As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread:

[Enrichment]- Simple Shapes, Light, and Form

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
Simple Shapes, Light, and Form
>>Enrichment Directory<<

So, I'm stealing a lot from @Eyecager for this one. and

Spheres, cubes, cones, and cylinders, Learn to render these, and you can render anything. Simple forms should not be overlooked as they are the basic building blocks that you need to build up anything. For this enrichment, the goal is to strive for strait forward exercises that test your ability to render accurately.

You may choose to work on some, or all of the following:

Creating and lighting forms from your imagination
Still life of balls, bottles, boxes, and other low detail objects
Breaking down anatomy into simple forms
Rendering forms with different reflective qualities

Try to focus on simple things, without complicated textures or extraneous details. Your aim is to make it as convincing as possible, 3D and tangible. Reducing the amount of frills means you are focusing at the task at hand. It also will make the exercise less frustrating for people who are in the early stage of learning (And frustrating for those who should already know how to render a cube)

Inspiration and Resources
Use these to get an idea of whats up. Feel free to post more resources. If you are working from a still life, a quick cell phone pic of your set up will help with critiques.
^^^Watch This Video^^^^^

For Basic structure, check out the Draw a box lessons.



Iruka on
JproductionsEvil MultifariousPeas


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2019
    Not happy with the perspective, so I'll be doing this one again.

    Iruka on
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    I like it, and I'm doin this!!

  • nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
    I like this. I do indeed.

    What are those gray blocks called? I'm trying to find a set to purchase, but cannot track them down at Blick.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The heads? or just the plain old blocks? Eyecage did hers from a set of 3d renders,

    I would just hit up a hobby store and buy a really small set of wood building blocks. Something like this:

    but smaller and not 20 bucks? Personally, I would gather some stuff around the house. If you want to be able to do this sort of study more often, grab some building blocks and paint them white. Or leave them colored and use it as a mental exercise to represent them in gray-scale.

  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    that proko guy has some really good vids.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Fun story: I bought a Charles Bargue book and never drew anything from it.

    I am the best

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Gonna jump on this as soon as I finish my current drawing challenge, which is to draw 100 faces.

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Fucking hell. I hated this way more than I expected. :)

    Ok, here was what I was drawing. From a slightly different angle.


    And here's my attempt.


    I know, I've messed up the right hand shape's... shape. I tried, but just couldn't get it right. I also should have done this in a room with better lighting.

    Basically, this has made me feel like a terrible artist. Ho hum. Yay enrichment! ;)

    Draw an egg.
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    All you need is a desk lamp, one with a flexible neck. Its not bad, and It looks like you are thinking about form more, but its really low on contrast. See if you can rely on a steady hand and make some black to white gradients. don't be afraid to press down, and if your pencil is too hard for it, invest in some softer ones.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    I like this thread and everything it stands for. Halen, nice one. I think you should head Iruka's advice and also focus on the shape more.

    Made up a little platform thingy for warmup, then tried a still life of a little usb charger thing I have. I think I'm going to focus this week on form and do a couple more studies for this thread.



    F87 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Really like the usb drive!

    tynicNightDragonBrovid Hasselsmof
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Think a little bit more about reflected light in that first one Frank. Light can be abstractly understood as something like a stream of tiny particles, and you can somewhat predict how it will behave by visualizing what a particle might do as it collides with a surface, much like a ball bouncing around on a billiard table.

    A brightly illuminated surface next to a shadowed area is going to have some of that light spill into the shadow and interact with those surfaces as if it were itself a weak light source.
    The angle of incidence to the direction that the light is coming from will have an impact on how strongly those surfaces are illuminated-- the surfaces more directly facing the light will be more strongly lit. Distance from the light source is also important to consider, see (which basically says illumination becomes exponentially weaker as the distance from the source increases). I learned probably more useful information about light in my high school physics class than I ever did in any drawing or painting instruction I've received.

    I know this was just a little sketch for you, so I don't want to belabor this too much, but I highlighted the edges that would have a lot of light spillage and really quickly brightened up the areas that would be receiving more reflected light.


    Things can get a bit more complicated when you start factoring in fun stuff like occlusion, specularity, multiple major light sources (such as the sky itself), and of course shit gets exponentially more complex when you start thinking about this in color, but the very basics of understanding that light keeps bouncing after it hits a surface is easy enough.

    Scosglen on
    IrukatynicNightDragonBrovid Hasselsmofzerzhul
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    That is so cool, Scos! You can really feel the lighting the way you handled it. Thanks for the info, I will practice it!

    Thanks Iruka :D

    F87 on
  • EyecagerEyecager Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Omg this is awesome ;________;!!! I will do some after I get done with the knight study I am working on atm ( here is the ref I'm using as you can see I am up for a challenge). I still need to do assignment three from Thom Scholes assignment thing.

    Everyone's studies are looking so awesome so far ;w;b

    Eyecager on
    Way cooler name, thanks guys!
  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    How are my gradients?


    Draw an egg.
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Very gradiant-y !

    I did another imaginary platform/space chess table thingy. I tried to include proper bounce lighting from the floor even!


  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @halen got an ebony pencils?

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    What's one of those?

    Draw an egg.
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    A soft pencil that produces nice blacks. If you dont have a variety of pencils, it would be worth going to an art or craft store and picking up a few between HB-8B and an ebony pencil. the softer lead will give you a better range.

