The year has gotten off to a devastating start, with 2 1/2 weeks of flu and a commensurate backlog of work now nagging to be dealt with. No matter, I’m going to start my new year’s resolution of doing 5 speed paints a week. What is a speed paint?
Well, its painting something within a limited amount of time. Usually 30 minutes or an hour, usually digital. There are lots of variations within that open-end definition – like painting from a reference, from memory of a reference or from your imagination and variations within each of those themes (more in future posts). The talented animator Goro Fujita has some great tutorials if you’re interested. (Check out his blog too. And… please suggest any other generous tutorial makers in the comments.)
I encourage my students to do speed paints regularly. They’re great for learning color and lighting or for polishing communication skills. Among other things, painting a light mood over an openGL screen grab saves enormous amounts of time as opposed to just jumping in and lighting a 3D scene. Because you select colors manually from the color picker instead of from a source photo, you learn to see the colors themselves and appreciate the effect that surrounding colors have. You also learn to see the relations that receding distance, subsurface scattering and specular effects have on light values, intensity and saturation. Highly recommendable for students, td’s, active artists.
But I like to ponder the speed paint as a metaphor for the production process.
There are important strategies to follow if you want to produce an acceptable image in such a short amount of time, and these seem to apply universally. I’m convinced that speed painting holds valuable lessons for artists, but also producers, managers and of course independent film-makers. First off….