Note: There are different versions of Qubicle, for personal and commercial use. They also all have different available tools and preferences, so make sure if you’re looking in to starting, find out what preferences/tools you may need access to for your specific wants/needs.
Whether or not you’re just drawing stick figures to engineering a building, you kinda want a general idea of what the consistent model will look like. Probably the easiest way to be consistent is to create a blueprint.
If you’re new to Voxel editing, and don’t know where to start, then always start with an idea and put that on a “blueprint”. I can’t stress this enough, because the importance of having a reference model is huge. Always have something to look back and say to yourself, “Am I on track?”
For example, when Tom was creating the Magma-Smith, he had the concept art that he worked the base of the model off of.
Working off of a base model is huge, like it’s one of the best solo tools you can use yourself, in every day use, and remain focused.
Another important thing to note when he was creating the model was his size relation to a normal worker. Having that reference can always get a certain “feel” off of the character that you’re looking for. As you can tell, the Magma-Smith’s build is much more broad than the standard villager. This gives you an eye for perspective, and how, from the front, it may look perfect, but from any other perspective, you may need to make some key changes.
Sometimes these changes take a while, and if you’re determined to create an ideal model, it will take some time. But it will always be worth it to get different viewpoints.
Also, he mentioned during the podcast that the end result deviated a bit from the path, and there was some big changes. The changes turned out AWESOME, but it’s not so easy. Sometimes a picture in your head can change, and the clarity of it can be ideal, or far from it. Either way, always make notes. If you’re drawing up a concept, add a new layer for some potential changes, and keep them as a bookmark or note for the idea.
“What’s an easy way to draw up concept art for a model?”
It’s not that hard, even with a standard computer mouse. I’ll show you an example.
Step 1: Draw your base
mmm… well… not exaclty the best quality example you say, and you’re right. It looks like crap. (I know, because I ‘drew’ it) But that is MY BASE MODEL CONCEPT. I know what I want his armor to look like from this, what I want him to wield, his stance, and his overall look. He’s angry, BECAUSE YOU TOOK HIS REAL SWORD.
Anyway, that’s a base model. Hopefully, at some point in time, you’ve used this method in different situations, such as drawing graphs in mathamatics. Sure, your graph wasn’t the coolest kid on the block, and your ruler was like 30 years old, so your lines had little bumps and nudges from where that weird kid in the back constantly chewed on it, but when you drew it, you understood the purpose.
That’s what this POS is up here, same thing. I understand the point he’s trying to get across with it: He’s mad, he’s weilding a club. His hair is unkempt, he’s got shoulder pads, and leather boots, along with some large hands and a cape. DONE. We’re done with the base model phase.
Step 2: Add a layer above the base
I’m currently using Paint.NET to show you these examples. Paint.NET is a FREE image manipulation program. It can save in most generic image formats that will also let you change compression options in said formats, and has a lot more standard tools than MS.Paint. Another free program to use is GIMP, which is like Blender to 3DS Max, compared to Photoshop/Aftereffects. You can also do this in Photoshop. I use Paint.NET here because it is very quick to load and user friendly, although I do have all three programs, so the steps remain the same.
To start this, all you need to do is open up a new TRANSPARENT layer on top of the “original”, which is usually called the “Background” layer. When you want to clean up your rough draft, make sure to be working on layer 2. This way it doesn’t affect the lines in the background in case you need to erase something. This also helps when you’re working on multiple different body parts. For example, when working on the head, you’ll probably want to do the Hair/headwear, facial features, and shading all on separate layers. It will look much more streamlined that way, and if you mess up, it won’t take as long to correct the mistake. I’ll finish up how to finalize the image in the last step.
I would recommend using Paint.NET, or any program with a line-tool with a free curve tool, that lets you manipulate the curves in the lines. This way, you can get much more fluid lines, and your base won’t turn out as blocky for the concept art. If you’re working off of a grid however, the Straight line-tool might be a better option.
Step 3: Finalize your concept outline, filling in holes.
This is the second layer without the background visible. The grey & white stripes indicate that, other than the black lines, the layer is transparent, and so it has no color, and if you were to post this on your desktop, it would look like a wireframe paper clip man or something with an empty void of a soul.
Make sure in this step to look for any gaps between line connections. You won’t see them as well if you don’t turn off the visibility of the background layer, so in the layer toolbar, just click on either the checkbox, (if using paint.NET) or the eyeball (Photoshop) to turn “off” the background layer. This will make it so you can just use the Magic Wand tool to select certain voids you would like to specifically color. A helpful tip when using this tool is to press Ctrl + Left click on the colorless bordered areas you want to work in with the same color. This will select multiple items in a queue, instead of selecting one at a time.
So fill in the last line gaps, and then we can move onto my last step.
Step 4: Lighting, Coloring and Completion.
IF you would like to get detailed, and have a color concept for your model, then you could always use the paint bucket tool to fill in the color concept. I’m not going too in depth on this section, because it’s 6am and I think I need to sleep here in a minute.
But here is a concept from any drawing class:
Find the light source
Find the orientation of your object to that light source
Plot shadows according to where the direction of the light will hit, and where it will shade in.
And after you’re through with that, here is rendering the image.
Choose whichever image file you would prefer.
.JPG & .PNG files are standard images. Jpeg have better color quality, but can lack in resolution quality. They also cannot save in transparencies, and will fill any in with white. .PNG files are sometimes smaller in file size compared to .JPG, but can lack in color/contrast quality. (if I’m wrong though, anyone feel free to correct my mistake) PNG’s can save in transparencies, and can be compressed to small sizes for the resolution size and quality of the image
.GIF files are animations, and lack quality due to compression expectations for the dithering requirements for most animations. There is a plus side to saving as .GIF, as the compression can be awesome for standard black and white, or relatively smaller images without clashing colors.
I honestly am too tired to remember the rest of the filetypes, so so sorry…
So if you’re drawing up some ideas for Qubicle characters, animals, houses and etc, and you would like to start off without that blank stare and tad bit of saliva hanging off of the side of your cheek, then drawing up a base like this is simple. I’m hardly an artist, but that curve line tool helps a great deal. So… Happy Modding I guess, I cant wait to see what people crank out next!