Friday, March 06, 2009

Ninja Mountain Podcast #6 - Photo Ref & Marvel talk

Jon is gone for a couple of weeks, but in his stead we've recruited two - yes TWO - alternate Ninjas for duty. Let's have a big round of applause for Kieran Yanner and Scott Johnson!

Or get it on iTunes!

This week's topics include photo reference, a bit of illustration history, freelancers on contract, a new book review, and some discussion about Scott and Patrick's work for Marvel (in broad terms so no one has to be killed for saying too much!)

Even though Jon was out this week, he did provide some new sounds and closing music - please enjoy!

John Howe Fantasy Art Workshop
Norman Rockwell official site

Scott Johnson -
Kieran Yanner -

Here are some examples of Scott's Marvel art:
Marvel Montage
Marvel Universe panorama

Are you following us on Twitter?
Patrick McEvoy
Scott Johnson
Jeremy McHugh

See you next week!


Jeffrey Lai said...

great podcast again!
just a quick question about photoshop. I actually have that same problem with brushes (what kieran was talkin about) where it crashes for some unknown reason. Very very frustrating.
does cs4 not crash at all when you use certain brushes now? or was it just less often?

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks Jeffrey!
Kieran seems to be saying that CS4 is much more stable than earlier versions on his machine. Personally, I never crash, but I'm on a Mac running CS(1) so perhaps my antediluvian computer has less problems in that area.

I invite other ninjas to comment on the subject!


Unknown said...

Hey guys. I just happened on your Podcast as i was searching for... words of wisdom about the visual arts as I'm just starting to pursue a freelance commissioned art career and looking to further that into something more solid.

I do have a question, though. And mostly it has to deal with the difference between Photoshop and Painter. It seems like you should be able to do just about everything in painter that you can in photoshop... what are the benefits of swapping between the two? What are the pros and cons of both programs? I prefer painter, but am I limiting myself by only using the one program?

I started listening to you guys last week, about, and got all the podcasts... and... I must say listening to you guys talk about the trade has been extremely helpful, and inspiring. I really feel like I can make something of myself, despite starting off at 29.
Cheers! And my best wishes to all of you.

Ninja Mountain said...

Hi Josh!

First - thanks for listening. :)

I started my career at about that age after being a programmer for several years. So you can do it - but it's a lot of work! Get ready to spend all your free time either making art, reading about art, or networking. Good times, good times.

Photoshop has better color control features than Painter. Also it's faster with bigger files and traditionally more stable. And until recently the selection capabilities of PS have been dramatically better, though Painter seems to be catching up.

I also love the brush engine in Photoshop, which can do a lot that Painter can't. And of course Painter does a lot that PS can't as well, which is why I generally use both when doing a "painterly" style picture.

I think the long and short of it is that you can certainly do professional work with Painter alone, but you should consider getting Photoshop and learning it as soon as is feasible given any financial considerations. It will expand your capabilities and speed you up, both very important things as you become a professional commercial artist!


Ninja Mountain said...

I use Corel Painter 10 for almost 100% of my freelance work.
I also use Photoshop Elements which often comes free of charge with certain hardware purchases for certain things.

I often use it to save my artwork files as tiffs with LZW compression. You can also drop the color information in the case of black and white artwork files and save the file as grayscale. This greatly reduces file sizes for digital transfer.

I have found that using these two relatively inexpensive software packages covers most all of my particular digital artwork needs and I have not missed the full functionality of PhotoShop.

Ninja Mountain said...

Good point, Jeremy - Elements is a good inexpensive alternative for a lot of the Photoshop, um, elements. :)


Nicole Cardiff said...

Interesting stuff - I'm a little like Kieran, I think, as I've lately started shooting ref after doing roughs and then doing my detailed sketches for certain things, but I don't paint over photos at all. I've got one photo light that I swear by, but not a particularly high-end camera, and a few prop pieces.

Haven't tried CS4 yet, may have to give it a whirl on someone else's machine at some point...

Ninja Mountain said...

You and I are fairly similar, Nicole.
I do my rough sketches, then shoot ref.
Then assemble my photos to approximate the rough sketch.
Then I do a grid-transfer of the composite photo and refine the drawing for final rendering and painting.

It works a treat!

ATOM said...

Excellent as usual!

The quarter page commission piece
really made me laugh...and the funny sound effects! And I learned
constructive things too.....

Well done again guys!

Ninja Mountain said...

Thanks! Another one recording tomorrow... with a special guest!

Meredith said...

Yay, there's a mac version of sketchup! I may actually be able to draw ok comic backgrounds now :D

leifpeng said...

My second visit (listened to the Vonster episode last week). The discussion around photo ref and "working to please your client" was refereshing! Been an adv. illustrator for twenty years and always a bit frustrated by the folks at the 'artiste' end of this business. Nothing against them, I respect their efforts... just always feel a little looked-down-upon by that gang because I happen to have a different perspective about the bu$ine$$.

Anyway! Great stuff and thanks for the effort you all put into making these entertaining, informative podcasts!

Ninja Mountain said...

Meredith - have fun w/Sketchup!

Leif - thanks for the kind words. Really glad you're enjoying it. :)