To Ink a Deathclaw

An ill advised pursuit at best.

The phrasing could be misconstrued to suggest that the deathclaw is getting a tattoo, which would also likely be an ill advised pursuit. Unless you’d enjoy being eviscerated by a colossal lizard in an irradiated hell. Then it’s probably pretty fun. In any case, this is a digital work in progress that doesn’t feature any actual ink- but it’s the best parallel I’ve got to lining a piece crisply and cleanly. In many ways this is also the complete opposite of what I’d do traditionally, lacking many of the intricate and busy details.

Which might not be an entirely bad thing, either.

I’ve wanted to try and use less details in some pieces to get a feeling of how that would change the presentation, composition, and level of quality. I wasn’t necessarily hoping to do this digitally, but when the opportunity arrived (and the original approach wasn’t working out) it seemed to fit. It does look incredibly weird to me, though. I’m used to lines and whatnot being everywhere!

It’s also taking a fair amount of time to get even the basic elements looking as I would like them to. This is nothing new with digital illustrating or painting for me, which is something I’m heavily considering the reasons for with each new piece. In comparison to traditional art many of these pieces take several times longer. In all the worst ways. This could be inexperience with digital approaches showing through, or it may be an indication that I might need a higher specification tablet, as I currently use a Wacom Bamboo, and I’m not sure if that’s meeting my needs any more. Normally I would refuse that suggestion as even being a possibility but there might be some truth to it. I’ve been thinking about upgrading to an Intuos at some point anyway.

That’s quite an impressive maw you’ve got there.

There is definitely a disconnection somewhere between my brain, my hand, and my tablet. Something isn’t working as intended. Which, again, could simply be that the pressure sensitivity isn’t as good on a Wacom Bamboo. I know it isn’t via the technical specifications. But I also know that you don’t need the best materials to create high quality art. One of the things that novice artists tend to assume is that they need the highest quality everything immediately, which, in skilled hands, does provide higher quality results, but will not immediately make you a better artist.

An understanding of fundamental concepts will always take you further.

Which is why I’m committed to seeing this through to the end. I’d like to know whether the problem exists within my approach (which is likely) or whether it exists as a result of my tools (which could be likely). In either case, I’m not going to invest in an Intuos any time soon and I’ve already made great progress over the last year with digital art. So we’ll keep going.

I do enjoy working with digital approaches and I see an incredible amount of potential in them. They’re also helping me appreciate my traditional pieces in a new light. It’s an interesting side step towards something that is fundamentally the same but provides a different challenge, which, hopefully if I pursue it further, will make me a better artist overall. I’m not really sure where this piece is going in the future, either. I will more than likely finish it as a lined piece. I’ve been talking to someone I know (who does great deathclaw pieces) to add some colour to it when I’m done. I think their approach would suit much better than mine would. It would also be a learning experience to see how they would approach this piece (likely differently to me).

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Fallout 4, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.

Advertisements

Mutant Deathclaw

You’d have a hard time trying to find something that isn’t mutated in this radioactive hell.

Then again, isn’t that the beauty of the irradiated wastelands we know and love? It’s not safe. It likely never will be. But, for some reason, we find ourselves exploring them regardless of the overflowing danger in every direction. That very reason is why Fallout 3 is still my favourite of the modern Fallout titles. The emptiness, desolation, and lifelessness of the wasteland truly fills you with a sense of isolation. You’re alone. You’ve got no-one to turn to but those you choose to make your allies.

If you even choose to make anyone your ally.

In any case, as much as I would like to talk about the things I love from the modern Fallout titles- we’re here to talk about two very particular pieces. We’ve already seen similar softer 2B pencil experimentation with Beastly Practices, but these pieces hope to refine that approach and create a more consistent style with which I have more confidence.

What lovely teeth you have.

What lovely teeth you have.

This approach also moves further away from the pencil style I had for many years. It’s not a bad thing, though. I’m quite fond of how versatile it is. You can see a little of that versatility over on Twitter via a tiny bearded doodle that uses a similar approach, but attempts to present semi-realistic facial anatomy. Regarding the first piece in this post, I love how that same semi-realistic approach is present but how it’s also stylised to a certain degree. It’s also really enjoyable adding in the small details, shading on the horns, and line weight as everything feels so natural and fluid. I’ll need more practice with this style before it comes entirely naturally- but this is a good start which shows a lot of promise.

It’s also interesting to see how my approach to detailing has changed significantly over the course of last year. I gradually switched to a more suggestive detail style, opposed to one which meticulously and intricately draws every line. There are positives and negatives to each approach. But I’d say this approach is one that I’m both satisfied with and that offers me a very good balance of detail and composition, which is something I’m usually guilty of not having. I focus too much on details and not enough on composition.

Leading to a lot of pieces that could have been more than what they were.

The shell of humanity.

The shell of humanity.

