Art Theory for 3D Artists?

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  04 April 2005
ashakarc, I like the methodical approach.
Quote: How is the process in 3D production different from 2D and/or similar to 2D?

As I've stated before, imo not very different. It carries elements of older processes such as sculpture, collage, photography, film making, model making etc. On occasion any or all of these may be useful: architectural design, fashion design, industrial design - maybe even storytelling skills, such as creative writing. The only real difference is all those elements can be combined into one process now... (and that certain parts of it have been sped up tremendously.)

About the methods, again as I've said, imo they're largely irrelevant. They've changed an extreme amount since the birth of cg - much more than in any other field, like for instance film (which is still using similar technology from when it was invented over 100 years ago). And it will change even more. It changes every year, as old methods become obsolete, and new ones enter the mainstream. The trend seems to be towards making it more and more transparent to the user, so he/she can focus more on the creative flow, instead of having to run diagnostics, consulting the manual and calling the help line.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Stahlberg: The trend seems to be towards making it more and more transparent to the user, so he/she can focus more on the creative flow, instead of having to run diagnostics, consulting the manual and calling the help line.


And to expand on Steven's point. What do you think is going to happen in the future when 3D softwares become so intuitive and easy to use, that all the complex, frustrating aspects become a thing of the past? What's going to happen to people that only concentrated on how to operate the software?

And I still disagree that 3D has it's only art theory seperate from the traditional ones. There is no such thing. All art theories are traditional--there are only composition, color theory, anatomy, perspective..etc. All the stuff some of you have been talking about--the understanding of various rendering options, particle effects, soft/hard body dynamics, hair/cloth simulation, deformation, rigging...etc--all of them are ways to operate the software. They differ from one software package to another, and if you switched to a different package, you'd have to relearn the entire workflow. That, in itself, is the strongest argument that there is no such thing as 3D art theories. Art theories shouldn't change just because you changed softwares. Art theories are the eternal foundations for any creative visual person--including 3D artists. The idea that 3D artists play by a different set of rules and don't need to place emphasis on traditional art theories is very dangerous--in fact, downright reckless and ignorant. That is why the 3D entries to the Challenges and Exposes are always inferior to the 2D entries.

If you list the 3D artists that have gained world-wide recognition, respect, and interviewed them, I bet an overwhelming majority of them will agree with what Steven and I have been saying in this thread.

Last edited by Lunatique : 04 April 2005 at 04:31 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lunatique: Art theories are the eternal foundations for any creative visual person--including 3D artists.


I can't think of a single "eternal" art theory. They vary greatly among cultures and periods in history. Just think of all the different colour theories, for example.

I believe modern vision science is a more objective source of information for artists.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lunatique: ........What's going to happen to people that only concentrated on how to operate the software?

And I still disagree that 3D has it's only art theory seperate from the traditional ones. There is no such thing. All art theories are traditional--there are only composition, color theory, anatomy, perspective..etc. All the stuff some of you have been talking about--the understanding of various rendering options, particle effects, soft/hard body dynamics, hair/cloth simulation, deformation, rigging...etc--al.....

If you list the 3D artists that have gained world-wide recognition, respect, and interviewed them, I bet an overwhelming majority of them will agree with what Steven and I have been saying in this thread.


Good points. After all of my struggles to learn use 3d software in a productive way over the years just to complete the goal of rendering out my stuff, I see that the main problem all along in this issue has been the fact that I have to learn someone else's workflow and software ideologies. Some elements of 3d software like modeling, lighting, etc. are basically the same now.

3d The only difference is in the features that one app offers over another. Then you have your 3d production workflow solutions. A small time coder could use open source software to create their own customized 3d workflow solutions. I need my own software and workflow ideology. Every time some new 3d tech comes out I have to seek it out to add it to my workflow. I believe that this is where open source software comes in for 3d developers who need basic solutions but do not what to make a career out of developing software. These developers could even hire open source coders to create apps for their 3d systems. This way they can develop customized software solutions for their company. And advanced 3d developers have these options now.

