Angel_of_Bacon wrote: »
Is this based on something existing, or is this a wholly original design? I ask because I'm not sure if you're looking for advice about building design in the sense of architecture, construction, indicating culture and purpose, etc. to help shape the actual physical shape of the building, or if this is an existing thing and you want advice about lighting, lighting design, material rendering, simplification/abstraction, etc. to arrive at a pleasing style and sense of finish, applied to this predetermined building design.
EDIT: SIdenote: For fanart stuff, it's always helpful to link to reference of the original thing, so people have context when trying to give advice.
Angel_of_Bacon wrote: »
Another spoilered for length post:
It's hard to speak with much definite authority on this because there's so many factors that go into it (and I certainly would not call myself an expert), and the fact that no matter what, there's never going to be a 100% perfect solution to a costume design (or more broadly, a character design). This is purely my 2 cents (and if I'm majoring on one thing more than another, it's not because agree, but because one's been already covered and the other less so).
One big factor, and it's something that's easy to understand and communicate and rely on, is logic. What's the time, the place, the culture, what's the character's personality, what's their job, what's their rank in society, how much money do they have, how do clothes actually fit on a person, etc. etc. etc. It's easy to do a whole ton of brainwork and ref finding and feel that then you've arrived at a conclusion. But if you leave it there, you're likely to wind up with something that is both impeccably logical, and very likely generic to the point of being uninteresting. A real knight's armor is an exciting concept, real armor is not necessarily of any particular visual interest.
The other big factor is abstraction; which is something that's difficult to pin down and talk about concretely many times, but is necessary to making your design 'a design' rather than just picking a bunch of bits off the Google Image Search rack. If you look at concept designers, they'll often start off with just abstract silhouette shapes when trying to figure out their costume choices. I've seen a few sketches out of fashion design, and rather than just doing what would seem like the logical thing to do- take a photo or very accurate drawing of a person and draw their clothes atop of it, so they'll be sure their clothes will fit on an actual human- they'll draw these impossibly elongated, stylized figures- because on an abstract level they want to capture a feeling of flowing, swooping gracefulness. When trying to generate ideas, trying to capture a feeling, or pursuing an idea in metaphor, or just outright arbitrariness, can be the factor that elevates just a bunch of clothes, to a design.
Now, how these factors are balanced depends on the project and the intent. If you're designing costumes for a very realistic show about knights, you're going to hew closer to reality, to logic- since if nothing else, actual humans need to fit in these designs, so they need to be constructed in a certain way or the actors would be unable to move. If you're designing for say, World of Warcraft, the role of pure logic is going to take a back seat- no actual person could walk around with pauldrons the size of Mini Coopers on their shoulders, and even if they could they'd never be able to lift their arms without smashing their head in from both sides. But the FEELING of those designs, of making the characters seem powerful and intimidating, of getting across this heightened fantasy world that at times operates via cartoon logic rather than reality, makes those ridiculous designs nevertheless, successful designs.
Another thing to think about is format: A real bad guy isn't going to look any different than any other person- and if you're making a show where you slowly find out a guy is a bad guy over the course of 400 episodes, then it makes sense to design in that way. If you're making an illustration with a bad guy and the audience is supposed to know he's a bad guy, even though they've never seen this guy before and will never see him again and have never read a word about him and never will, and you have the 3 seconds of initial viewer reaction to make "this guy is a bad guy" clear, that realistic approach is likely going to be less effective than even the most generic, "bad guy = spikes, black clothing, metal, leather, blood, scars, etc. etc." approach.
Or to use another example: a real spacesuit is probably one of the most logically constructed garments ever made- there's probably 500 pages of logic that went into every decision made when designing it. I doubt there's a single thing on it that was arbitrarily decided. Contrast that real spacesuit, with the Moebius designed spacesuit from Alien: it uses a few logical aspects- the dome helmet, the airhoses, etc., but a lot of what's on there makes very very little sense- it's got worn copper samurai-styled armor plates, hockey gloves, cricket pads, weird exposed twine stitching, there's lingere lace in there, there's electronics from old british cars, it's a 2-piece suit when there's never been a 2-piece suit spacesuit in history because that would be very dangerous...as a functional spacesuit, it's a disaster. But as a design of a spacesuit, it's great: because it gets across the FEELING of what it is all about very well: it's about that bulky feel of spacesuits, feeling vulnerable because of the immobility, it's about feeling like it's been around a long time, been knocked around, that it's for people doing the blue collar 'space truckers' work, even as many of the details exist purely for an abstract visual interest. It makes no sense- and yet, it somehow makes perfect sense. It makes more sense than if it actually, well, made sense.
