Volume 4 in the digital painting techniques series has arrived, and just like its predecessors it is one of the best digital painting tutorial books on the market. Volume 4 has roughly the same internal layout as the others, though organise slightly differently. There are now less actual chapters than before, but they are still broken down into several individual tutorials. The chapters themselves instead serve to encompass more general principals, and I think that this is because as the series progresses they have had to start becoming more specialised than before in order to avoid repeating the exact same topics. Bizarrely the gallery at the end of the book is now considered a chapter in its own right. However, although a little different volume 4 still delivers just as many pages of information as before (in fact every book in the series so far is 286 pages long).
Chapter 1 - Subjects. The first section here is all about the painting of tribal warriors with the first four being Native American, Aztec, Viking and Maori. The fifth and final tutorial is for a fantasy Tribal warrior. Aside from the actual character designs, techniques include sub surface scattering for realistic flesh tones, constructing a face with shapes to figure out the lighting, picking colours, setting mood, to even painting tribal tattoos so that they wrap around the form of the body/limb. The second segment is about droids (or robots/mechs if you prefer), but here there is a greater emphasis upon the design aspects. This means figuring what kinds of tools and tech to put on the droid, how it uses them, working upon several thumbnails and developing them into more finished painted pieces. The next segment of vehicles is more of the same but obviously vehicles. The tutorials here vary in complexity from highly detailed to more like concept pieces. The final segment is environments, though really these tutorials are all for fantasy style cityscapes. The more detailed of these include sketching scene elements, figuring values, selecting colour, to finally painting them in the relevant environmental conditions (desert, coast, mountain and arctic).
Chapter 2 - Styles. The first segment is all about pin-up art, but in this book it is more cartoony than overtly erotic and features four tutorials by Serge Birault. Second segment is about Comic art including sketching, line work and colouring. Final segment is for manga styled work. Now all of these segments give detailed instruction upon creating the featured art pieces, but they also mention the `rules' if you will for creating art along these lines and detailing what makes one genera stand out from others. Also while these areas will have a specific relevance for those interested in these areas, other artists will also find them useful.
Chapter 3 - Techniques The first segment here is about illustrating fairy tales, and the pieces here are much darker in tone (figuratively, they are not actually dark as in near black). These read more as `standard' tutorials, but are interesting nonetheless. The second segment is about custom brushes, their creation and use. This subject has had two dedicated chapters in previous volumes already, but here the uses demonstrated are both more advanced and specific than before. At the very least they will give inspiration for how you can be creative with brushes. The final segment is a single tutorial that covers the principals of rendering different materials and reflections.
Chapter 4 - Project overviews. As in previous volumes the last chapter is for more `complete' projects that not only cover techniques but also reinforce ideas covered in the book.
Chapter 5 - Gallery. It's a gallery of art, not much more than that.
This is another excellent addition to the Digital Painting Techniques series.
It's a 288-page book with tutorials from top artists, covering the conceptualisation, as well as the actual techniques used to create the piece of art.
The chapters are split into Subjects, Styles, Techniques, Project overview and lastly a gallery.
For Subjects, they have tribal warriors, droids, vehicles and environments. Different artists will present their own creative process. Styles have pin-ups, comic art and manga. Techniques look at illustrating fairy tales, creating custom brushes and painting different materials. Project overview looks at the high level conceptualisation of ideas and presentation.
It's an insightful and informative book for digital painters.
(Check out more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
I've been a fan of 3DTotal's book series for the past three years now, collecting everything I can get from them.
Not only is Digital Painting Techniques Vol 4 a very educational piece, it also features a gallery full of inspiring work. There is a lot of insight to be had directly from the artists on the making of their published works.
Even if you're not interested in a particular technique or style showcased in this, you will easily adapt it to your own workflow just by reading through it.
Highly recommended, for any level of artist especially but even for casual art enthusiasts.
It's a tricky one to review and I'll get straight down to why...
There are a couple of truly awful pieces of work that really distract from what is overall a very decent book.
This is a genuine shame because there are some extremely good pieces of work that are broken down into stages and explained very effectively by the artists responsible. The highlight for me is probably Serge Birault's section in which he goes to great lengths to explain how he achieves his signature style and deals out some handy technical hints on painting materials such as glass. What's particularly nice is that you're getting an insight into the artist's thought process more than learning about their brush settings and as a professional artist that's the sort of thing I need to be reading.
There's a lot to learn from this volume, I just wish they'd maintained the high standard of quality throughout.
3D Total offers another fantastic addition to the series with this 4th edition. From some of the best artists around the globe, this book is littered with amazing tips, tricks and techniques that will inspire as well as astonish. The sectioned topics from Pin-ups, Cartoons & Vehicles to Droids & Environments are beautifully displayed throughout and would be a welcome coffee table book to adorn any home. As other reviews mention you should purchase the volumes before as they are just as brilliant and hey it's always nice to have the full set.
3D Total are fast becoming one of the best publishers the UK has to offer especially with this any many more absolutely gorgeous publications.
Don't delay, buy yourself a wonderful artbook today, you won't be disappointed.
This book has lots of reference and techniques, it explains it well, some obvious ones, and some less known. I chose this book from the others because of the amount of hard surface tutorials in it, such as the robots, and vehicles, which is what I am mainly interested in, and it still have lots of soft surfaces, which is good as I am only a beginner. Though I am only I beginner, I have still used a couple of the techniques in this, but I'm sure I will be able to apply others once I improve my skill. if your like me and want to draw cool mechs or space ships, or just want to improve your hard surface paintings. Then this is probably a good starting point.
I'm slowly getting into my digital art work, as I use to enjoy doing allot of art back in my school and college days. But the ideas and potential for what you can do in the digital art world now is just amazing. If you want inspiration or any possible ideas for good concept pieces, then you need to buy this book. It's a massive book and full of fantastic designs from various artists, and this includes examples as well as tutorials. Buy it, you'll love it.