Regarding the second piece in this post, I’ve tried to approach super mutants many times in the past (but they insist on clubbing me with a board that has several nails in it) which has lead to varying results (and several scars). I attempted something a little more human than monstrous in this case, though. Despite their general form being quite monstrous to begin with.

Both of these pieces are referenced from their Fallout 4 models which does change their appearance significantly. It also provides much larger, clearer, and more detailed references. Not to say I don’t enjoy the references from the other modern Fallout titles- as they’re beautiful- but just that these are easier to work with. These pieces are also guilty of not having any sense of composition whatsoever. But this was purely to understand the approach, so I didn’t want to further complicate matters by turning everything on its head. That said, I’m looking forward to maybe having a little more armour and maybe even a weapon with the next super mutant. Perhaps a full body deathclaw, too. Miracles can happen, right?

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Fallout 4, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.

Painting Pencil

This here’s my painting pencil.

I suppose it’s technically possible to paint with a pencil if you’re using watercolour pencils. Though, you could still argue it’s the brush and the application of water doing the painting- not the pencil. But we’re not here to talk about technicalities. I’ve been thinking about digital art since How You’ve Grown and I’m still confused about where this is all going.

I’m not convinced I’ll ever be able to get my head around doing full digital pieces from scratch.

Well, no, I’m sure I could learn- but I don’t know if it would be worth it. I like each different material to bring a different result to the table. Pencil is universally versatile, ink has contrast, marker has vibrant colour, watercolour has exceptional colour blending, and so on. Where does digital painting fall into this eclectic mix? Good question. So far I have no definite answers. But I have been playing around with an older pencil sketch and I’ve brought some colourful life to it. Which, with the considerations above, is actually a pretty good way to incorporate digital painting into the mix by providing something that I can’t get anywhere else. Mostly due to the varieties of paper I use for pencil work.

The paper itself is fine. It’s excellent, in fact. But, it does have one weakness- despite being heavy it’s not heavy enough to accept liquid media. Marker would bleed. Watercolour would cockle the paper. Ink would accept but wouldn’t be of the highest quality thanks to the tooth/grain of the paper. This opens up a future possibility to use digital painting to enhance pencil sketches and create something that has a very unique feel. It’s certainly nothing like what I’m doing otherwise.

Forever a work in progress. Forever changing the background colour.

Forever a work in progress. Forever changing the background colour.

That said, like every experiment, it hasn’t gone entirely as smoothly as I would have initially hoped. It’s coming along. It’s coming along well. But it’s still a foreign concept to me, and one that requires a lot more investment than I’d initially figured it would. Which is not entirely a bad thing, either.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is never a bad idea if you want to improve.

It’s been a pretty odd start to the year in that respect. I wasn’t expecting to have a surge of creative work this early, nor was I expecting to come from something I’d barely had any experience using. But here we are. I’ve been going through odd emotional states, too. Almost as if I’ve remembered something that I’d never really forgotten but has been dormant for a while. I’ve got a fair few ideas in mind. Which is a surprise. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say I’ve had a flood of enthusiasm about my creative efforts. I’ve even been thinking about starting a new project in Unity and trying to push out a finished product. Or, at the very least, a working demo that you could play for a short while.

I’ve been itching to get back to traditional art, though. It’s where I’m comfortable. That said, even there, I’m exploring new ideas that are pushing my various styles/techniques further. It’s quite an interesting time for me. However, such as I’ve come to expect, it’s not without a number of hiccups along the way. Personal issues and concerns plaguing an otherwise good time. But that’s probably the reason I’ve become as enthusiastic about everything as I have. Seems to be an ongoing trend of mine.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Fallout, Super Mutants, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay and Bethesda.

Expanding the Content

Downloadable Content is a pretty dirty phrase around most gamers these days.

Personally I’m mostly in support of it depending on which developer is handling it. I’ve never had a complaint about the DLC offered by Bethesda in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (the latter I actually purchased individually often at full price). Even the DLC in Borderlands 2 which I felt was getting borderline ludicrous in the end (minus character skins) but was still oddly great value for money. The later Headhunter DLC, while short, and often just an introduction to a seasonal boss, was even worth the price of admission.

However, I’ve always had an issue with EA and how they have handled DLC in many of their titles. Especially since the incident with Dragon Age: Origins about six-eight months after it came out where I could speak to an NPC in camp, but, should I wish to actually do the quest, I’d be prompted to spend even more money on their title.

Thankfully I never bought those individually and instead bought the Ultimate Edition several years later.

All of that said, I’m actually glad there’s a more fluid model for delivering content these days. Prior to the introduction of DLC you would need to buy expansion packs often at near enough the same price as the base game. In some cases, as I’ve noticed with Blizzard titles, that is still the way they operate. Even though you would arguably get most the expansion pack content via free patches to the base game. But, what I think of Blizzard, and whether I agree with their DLC/expansion packs, is neither here nor there.

What is everywhere is the fact that I’ve come to realise something recently with a couple of the releases this year.

