For anyone looking to improve their digital art skills, or even someone just getting started, there is an excellent series of books from 3DTotal Publishing, titled Digital Painting Techniques. These are not merely gallery books with a few comments from the contributing artists. These books are designed to help, teach and inspire, with a good number of professional artists sharing their knowledge and working processes in-depth. I'm reviewing two of these books here.
Digital Painting Techniques Volume 6
Paperback: 288 pages
In Digital Painting Techniques Volume 6, you are treated to lessons in concept art, speed painting techniques, lighting and atmosphere, creating characters, and creating fantasy and sci-fi scenes. Most topics are covered by a few different artists, who walk you through their processes and how they approach a project.
There is a section on creating custom brushes that I particularly loved. Here, three different artists explain how they create brushes for water effects, industrial elements, and skin, hair, and fabric.
There are two sections devoted to character creation, one for creating moods, and the other on stylized character creation, such as exaggerated features and caricatures. And there are two sections dedicated to fantasy art, with one section on environments, and the other on battle scenes.
There are three in-depth master projects towards the end of the book that are excellent. This is followed by a gallery section with wonderful contributions.
Digital Painting Techniques Volume 7
Paperback: 288 pages
Much like Volume 6, Digital Painting Techniques Volume 7 presents several dedicated sections, with different artists lending their talents to show how they work, giving you expert guidance and tips along the way. There are some different areas covered in this volume, such as a large section on vehicle design, a section on stylized female characters, a section on pin-up girls, and an excellent section on matte painting.
There is also a large section dedicated to speed painting techniques, and a good section on environment creation. Like volume 6, the last section is a wonderful gallery showcase.
The speed painting and pin-up girls sections were my favorites in this volume, but there is a lot of excellent information throughout. Photoshop is the main tool, with Cinema 4D thrown in for the matte painting section, but the concepts and techniques throughout will help artists using any tools.
Learning from so many different artists as they share their unique processes in different areas is wonderful, and it makes this series an excellent reference to have for inspiration and ideas. The sidebar Pro Tips scattered throughout is an added bonus.
I really love this series and would love to collect them all. The layout and design is fantastic and the information within is superb. Also, the printing and quality of these books is top-notch. I highly recommend this series, and urge you to follow the links to these books on the 3D Total website, where you get all the info on content, and can even preview the books before deciding on a purchase. Special thanks to Melanie Smith for the review copies.
Each of these volumes are priced at $39.52 (USD) and they are well worth it!