I decided to return to the topic of game development after I follow the whole "videogame and journalism" fallout because of some chick sucking cock.
I've already weighed in about why I think indie games are shitty. But now I wanna talk about and to people who are in some way, shape or form connected to game development. To the contingent of non-US and watchers - be you from Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin American and so forth.
So, here's the premise - probably, in the worst scenario, the video game industry will develop along the lines of Hollywood movie industry. Or, more precisely - it will be heavily self- and out- regulated and censored among the "political correctness" and "social justice" standards.
It already happened in western cinema. The movies that appear on international big-screens are cleared of anything "offensive" to the controlling clique of liberal censors. Think about genre movies where violence is evenly redistributed by sex - ie, not majorly men on the recieving end. Think about movies where minorities are cast in a negative light. Think about movies that acknowledge reality and the complexity of any given political conflict.
It's simple - they're virtually non-existent. I'm not talking about art-house or creator-driven cinema - no, the regular movies you go to. There's obligatory heroic blacks, women outsmarting men, ancient oriental wisdom, level-headed gays, and awful, awful white straight racist filling every villain/bad guy role without looking at the context of reality. This will just intensify. In the best cases, movies just degrade to comic-book adaptation popcorn-fillers that are so abstract, that they just loose any sense to watchers above 8 years old of age.
This is what's probably going to happen to western video-game industry. The loud minority of pussy-whipped simps and feminists, organizing into loud, outspoken groups, influence the big-players (who, in a normal world, would depend only on the whims of a major consumer base, and not fringe political groups) to adopt censorship and creation guidelines, while yelling that the majority is awful people.
It's all about who put the "morality' flag on this proverbial Moon first. Sooner or later - and it might be a long-enough process, no hysteria - but the western gaming industry will be just as politicized as the movie one. It became a multi-billion dollar industry with access to millions of people, young and old, so no surprise it's happening. When it was obscure, noone care.
Just to offer a little personal perspective. When I was about 13-14 I got a Tomb Raider game on my PC. I really enjoyed it. And in fact, I enjoyed it because it was a fun game about a bad-ass, dual-gun wielding character that explored ancient temples and fought all sorts of mystic shit and dinosaurs. The dual pistols were the best thing - not the tits. I didn't play the game because OMG SHITTY POLYGONAL TITS IM A TEENAGER AND EASILY AROUSED. Nope. I really liked the story, and as Russian, who was raised on Russian child-and-teenage adventure literature, a female protagonist wasn't something that was OMG RARE. And the game was about that - it was bout this bad-ass Tomb Raider chick with her Matrix-style glasses being well, bad-ass! It didn't prove any point, it just had a gameplay and interesting enough story to justify the whole exploration shtick.
Now, fast forward to 2013. I bought a copy of the game Remember Me. Well, I bought a bootleg copy for my modded Xbox (yeah, my Xbox is modded to play pirate games, bite me). I love cyberpunk. I love it enough so the fact that I, a white nationalist straight male was ABSOLUTELY OK playing as some brownish chica.
And the game was visually stunning. It was GORGEOUS. Neo-Paris begged for a sandbox exploration gameplay. The story about sold and "re-mixed" memories had an interesting premise. I was ready to have a good time.
And that's where the game started to fall apart at the seams. After I failed to complete even a half of Remember Me (I'll tell why), I read about how the developer, DotNod, had a purportedly "hard time" inserting a female character in the game, had conflicts with the developer, and as I read the interview, I realized, that the game's gameplay failed in large because the developers had a feminist agenda, as they themselves said in various outlets.
The main reason why I couldn't finish or play Remember Me long enough, was a completely botched (for me) combat system. It's an alien to my experience, Batman-esque third-person, arena-centered combo fighting game. It was pure horror, repetative, and enormously taxing on my fingers. It was unsatisfying and droning - I gritted my teeth through every fight. Now, you would ask, why did they implement hand-to-hand fighting, where you could have PROJECTILE WEAPONS that would seem more in lieu of a futuristic world? I mean, if Lara Croft had 2 pistols, why couldn't Nilin have some of that pew-pew?
Well, if one reads enough of DotNods words on the game, it's because Nilin was to be a STRONK CAPABLE INDEPENDENT WOMYN. And to illustrate that, she - as she does in the game - punches and kicks fully armored dudes to oblivion. No shoots them - that's to depersonalized, you see. No, the developer wanted to portray her total kick-assery and superiority over clumbersom - and always, invariably male - opponents. To make her seem light and in control in fight to a degree she doesn't need a conventional weapon.