If we work it out we can hook up technology to our own 3d software systems and support or inspire open source computer developers to form communities that produce software technology that supports independent development of customized 3d software.

But if something is so good that it would be stupid to try to put together the resources to develop it yourself like Modo or Zbrush, it would be a of waste time trying to recreate it.

I don't know, to me success is getting my 3d art working seamlessly within various media solutions as promotional tools to push technology or sales offers. I try hard to do my best at this even if to most users of the technology my art is a just part of an overall media package. I look forward to working with other 3d artist and coders to expand these concepts further. I'm not looking to get my name in the spotlight, only in the credits as a producer of great 3d art media content.

I see that 3d tech has just started and it has barely arrived enough to make any definite predictions as to where it's headed. Obviously it's goals are to achieve levels of dimensional realism that we could have never dreamed of before computers. And there's nothing wrong with struggling with 3d in it's rough stages now.

Years ago, you used to have to use command line based word processors to write computer reports. Now word processing apps are easy to use. But it still doesn't mean that the ideas that you write down will transform into a best selling novel. Work is work no matter how easy the software becomes to operate.

I can only imagine writing out a script for a 3d story as my 3d software automatically builds each mentioned character, environment, rigs, lighting, etc. It's only a matter of time. Yeah people can get that good.

3d software users and developers are pushing tech on and on. I hope that we 3d artist never lose our taste for more computer innovation.
And anything is possible.

Now let me go compile a daily build of Blender. This action is not a big step for most coders but epic for us general 3d artist.

Have fun!
__________________
Modeling 3d objects on a 3d Beryl desktop. It's the 21st century, forreal.

Last edited by JA-forreal : 04 April 2005 at 06:22 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by JA-forreal: Good points. After all of my struggles to learn use 3d software in a productive way over the years just to complete the goal of rendering out my stuff, I see that the main problem all along in this issue has been the fact that I have to learn someone else's workflow and software ideologies. Some elements of 3d software like modeling, lighting, etc. are basically the same now.

3d The only difference is in the features that one app offers over another. Then you have your 3d production workflow solutions. A small time coder could use open source software to create their own customized 3d workflow solutions. I need my own software and workflow ideology. Every time some new 3d tech comes out I have to seek it out to add it to my workflow. I believe that this is where open source software comes in for 3d developers who need basic solutions but do not what to make a career out of developing software. These developers could even hire open source coders to create apps for their 3d systems. This way they can develop customized software solutions for their company. And advanced 3d developers have these options now.

If we work it out we can hook up technology to our own 3d software systems and support or inspire open source computer developers to form communities that produce software technology that supports independent development of customized 3d software.

But if something is so good that it would be stupid to try to put together the resources to develop it yourself like Modo or Zbrush, it would be a of waste time trying to recreate it.

I don't know, to me success is getting my 3d art working seamlessly within various media solutions as promotional tools to push technology or sales offers. I try hard to do my best at this even if to most users of the technology my art is a just part of an overall media package. I look forward to working with other 3d artist and coders to expand these concepts further. I'm not looking to get my name in the spotlight, only in the credits as a producer of great 3d art media content.

I see that 3d tech has just started and it has barely arrived enough to make any definite predictions as to where it's headed. Obviously it's goals are to achieve levels of dimensional realism that we could have never dreamed of before computers. And there's nothing wrong with struggling with 3d in it's rough stages now.

Years ago, you used to have to use command line based word processors to write computer reports. Now word processing apps are easy to use. But it still doesn't mean that the ideas that you write down will transform into a best selling novel. Work is work no matter how easy the software becomes to operate.

I can only imagine writing out a script for a 3d story as my 3d software automatically builds each mentioned character, environment, rigs, lighting, etc. It's only a matter of time. Yeah people can get that good.

