Friday, February 19, 2010

The other day I was upset when I found a blog that stated that my art was a blend of 3d renders and painting.  I felt like Ned Nederlander when he was accused of using camera tricks to make his fast draw appear faster.  I guess I've occasionally used 3d to cheat my way out of having to work out the perspective on a spaceship, so does that make the accusing blogger correct?

Speaking of using 3d to cheat, I've been invited to contribute to a new sister blog to Randall Sly's excellent Character Design blog (link in my sidebar), The Art Center.
Here's a preview from my first post there (the aforementioned cheating used to render the spheres.  I'm not going to waste an hour or two breaking a sphere down into planes):
And don't worry, I'll continue my art thinking/learning posts here---I'll probably focus on digital painting stuff there and spew all my other thoughts here.  Or maybe I'll post the same in both places.  I guess we'll see how it works out.


  1. i make it a point to try and cheat as much as possible. On whatever I'm doing.

    excited for the new blog!

  2. It could also be a testament to your ability if someone thinks that :)

    Thanks for taking the time to write up this stuff, it's super helpful.

  3. I'm so excited about this new blog!

  4. I will eat all of my hats if 51+% of the movie and video game industries' concept artists don't use 3d to cheat. The dot-and-line or the X methods of figuring out perspective are just as much cheats, by their definition.

  5. We believe in you AND in shortcuts, Sam! Carry on with the genius!

  6. Building and lighting a maquette is obviously cheating too.

    Next time you are drawing a spaceship, you ought to hire a live model to take that pose. [/sarcasm]

    At the end of the day you just need to get the job done.

  7. Put the nonsensical critique into whatever drawer in your brain that will forever gather cobwebs and continue to inspire the likes of myself, and the 99.9 percent of you"re followers, who visit not to 'knock' the artist but to learn from, and appreciate the artwork you post.

  8. Very good lessons!

  9. It's a really cool thing you guys are doing

  10. I hope keep learn here , and i dont think you work is so 3d. its true that, you have a few works very similar to 3d (one of them is "CrabbyCow" , and "Cyclops paint-new" ) , but the most of your work are very artistic and traditional.
    .Sorry my englis Sam , Every day i write worse.

    Those are a your characters version drawn for me:(remember i´m not any professional dude)

    I dont drawn The strong man cause he did´nt need any help.

  11. I think either way it takes an incredible amount of skill to learn and use 3D software. I am sick of people saying digital media is cheating. If the final image looks good then sweet! All the different tools are awesome because they are just different resources to get the idea on paper.

    The only time I think it's wrong is when people use other peoples art or pride themselves on painting without using resources and they actually are, which is clearly not the case!

    Great work man:)

  12. How is a realistically painted object not a 3D render? No matter what tools you use, it is a rendering that appears three dimensional.

    I'm more or less only posting to give props for the Three Amigos reference. But while I'm doing so I might point out that I started purely digital and have been trying to exist purely without a computer in my free time, so actually understanding why light hits something the way it does and how to fake depth is really valuable to me, and makes my professional work in software easier and faster to execute.

  13. i also think that you are capable of making this illusion that it looks like 3d for people who don't look close enough/who dont have an artistic eye.

    apart from that your renders are always really nice to look at since they capture shadow an dlight so nicely.
    keep up the great work!

  14. It's a very helpful post. Thanks for putting this together.

    If using 3D software to help visualize is cheating, then so is photo-reference, plein-air painting, artificially arranging objects in a still life, drawing with your eyes open..

  15. When I first started doing stained glass, Dave Lind - my sensei - told me this: no technique is considered cheating. The point is to get the job done. How you do it is nobody's business - and there are no rules.

    I am not in your industry. Murphy is, but he's not here. So you're just hearing from me - the audience, concerned enough with integrity in a dozen other fields, but only in terms of story, character, true moral and life portrayal, honest artistic credit and quality of the end product.

    I cannot see how using 3D functions could be considered cheating. Is using a net, when you're doing the high wire cheating? Is using pencils you didn't make yourself cheating? Do you mix you own inks?

    I knew a native American flute player once - he made his own instruments. His grandfather had been a flute player, too. And John went through some soul searching when he started making his flutes, wondering if it was "right," or "real" or "true to the spirits" only if he made his flutes with the traditional tools and techniques his grandfather had used.

    That night, his grandfather came to him in a dream. And the grandfather said, very clearly: "Use the power drill, John. Use the drill. I would have, if I'd had one back then."

    Why is it that we make up rights and wrongs and lines in the sand - on one side "cheating" —for ourselves or our industries when there are PLENTY of real rights and wrongs everybody keeps sidestepping and ignoring in the REAL world?

    If the stupid blogger is suggesting that you can't render your lighting and fractals and whatever other magic you invoke by hand, then the blogger is stupid. So what? In the end, though - when I watch what you've done, I'm not going to care how it was done. I'm going to laugh, or boo, or have emotions stirred in some way because the job was done well, whatever flipping tools you happen to use.

    If you want to make your own soap, do it. Or strain the skins out of the grape pulp when you're making jelly. Or any number of the things that result in a richer gift to offer someone, do it for joy.

    This whole talk of artistic cheating smacks to me of personal pride, or some hitch in self confidence. Your work is beautiful, your words clear (which can be said of few people), your insights fascinating, your thoughts delicious. So let the bloggers go soak their heads.

  16. Whoever wrote that critique has obviously never tried to sculpt, either traditionally or digitally, because they have zero appreciation for the skills required. If you're taking the time to create a 3d version of something I don't see how that could ever be considered "cheating"...


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