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Creating a Sci-Fi City in Paint.NET


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I've been planning on making a Sci-Fi city in paint.NET recently, after viewing the pictures others made in photoshop and other programs (example)

I just tried to make one. It didn't go so well.

So, my question: how would I go about making one of these? What would I use to draw the buildings? (Line tool leaves jagged edges at 1 when trying to color.) Et cetera?

It's a big project for me. I really want to make it. I just can't figure out HOW.

What are your opinions?

'Civil disobedience is still disobedience.'

 

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Note: Effects I am going for include smooth, white buildings; mechanical paths (a glass path over some machinery); an arc in the distance; and just general mechanical effects.

'Civil disobedience is still disobedience.'

 

'↑ And that is how you confuse an atomic computer. ↑'

 

▬ Xžε⌐¡z○╖

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IMHO: It's a very large job suitable for an experienced professional artist.

The only way I'd attempt something like that is to individually create each element as a separate image and assemble the scene as a final step.

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also, I use the line tool very much in my digital paintings, it really depends on how you use it, in some way's they really don't look jaggy, I think that is also a matter of the size of the image... if you create a line on the basic canvas it would look more jaggy than if you creat the same size line on a bigger canvas. It is one of the reasons I only paint on canvas bigger than 800x800 lol

If you make white buildings it might be good to make 2 lines on the outside, one a lil darker that the air behind it as the most outer line, and the other line white or a diff light color. I do that in all of my paintings, it creates a better look in my opinion...

You can see a bit of that in my tut: http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/22939-painting-a-hand/

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Hello Xzerizon

I have seen long ago a program on the TV , that showed how those SyFy pictures are made,

sadly most of then are made in/by high end 3D software and then rendered, to give a picture or a movie scene.

photoshop or other high end software are used to touch up or create the baseline as the artist want,

or as Ego said by very professional artist that use more tools then just photoshop to create the

the picture.

most of the time that is for the "presentation" picture of the show/movie that must have more details, then

if it was a taken directly from a scene in a movie. (since it would have less details ,this was explained in that TV show)

some of the picutres on thats link you posted, are made using 3D software and were shown on that show too.

a good example of CGI graphics in the StarWars movies that all those great cities were made.

take one more note, high end 3D software that are capable to make such cities come alive are working

on high end cloud/cluster servers and not even on a high end home computer.

to make such picture you would need as the good people above said, create the base using an external

software, then import the pieces(pictures) into Paint.Net to touch them up, Paint.Net has many

features and plugins to help you there.

I hope i didn't make you drop your will/aspiration to make such pictures and i'm looking forward to see here

a post with a pictures you made :-)

Avi

Edited by avim1968

"DDAP=Don't Drink And Post!" :-)

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Avi, I would say it actually is possible, IF you know what you're doing and HOW you are doing it... so, in order to prove it, it will be one of my future PDN projects :)

Edited by Aislin
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It is a huge project. My canvases are at least 3200 x 2400 & then reduce to 800 x 600 or 3840 x 2160 reduced to 1920 x 1080. Less chance of jaggy & I use Gaussian Blur a lot to smooth out lines but you do need a larger canvas for this to work well.

With such an undertaking, there has to be a lot of planning. Think about:

  1. How big do you want the finished canvas to be?
  2. How will your pc handle a large canvas with many layers?
  3. Drawing a rough sketch of what you want? Find one on the 'net that is close to what you want as a reference image?
  4. How many buildings? A close up view of one with the remainder in the background with much less detail?
  5. What plugins will be useful?
  6. What tutes can help you?
  7. What time frame do you have in mind?
  8. What other things might you need to think about & plan for with this image?

EER is quite right too - make the elements in separate files. That way it is less strain on the pc & less chance of a crash & you losing the lot. Plus it saves your sanity trying to find minute things in the layers. PDN makes most images possible but not necessarily practical.

Give it a go. Maybe we can help you with specifics?

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April Jones, 2012

 
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If you start big and shrink (to 50%) later, the jaggies should go away. Sounds like one heck of a project.

I would recommend sketching your city on paper, then scanning it and drawing over it.

 

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Thanks for your tips.

Right here is what I want a civilian tower to be. I just made it. Thing is, it looks boring, so I want to add a texture. However, I still want it to retain a clean, sci-fi appearance.

PossibleCivilianTower.png

'Civil disobedience is still disobedience.'