But guess what! This mechanic spoiled the fucking game! It made it unplayable - and not only for me. Most reviewrs had major gripes with the combat. And not to mention a completely CLICHE "one individual overthrowing evil corporation story", this is the case where a slight feminist persepctive and desire to pander to some PC standard (not even mentioning the whole ethncity of the character), FUCKED UP A GAME'S GAMEPLAY.
So, what will happen? Games will change. Their gameplay will change to incorporate the demands of the liberal agenda. It's not about the things like "oh, every character will be an African transgender feminist special snowflake" - it's about what the game will BE, if the characters are African transgender feminists. In a world where killing female NPCs becomes "rape", when all forms of fictional cruelty and suffering is being TRIGGERS - what games will be sold?
But, and here's the main point - it's solely a Western trend. And the thing is, as the industry will change, the people who bought the games for what they like about, won't. There still would be American, British, Dutch gamers who would want to play games without a rainbow-color cast, games that don't explore the opressions of minorities, depression, sensibilities or games that vilify THEM, in the end.
In 3-4 years this is going to be a very lucrative market, as a big chunk of gamers will turn from the PC-cookie-cutter entertainment in order to find the un-censored content.
And this is where national, local game industries can finally flourish. It's a well-known fact that in Eastern Europe, Latin America, some Asian states and so forth, are not very developed. Take Russia, for example - there are studios that are very big in the local and even international, MMO markets and smartphone games, but next to none which can compete in the genre of AAA-blockbuster games. When such projects - like Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light - appear, it's a rarity, rather than a rule. In part, it is due that the market to which such games cater, are already under the control of US-based developers and publishers. Same goes to the Witcher series and so forth. Only exceptional, once in a decade products from the former Soviet state make it that big.
But, note this - both the Witcher and Metro series recieved critial acclaim for the exact fact that they were NOT like US-games of the same genre. Richer narrative, different, more adult and complex tone, less moralizing and more reflecting reality. Grittier, harder, and as result - more exciting as games.
So, there's my poin: the ongoing trends of making games more politically correct and "inclusive" will create audiences in the Western markets who will be dissatisfied with such a development and subsequent games. They'll seek the entertainment they crave in other places - and this gives the opportunitues for non-US, non Western-European developers and publishers, who don't follow the same "ethics" and PC-guidelines, to move their products outside of local markets and to the big Western markets to satisfy such demands. It's an ability to propagate your gaming product as 'uncontaminated" to those who seek such an experience. Digital distribution models, in this case, are an ideal instrument to bypass any transborder regulation in sales.
It will present a truely unique opportunity to make it big. Think about, think what you can and would contribute, and be ready for this to happen. Encourage and support the estabished developers that could go down this road. It's a chance to earn money, audience and acclaim. It will revitalizie the struggling national game devs.
Granted, it all won't happen overnight. But the possibility is there and it's best to prepare for it.
I can already picture them negroes jumping on one leg and screaming: "Who's not looting - dat's a cracka!"
I really don't get Tumblr. Kinda sucky part about it, is that say, you're friends with some artist. You like their art they post on dA. More or less often, it's a girl/woman. And then you notice they have a tumblr too, and you think: "gee, I'll go see what awesome art they have there, maybe some exclusive sketches!". And you go there.
And it's full of gay porn that they draw. Aaaand... other people's gay porn.
Then you go like "eeeeeeh... ok? You show ppl online that you like gay porn, that's what's cool now?". There's very little exceptions to this rule. I dunno. It's all like those inflation/vore/whatever fetishists who put out their porn art on the internet - I don't get the compulsion.
Just loaded that playable "Silent Hills PT" teaser. Damn, the shit looks AWESOME and I wonder if the whole game will have such a level of presentation and realism. Visually, it's sort of close to the "Alien: Isolation" project, and sad enough, it's these new next-gen games that have reached that level of visual fidelity that's IDEAL for a virtual experience, won't be getting any of that Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus support - seemingly.
Which is a damn shame.
But I do long for a quality, scary, big-studio horror game, because the last one was Dead Space 3 I think, and that was a long time ago. Also thinking about buying the remastered Last of Us for PS4, but hadn't decided yet - zombiesque apocalypsis shit isn't my thing really, but I've heard many good opinions about it, so kind of on the fence if I should waste my time and money on it.
That is, while the whole INDIE thing had not started. So instead of having 80% news devoted to actual gaming news about actual real games, 80% of the content shifted to tell the stories of Kickstarters and Steam Greenlights about indie developers. Yeah, I get it, news draught. But come on...
So, a couple of days ago, on one such site I read a lulzy story about how a "female indie dev" was caught fucking journalists for favorable reviews on several gaming news outlets. That aside, the game in question was a text-based SJW shitfest about "depression" - not even a real game, but a multiple-choice quest.
