge properly
Common digital painting mistakes
A Collection of step-by-step digital paintings
Fire tutorial for GIMP

Visual Novel Specific

Deji's step by step Sprite making process

---------------------

Books worth looking into

Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet
Sobotta's Atlas of Human Anatomy
Human Anatomy for the Artist by Eliot Goldfinger
Animal Anatomy for the Artist
Understanding Comics and Making Comics, both by Scott McCloud
Facial Expression: A visual reference for artists by Mark Simon
The Animator's Survival Guide
Animation 1 by Preston Blair
Timing for Animation by John Halas
Character Animation Crash Course by Eric Goldman
The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
---------------------

Resources and References

Anatomy
Collection of References by Moni158
Anatomy studies by Jinx-Star
Anatomy Studies and colouring by Sakimichan
Anatomical Basis for Facial Expressions Learning Tool
Figue and Gesture Drawing Tool

Clothing

Clothing and Folds
Folds and Wrinkles
How to Draw Cloth: The Basics


Objects

Scenery

Animation Backgrounds- A very impressive collection of backgrounds from various animations
Perspective Grids Part 1/ Part 2

Animation
Model Sheets: Animation Meat/ Disney Animation Model Sheets/ Animation Model Sheets/ Anime Model Sheets

---------------------
Tutorial Sites
A site for tutorials on 3D art and animation
The Ultimate Indie Game Developer Resource List
Manga Tutorials
Online Drawing Tutorial List
ImagineFX Tutorial List
Master List of Tumblr Art Reference Blogs

Video Series
Mark Crilley video list
How to draw people from memory and imagination video list
Draw with Jazza

Other

Colour Scheme Designer (it's for web designers, but still useful)
Posemaniacs
Export file types A guide on what to export your images as.
Wacom Starter Guide A guide on the basics of Wacom tablets including settings.
Collection of digital brushes
Collection of digital brushes
Plug-in for GIMP to use Photoshop brushes, for versions below 2.6. Versions 2.6 and up have this function.
Tumblr blog FULL of super useful references and tutorials cover pretty much EVERYTHING
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:50 am, edited 17 times in total.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#3 Post by wulfae » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:10 am

Can't forget animation books!

Books to help with animation:

The Animator's Survival Kit. This one has lots of great advice in it, as well as many many walk cycles.

Preston Blair's 'How To' Animation book on amazon, and here's a blog post with scans of the original book.

The 100 000$ animation course, for only 8$!. An online resource that takes you through the steps of animation.

Timing for animation. The timing and spacing of your drawings is really, really important. This book gives insight into how that magic works.

Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course is a pretty nifty book that I still need to read all the way through... Eric Goldberg was the lead animator on the Genie, Phil from Hercules, the flamingo part of Fantasia 2000, and more that I just can't recall right now.

Books about animation:

The Illusion of Life. Written by a couple of Disney's Nine Old Men, this really talks about how the company worked and developed.

Though they might be too in depth for visual novels, but if anyone is interested in learning more about animation, these are always a good bet.

A couple for anatomy that I really like:

Human Anatomy for Artists by Eliot Goldfinger. This book is amazing, it shows you what each individual muscle looks like.

For animal anatomy, by the same author: Animal Anatomy for Artists. Also amazing, this covers animals like horses, cows, dogs as well as wild animals and some birds too, if I'm not mistaken?

I've got this page bookmarked, but I haven't had the chance to use it yet. It's Posemaniacs, which I think I stumbled across here actually. It flashes a pose on screen for a specific amount of time, giving you that long to draw it. Self contained lifedrawing!

Drawing structure, here's Coelasquid's tutorial where she talks about head shapes, facial features, and muscles.

Here's Coela's tutorial on manly muscles.

That's all I can think of, off the top of my head!

*edited to add: Colour Scheme Designer 3. Helps you pick out colours that go together, for those of us who have trouble with that.

Also, facial expressions! Here's one of the many books on them: Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists. It has lots of pictures of different kinds of people making different kinds of faces.