 

'↑ And that is how you confuse an atomic computer. ↑'

 

▬ Xžε⌐¡z○╖

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It is a little hard with Paint.NET to get the correct perspective for projects like these, which is so important or actually it is the main aim to achieve plus 3D / Light / Shadow, but it is doable with some extra efforts and some imagination and workaround, I have noticed that the base of the structure/building is the most difficult part to control, so the best way in my opinion is to try to hide it behind another object/objects.

As an example, I have used in this image PDN for the towers, I paint the textures then used Shape-3D plugin to render them, of course every part is consist of few layers with different textures and patterns.

th_sci-fi-M.jpg

Spaceships are Google Sketch-Up, landscape is TerraGen, clouds are real photos and sky is PDN.

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Greetings Xzerizon,

I took a look at some of SciFi city scapes that you supplied a link to. I am sure that many digtail artist can achieve those types of results with Paint.net or Photoshop alone, but It appears to me the designers used some 3D rendering or CAD software for most of the city scape graphics and enhanced it with Photoshop or Painter type software.


 

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Greetings Xzerizon,

I took a look at some of SciFi city scapes that you supplied a link to. I am sure that many digtail artist can achieve those types of results with Paint.net or Photoshop alone, but It appears to me the designers used some 3D rendering or CAD software for most of the city scape graphics and enhanced it with Photoshop or Painter type software.

Actually, I suspect only the first and fourth image were done in 3D software. Most matte paintings are done without that kind of software. For example, if you take a look at the speed painting by atomhawk, that is what I expect the majority of the pictures looked like before they were polished up.

 

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Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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The Atomhawk work does look an impressionist painting.

I just left the Atomhawk site and was very impressed with the 2D and 3D works.

I also found out that the artist there us a variety of graphic tools from Maya to Zbrush.

Edited by HyReZ


 

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Avi, I would say it actually is possible, IF you know what you're doing and HOW you are doing it... so, in order to prove it, it will be one of my future PDN projects :)

Hi Aislin

I didn't say it can't be done, I'm sure that if one knows what and how he is doing such picture, he/she would make such image

even from scratch.

However talking to other fellow friends and even reading the posts here, most of the SyFy pictures are done

using professional software tools 3D included.

But as I wrote, Paint.Net has the ability to make such pictures but with a lot of planning ahead and with smaller pictures

to make a BIG one.

I'll be the 1st to say WOW to the person who would post such picture here :-)

Avi

"DDAP=Don't Drink And Post!" :-)

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However talking to other fellow friends and even reading the posts here, most of the SyFy pictures are done

using professional software tools 3D included.

I'll be the 1st to say WOW to the person who would post such picture here :-)

Avi

I don't think you're giving the program the credit it deserves...

Make your way around to some of the galleries that folks have and see the amount of detail that some of the work have. The pictures below are from WelshBlue's gallery:

http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/tt241/WelshsPlace/Space%201/cargo.png http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/tt241/WelshsPlace/Realistic%201/MetalFatgue.jpg

I think the above are excellent examples of what you can accomplish w/PDN alone and demonstrate that it is possible but will be a very extensive undertaking.

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I think you guys are misunderstanding something about the images in the original post's link...The majority of them are simply done with brushes and minor distortion effects to adjust errors. In fact, I may venture to say it is much easier to create a matte painting of such detail in that way than it is to do it all in a 3D program (though it's a different story when animating). Unfortunately, a heavy-duty brush system is exactly what paint.net lacks, so we all have to follow the lead of prodigies like yellowman, welshblue, and goonfella to make images of that style and quality as they make up their own methods to create these sorts of images.

Back on topic, though. Knowing that you can't use the same methods as those artists to create your image, try to be creative with your methods. Don't think you are limited to Shape3D simply because you want a 3D effect. On a two dimensional canvas, 3D is merely an illusion. There are more ways to make something "3D" than you might think. Just ask Aislin.

Also, it helps to have stock photos of textures available to save time and to help make things just a bit more realistic (especially when you need clouds).

Last tip for this post: the line/curve tool is your friend. If you draw you line, then use the right mouse button to turn it into a curve, it becomes a bezier curve. Because of some cool properties of this special curve, you can trace any bezier curve using any number of smaller bezier curves. This means you can build almost any shape using only the line/curve tool. This makes complex 3D shapes much easier to fabricate, allowing for people like me (noobs) to make pictures like this.

Edited by pdnnoob

 

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I don't think you're giving the program the credit it deserves...