I was really late to the Fallout 3 party picking it up in 2009. At the time I purchased it the Game of the Year edition had just been released, and, having no idea what that was or that I’d later spend hundreds of hours with it, I just got the base game. Again, with Fallout: New Vegas I got the base game in 2010 and collectively bought all the DLC together in 2012. I started with the Game of the Year edition with Borderlands and many of the titles since (if old enough) I’ll have complete editions for as first purchases.

With the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Fallout 4 this isn’t the case. As both have been released within the last six months and there’s only one DLC available (for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt) in the form of Hearts of Stone. Which I don’t own yet. Mostly for the realisation I’ve just explained above. I’m also not sure how The Witcher DLC usually works (in terms of value for money).

Knowing I will more than likely love whatever Bethesda chooses to add to Fallout 4 (unless it’s another Dead Money) the question now remains whether I want to purchase them and play them as they release, or, do a Fallout: New Vegas, and play them all together. Fallout 4 does operate slightly differently in that you seem to get dug deep into the character the higher levelled you get. Whereas in Fallout 3 you could find/use weapons and armour to accelerate through the game- I don’t know if that’s possible in Fallout 4.

In either case, it’s going to be interesting figuring that one out. I’m not usually one to take fully established characters back through the game several months later.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Vault Dweller’s Introduction to the Commonwealth Wasteland

Did you know that I rarely write Steam Guides? You did? Well, you’ve probably read this one then…

One of the things I’d love to add to Moggie @ WordPress are the little side projects I do from time to time in other places. These are usually pretty short self contained bursts of content relating to certain things that are quite hard to form a whole usual length post for. Mostly because, as stated previously, they’re fairly short and they tend to not require an introduction. So I figured I’d try a smaller and more concise post that simply tells you it exists.

The particular content we’re talking about today is a (99% spoiler free) Steam Guide for Fallout 4 covering the basics of the latest modern Fallout title. I’m rather hoping it’ll be useful to those coming from Fallout 3 and/or Fallout: New Vegas who might be confused about the small but significant changes to mechanics or even new players to the modern Fallout series.

In either case, I’ve tried to keep it as spoiler free as is possible when discussing game mechanics.

You can find it over on Steam by clicking the following: Vault Dweller’s Introduction to the Commonwealth Wasteland.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Forward to the Future

If I start to repeat “It’s here!” and wag my tail excitedly just know I’m happy.

Just a quick note before we start, it’s not my intention nor wish to spoil anything for anyone regarding Fallout 4 and so this is mostly talking about the mechanical changes you’ll experience.

Fallout 4 has arrived! The much anticipated sequel (both personally and commercially) reinvents certain aspects of the core mechanics which many of the modern Fallout players will have come to know and (possibly) love. The biggest change surrounds the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and how perks are handled. You’ve got less S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points to spend at creation (28 down from 40) and these are more closely tied to how your character uses perks and develops over the course of the game.

The perk system also replaces the skill system (which is now removed) in determining what your character can do for the most part.

It also features some fairly broad changes with regards to how you build, maintain, and use weapons. It would seem that for the most part the classifications of Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, and so on are mostly removed. Instead focusing on whether a weapon is non-automatic, automatic, a rifle, a pistol, or what they classify as a heavy gun. I can only imagine that heavy guns will for the most part replace what used to fall under Big Guns. They also seem to have removed weapon and armour maintenance with neither of those items having durability now.

The lack of durability could be a sore point for some. Personally, while I tend to like traditional mechanics, I can’t say that durability ever really affected me in either of the previous two modern Fallout titles. I had enough money, resources, or whatever it was that I needed to repair all of my equipment constantly.

Just a sunny post-apocalyptic afternoon.

Just a sunny post-apocalyptic afternoon.

Power armour has had a significant redesign and now actually feels like the pre-war technology it is supposed to be. It now features insanely good resistances to various damage types and is a suit you have to climb into, as opposed to wear like any other armour, and features a whole new HUD while you’re in there. The downside to it is that it’s quite heavy/bulky and has to be powered via Fusion Cores. So it doesn’t last forever unless you have a few spare cores. You do have to repair it, too. With many of the sections of the armour being removable/replaceable over the course of the game. It’s a pretty awesome mechanic but one I’m not sure I’ll be taking too much advantage of.

Weapon and armour (and settlement) crafting seems pretty fun so far. The amount of flexibility given to various guns and how you can modify, improve, or adapt them to fit other situations is pretty great. However, it is a bit of a guessing game (at first) as to how you classify what would be considered a rifle or a heavy weapon.

Which is where I would say Fallout 4 lacks a little- explanations. The updates to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system are quite extensive but at creation (and even after) you’re given little information as to what all of these statistics do. Same with weapon and armour crafting where you won’t always know what your modifications will produce or if it’s suitable for you. Finally, I am a little sad to see the recently reintroduced traits being removed again. That said, one could say that the way magazines work is a trait system in itself.

Just a case of seeing whether it can live up to the replayability of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas now.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie