Notan Study Group
#21
For my first attempt at Notan I used master artworks as my references. There's a few in there that I am happy with and read well. Others need a lot more time spent on them. In future studies I would love to add more detail, especially in the face and heavily textured surfaces. Exploring my custom brushes would help add texture in as well.  

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#22
Amzing chubbycat!

I think I'll do the stream on mondays morning so Amit could join like last time. Maybe another session on hangout some other time.

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#23
Inspiring stuff everyone!
@Chubby you've improved so much! Hope to see more!

Some of my notans, only 1 of them from imagination for now - the 3rd organic fishy space ship. My brain is really lazy when it comes to ideas generation , but I think this skill can be trained.
Too much text as usual, but otherwise I often find myself not analysing and just blindly copying, so that's the way that works for me :)


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#24
Good job neo! However Feng may be a hard one to study from - he uses a lot of phototextures so his values get complicated details. Best ones are probably old masters and those with simple shapes fitting in a good composition (because notans are mainly a composition tool).

Anyway I'll post my lates stuff for future reference as to how you can use a notan for your work.

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#25
Another one.

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#26
@chubby. That reads ridiculously well considering how abstract some of it is. Good job!
@piotr Those rocks. You're making me super jealous man.
Did something comic-y. The arms of the person on the right look kind of broken, but other than that I think it worked out okay.


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#27
Hey thx Lodratio :)

As for tomorrows stream - something came up and I won't be able to stream for long, max 1 h, but Amit will join me.

http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/?qm=1&lid=...ln=10-10.5 - you can check the time of the stream

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#28
Thanks Amit for showing me this group :)

I took these Notan studies to 4 values mainly because I'm really struggling with half-tones. I'm beginning to see which planes are in light and which ones aren't, but I feel like I always get my values mixed together; the whole your lightest dark can't be darker than your darkest light.

I suppose I just need to keep practicing but if you guys have any tips/advice or videos or something, I'd greatly appreciate that as well.


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#29
No probs yangdaniel! Good job everyone else.  Did these for a creature concept which was enough for a client to approve a direction. They chose B. I did way more of these than I should have because it is relatively quick to bash out ideas, but picked and sent them these which I thought were best. Notans aren't just about study, they actually are a practical way to explore and get ideas across quickly



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#30
Great job guys !

Just a really cool tip some artists use with this approach :
You get a multiply layer , a brush with nice texture and set FG and BG colors to black and white and just switch the colors with X. This way one can get really cool shadow/ light shapes while painting


To the question , why not use the same texture brush as a brush and eraser, because this way you will constantly need to change your brush size for the size of the shape you are working on.

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#31
Oh, these creatures are really cool Amit!
I played a bit with these notans and they're really fun. At least at the first stage, because when you start rendering you gotta know what the heck is going on in there, otherwise you'll have some weird unreadable shapes.

So I find it pretty easy for hard surfaces, but for organic stuff (like what Amit just did here) I find it pretty hard, so I guess I need more practice. I guess the problem is creating those round shapes with gradients, while still thinking in terms of black and white, so alternating between a hard brush and a soft one. I noticed some hatching, even at Justin Sweet's examples, which looks pretty cool, but I can't figure out how to treat those lines in the rendering stage.

Here's a thing I did:
(Btw off topic, I'm having some issues with my PS, I can't seem to be able to get the correct file size for the  jpegs. Even if I drop the quality to minimum, a 1000px wide jpeg is still above 1mb, which can't be right. Anyone experienced this? - now I tried uploading to my blog and it says it has 107kb, lol. I attached it here, it still says 1.17mb, but it works... wow that's really weird)



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#32
@Mariyan. Thanks, yep that also works. The thing I prefer about painting only with black and erasing is you keep the black silhouettes selectable no matter how detailed it gets with hatching or linework.  The multiply method leaves you with one layer with black and white on it. If you want to separate them out you have to do the additional step of selecting and separating. You can of course just paint under that single multiply layer with a regular layer (to add darks and colours to the light areas) and a lighten layer over the multiply layer (to add lights and colours to the black) but that then becomes one additional layer to manage. If you want to change the silhouette you have to go back into the multiply layer, change things, then go back into the other layers and adjust.

