Almost didn't have a deviation to submit this month, but this fella literally popped out of nowhere just in time. Ever since becoming accustomed to Photoshop I've been resistant to trying any other option, perhaps because I didn't want to spend time figuring out how to use it (wouldn't be surprised, I can be pretty lazy), but this pic of Kingdom Valley, the first level from the newest Sonic game in the series, Sonic the Hedgehog, was actually made in Corel Painter, as some of the observant viewers among you may have recognised from all the realistic brush strokes. I've been meaning to do this pic for ages, but I only got moving on it after picking up a copy of the excellent ImagineFX magazine (thanks to Cat-girl-aholic for recommending it!), on Monday this week. It's full of truly inspiring fantasy and science fiction digital arts, plus it contained a free trial for Painter, so I thought I'd give it a go.
Kingdom Valley is a perfect ruins level seemingly set around an old, grand castle. This is a depiction of Sonic's first portion of the stage, which I've been thouroughly enjoying in my recently downloaded demo of the upcoming 360 game. It's based around tall pillars used for platforms within an impressive rocky canyon, perhaps the castle's moat, and comes complete with unstable bridges, rolling boulders, circling eagles to catch a ride on, and suspended ropes to gain extra height. Not to mention an extremely refreshing amount of multiple routes on offer too. A brilliant stage, and that's just half of it at the most!
Anyway, Painter. This is Painter IX, and my previous experience with the software has been somewhat tricky. I dunno what happened, but I couldn't get it to do much very easily so I gave up and ran back to the warm breast of Photoshop. I was never good at actual painting anyway. I gave it a proper go this time though and it all seemed to work quite easily. Switching between brushes was quite a simple proceedure, and it seems to save their previous settings, so there's no need to keep altering if you're flicking between two or more of them. A few small issues, like a less maneuverable hand grabber tool and for some reason, I found my text signature kept mysteriously dissapearing after resizing the pic. In the end I did have to bring the pic into Photoshop just for some very small alterations, but overall, I enjoyed Painter. The brush strokes you can do with it look amazing, way better than what PS can produce for that effect and the whole thing felt alot more free. I didn't have to be too anal about my layers because it's all mostly about drawing and painting, and not so much about tweaking colours and brightnesses afterwards etc, although you still can do that if you want. I love the more artistic approach of the software, and I will certainly come back to it in the future, I reckon.
This was intended to be a fairly quick pic just to get to grips with it, but it was still quite ambitious I think, and I did want to go for that certain "wow" factor. Obviously it's certainly not as good as the pics from ImagineFX, but they were a big inspiration. I mostly used the acrylic brushes (might have something to do with the fact that they appeared early on the alphabetical list of brushes though), and I really like the brick texture on the pillars and solid castle wall to the right, achieved purely by a series of brush strokes. I had to go over them once or twice with different colours to get them just right but I really like it. The general perspective in the drawing is a little off here and there, but I'm not too bothered by that really. I love the brooding sky (ironically something I've been opposed to in the actual level because I think first levels should always be a bit happier, but I've grown a bit more fond of it now), plus the details in the tree and the fire, and the way the surrounding elements reflect its colours. Eagles look a bit out of place though - perhaps a bit too dark and bold for their distance.
I've suddenly become much more into this kind of artwork, though I've always enjoyed it, and definately want to do more in the future. I'll discuss more about the kind of directions in which I want my future deviations to go in my next journal, but generally, things are gonna get a bit more like this, if my current thinking and attitude continues. So what do you think?