It's a beautiful thing to see a great talent such as Scott Robertson give back to the community by selling his secrets to the masses. Forget the fact that Mr. Robertson's DVDs charges USD 60.00 for his video workshops, at least the man is GIVING BACK. A man's still gotta make a livin'.
Who is Scott Robertson? Ah, some of you may searched this fellow, or seen his DVDs, or read his interviews, so I'm not talking to you - I'm talking to the handful that read this blog and have never heard of the chap. First of all, Scott's a designer - He's always been fascinated by speed as a child, learning all about soapbox cars and playing around with lil' toy cars and whatnot.
As a concept designer, he mentioned that the highlight of his career was designing funny looking bikes. He did a bunch of other stuff like design various medical and sporting goods. The guy eventually was hired by a multitude of who's who in the media industry. He also got work in Hollywood as a designer for Minority Report.
In 2002, he founded his own company, Design Studio Press, where the guy disseminated his knowledge about concept designing books to the "masses". He also teamed up with "Gnomon Workshop" to make "how-to" DVDs, an co-coproduced a heckuva lot more, one even featuriing Syd Mead.
What motivates this man? Besides this being his bread and butter, of course. According to 'Advanced Photoshop' magazine, Mr. Robertson said... "Seeing my imagination and the thrill of seeing my designs realized in another form instead of remaining in two dimensions."
"I seem to be a bit of a big pictures kinda guy, I like the concept of the idea more than working out all the details."
The guy is a speed demon. Not only does he love fast cars, the guy can render s**t fast on Photoshop. Industrial design rendering to be exact. And damnit, a lot of this guy's stuff really does approach photo-realism. Or hyper. Whatever. Thanks to his experience in working in games and Hollywood, he's got the skills to conjure up things as fully realized concept that can translate to three dimensional objects. Not everybody can do that!! He also loves working on abstract stuff as they are allegedly the most fun to work on digitally.
Siggraph interviewed Mr. Robertson, and asked him whether digital painting had any exclusive quality to it, compared to traditional medium, and how the exploration of this medium is carried out:
"Yes. There is a group of guys doing pretty fun stuff with custom brushes. Sparth, aka Nicolas Bouvier, has been doing some very cool stuff along with David Levy from Ubisoft out of Montréal. There is a great collective of artists up there. They have been experimenting with a lot of custom brush sets. Here a brush will be 2000 pixels wide and be an entire building or a mountain range. I think these guys are pushing the envelope as far as the speed that conceptual paintings are done."
"They did he use the “happy accident” abstract techniques but now will have specific brush sets that can be as a whole crowd of people or they have a set of trees as brushes. They're maximizing what the digital tool can do as far as providing speed. By playing with a lot of the brush attributes, making them more random and adding some variability to the stroke, they are creating some very amazing paintings in a short amount of time. They may not be finished paintings but they're great starts. They may use “happy accidents,” but they are purposely shifted towards certain architecture or types of landscapes. That's probably the most exciting thing as seen in the past year."
Siggraph also asked Mr. Robertson, the pitalls of the digital revolution in art:
"Probably the thing that jumps out at me the most is if a student doesn’t have good foundation skills. When they try to fix a ‘happy accident’ painting or if they have a good start, they may have an interesting color palette, usually overcomplicated composition. To then pull it off as a finished painting means that they would have to go and redefine the horizon line, redefine some vanishing points, and tighten it up. I think that’s where a lot of the paintings fall apart."
"So, if someone is grounded and has strong drawing skills, they can take one of these loose paintings and fix it, tighten it up, and make it something believable. Structures are more solid because they would be lit properly. It becomes evident when someone’s foundation skills are not strong enough to support this other way of starting a painting."
Read more about the interview here.
So there you have it, the concept/industrial designer with a benevolent streak. This is one of the good ones, and if you're starting out in this overcrowded, extremely competitive industry, pick up one of Mr. Robertson's USD 60.00 DVDs, and get ahead in life!