And see, that's what's the whole indie scene is - pretentious fucking shitfestering pile of abhorrent talentless gunk.
So there's that - I loathe "indie" games. And I can actually make a case for it.
First off tho, I have to make an important term distinction. There are big and small studios and publishers. EA, 2k, Blizzard, Warner Bro's Games, Netherrealm studios, Ubisoft, Visceral, Bethesda - big players, yup. Yager, Starbreeze, arguably THQ, GSC, CD Projekt - smaller/small. But these are viable business entities, employing dozens of people, having quality control, SLA, legal departments, full-time artists and programmers, marketing, etc. A small studio isn't INDIE, even if it's not connected to a major publisher - a small studio will still get it's game on the shelf by someone else's means.
In my classification, Indie game are made not by factual, full-line process studios and devs, but by makeshift, on the go, just "forming" collectives, who are missing or outsourcing key departments and employees, who are not connected to proven, known to the market publisher, and who rely on outside real-time investment to fund the game.
This is why indie games, well - SUCK.
The main thing is resources and money. It should come as no eye-opener, that the more resources you have - the better tools you can affort, and better tools yearn better quality of the product that is made through them. Tool include not only material assets, but more importantly - human resources. If your budget has a limit of say, $2 mill over 2 years of a production cycle for a game design department, you can hire 4 big industry professionals that require a 250K over the year. If your budget is $30 000 for a year, you can hire well, 2 students for 15k a year. Yeah, these students MIGHT BE the next Joe Karmak (sp?), but they still have zero experience, and you wouldn't expect them to produce the same result as 4 solid professionals.
Same goes for material assets. You have to rent server spaces. You have to buy your designer and programmers adequate equipment - computers, professional software, cameras, etc. When you don't have professional work-station servers, you can't expect to render realistic cut-scenes with hi-poly models - that's a given.
More importantly, a functional studio has departments that take care of all the inner operations - ordering materials, doing the logistics, proving the needs of the employees, etc.
But indie studios? People multi-task. One person is often working as a designer AND modeler, AND photographer, AND is responsible for system administration, because the studio doesnt have the money to hire actual separate specialists. Multi-tasking in a work environment always downgrades the quality of each job unit. Then, you have to rely on always fixing things on the go, changing stuff of the go, outsourcing - and then wasting energy trying to gather the outsource puzzle into one functional work process.
That is the reason why an overwhelming majority of "indie" games are one of the following:
- retro-pixel side-scroller variation
- retro-pixel side-scroller platformer
- flash-based abomination that is "artsy"
- pixel-hunting quest thingy with detailed immobile background
- fps/horror/game that is so polygonal it should've stayed in the early 90s
- abstract AND artsy
See, that's the point. For example, "retro-pixel side-scroller" - why is it so prevalent? Well, firstly, such games are OLD. Their source codes had been released decades ago, and are available now for free. It costs nothing for an "indie dev" to obtain them, and then just modify them to the hearts content. The codes are simple enough to be worked on by beginner programmers. Pixel graphics don't require a lengthy - and costly - production process.
Making a good, A(AA) game is a really complex process akin to filming a blockbuster. Consider a game like I dunno, Grand Theft Auto. Aside the engine programmers, aside from the coders, you need people that:
- conduct motion capture (so that in-game and cut-scene models move realistically)
- go around a country filming and taking shots of architecture, textures and etc - to build libraries for the designers and modelers
- sound effect directors
- voice actors
- AI programmers
- level designers
- lighting specialists
the list goes on. No indie collective that prances around Kickstarter, can afford that.
The result is the same as in cinematography. It's not about making a visual eyegasm only. Even realistic, grounded films like say, Trance or series like Breaking Bad, that don't involve giant transforming robots, need a huge budget and effort from a massive, professional team, to make it look good as it does.
But independent films are more often than not a "shaky cam" cheap experience with overlong shots of a floating pack of garbage, or some dark, dank, weird-ass shit. There's a reason why District 9 was rolled out in theaters worldwide, but Neils Blokamp's short film that preceded it became only a Youtube hit.
Indie games, due to the constraints put on them, are always badly made and boring - that's the bitter truth. You may whine that stuff like Battlefield 4 or Call of Poopy is boring as well because its all pew-pew and VIOLINS, but at least it's breaking technological and production grounds, paving way for the medium to develop.
But you see, there's nothing fun or innovative about yet another "nostalgic" sidescroller, or a flash game about some developers "feels". It's no new word in gameplay, and it's visually repulsive. How a game like say, Isaac's Binding is good and innovative, when the pew-pew top-down view dungeon crawlers existed since the 80s? Hows is Slender a technological or gameplay feat when it lasts 20 mins at max (and yet people complain that 8-hr games are short)?
