Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Backgrounds...

Thought I'd post some background paints I did and how I try to plan in the initial sketches of a background to create it in layers so that by clicking off some layers I have a different background that I can use for something else at some other point in time. I try, if I can, to design it and work it so that I can get multiple uses out of it be it a week later of three years later. It's kind of like being a set decorator on a TV show and having to make do with a small budget. With a couple simple changes you can save a lot of time and money. I bring this up as I've been watching the first season of Starsky & Hutch this past week at night and if you watch 3-4 a night as opposed to once a week, you can notice the set redresses and some of the same background props like a painting pop up in different scenes a lot more. All shows and movies do it to save money. Most Star Trek fans never noticed that the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek II (Khan!) was redressed and relit to become the Reliant! It was so well done that even hardcore Trek fans never noticed. The only reason I know it is because Shatner mentioned it in his book Star Trek Movie Memories. It's an interesting study and to see how with just a few simple changes, a set becomes completely different. Hanna-Barbera would do the same thing as well in their cartoons and create a long panaramic background and use it for many scenes to save money animating. They would do all their planning in the storyboarding stage so they could figure out how mnay backgrounds they would actually have to commission to be done.

Below is a big painting of mine that is around 11 x 17 in full size when I did it and was the original base painting that could be used for something for sure... BUT it had to be tweaked a lot for what I actually needed it for so I then saved a copy of the file as it was and then resaved it with a new file name and repainted it part of it. Character art will kill a lot of the work actually so no one will ever see the full background hence why I'll be posting some of them here. Some of these were really a lot of work and there's a lot of detail that got lost in the final image from being covered up. But they did what they need to do and that was to create a sense of tone and mystery to the story.

And above is the final after I did some 'digging' and made a hole that was used as an entrance and as an escape. I can also take out the blue room above and put whatever else I would want there as well. Possibly the hole leads to a desert landscape... or a spaceship! Just so long as it's in persepective to the rest of it, I can redress it anyway I want. The object is to keep it all separated in layers so that changes can be slipped in and out. It can also be changed color wise as well if I wanted it by moving the levels in Photoshop to lighten or darken it, or the saturation/hue to change the overall color tone! It was also cropped a bit as well to suit what I needed it for but as I mentioned, I have the original file to go back to if I needed it. One painting = Two uses... or More!

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