ink everyone has said everything that could be said about the god-like landscape artist, Imperial Boy...

Face it, his work speaks for himself. I've said it before so I may as well shut up. Besides, I've spoken about the guy in the past. I probably said the same thing too.

This was the very first piece by Imperial Boy that I saw. I wasn't that into art as I am now, but this image certainly made an impression on me. I recall the book which had this image saying Imperial Boy wanted to evoke cramped avenues of Hong Kong or Japan, and give that weird rush people get when they go to these seedy joints.

He has a way of drawing his characters as well. They're not exactly the musclebound anatomically accurate human figures of Da Vinci, but they do the trick. They're kind of cute actually! :-)

If you click on this image, you will note just how painstakingly detailed every area of this image actually is. It's not just crappy photomanipulation and cheap Photoshop tricks, mind you. Every art trick in the book can be seen in his stuff.

It's got High Dynamic Range Lighting, perspective, cute anime characters, muted color palette, 3D references, and a whole lot of other technical jargon nobody cares about. A weird gimmick Imperial Boy uses in the Robot artbooks are these pieces, where they scream "Look at all my overly complicated detail!!!!!" or at least, something to that effect.

The guy likes making these fully realized fantasy worlds. Staring at some of his images makes you just
wish you were there. His beautiful cityscapes and impossible architecture defy any kind of sense, but who cares?

You don't think when you look at these images sometimes. They're cool and fun to watch, but inject any kind of logic to some of his stuff and you might as well just hit yourself with a sledgehammer. There's one image in one of the
Robot books which is literally a school, where each classroom is hung in one giant ferris wheel. Now that's... weird.

I am the last person you should ask about the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I haven't read the Horus Heresy novels, and was only mildly entertained by some of the comics I found on a bargain bin. I haven't played the pricey tabletop games, nor do I plan to any time soon and I unfortunately avoided all the PC games. Why?? I don't know!

But if there something I've always like about Warhammer 40K's universe, it's those blasted Space Marines, and nobody seems to illustrate them better than Clint Langley.

There's suprisingly very little that can be said about Clint Langley's work, other than than that he's superb when it comes to rendering the facial features of his subjects. I've browsed through "The Art of Clint Langley: Dark Visions from the Grim Worlds of Warhammer" and his stuff is pretty photorealistic. To a point where it's kind of creepy-looking. Think of renowned comic-book artist Alex Ross' stuff, where you can almost imagine some beefy model making a weird uncomfortable pose, while Clint's painting. Yeah... kind of like that.

The guy primarily works for role-playing game stuff, having done Battletech, the original Warhammer fantasy franchise. I did read a while ago that he did stuff for the infamous Britisgh comic company 2000 A.D. Most notably "Judge Dredd". Too bad my only memories of Judge Dredd are from the silly flick by Stallone back in the 90's. Wow!

Of course, with his kind of skill, he worked on stuff for companies such as Marvel as well. Man, his covers are just gorgeous. Makes me almost wish they were in a higher resolution, so we can appreciate it in all its glory.


And now since I've got nothing better to say about dear ol' Clint Langley, I think a video is in order. Perhaps one relating to Warhammer 40k?

Welcome! Let's talk about art again! (What else?) You might not be asking: What are paint overs?

It's when... It's when when some newbie artist would post his or her fugly art piece on a blog or message board asking for comments or suggestions, and a more experienced artists would come along and start painting over it to point out mistakes. And no, I'm not talking about directional arrows and notes on where to improve (though that's technically a paintover itself) - I'm talking literally painting OVER the piece, changing colors, adding figures, changing poses, and essentially ruining any chance for the 'student' to learn anything valuable to add to his artistic repertoire.

Anyway, I wanna start this weird new segment here where I'll spotlight certain art pieces from and show how they transform into masterpieces (or technically proficient art). I know, I know! It would be so much better to show MY OWN art pieces getting makeovers, but that'd be too much work. HAHAHA!

Uh... let's begin?

Nico's original "Robot" piece

Nico: "Hi everybody, this is an image i'm working on, i would like to hear comments & critics from you about the image in this current version Right know i'm only working on values, i will work on colors later ( The robot will be in reddish tones, and the set will probably be in brown & green tones ). I will also add some rust to depict a dirty set, and some smoke on the ground. Some modifications that i will do: the foreground will be a little bit more readable, and a soft light from the right will highlight the foreground and the robot, also the black outline of the whole image will be more overpainted"

So if you have any suggestions to improve the image and correct some mistakes, don't hesitate"

My thoughts:
Wow!! I wonder what this guy has in store... This piece already looks very promising, but the comments are right - it is a little hard to read what is going.

I do not understand what is going on in this image really...I have a robot thing that I think is getting interrogated or something...I think if you attached some sort of narration you would get a better response...

The values and edge control are gorgeous though...I would toss some mids in the lower right to give the eye something to look at in that corner.

So Nico explains that the story is about how "..the little robot is imprisoned into the engine room of an hospital, where experimentations are made on robots. He is daily tortured, and what we can see in the image is that his torturers are coming back ..."

ChrisBennet gives Nico's piece the benefit of a doubt, stating:
"There is nothing really wrong with this at all apart from a tiny ambiguity concerning the robot's right arm: The big nut he is wearing as some sort of bracelet (I think) is not recieving the light in a way that puts it far enough away from his elbow - if you see what I mean. Other than that marvelous!

Can I ask you a question: How do you proceed with the colouring phase - do you just tint everything with glazes or do you paint opaquely over everything? Perhaps you use a combination of the two?"

So Nico explains his process:
"I understand what you mean about the bracelet, but it is intentional that it looks this way because it is supposed to be this big.

About the colouring phase, my method is not the best: i fill the screen with a medium colour, and then i add shadows and highlights and finally i paint over the dark line which i should not have work so precisely because we won't see it in the end

As someone in the Cgtalk forum told me, the highlights were not consistent, so i correct them and gave more contrast to the shadows and highlights of the robot ( the robot is a bit more shinny in some parts ). I've also added the shadow of the buzz saw on the cylinder. This is the new version:"

My thoughts:
The change is very subtle, but effective nonetheless. ChrisBennett eventually states that "It's not the size that is causing the problem but that the way relates to the robot's shoulder in terms of lighting making it look nearer to your eye than the shoulder itself. This then thows the elbow out of kilter because assuming the forearm and the upper arm are the same length, the fact that the bracelet nut is nearer than the shoulder doesn't make perspective sense in this instance."

Nico acknowledges this, and takes on the challenge. The results are marvelous:
"This is another version, not the final one as everything is subject to change. What has changed from the previous version, apart from colors:

  • Some smoke between the robot and the big cylinder ( this is a rough smoke taken from a low-res version of my image, that's why its shape is different from the robot profile ).
  • The backlight on the robot
  • Some contrast to the foreground lighting
  • A test for the rust ( or blood ) on the big cylinder
  • Some dust glow on the left of the image
  • The tiled floor
  • The blur on the foreground chain
On a previous version, the robot was more shinny, i will try this again. As I am searching for colors, if you have any critics about this current version, i'm ready to read them, thanks !"

Above is another quick try on colors, i've replaced the blue with a green to depict a sick environment. I've also inclined the camera, please tell me if it's a good idea or not, thanks !

My thoughts:
Brilliant! The top version is amazing! The blue and red version now makes me want to hurl. Who knew changing a few values can change the entire mood and narration of the piece? Bah. Of course you knew this. And that's it for now! Be sure to check out the thread if you want to see what happens after - but definitely this artist is someone to watch!

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