More so, these games are NEVER desired by or played by a general audience. They are a niche thing, born by gamers who want to feel "special" about liking "non-mainstream COD CLONES OMG". It's a completely self-contained, circle-jerk scene for which quality is an anathema since it gets "less genuine".
Simply put - these games are bad. They are bad because their developers don't have the budgets to make anything good. They are bad because they are a repetition of old, worn-out shit. They are bad because the niche they exist withing doesn't try to acknowledge the fact that quality, not pretentious wrapping, sells a concept. They are bad because they are made by faggots for faggots.
I'm not saying that indie games should cease to exist. No, they should - they might well be a platform for rag-tag collectives to someday develop into viable, professional teams, if only for that.
I'm arguing that we should look at these games for what they are - horrible, broken turds that deserve the same level of scrutiny and critisms that solid gaming products get. That they are a thing for a hipster niche, and should not influence mainstream, quality gaming. That people who do them are often tallentless scammers.
That's my view on this shit. I have a really cool idea for a game. But I have a presence of mind to realize that such a game would require a lenghty production cycle by a professional team - and I have the presence of mind not to buy some half-baked flash engine and try to do it on my knee, taking the role of 4-5 employees.
Correct way of handling such a desire, is to go to a bank, take a big-ass credit for a beginning small business, assembl a quality team with all key studio departments, and set out to do it like a professional business entity which you are. When you beg for shit on Kickstarter, and go around Deviantart begging random artists for free concept art, you know that your product will be lump for shit.
So you go and make a 2D pixel retro side-scroller platformer, and game journalists piss their pants.
Thanks, I'd rather play Aliens: Colonial Marines.
From my perspective, there was a considerable evolution in terms of artistic vision and even worldy outlook over the past few years that I had. What I did in the past, I've no interest in during the present day, and I think it's cool. Change of path to avoid a stagnation for a hobbyist.
Torture-device was all about warhammer, gore, and politically spurring journals. I'm no longer interested in warhammer, I dunno what to say new in gore, and in my 28 years I've realized the intrinsic futility of announcing your political opinions on the internet. You might say I'm too old too realize that, but I'm as much as a product of the Internet age as most of us here, and good that I realized it not a decade later, like many still do - I feel lucky)
TD-Vice, in return, just wants to do his own concept art, visually cool stuff, his own stories and with time, move to more lucrative grounds for exposure. It's all about bright neon colors, cyberpunk, narrative studies and a dash of newretrowave in the mix. Deviantart is still a good platform for massive exposure, and not gonna lie, it's what's keeping me here for the most part. But hey - all things change, and that's a great thing.
Thanks to everyone who keeps with the journey)
So, I decided to talk about critique for a bit.
In the online art community there is no unified stance on critique. Some people are totally incapable of recieving any form of critisism of their creation and think it's the devil. Some think that critique is should always be a "sandwich". Some people think that anything goes and the artist should listen to all feedback if he chooses to publish art online. Some say critique is only valid "constructive" and some say that it doesn't take a chef to know the steak was burnt.
I'll talk about how I percieve it - and mind you, my perception had changed over the years. This is more about what I figured during this time.
Point 1: Feedback is essential for development. That's not a solely artistic thing. Every human activity implies there's a trial and error process involved in the honing of any skill and being taught that skill. Thing is, that without a person being pointed to where he erred, he will most likely repeat his mistakes. Without knowledge, a person has no awareness of the rules of his activity, and will not by himself be able to see where he did wrong. So, without critique, there is no artistic growth. Any person that does not accept critisism of his activity, will most likely be stunted, because there's no second pair of eyes to evaluate his work with detachment and clarity of vision. However, clarity of vision is something that an artist develops too, from experience and critique itself. An experienced artist's evaluation of his work differs from that of a beginner. Experienced artists make less mistakes exactly because that detached reflection of work is possible on their own.
Point 2: I personally don't think critique should be "sandwiched", ie has to contain both praise and the critisism. Sometimes, a work has no real positives to talk about and is a bundle of problems. The idea of a "critique sandwich" was propelled by people with egos so frail they can't concede to their mistakes before being buttered up first. The main requirement of a critique is that it's TRUTHFUL. That is what helps artists - truth about their art, and if the truth is pleasing or a call to action, well, that depends on the work itself.
Point 3: Critique quality differs. That's a very important point. One thing is to say "well this is too negative" or "this is too positive", which is an emotional assesment of a critique, but another thing is the quality of the product. Tone !=quality.
Basically, an artist that gets feedback, is posed before the following question: "Is the opinion valid, qualified and helpful?".