3d software users and developers are pushing tech on and on. I hope that we 3d artist never lose our taste for more computer innovation.
And anything is possible.

Now let me go compile a daily build of Blender. This action not a big step for most coders but for epic for us general 3d artist.

Have fun!


__________________
leighvanderbyl.com
 
  04 April 2005
Red face

What Leigh?
__________________
Modeling 3d objects on a 3d Beryl desktop. It's the 21st century, forreal.
 
  04 April 2005
OK, here is a friendly advice, No need to be dogmatic. I am not innocent off that either, as it is the natural tendency to be so.

But, let me here present you with an empirical example accompanied by my humble understanding of things.

One of the earlies lessons in art classes is the sketching of a still life composition. We study composition, proportions, angle of vision etc..A step further, we get into the understanding of light, shades, shadows, and reflections. One more, and we start experimenting with color and detail. The higher steps we take, the more options we have and the more complex the process becomes. Now, the great thing about this is that it is a progressive process. Meaning, the skills build up from line art towards fully fledged painting. You cannot skip any step as it is crucial to the wholeness of the outcome. The wholeness is the summation of its parts. This is why the classical theories of art and painting are of great value.

Let's switch from the Easle to the PC and try to build a still life composition.

Suppose we go with the "traditional" 3D pipeline, modeling the composition first. Things to look for are pretty much the same as if we are using a pencil, we have to control the precise look in terms of proportions, scale but technically, we have to observe the geometry of the model mesh, and think ahead of how it is going to be carried through with regard to light, texture, etc.. as you all know.
I won't go through the process, as most of you have mastered it. Most importantly here, is that the process of building that still life compostion is largely computational. Our artistic intervention, when we manipulate the input to get the desired output is where the craftsmanship part comes in place. Beyond that, it is highly an unpredictable process because of the default parameters that are built in. "The process of the whole is not the summation of its parts" (Gestalt theory)!

From an artistic point of view, it is unfair to call it simulation, but it is; unfortunately. Realism is in demand most of the times. The general perception here by non-artists is that computers do all the work and it as we all know untrue!

Comparatively, both processes are bound to look different unless the artist chooses to make a cross-over in technique, as in building a digital mass model and using it as a reference for the painting. Or choosing to paint a texture and use it in the 3D process instead of the procedural ones. This is where boundaries between 2D and 3D become blurred.

That is why, Stahlberg is right. The process with him is synergetic between 2D and 3D. An artist of his caliber could not be constrained by mere tools.

This, however does not mean one theory fits all.

Theories are not only outcomes, they are devices. The function of the device is inherently related to the medium it operates under.

I am sorry if I don't make sense, and I am sorry if I do!
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by JA-forreal: What Leigh?


My brain hurts from setting up render passes all day and your post was just too long. I just can't quite figure out what your post has to do with art theory though.

Back in college, art theory was about composition, colour, perspective, anatomy, etc... and now this discussion has taken a strange turn. I find it strange that your posts always focus on the whole technical side of everything - as an artist, of course innovation is something that is important to me, but there is only so much I can sit around talking about my pencils and paint.

Personally, I think that the majority of commercial 3D packages available today are intuitive and fun to use. It's gotten to the point where I don't have to think about what tools I am using - I just do my stuff. I create. I don't have to think about my tools at all.

To be honest, I am not really sure that I understand what your post was actually saying. We can sit around all day talking about "processes" and "workflows" and all that, but hey... at the end of the day, if you're not actually sitting behind the machine and creating something cool, then what's the point of all the verbal waffle? Over-analyzing and intellectualising the entire process from a technical standpoint just takes the fun out of it.

Quote: I see that 3d tech has just started and it has barely arrived enough to make any definite predictions as to where it's headed.