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Oh right. I have a full set of pencils from 8b to 4h. I was just too lazy to go find them :-)

    Basically I'm just bitter I'm not @lyrium :-)

    Draw an egg.
  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    Still a beginner here but based on feedback in my image dump thread I'm gonna do a couple attempts at these to help improve my line work and shading. The first attempt revealed some proportional issues and some pencil control issues.


  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    SpaceMoose, trying slowing down and focus on one object at a time. Use a straightedge and also practice some value ranges beforehand. Also, try and get a scanner!

  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    Thanks @F87, I'll try to go slower next time. I didn't time it but if I had to guess I'd say I did the whole thing in less than 30 min. I hear ya on the scanner. I have an old one but sadly doesn't work with modern computers. Oh well, I need a new printer anyway.

  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Well, I tried again in better light with better pencils. I was quite pleased with it, but then I photographed it and looked at it on the screen and it's terrible. Hey ho!



    Draw an egg.
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    I know this should go in questions, but for those of you working digital on this exercise, what brush settings are you using to get that painterly look? I'd like to take a stab at this to get better at coloring but I'm a moron when it comes to anything but an inking brush in PS.


    are YOU on the beer list?
  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    Attempts number two and three. Tried slowing down and making sure things look right to my eye before proceeding.

    Did this in one session. Maybe an hour and a little bit. Tried helping the shading with a tissue for a little bit.

    Another session, spent shorter on each piece.

    Still some issues with form, especially with non 90 degree angles but overall I'm happy with where these are compared to my first shot. Thinking of tackling the infamous egg next.

  • brokecrackerbrokecracker Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    Well, I did a shot glass but also used red lead which was a mistake:


    Probably try a simple shape with some regular black lead next.

    brokecracker on
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I've been learning some more about digital painting


    I was shocked how much faster this was than my previous approach

    Flay on
  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    It strikes me that the reflected light might look more effective further under the ball. There needs to be more gradation in the shadow as well - it doesn't look realistic so clean cut.

    Qualification: I know nothing.

    Draw an egg.
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @flay there is a tiny white halo around the bottom of the sphere, that sticks out to me, probably left over from the selection tool. Otherwise, I actually think it looks pretty good. It has a 3D rendering quality, probably from the perfect edges.

  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular

    I've been drawing little spheres in my class notes all week, trying to find that spot where they actually look three dimensional. I'm not sure if I'm making progress or not. My running theory is that i need to work on smoothly blending the changes in value, but I'm not sure if that's it or not.

    Book - Royal road - Free! Seraphim === TTRPG - Wuxia - Free! Seln Alora
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Get a ruler, and really slow down. Your hand seems really unsteady, your boxes and spheres are pretty wiggly. Different paper can also help with your shading, if you find one with slightly less tooth. Something completely smooth wont hold onto the graphite well, but sketchbook paper can sometimes have an undesirable grain.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    Iruka wrote: »
    @flay there is a tiny white halo around the bottom of the sphere, that sticks out to me, probably left over from the selection tool. Otherwise, I actually think it looks pretty good. It has a 3D rendering quality, probably from the perfect edges.

    I actually meant to ask about that, is it bad practice to use the selection tool/masks to create the shapes of the sphere and the shadow, or should I be drawing them by hand? I've tried drawing the sphere by eye before, but the edge always ends up too blurry and wobbly. In this case it seems to have gone too far in the opposite direction and it's fallen in to the uncanny valley of spheres.

    I don't want to wind up leaning on Photoshop as a crutch.

    Flay on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Eh, I mean, its harder to control in photoshop than it is on paper, so I think using the selection tools, or masks, is not a crutch. Ikage has the same quality to hers, it depends on what you are going for, I suppose.

    I think that another factor is working from a reference rather than a still life, as you aren't getting the same amount of detailed observation.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Good point. I just gave digitally painting from life a try, but I find it almost impossible to have any degree of precision over where my lines go, and ended up quitting photoshop in frustration. It may be because I'm using a tiny Bamboo, but being unable to use my whole arm or rotate the surface that I'm drawing on make it feel like I'm placing lines more by luck than by choice.

    For now I'm going to work traditionally and come back to digital when I (hopefully) get that Yiynova tablet.

  • MuddyParasolMuddyParasol Registered User regular
    I worked on this for longer than I care to admit. I'm not happy with it, but it got to a point where I think as I was retouching stuff I was just making it worse. I'm going to set it aside and tommorrow I'm going to try again from scratch.



    This is a photo of my set up for ref.

  • HonkHonk Honk is this poster. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    F87 wrote: »
    Very gradiant-y !

    I did another imaginary platform/space chess table thingy. I tried to include proper bounce lighting from the floor even!

    The reflective material rendering is amazing.

    PSN: Honkalot
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Next enrichment thread is on the way, but I wanted to add this to the thread:

    Obviously, this is alot of technical zbrush stuff, but ride it out for 10 minutes and you'll see a sculpters way of building anatomy that is really interesting to watch, and may give some of you a better idea of how simple shapes become anatomy.

  • kelredkelred Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    Here's mine.


    kelred on
  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    Hey, look at this thread!

    I did a few basic forms studies this week. Built them in Blender and then attempted to replicate them in Photoshop.


    I forgot how tricky getting a properly rendered sphere can be.

Sign In or Register to comment.