Now, here comes the tricky part. If I speak from my experience, when I just started doing digital art, I accepted ALL opinions about my work and tried to implement them. I was a very unexperienced artist and I hungrily devoured any feedback that came my way. Also, because of my lower skill level and the aforementioned inexperience, I wasn't been able to discern between helpful advice and unhelpful advice. Mind you, when I say unhelpful I don't mean rude or something like that. Unhelpful advice more often than not the one that is given with the best intentions of the critic. The critic is a person and artist like any other. A critique is a product like any other. The value of one critique compared to another, DIFFERS. And to maximize the improving effect of feedback that it has on your art, you have to realize, there is no equality amongst anything that we do.
For example, as my skill and ability to evaluate my own art grew, I started noticing, that the feedback was often, well, lacking. That creates a dynamic of "am I seeing things wrong or this person does?"
And that brings us to the next point.
Point 4: The gap between the skill of the recepient artist and the provider critic determines the critique's category.
Now, there are two scenarios and two forms/categories of critique that stems from them. Both of these categories have their uses - none is essentially better or worse than the other, but you should always discern between the two for the sake of your improvement.
Scenario 1: the critic is less proficient that the recieving artist, and that makes for a Pointer Critique. The pointer critique is summed by the faved by pointer critics saying about the chef and spoiled food. Indeed, it doesn't take a great artist to noticed botched anatomy, ghastly color choices and other evident problems with an artwork. The pointer critic is that detached eye that sees your work as it is, without your flair of emotional involvement. The Pointer Critique is the highlight marker for your work. And that's mostly it. Because the critic is less proficient than you or maybe not even an artist himself, it's unlikely he knows what to do with the aforementioned problem.
Scenario 2: the critic is equal or more proficient than the receiving artist, and that makes for the Tutor's Critique. The tutor's critique is what many imply by "constructive critisism", and that is that in addition to telling the artist what is wrong with their work, the critic also offers a solution to rectify the problem, or offers an overall advise how to improve the artwork. Because the tutoring critic is at least equal, or more proficient than you are, he had previously encountered and worked around the problem he had noted in your work, his skill is sufficient to know, how such problems are fixed. The critic, therefore, is not a pointer, but a tutor.
This is the most sought after type of advice, since it doesn't leave you hanging and trying to figure out what to do. BUT! Many do not realize that, but a pointer critique that leaves you hanging is just as helpful if the pointer is correct. Many times, improvement comes from FIGURING STUFF ON YOUR OWN, and that type of digging to get things right is often more of a solid step, than being led by the hand and told how exactly to fix something.
So, we touched a bit on critique quality. So, what if you feel the critique is not of good quality, and were the critic may go wrong?
To start off, I'll return to my previous words about self-assesment. The more you are inexperienced and the less you are self-aware about your art, the harder it is to discern between low quality advice and good advice. This inability to discern may result in two different things for a beginner artist: the artist sees all critique as low-quality and attacks against him, and stagnates, or begins to fix any nitpick for the sake of doing it and not thinking about why. I have to say that for the longest time, I fell in the latter category. While it did help me improve considerably, it had its drawbacks.
So, I'll list what I think is low-quality critique, and how to understand it is one.
1) Person with low quality art trying to red-line yours. This I guess, in my eyes, is the worst offender. I see it all over the place - one bad artist taking another bad (or sometimes good) artist's work, and with the best intentions of "look, this clavicle is off!" redlines the artwork to worse hell. If someone proposes you to redline, look at their own gallery - if there is nothing to show that the person is decent at what he attempts to fix for you, politely decline. You won't get anything of worth out of there, and you could get a bad habit.
2) Pointer Critique is incomplete at pointing. Things like "that leg is wrong", "i dunno, the colors look weird", "I don't like the background". Pointer Critique doesn't need to offer a solution, but it should be complete. Examples: "that leg is wrong, because the calf is too short", "i dunno, the colors look weird - pink really clashes with orange, it becomes a mess", "I don't like the background - it lacks depth".
3) Tutor's Critique shows incompetence. Some people may have really good art and a keen eye for mistakes, but they're shit at explaining things. You have to keep in mind that it's totally possible, and not every person is good at advise. Here's a thought-up example of such incompetent attempt at teaching: "Ok, so the leg is wrong. The calf is too short... I dunno, you could try overlaying a photo, to see how to get it right?". The person might attempt to give you a solution, but imply a method of fixing that is out of your technique, or the solution is vague enough to be useful.
And in the end, let's talk about critique etiquette, if there is one.