Video about Adam Savage's replica of said suit and all these cool details in fascinating...well, detail:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjkqE76Ebxs
So while yes research and ref are great, if you're having trouble, just simply questing for more and more ref might not crack that nut for you, not give you the confidence of direction you want. So after determining a base level of logic ('male, ranger, he's got this personality, he exists in this setting', etc.), doing a lot of quick thumbnails or silhouettes can help a lot in working to figure out what is interesting on the abstract level.
Do you want to make them seem edgy? Add spikes. Graceful? More flowing. Representing order, law? Maybe something more symmetrical. Something more chaotic? Asymetrical. How many different permutations of these abstract ideas can you come up with? Can you think of the character in terms of metaphor? An obvious choice for an evil queen character might be to drape her in black- but if you think up a metaphor for her, it may open up more possibilities; perhaps she is like a carnivorous plant, waiting for the hapless to fall into her trap, destroying them- so perhaps draping her in the colors of such a plant, or using aspects of their shape, will yield a more creative design. Perhaps you see this ranger like a tiger, so maybe an idea would to take a cue from the color patterning of a tiger, and use a lighter color on the front of the torso and insides of the arms, and a 2 tone, darker color design on the back. Not necessarily a 'tiger stripe' pattern, but it could be indicated by armor design motif, or leather straps pulled over a differently colored undermaterial. Just a random idea that you can snowball into something.
Hell, a lot of the more photo-bashy concept artists will just be totally arbitrary with decisions like, "I saw a cool hubcap, so I took half of it, inverted the colors and now it's the top of this guy's sci-fi gauntlet design." At this stage of design, reference images of things that are definitely not clothes, may be more helpful than images of things that are clothes, because a metaphor or abstract idea may be the thing you need more than, 'what's the 100% right belt buckle?' David Bowie used to use a computer program that chopped up and rearranged sentences from news articles to spur ideas; I've used random word generators, or closing my eyes and scribbling, then seeing if I can figure out how to turn those random lines into a design, for the same reason.
And these ideas I'm throwing out? They might work, they might not work, they might work for something but not the thing you want them to be working on, they might kinda work but not exactly in that way, who knows. Which is why doing a lot of different takes on a design, developing them iterating on them is important, because you're never really going to arrive what's going to work well, until you actually start doing it. If you always try to think your way through the design problem logically, trying to arrive at the "right" solution on try one, you might not have 20 failed designs you spent 3 days drawing wasting space on your desk- but you'd never get to that 21st one that you really ended up loving either. So if this all sounds like a bunch of arbitrary fucking around, well yeah in a way it kinda is- that doesn't mean it's not also incredibly helpful. Because there' never a 100% "right" solution, moving forward is always more productive than wrestling with the paralysis that comes with trying to arrive at one through Sherlock Holmes deduction.
And once you get that thumbnail you're digging on, THEN you want to get on with bringing in the truckloads of specific clothing ref, working out the problems of how it's actually going to work, how it's going to be constructed, how they'll be able to move in it, how it's going to fit, what's going to bend, what's going to sag, etc. Because it still has to LOOK legit, as a drawing, even if the decisions leading up to that point have been totally arbitrary- can't have gravity just suddenly not apply, or have a dude with arms that are 8 feet long when he's just supposed to be a normal human.
If you can get my, the viewer's, interest, can get me just to not balk at too many logical leaps, is not conflicting with something else in the project (ie: 2 designs being too similar to distinguish from each other), and you present it confidently enough that I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you meant everything in there intentionally, chances are you've got a pretty good design in your hands.
Peas wrote: »
I love looking at sweet sprites and fantasy art
gavindel wrote: »
Are these 'sona like "Original content do not steal" or 'sona like "Let's team up with a ragtag group of Japanese high school students to defeat personified negative personality traits"?