View Full Version : How to be a digital artist?

07 July 2005, 08:38 PM
I know there are people right now surfing cgtalk and admires those fantastic works found here. I was one of them and I could say that cgtalk had inspire me to be a digital artist. It have been a week or two where, I would sat down in front of my laptop which I would face for the next couple of hours, and begin my internet journey at cgtalk. I browse through the many works of many artists, some of which I admire alot. I would start imagining if I had his skill, what would I want to do? Man, dreaming is sure fun. I had lots of nice little ambitions slowly gathered into a huge passion for arts. Finally, I tell myself I want to be a digital artist. But how?

I want to be a 2D and 3D artist. The question is, for someone who had no art background or basic, how should I start? My goal is to one day get a cg award. Could anyone advice me on how should I began? I read about the sticky thread on recommandation and came across the advice on reading Andrew Loomis books. But which one to start with? My guess is "Fun with Pencil" but I'm not so sure. so could anyone help me out? :) Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I am a beginner in photoshop, know nuts about corel painter and an Intermediate in 3D Studio Max. I sucks at drawing using pencil too. :(

07 July 2005, 09:26 PM
A lot of practice with traditional media such as the old pen and paper is a good thing, maybe combined with photography... this combined with further practice in 3D. From what I have gathered over time, the "digital" bit has nothing or very very little to do with the production of the great art you see around this place.

The number one thing to develop is observational skills, getting a good feel for shapes, illumination, composition... those types of things.

3D takes a few years to pick up properly, but if you don't spend some of that time also learning "art" in general, chances are that you will not succeed making anything remarkable in 3D even once you master it.

I've seen people with solid traditional skills pick up 3D in a couple of months and produce outstanding results. And vice versa, there's people who know their 3D application inside-out and upside down, but who still don't understand what makes an image or an animation work.

So, my advice would be to give priority to learning the fundamentals of art, while picking up the technical bits along the way as a secondary goal. At least that is the advice I wish someone had given me when I started out.

Good luck!

07 July 2005, 09:28 PM
If you want to go more into 2d, start with pencil paper and learn all the basics of anatomy and composition. Get "how to draw on the right side of the brain" or download loomis's anatomy for all its worth off the net. Spend every day drawing for 3-5 hours from still life, gesture drawing, to human studies and famous works from the masters of the past. If you want to persue a digital medium, learning to paint first helps. Color thoery is also a must. From the majority's case, its just spending a outrageous amount of time practicing everyday for years until drawing for that matter becomes second nature. Also learn to "see" things in volume and form in real life. As for 3d, i heard its more technique dependent regarding how well you adapt to certain programs like maya.

07 July 2005, 09:47 PM
Well, I think that almost everything is told on the first couple post before me, but anyway . . like you im pretty new to the "digital" artist" thing. Been doing lots of research and stuff to see how I can get started.

What I do now is:

for 2D ( painting drawing and stuff ) : Starting with some tutorials and books about drawing, like the loomis books or the other great books recommended in the sticky note in this forum. After I started reading and got some nice books about drawing I realized that the books can only give u an idea of some techiniques to make things easier . . and ofcourse . . help u drawing the "right" way. So what is already told: practice ! practice drawing inreal :) What also very important is do some research about the human anatomy . . very important to get things right when u are drawing.

for 3D : Videos trainings are VERY good in my opnion . . but ofcourse they are usually expensive to get, but we are lucky that there are tons of great tutorials for 3D software ( forum and google ) and there are some free training videos too.

The beginning is hard . . because ( at least for me ) after a while browsing the forum you will think: damnn . . how long is it going to take to make this and that etc.

be patience and keep practice . . . even though im not that far yet, im sure at the end all the hard work is worth every little bit hehe.

We will see :p

07 July 2005, 07:38 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I really appericiated. I finally know why there's a different between some of my 3D works and my friends one. Even though I have better techniques (yep, I went through alot of tutorial and was always teaching my friends techniques. :)), I seldom could produce better work than them. I think I lack the fundamental of arts. I shall download Andrew Loomis book (probably "Fun with Pencil" and "Antonomy for all its Worth") and follow his teaching, practice daily for a few hours and also doing research. I think practice is the key. Thanks! About observation, is it true that I will observe better as I study the fundamental of arts? or should I try to force myself into thinking a certain way until It become natural to me? Sorry, I'm pretty much a block minded guy. :P I know its best to figure out myself but I hope to hear some advices. Thanks!

07 July 2005, 09:19 AM
When I got in to a photography, it boosted my vision in 3D also (and 2D too). You know, 3D is so close about taking pictures with a camera that many rules can be adapted to a 3D. For example, if you know how to take studio photos about products, you can adapt those skills to a 3D and get better renderings much faster.