There is an idea, that any type of advice is valid and should be respectfully accepted. I thought so too for the longest time, and for the most part it's true - at least in the respect part. However, I'd like to disavow certain types of ideas at the current point and strengthen some others. I've been for the past few months more active on professional art communities, watching how industry professionals operate, and well, shit is different from dA. The attitudes are different.
So, here are some the not so nice truths you gotta face, from both the side of an artist, and a critic.
1) Critique from a professional/proficient artist is more valuable than one from an amateur. It's a sort of tabooish thing to say, but that's the reality of life. The opinion of dude that draws stick figures will always be less valuable than the opinion of Craig Mullins, and if you're so lucky to hear both, stick to Craig Mullins. It's not nice to tell a person "fuck off, you can't draw, I don't wanna hear shit from you", but if the person is of a lower level than you, and YOU'RE ABLE TO DETECT THAT OBJECTIVELY, take their advice with a grain of salt. Respect, but don't slave to people that are less able than you. Of course, some will tell you "they're both valuable", and in certain cases, it might be so, but the people that say such things too have standards)
2) You don't owe critics gratitude. That might sound rude, but it shouldn't be so. When you post a work of art to the public domain, it's the right of the people to offer their opinions and critisisms to it. However, they do it on their own volition as well. Sometimes, people get enraged that you don't tell them thanks for a critique or ignore it, because they wasted time and effort on you. Of course, if the advice was valuable and helpful, by all means gratitude should be expressed and I follow that. That, however, doesn't mean that every remark in regards to your work needs your praise just because they took a second to type it out.
3) Low-quality advice isn't a direct order for implementation. Some critics might act like they're the last instance. Funny thing, they might be, but that depends on the concrete critic and their advice. However, a low-quality critique is NOT the last instance. You should always evaluate who advises you, the advise itself and it's prospects, ask for a second opinion if possible. If you're not ready for it, well, learn to discern. Sometimes, the feedback is outright garbage. You wouldn't eat garbage, right?
4) There is no point where you stop needing feedback, no matter how proficient you get. But, as you get more and more proficient, you need more and more proficient feedback as well, and that's what generates a lot of tension in artists and critics alike. When you're 1,8 m high, you can't splash around in an inflatable kiddie pool. As you develop, you and your critics should recognize that change, and act accordingly.
5) Also, you can't take off from account the fact that for some people critiquing is a way to stroke a flattened, low-esteem ego. You have to be able to recognize it and step up to it. Usually it goes like this: "I can't paint for shit, but I can TOTALLY give "critique" to this person who is miles ahead of me, and he has to swallow it, because CRITIQUE = ART PRO, and if he turns it down or argues with me, I'm gonna call him out as being a sensitive asshole who doesn't want to improve! Go me!". A lot of artists are aware of this and afraid of this, and therefore, accept critiques only to avert this sort of passive agressive bullshit. Little such people know, that industry professionals NEVER receive public critique - it's mostly dispersed through a tight-knit circle of familars, that need no outward reassurance about their skill.
6) As a critic, to conserve time, study the artist that you offer advice to. I learned that it's a waste of my time to give feedback to people who are a) not very good with critisism, b) who are not at a level where they could implement my advise yet OR at a level where my advice, due to my lower proficiency, is not-needed. So, I prefer to give critique to people who possess the roughly the same skill level as I - they understand and they need it. Both conditions are met.
7) Critique of work in progress and finished work should differ. Works in progress require immediate technical feedback that could help the artist evade or fix approaching mistakes, or offer a fresher perspective on the direction where the work is going. A fully polished, complex artwork, however cannot be fixed as easily, and critique should be made in regards to the PROSPECTIVE works of the artist based on the mistakes or successes in the current piece. Examples: "the foot is all wrong, you should make the calf longer and work with the hip joint so it corresponds with the characters movement" (for WIP); "you have inconsistent leg length for the character in this piece, you should watch for correct propotions in characters, and better from the very beginining of the piece" (for finished work).
Finally, some last comments
Firstly, great, helpful feedback is a rarity - if someone offers it to you, by all means aknowledge the critic that did, because he helps you to become a better artist for free. Share that with others and the community, tell them that there's a person who offers good advice and who should be listened to.
Secondly, don't be a spineless shit nor an ignorant douchebag. Not every piece of feedback is a good one, and not every piece of feedback is an attack on you. Nurture a healthy ego, an understanding where you need to go, a keen eye and ear to gather all valuable opinions and develop a self-assesment that is as objective as it's humanly possible.
Thirdly - give back. Becoming a good critic is a positive influence on one's art itself, because when analyzing other people's work you train to do so with your own - that exact self-assesment that I keep talking about.