Animation backgrounds are pretty useful for VN creation, I think. The point with those backgrounds is to create a space where the character can act, and have the character(s) be the missing element that balances the composition. Here's a blog with a bunch of animation backgrounds, without characters. A quick look shows Disney, Warner Brothers, and MGM. New and old Disney backgrounds!

And just because I want to completely procrastinate... Here's some animation model sheets online. A model sheet is something that tells the artist how to draw the character in different situations, how far you can push something, some facial expressions, some action.

At Animation Meat.

Disney animation model sheets.

A collection of different model sheets.

Here are some anime model sheets.

Basically I just googled these. :D
Last edited by wulfae on Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#4 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:13 am

@Wulfae, Thank you! I was going to add in animation, but I don't know much about it, so I'm glad you have provided some great links. I recently ordered The Animator's Survival Kit from Amazon because I want to learn more. It seems like a great book. I'll add them all into the list when I get a chance.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#5 Post by wulfae » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:30 am

Glad I could help! This is a great idea, I look forward to browsing all the new links.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#6 Post by Camille » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:59 am

A random assortment of tutorial links I had saved:

Anatomy
- A collection of references/sort-of tutorials by Moni158
- Anatomy studies by Jinx-star
- Anatomy references and painting tutorials by Sakimichan
- Species design

Backgrounds/environments
- Fox-orian's tutorials
- Environment painting tutorials by K04sk
- Perspective tutorials by Bittersweetdisease (there's some anatomy/painting stuff in here, too)
- Environment painting tutorial by Thefireis

(Digital) painting/color theory
- Purplekecleon's color explanation/tutorial
- Blending in Photoshop

Don't ask me why I collect these when I don't even draw. 0_o I think I just like looking at how artists do things.
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Re: Art Learning Resources

#7 Post by TakeOverWorld » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:41 pm

Well there's this : http://alexhays.com/loomis/ which is a collection of Andrew Loomis' drawing guides in pdf form.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#8 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:28 pm

Okay, Updated! Thank you everyone that has contributed to the list~

@Camille... lol XD

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#9 Post by HumbertTheHorse » Thu May 24, 2012 7:46 pm

I don't think I see him here so I would like to Highly recommend anything associated with Robert Beverly Hale. Mainly his translation of Artistic Anatomy by Richer and his lectures on Artistic Anatomy (the best Anatomy video I have seen) You can watch lecture 1 in its entirety on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xLVXeizNi8 The video series was the first time I heard of art described as an intellectual pursuit.

Next let me also mention another valuable resource once you go down that anatomy road- Acland's DVD Atlas of Human Anatomy. Looking at an actual cadaver adds tremendously in filling in those gaps left out of many texts.

If you own an Ipad in the US, Sobotta's Atlas of Human Anatomy, a famously illustrated Atlas can be had for $20. :lol: :lol: :lol:

An easy to use 3D sculpting program is currently free so give it a spin :arrow: http://www.pixologic.com/sculptris/

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#10 Post by HumbertTheHorse » Thu May 24, 2012 8:59 pm

For 3D you have the Autodesk lineup. Autodesk is to 3D what Adobe is to 2D. They recently purchased all the competition. That is why they sell so many programs that do the same thing. They are ...

Maya - Maya is the gold standard of 3D and has been for some time now. It is a good all rounder and is the software used most often in all types of production environments, whatever that means. I like Maya. I have spent the most time in Maya and, though I often leave her, I always come back in the end. If you were family, family mind you, and wanted to know what 3d software to invest money and time in ... Maya and Zbrush.

3DS Max Max is the Swiss army knife of 3d software. It has all sorts of buttons that do exactly this and exactly that. If it has what you want, you could get the job down with less of a learning curve and in fewer steps. If it doesn't have what you want, you can purchase expensive addons that add extra blades to your knife. Lucky for us the Swiss didn't think of that.

Softimage Softimage and Maya were once the big boys at battle. Maya's predecessor modeled the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and Softimage was the program that animated it. Softimage had great promise of finally being able to compete with Maya but Avid, they bought it from Microsoft who almost flushed it down the toilet, didn't understand pricing at all so they chucked it to Autodesk. It is a very nice program actually, with some great latent abilities but Autodesk has relegated it to the gimp position as a helper to Maya or Max so ...

Houdini is a powerful procedural based 3d software package. Houdini is complex, addictive, and geared heavily toward Special Effects: particles, water, flocking, Lsystems. You want to create a whole city from a bunch of modular building parts? Houdini! You want to animate the love scene in your newest VN? Not Houdini!

Lightwave is a 3D program from Newtek like the ones above only not quite as good. It is still used by some studios, often in scifi TV series. They have been promising the the coming of their next gen CORE release which will put them back in the game. Not as bad as Duke Nukem Forever but it has seen one hell of a long delay.

Modo, made by the lightwave crew that started up another company and another 3d package. Very popular at present. Started as modeling only, added this, added that. Now it is almost an all rounder. Almost but not there yet. Still, very good at modeling.

...

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#11 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Tue May 29, 2012 4:30 am

@Humbert, thank you very much :D Especially for the 3D information. I have updated the first posts and added in a couple other programs about 3D and animation that I have heard of.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#12 Post by DarkSpartan » Tue May 29, 2012 5:19 am

You're missing a couple on your 3D list, and some of those come free

Hexagon: Currently free from DAZ3D http://www.daz3d.com is a general boxmodeler without a renderer. On the plus side, it has tools to make sculpies for Second Life

Bryce: Also currently free from the above, it's designed to assist in the modelling of landscapes with a minimal amount of additional content. Stiff learning curve for procedurals, but if you can master that, you can master anything.

DAZ|Studio 4: The pro version is free for the moment, but the basic version is always free, and has everything a conventional artist might want: A single human figure that can be morphed into men, women, and kids of all ages, and then posed and looked at from any angle. Don't like the posing controls myself, but that's me.

Poser: Similar to Studio, except that it includes the ability to run dynamic hair and cloth simulations. Posing controls are easier to use, and it comes with a number of different models to choose from. You're going to pay out for the extra features, but that's not actually a Bad Thing, especially in the sub-1k range. It also has a full set of animation tools, including keyframe and full graph right in the UI. Good if you're on a budget and need to be able to see a walk cycle or gesture on the fly. http://www.contentparadise.com

TrueSpace: Big for direct polymodelling and squishy shapes called Metaballs. Version 7.2 is free, but it'll take you some effort to find. The experiment and learn curve is gentler than most.

Carrara- Also to be found at DAZ3D, you're going to pay for this one, but it has a very nice renderer and can accept Poser files as well as the models you make yourself via box or spline. Current version also renders pretty landscapes, and has dynamic hair, fur, and a way to simulate the effects of wind on dynamic objects

Most of these are in use by the Poserverse fro it's own purposes, but any of the modellers can be used to create new objects to draw, and nearly all of them (Hexagon and TrueSpace) can be used to import and pose figures so you don't break people trying to get things sketched.

Although if you're super-brave, you can use the ones with renderers to rig up full scenes and just use that. Proceed with caution, and learn your software of choice inside-out before you do that, though. Nice results are possible, just very unlikely unless you know what you're doing.
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Re: Art Learning Resources

#13 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed May 30, 2012 4:49 am

@DarkSpartan, Ah, thank you. Wow there are so many of them and I totally forgot about poser. I'll add them to the list.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#14 Post by DarkSpartan » Wed May 30, 2012 6:11 am

Anyone that's going for DAZ|Studio 4 Pro/Hexagon/Bryce should get on that soon, before DAZ wakes up and realizes it's leaving some serious money on the table. The three programs together normally run more than $800.

Hexagon and Bryce don't usually *have* free versions. Studio Basic is free, though.
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Re: Art Learning Resources

#15 Post by wulfae » Wed May 30, 2012 12:01 pm

You mention a program related to zbrush, but don't mention zbrush. I'm pretty sure that it's one of the high res modelling programs of choice right now.

If anyone does want to learn how to model or animate in 3D, I like Digital Tutors. It has some free lessons, and many more that you can access if you pay the monthly fee. I used it for a couple of months, and learned quite a bit.

If someone wanted to traditionally animate something on paper, there are programs that will let you easily test the resulting animation on a computer using a webcam. You would still need to scan everything in, but for quick testing nothing really beats Digicel Flipbook.

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