Concept artist Craig Mullins has worked on some of the highest profile films and video games in the last decade.Based in Hawaii, he is employed to bring his artistic talents and imagination to bear at the early stages of game or movie development.
Mullins has worked as a matte painter on films such as The Matrix Revolutions, Armageddon, Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump; and concept visualization paintings for games like Halo 2, Marathon 2, Final Fantasy, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and Prince of Persia. and is working as a concept artist on the film version of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, currently in pre-production.
He started as a commercial artist in 1986, producing paintings from architect�s plans. But his career path changed when he worked briefly at the world-famous special effects firm, Industrial Light and Magic. There he got his hands on one of the early editions of program Adobe Photoshop.
He was urged to try digital painting by no less than John Knoll, visual effects supervisor at ILM and co-creator of Adobe Photoshop.
His work is featured in the Expose 1 collection of digital painting from Ballistic Publishing, in which he was unanimously voted the first “Grand Master” award for that series. There is an article about him on the Ballistic site. There is also an illustrated article on the BBC News site.
See his website here(www.goodbrush.com)
Some notes taken by Octavian during one of Craig's lectures at Gnomon
// Digital Techniques
Process by which he starts a painting always changes.
This time he started with a photo and smudged it (smudge tool had a scattering effect on it) leaving only an abstract palette.
The idea is to work from a middle grey value canvas. This way you only have to render maximum of 5 steps up to light, and 5 steps down to dark. Unlike a white canvas where you have to render down 10 steps to absolute dark. Working abstractly with shapes. Using only two values: a light value of about 3 and a dark value of about 7.
Keep working with only these two values until something emerges. (again, this is not to say that he works this way always as he says he always changes it up (and the idea behind this is that he figures since he can't change his way of thinking too dramatically, he figures no matter how he starts he'll always end up with "Craig Mullins" images))
Be careful not to put in too much contrast, not until last steps.
It is better to remain flatter in the beginning to keep the silhouettes clean. Also, keep to much texturing out of the early stages as it confuses the shapes.
Looking for design and composition first
Tips on techniques:
-you can model something up in 3d, take a screen cap, and run a find edges filter over the 3d model. Set the layer to multiply and you'll have something to paint on that gives structure without too much variation (value?)
-some times bring up a canvas, like 500x800 pixels, marquee off little sections and do very small thumbnail roughs in there until something emerges. Then blow it up and paint.
-allow yourself a certain amount of time for brainstorming and creativity. Do not allow judgement to come during that time. At a particular time, look back at the brainstorm and then make decisions about where to go from there.
-Hierarchal significance for any color: 1. Value 2. Saturation 3. Hue
-Positioning of head mass relative to torso mass is a key relationship in the attitude of an illustration.
-To detail or "figure out" a section of a painting in a lower rez image; make a selection of what to detail, copy and paste in new file. Uprez the file by 1000% and paint all on a new layer. When done reduce file to 10% it's size, copy all the painting on the extra layer, paste back into original image (marquee selection should still be there though!)