Just got something awesome in the mail! :D

Well, not really. I actually got it last Thursday but it took me all weekend to set it up just how I like it.  Will be posting something of a review about it later, as well as sketches and doodles. (Maybe even s video…)

Edit: Man, I know it’s cool to hate Windows 8 cuz’s it’s what all the cool kids on the internet are doing, but I legitimately enjoy it. A lot. 8 was “ehh.” I’ll give you that. But 8.1 is great. I’ve used Windows 7 since it came out, and now with both 8.1 on my desktop and this little guy here, maaaan it’s hard to look back. It’s fantastic how well they work together. Stuff just works now, unlike before where things would work if I tinkered with it long enough. Plus, on the Cintiq, Windows 8 makes using it as a touchscreen tablet completely painless. Windows 7’s touch and tablet services were awful. (I had extensive first hand experience how terrible it was on my X201T convertible a few years back.) On Windows 8, I can use the on-screen keyboard better than any other touch-screen device I’ve ever used, including the iPad. (I can type at near full speed with few errors.) It’s that much of an improvement. It even communicates properly with Wacom drivers, finally! For once! I don’t have to disable the Windows tablet functions just to get the computer to not bug-out. Use 8.1 for any extended amount of time (I’m talking months, not days or weeks,) and it grows on you in a way that you can’t go back to 7, even on a desktop surprisingly.

—- EEEH I shouldn’t be ranting in this post, not yet. 

  1. Camera: SONY DSC-RX100
  2. Aperture: f/4.5
  3. Exposure: 1/13th
  4. Focal Length: 33mm

Have you seen Kurzgesagt?

If not, I highly suggest watching the three videos I’ve linked above to see who they are for yourself. These three videos in particular are a very good, easy to understand explanation of the theoretical beginning of time all the way to the very end of it.

In case you can’t click the images above, (because Tumblr is dumb like that,) see them here:
The Beginning of Everything
Everything Inbetween and Will Be
The End of Everything

I’ve been subscribed to Kuzgesagt’s YouTube channel every since they put up their first couple videos, and I’m always intrigued to see what they put up next. The combination of fantastic writing, great voice over, clean and attractive graphic design, and incredible in-house accompanying music makes them one of my favorite up-and-coming channels. I highly recommend checking them out, they deserve the attention!

Go to their YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/Kurzgesagt
or their website: www.kurzgesagt.org

[I couldn’t help but give them a good feature just now.]

Updated opinions on some of the popular drawing/art/imaging apps on the market today. Sorry for the lack of updates lately, my new job and skillshare have been demanding of my time!

Description from DA:

NOTE: These star ratings are pit only against each other relatively, not every app on the market!
NOTE  2: My opinions on COREL PAINTER are NOT based on the latest version, X3, which I have not used yet.

I keep seeing lots of debates about what program should be used for what. This is different than the Filetype tutorial I did, where this is dealing with the type of work being done, versus export purpose.

I’m not claiming this chart I made is gospel, but it should give a pretty good idea on what the strengths are of each particular program are based on some basic needs and parameters.

(Of course, your mileage may vary on these ratings.)

Q&A:
"Why does Photoshop rate so highly on Vector?"
Even though Photoshop displays all imagery as pixels, it can IMPORT and EXPORT vector shapes and graphics to a variety of vector file formats including .AI just like Illustrator can. This is very important. Other apps like SAI and Manga Studio are great for drawing with the benefits of vector, but it’s implementation is really for stroked line work ONLY. Their vector layers cannot be exported as vector file formats NOR can they be opened in other programs. It’s not TRUE vector — just a live raster stroke.

I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few weeks! What have I been up to?

Well, 2014 so far has been packed. I’m still working on those SkillShare videos which have been delayed due to 1) they’re more complicated to put together than I originally planned, 2) getting sick, and 3) started a new job earlier this month!

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I currently work full time as a digital storyboarder / illustrator / 3D modeler for NEOSCAPE, a Boston-based design studio that specializes in architecture. It’s interesting because, as you know, I love architecture and here I get to work directly with architecture projects without ever having gone to school for it! We just take the designs and make them look gorgeous. (We get blueprints from the architects, we build them in 3D, texture them, light them, render them…) People have to know what it is they’re going to be moving into / renting space from before it’s even built, so we try to get it as close as possible. Why storyboards? We commonly do films for these structures, too. Some of them have short narratives that need to be boarded out first before we shoot them (in the green screen room or otherwise.) 3D animations can take a long time to process from the render farm, so it’s best to sketch out the scenes / shots first and discuss them before that stage.

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Above: renders from a recent project. I’m drooling. (Note: I did not contribute to these. This was from mid last year.)

I’m definitely having a good time so far. Especially since, (not all of you may know,) I’ve been stuck working in retail for the past 5 years since I got out of college. It’s such a stark contrast working in a studio versus a store, that I still haven’t quite fully realized that THIS is my job now. I’m still expecting to have to wake up tomorrow and deal with crazy customers…. but I haven’t… in weeks. damn that feels good.

I’ve been a freelance contact for Neoscape since late summer 2012, when I did some quite technical drawings for them on a project (seen here on my tumblr,) including a few other things. I got hired just after my birthday when they decided on finally having an in-house storyboardist and illustrator. I’ve been kept VERY busy so far. It’s nice.

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Above: Neoscape’s Boston studio

Neoscape doesn’t do anything game related, which I’m fine with at the moment. I have a larger passion for game art, I’ll admit, but there’s not much at all of anything related to that in Boston (that I qualified for, anyway.) It’s also such a rocky industry for employment. Eh, sooner or later I’ll get my ass to the Bay area. For now, this is supreme studio experience and I’m learning a TON about 3DS Max to boot. I’ll be a master modeler in no time!

This does mean that my weeks are now largely dedicated to Neoscape, which puts a lot of my personal things on lower priority. (Can’t complain, the pay means I can finally start attacking my student loans.) SYNTHESIS is still being worked on, don’t worry. But it may not be an early 2014 or even mid 2014 release anymore. (I’d also rather not rush to get the comic going only to have to abandon it if my primary workload gets too rough.) We’ll see. This job is a big change to my life and I’m still feeling out my new daily routines.

That is all for now. Happy Chinese new year!

How was your 2013? Want to experience someone else’s? Watch this moving compilation of every photo and video taken by my good friend Derek Scearcé  throughout the year from his travels around the east coast and Europe condensed into just 15 minutes. (Yes, that’s me all over at the Boston, MA part nearer the end.)

Watch, enjoy, and have a happy 2014 everyone!

Matt, what is your opinion of Manga Studios ‘Perspective Rulers’(if you’re familiar with them)? They are really helpful but there are some people i know who might consider it ‘cheating’. Thoughts?

Like any tool, use them if it helps you achieve what you want done faster. This requires having a fundamental knowledge of how perspective works to get the most out of these rulers. You have to know how to properly set them up to avoid distortion and bad compositions. You have to know how foreshortening works. The rulers will help you draw straight lines, but not help you actually MAKE the scene what it is. I’ve used these rulers in a few drawings lately, and they’re fantastic since they let me work faster. I also don’t use them to draw the entire picture because real life isn’t as PERFECT as what the rulers will create. A little mismatched angles here and there looks more natural, chaos thrown into the mix.

It’s like Auto mode on cameras. Give the same camera to an amateur and to a professional photographer, both set to Auto mode. Guarantee the Pro will take insanely better pictures despite the camera doing most of the work. The Pro simply has the better understanding on what MAKES the photo work to be worth taking.

My most-listened-to music on my Google Play account. I’ve very clearly been listening to some very particular albums a LOT lately, starting on some particular songs.

I wouldn’t say this list is wholly accurate, though. I don’t think this list records plays from songs that are saved on my phone that I play when I have no signal (underground on the subway for example.) I’ve also only had my Google Play account for roughly a year, now. You might notice a particular lack of Boards Canada on here for these very reasons.

Ford & Lopatin is one of the most recent discoveries I’ve had. As you can see, I very very very much like them and am DESPERATE for a new album from them. Like just about anything on this list, you should be able to find them on youtube.

Either way, check some of these bands / songs out if you’ve never listened to them. Just thought I’d share.

Edit: Oh, and that one lone Modest Mouse track, “Fire It Up” what’s that doing there you might be thinking? (Well aside from We Were Dead being my favorite Modest Mouse album,) that track is actually one of the BEST songs I’ve ever encountered for testing the quality of speakers and headphones. The track has a good overall tonal range that really puts speakers to the test for things like clarity and distortion, I find. (The guitar solo half-way through causes some headphones to completely fall apart, I’ve found, or render it as mush.) For some reason this track became one of my gold test standards. Test it out with your speakers and headphones and see how differently it sounds from set to set :)


My class: “Creating Illustrations with Dimension” IS READY!

Hey everyone!

I listened to some of your input, and my SkillShare class “Creating Illustrations with Dimension” is posted and ready for early enrollments! I’m still working on the classes video content right now, and it’s slated for a mid-January release.

This class is going to be more than just a regular tutorial on perspective. Aside from going over everything you’d need to know about perspective, It’s also going to have quite a few recorded demonstrations of drawing scenes and commentary about best practices and considerations in different situations. I’m making the videos as high quality as I can, complete even with well designed animated explanations! I’ve also grown quite a bit as an artist over the last 5 years since I wrote that brief tutorial in my DA gallery. There’s a lot I couldn’t include to begin with due to size limitations, and I have so much more to say now! These video lessons will be a fantastic way for me to share as much knowledge as I can on the subject.

Get to the class by clicking on the cover image above or by clicking here: http://skl.sh/18nySQD

EXCLUSIVE TO MY FOLLOWERS: Until the class goes live, you can enroll for $5 off if you use the coupon code: 3DMY2D when you enroll! Have at it! [Share this around, there’s 1000 coupons available and the offer expires 1/17/2014!]

For those who aren’t acquainted with SkillShare, you can think of it as a bit like other skill-building sites like Lynda or DigitalTutors except you buy individual classes instead of paying an ongoing subscription fee. It’s also unique in that the students of the class are assigned a project to work on and complete and submit it to the class for teacher (me) and peer review / commentary / critique! The more people who enroll in the class, the more robust the classroom will be. (However unlike what SkillShare writes in its FAQ about teachers not needing to participate, I will provide whatever helpful commentary I can to those who enroll and submit their project.) Your project can be updated rather “Behance style,” and I encouraged you to show WIP shots along the way so we can see your process.

I really hope that you guys will be enjoying what I make here. I don’t believe 150-200 page books are a good place to learn perspective (it’s frankly incredibly boring to read about so so dryly,) and I don’t think you need to go to an art school either. So I feel this is a good solution that would be worth your time and investment! If you like my work, like my informative teaching style, and would like to not only learn and engage in some new stuff but also support me and what I do, sign up and let’s make some cool illustrations! YEYEAH!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask or email me at foxorian@gmail.com!

Edit: By the way, a “Kickstarter” style “What’s this all about?” video will be posted on the the page soon! Maybe in a week or so. GET READY, HERE COMES MY FACE.

There will also be project incentives once the class goes live! Best submitted project(s) will some free prints of my work, video chat about your work, (or even an in-person meeting if you’re local for the same review!) Can’t wait to see what you guys will create next month.

The original painting I did back in 2009, I only spent 1-2 hours on.

Some 4 years later, I was thinking how would it look as a fully finished multi-hour landmark piece?

Guess we’ll all be finding out real soon :D

You might say that finishing it will detract from some of the charm of the original. But seeing as how I’ve never revisited an old artwork before, I guess I’d never truly know unless I try?

Larger Size Here


As with the last photo collection, here’s another look into the color correction process I do to my images. The left column (or first photo of each pair) is the original photo untouched as it was taken from my camera. The right column (or second photo) is the finalized edit done with Adobe Camera Raw / LightRoom.

I answered a question on DA regarding some details on the color correction I perform:
"These are all RAW photos, meaning I can pull an insane amount more detail out of every facet of them than traditional JPEG’s. I shift around all sliders of these photos to somewhat extremes. One of the biggest tricks is that every one of these photos has their contrast slider turned all the way down to the lowest (or near the lowest.) This increases dynamic range and makes higher contrast elements such as the sky and the ground closer together. Increasing the blue-channel saturation makes the sky more vivid and deeper, as opposed to lighter / overexposed. Next, I separate the Red, Blue, and Green channels in hue to make all of the colors in the photo very differentiated. Colors get pushed to further primaries (all elements in the photos become more starkly red, green, or blue.) And lastly, to re-introduce a bit of harmony, I warm the scene up in temperature and make the tint a tad magenta."

For details about why I do what I do to my photography, refer to this prior explanation.

@ndgo: Reality does have this much life and character! The problem is that cameras capture this reality at a very flat face-value representation. Through color correction, I try to bring the life that I experienced there in person back into the photos. I’m not making the photos look better than real life, I’m just trying to make them look LIKE it (or how I see it, anyway.)