Oh yeah...and get digital camera! Good for textures, inspiration, observing and it's even a cost effect solution to learn basics of photography, instead of wasting money on every study-image with film camera. When basics are in your brain you do not waste so many pictures when if you move to a traditional film camera.

And if you do not want to go deep to a photographing I still recommend a digital camera.

Most important thing! Do not try to jump too fast ahead even your art seem to impress you and your friends. You know, professionals can pick more flaws even from your best stuff than you can ever imagine if your basic knowledge of traditional techniques are not well adapted.

It's also too easy to fall a certain category and lose skills from other areas. When you have a wider knowledge of different mediums/methods and so on THEN you can safely specialize on something that interests you mostly.

07 July 2005, 07:19 PM
Hi.....I'm really intrested in this thread

I'm a tottaly newbie and really interestes in 3d. I've been using Max for about half year. I think I have enough technique with it but still it's hard for me to create something. I've spend my whole 3D experience by looking another object and create it in 3D. But I am trouble when trying to create my own object. I can imagine the shape of the object, but I can't draw it with my hand. So, I can't draw it in 3D.

So my guess is I am lack of 2D skill. And also my skill of art does not support me. I've been looking for book to help my art and 2D skill, lots of option, lack of money...:)
Can you give me reference what book shoud I use to sharpen my skill?
Is there any specific web should I visit?(I know a lot but I can't find the right one for a newbie like me)

Thx for any reply...
sorry for bad english....

07 July 2005, 08:34 PM
This is probably my best advice to you, probably not the fastest way to excel in the way of the art, so if you're ambitions is to become the next Linda Bergkvist next year then just ignore this post..

Allright, get your mind off the computer for awhile, fetch yourself pencil and paper. Draw, draw, draw! You need to be able to draw, communicate through paper, tell your stories, portray your characters etc. It's not exactly an easy battle, but if you got what it takes you'll be starting to see the light within the horizon 6 months after you've begun drawing. After a couple of months after you've drawn, drawn, drawn you can start trying to expriment with the computer again, but never, ever stop sketching.

90% (my rough estimate ;) ) of everyone who want to be a digital artist is in love of the final resault and not the journey which they undertake to get to the final resault. Some people have the motivation to sit through a project untill the end, but some don't have enough discipline / inspiration to be able to get through a project just for the sake of the end resault.. The other 10% who're in love of the journey, the creation process, will fly through anything as they love every second of it..

Allright, I'm just a pathetic fool.. There are far superior people here with more experience than me :)

Watch this kid, he could barely make a straight line when i begun, he's now an impressive artist with everyones outmost respect:

Sneeze Proof
07 July 2005, 04:23 AM
That is one of the most inspirational stories ... things I have ever seen. That guy's progress has been amazing.

It just goes to show that if you really want to do something, then you can, and the only person to stop you is yourself.

08 August 2005, 06:24 PM
Watch this kid, he could barely make a straight line when i begun, he's now an impressive artist with everyones outmost respect:

That.. is amazong. Gotta go through the whole thread someday. Skipped page 2-22 :). Sorry I can't give you any tips, since I'm at the same stage as you are. :)

08 August 2005, 07:42 PM
There are many little topics within the 2D Field> character drawing, environment, architecture, vehicles.[...] Cause there are so many topics it could be a bit desillusioning if you focus on everything there is. To get fast sense of achievement it could be a good idea if you concentrate on one topic you are interested in the most. That gives you a good start. And study very much images. Try to observe your environment. textures, proportions. You have to grow your mind with a lot of expierience in how things look like.

knowing nothing of traditional art is not immediatley a disadvantage. Because the digital media currently does not emulate traditional media exactly. There are some threads concerning this topic here around. Painting digital is some different than traditional.
Martiniere for example had a few knowledge of traditional art when starting painting digital. And his artwork shows a different approach. > A lot of copy and paste and layer techniques. What I try to say is:
There is no: "go exactly this path and you will get an digtal artist" You have to find a way that suits you fine personaly.

I wish you a lot of fun in doing it. And in case you stuck somewhere on the road. Donīt give up!!


08 August 2005, 01:40 AM
Alternatively, buy X* book, it will teach you all you need to know in one month and you will be fantastic by the end of that month!

*As in doesn't X-ist...sorry, you'll just have to learn the same way as everyone else. Best tip is to look really, really closely at everyone else's stuff and try and figure out how they do it.

08 August 2005, 02:14 AM
:surprised.... wow....


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