"Life is too short to make bad art."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Space Ship - next step: shading

The next step in the creation process is the shading. Let's start giving the silhouette some volume, defining the layers of the ship (which parts are on top of others, which ones cast shadows, which ones get light, etc.).


Note:
The interpolate extension is sensitive to the selection of the objects. The first selected images will be below the second image. 

It's a very helpful extension and if you have not used it in the past, this is a good time to start playing with it. 


For the best possible results keep use a duplicate of a shape as your target shape and alter the nodes (without adding new ones or deleting nodes). As long as the two shapes are that similar the interpolate works great. 

Note:
If the interpolation starts to go 'round' and 'curves' the lines, make sure you set the interpolation method to 1 in ther interpolate popup.

You can also go wild by interpolating totally different shapes for some rather interesting results. 



The more complex your shapes are the more chaotic the interpolation will turn out. Play with the extension and see what happens. 

Let's head back to our space ship design (before I get off track completely and start writing about something different altogether).

Creating these assets keep in mind that you can reuse elements that look good for other ships later on.

Assembled back into the starting shape it will look something like this but there are lot's of other variations possible with just those 6 shapes.



Now it's up to you to fire up Inkscape, copy, interpolate, shade, break, design and have fun!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Space Ships - outlook


I couldn't help myself and started playing around with a few of those shapes to see where it can lead when I add some shading, colour and detail. 

Here's one of the ships taken from the tutorial:



It's still vector shapes and you could make it smoother and lose the vector feel by adding softer shading and some dirt and grunge overlay in the bitmap tool - but that's a task for another day.
Once scaled down to a more game friendly size those edges tend to disappear:

Space Ships - starting with the design

Let's get started with the requested tutorial on space and space ships. I have to admit it took me a little longer than expected and half way through writing this tutorial I decided to change the approach as I found myself getting lost in details. 

Rather than putting the focus on the shading, material structure and detailed look of body parts for the space ships, let's start by defining a good shape first. One way to do that is by sticking to the silhouette and just working with black shapes.

Note:
This approach is frequently used for all sorts of concept designs from creatures to buildings and even animation poses. A good silhouette makes for a more intersting and recognizable design. 

For the ship design I start out with simple shapes, mainly rectangles that get deformed by moving some of the nodes. 





Usually you would try and build a design that is unique for special group of ships [e.g. a race or fraction] not just a single one. There would be different ships in a fleet which should be identifiable through their design.
Keep certain characteristics e.g. rounded shapes or long wings, extended tails or huge propulsion systems on one side of the ships.

I will take the ship design and add colour, shape and detail in the next tutorial.

Enjoy!


Note:
I kept the images in a larger size for a change. It might take a little longer to load but you get more detail.