Hope this helps anyone interested)
Basically, there's a preaching chorus of obscure and well-knowned artist alike, going "uh like u misogynists, draw wimminz respectfully k! Draw em natural and stronk and wiz personality, look, I'm a progressive male feminist! Imma tell you how you should display ur fantasies u patriarchy opperessive bigots!".
But! What a surprise! By the sharp rebuttal of my friend, whenever an asian giant like Applibot throws a job at these progressives, they go and draw all the ginormous booty, wasp-thin waists and nonsense bouncy boob armor in kinky poses that they so vehemently chastise in others. Suddenly, not a single fuck about "womYn" and "RESPEC" is given - who cares when you got a couple thousand bucks for a pair of illustrations? Jesus, gotta give it to Asians.
Social justice melts like snow under a spring sun whenever actual money get involved, hence it's so hilarious to watch. Thankfully so. A world ruled by hypocritical prudes is much worse than any Orwellian nightmare.
"I was a male feminist, but then I took a paycheck to the knee" (с) muh frand
Blogs in progress
So, here's a pretty interesting art topic that I seldom find to be discussed.
Basically, there's this idea that the art industry just absolutely needs a tsunami of tutorials from everyone and their mother. Not just from the masters of their craft, but anyone who yesterday held a pencil in their hand. Everyone is in a fervor to EDUCATE, it seems. Unfortunately, without the credentials to do so.
Yesterday I saw a tutorial on the front page, on how to draw flames and fire. What struck me was how abysmal it was - not only the presentation of the process looked bad, but the result, which the author toted as a "flame", сame out to be very, very poor. This prompted me to reflect back on all the previous shit-tutorials I've seen, and how they're not only unhelpful, but damaging to other, young artists. There recently had been a flood of them - how to draw water, how to draw this, how to draw anime eyes, etc - pathetic in quality, utterly unhelpful and presenting a result that is anything, but competent.
To be honest, I am as guilty of that as any other from this point of view. I've done about 2 tutorials on how to paint, one on coloring and one materials (not counting one where I just showed my process), and looking back on it I realize shit is really pretty horrid. On top, there's also a sense of pride and euphoria clouding your better judgement. You think "oh my god! I'm so totally good at this, look at those FUCKING HYPERREALISTIC REFLECTIONS MAN! I need to share with everyone how to do this, and not only is it an altruistic thing to do, but there's also EXPOSURE MOFUKA!"
That line of thinking, though, is a delusion. Mostly because at any given moment, especially after finishing a big complex piece, as an artist, no matter how self-aware you are, you think that you are at the pinnacle of your skill. But - if you strive for improvement - that is no so. You're in a PROCESS. And what today seems totally fine and dandy and the only conceivable way to paint, tomorrow becomes outdated. Me, personally? I cringe at my "how to draw metal" tutorial, because not only is the technique dubious in it's effeciency as I see it now, the execution of it is shaky at best.
Point is - TODAY I would've given different pointers how to paint metal. And most likely, in a few months, those would change too. That's why I don't do any more tutorials or don't plan on doing them in the forceeable future: I'm a consumer of knowledge, not an educator. I don't yet know enough about art or handle it to the point where I could make it helpful to anybody.
Being able to dish out advice requires a high degree of skill and self-awareness. The reason we have so much incompetence flowing around is because artists are not self-aware - they often don't see the limitations of their skill and therefore, cannot assess if the technique they like, or skillset they have, provides a satisfactory result in a finished artwork to begin with.
There's also the conceitedness and social-media fueled desire for constant loop of exposure-feedback gratification. Many of the "artists" use tutorial-making as an extension of their grab for popularity and monetary refunds. That, by itself, isn't bad - as far as I understand, is done in the professional art industry - but at least there you KNOW what you pay, when it's a Massive Black studio director teaching you how to paint on a 9hr DVD walkthrough sections. Not some kid who just yesterday traced their first Naruto screenshot and now takes a bite at doing "anatomy tuts".
So, you get incompetence. Critiques, for example, are arguably less tied to the critic's manual skill in the chosen field. If we go with the analogy that "it doesn't take a chef to know that the steak was burned", a restaurant critic doesn't need to be a good cook himself - he needs to have the ability to decipher what his tastebuds tell him, and then put it into words.
But giving out actual technical advice and education in the forms of tutorials is a different beast all-together. It implies that one is so good at what he does, that he is able to teach others. If we continue the previous analogy, a person who cannot make scrambled eggs to save their life, shouldn't start a "How to cook with style" show.
Being able to teach a process is a skill like any other. There are a lot of professional industry artists that make absolutely mindblowing works, but that cannot relegate their knowledge in any comprehensible form - simply because it's not their thing. So when you look out for a good tutorial, it's about this rare combination of a talent in teaching and an artistic skill developed enough to be universal and not prone to growth problems and development fluctuations that I've talked about before. You need someone who has "solidified", so to speak. And more often than not, those are older, or at least, vastly experienced people, who's knowledge had been tested by time and clientelle.