I like restricting the number of layers I use and I prefer to have as many "normal" layers as possible. I find having multiple adjustment layer modes becomes an absolute nightmare if you use them for detailed illustrations with lots of layers. So I just prefer to brush and erase to start with. No additional separation step and key shapes are always easily selectable and directly editable all the way through the process. Not sure if that made sense? I don't really understand the scale issue you mentioned with brush / erase. Perhaps PS works differently to Krita?

Found another example of using notan by Rapheal Lacoste. he does the notan, but then simply uses it as a guide on a multiply layer I guess, to inform the underpainting. It works, but I think there is again less control in the painting stage and you essentially have to repaint all the shapes when it comes to the colour pass (there is another video showing this).   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI37sEPxT8c
I think it isn't as efficient. Guess it's however you want to adapt the basic thing to your preference.

@Walent. Thanks man. I have no idea what I'm doing with creature design...no idea why they even asked me tbh.  I find when it comes to defining form with this method, especially on organic shapes, stroke direction is everything! You can suggest form with more detailed hatching, but yeah, just a few well placed strokes that follow the cross sections of the form is really all you need. I never use soft brushes for notans. Only if I want to show nuanced mood and lighting do I go to a soft brush after the basic shape block in is done.

Another one. Added some colour. And a dong. Only two layers.


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#33
Another one. This time I went for a more Ambient occlusion lighting for the most part and handled form lighting with the other layers.
3 layers this time. 1 for the notan, 1 to darken the whites, and another to lighten the darks. Lost edges can be made really easy at the end by smudging back into the blacks which you can see in the notan. Looked better without it, but the colour pass looks better with. So quick and already there is a base colour wip that can be detailed over to get a final.



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#34
Hope you don't mind me hopping in!

Piotr thanks for recommending artists last night in the stream. I had a lot of fun doing these in the end - started to get a bit more loose and into it. I tried doing some value studies the other night and found them ludicrously hard - I'm hoping doing these will both help composition but also my massing of tones and ability to see shapes and not get caught up trying to noodle.  I will definitely try some high contrast Chiaroscuro portraits or something next. I think it'd be great for me to perhaps combine this 2 value study method with lighting and portraiture studies or something? Try manipulating the shadow on the same form several times over, working out different directional lighting and keeping in mind the 3d forms/overlaps etc. 

Anyway. *wave* rip me a new one if you ever see any bad habits. :D 

P.S 

Amit: That last piece is awesome for a colour block in - I don't know why but I like coral and really saturated pink. doesn't get used enough. Looks great as a b & w too. 

Chubby: holy sheeyit - cleans as a whistle on those shapes, nice one.


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#35
Great studies Beardyish! They read very well.

As for tomorrows group stream we will try CD hangout this time.

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#36
Hangout sounds awesome, I'll set an alarm in order not to miss it. An yeah, great studies @Beardyish!

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#37
Hi everyone, i hope you don't mind me taking part in this too. I did some face sketches just trying to get the hang of the technique. will try and do proper studies next time :) this method reminds me of yoji shinkawa's work, who i think uses this sort of technique too, so i just had to give it a go lol was a lot of fun :D


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#38
Welcome Sean! You did well with the technique. If I can give you one crit is that it seems you have a tendency to make noses a little too long or the eyes a little too small. Anyway I hope to see more from you soon!

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#39
Thanks Piotr, i think your're right about both the noses and eyes on those sketches. For a while i had a bad habit of drawing eyes too big, so lately ive been really careful about not drawing them big and end up drawing them too small instead lol So i'll definately be more careful about that.


Here's a couple studies i finished this morning.


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#40
Just going to dumpster some of my studies here


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