My main focus is 3D. I was told 2D foundations could help me improve my 3D artistic skills. So I went ahead and started practicing 2D art, learning what I could. Now before anything, Ive read the article about learning 2D foundations to improve 3D here: http://www.cgsociety.org/news/article/2694/why-3d-artists-want-to-learn-2d
Ive read the forum post its based off of which is what convinced me to carry on this 2D crusade awhile ago. Now that Ive spent a long time in 2D (coming from 3D), a few things stood out for me when reading that article again. Now I dont mean to say any of this to discredit or start an argument. This is just what Ive observed which blurs the line between 2D and 3D for me if that article is 100% true.
“You can learn the foundations without drawing and painting, but the reason why people say drawing and painting helps so much is because 2D art forces you to learn the foundations, while 3D art does not.” - It forced me, read below.
“But in 3D, because the way assets are generated, you can produce something “finished” looking, even if the foundation elements are absolutely horrid.” - Finished looking is subjective so I cant really say for sure if I ever made something “finished looking”. I never use generated assets though. My rookie renders were horrid regardless of how high the render settings are.
“Whatever you learn in 2D is just as effective when applied to 3D. The reverse, however, isn’t as true.” - Read below, it was true for me.
“there’s no cheating in 2D” - Cheating is also subjective but im going to assume that means anything done via program and not skill. 1000s of photoshop brushes with premade body parts, elements, and patterns (just like in 3D). You can trace anything quite easily. You can use filters to slightly distort a real image and call it “drawn”. Some people consider manga / anime to be cheating since you can simply put a line where a nose would be and there ya go, a nose. The liquify tool. You can also paint with masks, similar to 3D texture painting. You can even import an image and adjust it to match the rest of your painting (this seems common).
“there are no “polish the turd” buttons like there are in 3D where the surface textures and material properties can be procedurally generated” - Adobe After Effects is filled with polish-the-turd filters. Photoshop comes with some polish filters I believe. Plenty of patterns can be used and I think Filter Forge procedurally generates anything. If you’re going for 3D hand painted styles, nothing is procedural.
Thats what ive observed thus far. It just simply wasnt true in my experience which leaves me lost. Im really needing advice on this as someone who went into 3D seriously and then went into 2D after. This is where im at thus far…
3D art forced me to learn Anatomy / Form. My 3D characters sucked, proportions were all out of whack. However I was able to study Form, Shape, the way things bend and move from all angles in 3D easily. Studying lines of motion also helped immensely from a 3D perspective.
3D art in Zbrush taught me hand eye coordination and fine control for those straight edges. My strokes became steady as time went on. I dont know if this counts for anything.
3D texturing forced me to study Color Theory. (Hand painted, no generated materials). Hand painted stuff requires baked in lighting and shadowing depending on the situation. I never generate anything, I always went for hand painting for practice. I like the painterly look so thats what I shoot for. I definitely prefer to study color in 2D though, using zbrush’s canvas is similar to any paint program but I just dont like to use it.
3D rendering forced me to study Lighting. (Studying a simple cube, looking at how light interacts with basic surfaces made something click for me). Looking at my character, studying how lighting affects mood. I was able to move lights, take notes, and see the results instantly. Bad lighting would always kill my renders.
3D scene building forced me to study Composition / Perspective. Otherwise everything would be too cluttered, or too empty. Same for awkward camera angles.
3D gave me an eye for observation. I can paint things that I see pretty good. I think its from all the references Id use for practice and study in 3D. I was never able to do that in 2D prior.
3D helped me take up painting almost immediately. Its like sculpting for me, it just clicked.
Overall nothing in 3D seemed to take longer than anything in 2D unless you plan on retopoing / animating / rigging. I felt being able to look at something from all angles actually quickened my learning experience.
Now im not the greatest at any of these foundations. Im still studying them passionately as I go along at my own pace. However, all those 3D skills ive learned up until I started 2D carried over. 1 for 1. The ONLY set back was getting a feel for lines instead of clay and the different process’s that come with it. I knew where everything should go. If my knowledge in Zbrush was a 5, in 2D they were at a 1, then it quickly caught up to a 5 in a few days of getting familiar. I was able to picture an object in 3D in my head and know what line should be placed in 2D at that angle. Im at the same level I was at 3D when I started 2D. If I were to sculpt a head and draw a head (line art) they would both be pretty much the same in terms of skill. If I misplaced an eye in Zbrush, it will be misplaced in Krita in the exact same way. I also noticed the time it took for me to sculpt a head in zbrush from scratch compared to painting a head was more or less the same time frame.
I want to improve and im still pushing into 2D for the sake of something new and producing better thumbnails / concept. My main question is what is drawing exactly? Some say its simply shadeless line art. Some say its shading with a pencil. Others say painting IS drawing because you’re still making lines and form. Ive been thinking drawing is lineart and painting is painting.
What would improve my 3D even further in 2D, drawing or painting? Is there truly a difference? I only want to paint for conceptual thumbnailing. I dont have any interest of plans to do line art or comics. Would I be missing anything? Sorry for the english / long post. Im just lost.