Make your way around to some of the galleries that folks have and see the amount of detail that some of the work have. The pictures below are from WelshBlue's gallery:

http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/tt241/WelshsPlace/Space%201/cargo.png http://i616.photobucket.com/albums/tt241/WelshsPlace/Realistic%201/MetalFatgue.jpg

I think the above are excellent examples of what you can accomplish w/PDN alone and demonstrate that it is possible but will be a very extensive undertaking.

Hi Jim

Again i haven't said that its impossible to make such pictures with Paint.Net and I'm sure that there are people here

and others that can do it. Its a lot of work and takes planning but can be done.

and it is good for a single BIG picture.

BUT as the original post stated , most of the SyFy pictures come from TV/MOVIE/ANIMATION shows

those don't use one picture for that , they need to have a live scene that interacts with the show

like you fly over the city or see spaceships fly around or people walking in the city and lights and shadows

of sun or moon from different angles etc..

those things CAN'T be made buy drawing each picture one by one.

so they are using high end paint and 3D software's to make those scenes.

when they take a frame picture out of the show, like to make a poster etc..

they some time use more hands on touch up to enhance the picture then if it was taken directly

from the movie and add more detail.

that's it.

I'm sure that many people here in the forum, you mentioned some, capable of making such single

picture. :-)

but if one want to use it as a base for animation then it must be done with the help of other software.

Avi

"DDAP=Don't Drink And Post!" :-)

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BUT as the original post stated , most of the SyFy pictures come from TV/MOVIE/ANIMATION shows

Actually, this is not true. The link has one sentence that says...
Futuristic cities have always fascinated me, as a fan of SciFi TV shows, movies, and digital art, futuristic city designs always bring me inspiration.
Nowhere does it say that they are mostly from movies and tv shows. If you take a closer look at the links to the images, almost all of them come from deviantart. That means almost all of them are done by amateurs or professionals for personal reasons (otherwise, they wouldn't be on deviantart for everyone to use).

Also, even if they were for movies, most of them are matte paintings. Matte paintings are background images that are made up of static (unmoving) objects. Instead of rendering all that stuff, movie makers use matte paintings to save tons of time and money. Yes, you heard me. It saves time to paint crazy awesome backgrounds instead of rendering them in 3D.

I went through about half the images searching for indications as to what programs were used in their making, and I noticed a pattern: Nearly all the paintings (that had a note in the description about the programs used) were done solely in photoshop. If there was a 3D program used, it was usually cinema 4D. If you have experience with deviantart, cinema 4D is one of the most common ray-tracing program used in 3D images, sometimes for animations, but almost NEVER for movies (maybe special effects).

These images are entirely possible to replicate in paint.net. Like I said, most often, no 3D rendering program is involved, so don't think it's going to be a lot of work simply because you aren't using one. Yes, it is still a lot of work, but not much more than doing it in photoshop.

Now then, let's drop the argument here and go back to tips and hints ok?

 

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No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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These images are entirely possible to replicate in paint.net. Like I said, most often, no 3D rendering program is involved, so don't think it's going to be a lot of work simply because you aren't using one. Yes, it is still a lot of work, but not much more than doing it in photoshop.

Now then, let's drop the argument here and go back to tips and hints ok?

Hi pdnnoob

I think you misunderstood, all that i have written and why i wrote it, if you read closely you would see that we said mostly the same thing .

all the pictures can be done without 3D software, takes a lot of work. to enhance those pictures high end software can be used

the names you wrote are some that i talked about and had in mine.

about the movies, that's another story and there are many ways to create it. and its not for this forum :-)

as you said , lets drop this and continue to have fun giving tips and hints and help :-)

Go Paint.Net ...

Avi

"DDAP=Don't Drink And Post!" :-)

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Gentlemen (pdnnoob & Xzeri),

The only thing that I was trying to point out is that I believe PDN has a lot more to offer than you believe it does (at least that's how I've interpreted what I read from you). The point in showing Welsh's images was to demonstrate the level of detail that he has been able to accomplish w/PDN alone - detail that I think you'll need for a great looking piece.

At any rate Xzeri, I wish you luck and success with it.

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@ Xzerizon,,,Good luck with this project and i hope to see your outcome. Also some awesome example pics,they have given me a new inspiration.

@ Yellowman,,,Awesome pic dude!!

@ Everyone,,,,,Between the pictures and the discussion I thank you all for inspiring me to go off on another tangent with PDN,love it,real cool. :)

 

                                                              http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/21233-skullbonz-art-gallery

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