Ce qui? Why make predictions? I work in the here and now. Every day I go to work and work on cool stuff. The software we use provides us with all the necessary tools I need to do my work efficiently. Looking to the future and dreaming of tools is a way of procrastinating and excusing ones efforts right now. I know that's definitely not my own style.

Quote: And there's nothing wrong with struggling with 3d in it's rough stages now.


Struggling with its rough stages? ILM and other places have been producing photorealistic CG since the early 90's. As a professional visual effects artist, I certainly wouldn't describe my average work day as a struggle.

Just my 2c.
__________________
leighvanderbyl.com
 
  04 April 2005
Some artist I don't want to study Traditional Art Theory I wouldn't want them the be infected by it . I don't know much about the Southpark guys artistic backgrounds but I get the feeling they might have passed up a few art classes on their way up.

I don't think it matters, I'm a big advocate of free will. If you want to learn traditional art theory I think you should, there is a ton of stuff to learn even modern art all that stuff. If you want to risk being unemployed then passing it up might be for you. But if your not afraid and believe in yourself I trust you'll follow that beating thing in your chest and you'll do alright. hehe before I wanted to be a artist I wanted to race the Tour'de France but that didn't quite work out.

In the end when I do something all I concern myself with is wether or not I like it, mostly I don't which is why keep trying.

I've got a few more links things that I've been looking into as a 3d artist. I've really been enjoying learning more about how computers understand light. Today I spent several hours just talking about diffuse and specular light, the two most basic behavors of light.

I haven't read this yet but my art director sent me the link when he overheard me discussing light.
Light

here a study done at cornell univeristy it's a neat comparison of a real vs cg environment called the Cornell Box. A programmer gave me the tip on this one.

Cornell Box Comparison
 
  04 April 2005
Everybody has been making really good points.

Follow what you love...

Last edited by tAstyBITs : 04 April 2005 at 08:08 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Leigh: My brain hurts from setting up render passes all day and your post was just too long. I just can't quite figure out what your post has to do with art theory though.

.........To be honest, I am not really sure that I understand what your post was actually saying. We can sit around all day talking about "processes" and "workflows" and all that, but hey... at the end of the day, if you're not actually sitting behind the machine and creating something cool, then what's the point of all the verbal waffle? Over-analyzing and intellectualising the entire process from a technical standpoint just takes the fun out of it.
.....................



...........................
Struggling with its rough stages? ILM and other places have been producing photorealistic CG since the early 90's. As a professional visual effects artist, I certainly wouldn't describe my average work day as a struggle.

Just my 2c.


BTW welcome to Cali Liegh! How to you like it so far?

Anyway. I too am teched out. I hardly do much 3d modeling these days as most of my work has been literary and techie stuff. At least I can watch Farscape DVD's while I work. I'm working on my first official 3d tutorial in between stuff. It was hard to prepare it in a way that anybody with access to a pc, mac and a modem can understand. Hopefully folks will like it.

I've always had this love/hate realtionship with 3d probably because I expect it to do stuff when it's really not smart enough yet. That account for the code stuff. Evil words for artist to talk but it brings great things to life.

3d artist and gamers are into tech. They build it, mod it, talk about it, do it, you know. I've seen long drawn out post about actual information on one 3d technical process like setting up a render farm, etc. That stuff can be boring but it's useful. There is so much stuff in 3d that is useful and fun to do once you know how to do it. But to talk about it in detail it's boring. I've learned to read between the lines so I love that sort of stuff now.

"Ahhh, sweet the new Nvidia white papers! Let me get some milk and cookies." Hehehe. I'm not that far gone..yet.

I think I covered all the tech stuff so now I can only comment on injecting the art into the 3d machine.

I was thinking of myself and other one person setups who make ends meet with way less than the power of cg studio team efforts. I took the time to set up a sql server based intranet last year at my office to get my "team" in line with our goals. Thats as close as I can get to teamwork, hehe.

ILM, pure jedi mind tricks. Not really, hehe. they have skills.

Well some of the coders I've connected with say stuff like this about mentions of advanced render tech and what not from the big boys. I'm kind of inclined to wonder about that too as most stuff is scanline/hybrid raytraced rendered using secret, powerful shader tech and composited it taste. And lot's of mind tricks. A lot of coders are saying that rib export of scenes to enhanced renderman based tech will let us all in on this fun. I use little ole' Blender so....Hehehe. I know, anyone can edit s rib file to make use of the tech. If they are crazy enough to try. Hehehe. It's worth the effort.So they say..

Lunatique is wise, it's all way too complex. We need to rework the concepts of 3d to make it more artistic. UV mapping, just one artistic 3d concept that has nothing to do with real art. I think that it should be completely replaced with a more advance process and eliminated from the the 3d software workflow. I really loathed uv mapping until got into LSCM mapping. I still am not ready to marry uv mapping. It's fun but it still so freaky.

I wouldn't want anyone who visits CGtalk and come away from this thread thinking that using 3d is as simple as thinking like an artist and pressing button to render cool stuff. Fat chance of that now eh'?

Have fun folks.
__________________
Modeling 3d objects on a 3d Beryl desktop. It's the 21st century, forreal.
 
  04 April 2005
I think that this could be a 3d art theory of sorts. Passionate colored lighting.

I feel that many 3d scenes can benefit from using more soft colored lighting as this approach to lighting can be very artistic. I have limited experience with using sub surface scattering but I can see that it too can enhance 3d scenes in a more dramatic way as far as object materials in use with colored lighting techniques.

Try aiming soft or area “fill” lights in from various angles focusing on a single point in a scene at various vertical offsets and strengths to create interesting colored bouncing shadows. Using colored lighting like an equal mix of blue and violet as fill lighting. Or over enhance one type of object color in your scene with these lights to make the color of that one object penetrate the depth of the scene. Focus these light upward or to the floor. These are just some ideas that are not about accuracy or has to have a reason. Colors can create feeling. In 3d software well placed colored lights can be used to create feeling or focus feeling on a primary object element in a scene.

Maybe we could explore some radiosity effects with this concept to mix some of our scene objects colors with the light colors.

Others have mentioned how 3d art is not always artistic or as passionate as 2d art. Often the overall lighting colors in 3d art are plain and unimaginative when compared to lighting in 2d art compositions. We don't have to be 3d masters to play with colored lighting.

We can study many different styles of painted artworks and photographed works to explore this concept or just place some lights arrange them and see what we can render up.

Have fun!
__________________
Modeling 3d objects on a 3d Beryl desktop. It's the 21st century, forreal.
 
  04 April 2005
lol,

I just tell people, "I want my million dollars" so I can go home and relax. but no, there's always more work.

the thing about complex is it will aways be complex, if it was easy..... well you know. I wonder that about video games. Soon people will be able to press a button and make high quality games from downloaded art and engines. But with some hard work.... we can always keep things complex. Have you ever heard of the Red Queen Principle?

What's LSCM mapping?
 
  04 April 2005
interesting lighting ideas.

I've always thought the more people try to make something look realistic, say a standing figure the more it looks like a miniture doll. Funny when someone makes a miniture doll or toy look realistic, it looks very realistic I guess the compute works best for that at the moment. It's seems to be a dead end to me, and I've often wondered about mixing realizm and toon shading, but I have yet to play with it. For the game I've been working on we are doing a level that looks like a old black and white movie, I think it looks beautiful. For some reason the greys look dam good in a video game. Everyone at work seems to agree. It seems to hide the the things that kill the feeling of realizm or something, but it has a overall nice feel.

it's aways one thing that leads to another.

Last edited by tAstyBITs : 04 April 2005 at 10:13 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
JA-forreal - All the lighting stuff you're talking about, has been fully explored in photography. Pick up some good books on commercial studio photography, and you'll have all the knowledge you need about lighting.
 
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