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Vol. 2, Issue 10
February 17, 2000

Painting on Polygons:


by Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher



ince I’m a bit backlogged with critiques on reader’s artwork, I thought I’d take this entire week to devote to that. Again, I’d like to stress that the opinions I give are based on my background in traditional and video game art. I’m not an authority on what is good or what is bad, but I think I’ve acquired enough experience over the years to give some good feedback. So, with that said, I’m going to jump right into it with a look at a graphic made by O.DOGG.

(click for a larger view)

Here are some questions O.DOGG asked about his image:

How can I add more atmosphere to the image and how can I make the base seem more real and not so plastic-looking?

For the first question, there are several things you could do to make the base seem less plastic looking. For starters, you could definitely alter the material more and see if you can refine it to have a more realistic look such as messing with reflective parts, or tweaking settings using the Raytrace material (if you are using 3-D Studio MAX 2 or higher). But, this is a lot of tweaking little numbers and spinners to see if you can get something better. So, besides that, I would try another approach. I would not use the same material on the entire image. It looks like you used a plug in which adds little boxes and hi-tech looking gadgets on the mesh (I can’t remember what the name of this plug-in is offhand, but I’ve seen it before). Those boxes look pretty cool, actually, but besides that, what I think would really liven this image up is adding windows emanating light or just little lights scattered in certain places. To understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the Death Star from Star Wars. Because of all the lights, it really gives it a feeling of having ‘life’ to it.

Or another thing you might want to do is make the shape of the base more complex. Maybe make it much skinnier in the middle or have antennas or rods extending from it in certain places (which you kind of already have, but could add more to maybe). The high-tech boxes protruding from the skin of the base definitely make it look more complex, but I think the overall design needs more complexity rather than just making the outer skin complex (just a thought). But overall, I still think this image looks very cool.

How do I make it appear bigger, but still fit on the rendering?

To do this, I would mess with camera lenses. Specifically, altering the Field of View will really change how your 3-D images looks on the screen. With a really crazy field of view, you can make something tiny look gigantic. Again, this boils down to a bunch of tweaking of settings and seeing what looks best.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Painting on Polygons is © 2000 Rick Grossenbacher. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.