If that doesn't happen... Well, then you just have what happens here on dA, what I observe: sharing and spread of incompetence, when people don't take the time to think about their skill, and just rush to share their techniques with bystanders. Or get some "street cred". I can't even count the times when I had seen "redlines" that were more messed up than the original product, yet the both parties were totally satisfied by the outcome - one feeling that they gained some knowledge on how to improve, and the other - that they're good at helping people.
Of course, it's all good intentions. And I'm absolutely sure that such internet tools, in form of various art-sites and all, and the fact that a lot of people got access to art and to tutorial-making, made people improve leaps and bounds faster than they could have without them. But as with ANYTHING ELSE, there should be self-awareness and drive for quality. Don't do stuff because everyone does it. Think - "do I have credentials to educate? Why do I think I do? What's to back it up? Am I finished in developing the technique that I want to share the process for? Is the technique GOOD? Is my understanding of art principles FULL and encompassing to a degree that I'm not constrained by glaring problems in my work?"
Then, the level of competence will rise out of a sea of sludge.
So, first and foremost I want to express my gratitude to the anonymous deviant who donated me 300 points that I opened a donation pool for. It was for no silly reason, but to purchase awesome urban landscape photo-stock here on dA to use in my future cyberpunk works. Whoever you are - you rock, and I'm certain something good comes your way as well.
Speaking of art, yeah, that's mostly what's going on - I'm still trying to find my footing in post-cyberpunk aesthetics, toying with techniques and ideas and all of that. I've mentioned a few times that the artwork and concepting I'm doing now is for my own IP and novel - well, that's true. You might ask - well, the hell you're not releasing it, if you're talking about? I really want to make a solid literary work in English, and at this point I feel that leaking it online in an incomplete form might hinder my processes. I debated the idea of partial releases on speciliazed literature-centric sites, but then argued against it, since it would be hard to protect as intellectual property. But building hype is always necessary) Kidding, there's nothing to be hyped for, it's just gonna be some chump's eBook.
Arting, at this point, really helps to rest from writing and visualize the setting, blow the excessive creative steam off, so to say. So stuff it cool.
Also, some of you may noticed the changes that happened to my page here on dA. I'm going to briefly address that. Overall, I'm currently trying to pinpoint a niche for myself where I can work with tighter focus - the aforementioned stuff here. I did some gallery cleanup, putting in storage works that I think don't reflect fully my qualifications as an artist. It's no embarresment, but I wish a more streamlined experience for any viewer - before it was really a mess of everything. Journal design elements and icon, and in future - profile description, ID, and so on - need to reflect this new status. What I had, I've outgrown, and that's a natural process, that's exciting as hell.
However, what happened at this point, is that Watch_Dogs were realeased, and damn, are my weekends ruined because of it! Actually, despite what some critics say, awesome game (and that coming from a person who could never get into GTA), with an awesome style and attention to detail, demonstration of next-gen capabilities and all. A media experience to be savored. Awesome cyberpunk inspiration as well.
And on the movie front, we got the Edge of Tomorrow, which quite impressed me with a really impeccable cinematography, gripping pace and overall, a breather of relative originality (as much as an original a manga-based movie can be anyway) in the unrelenting, shitty tidewave of Marvel/DC faggotry. So, recommend it to any sci-fi lover to go and see it. It might be not actually as "smart" as some critics tout it, but it's enjoyable and never boring, to say the least. It even, gasp, has character development beyond the comic "i iz angsty cuz parents dead" and "i haz to save gurlfran" and "how will i live with these uberhuman powers, baw, I wannuh be ordinary agen".
I was also pretty excited for Transcendence (AI, duh!), but seems like the movie flopped, so probably would just buy a DVD.
And what sci-fi book or manga adaptation (western comics need not apply) do YOU think require a live-action, big-budget glory?
It's always the struggle to crawl from the bottom of the pyramid, to the top - always including the inevitable dumpIng of severed heads of the losers down its blood-soaked steps.
It's a battle of substitution and re-distribution of power if the challenger comes out victorious, and the yesterdays slave always, I repeat, ALWAYS in that becomes the today's master.
There is never a "good" side in these dynamics. There is just the RIGHT side - the one that is yours, and laregly, biologically and genetically predetermined. The modern west has a severe masochist complex, an infatuation with suIcide - but it's all fun and games untill you have your nails pulled out, or watch your family raped and burned alive.
Remember, that is what happens when you lose.
The important part to remember, is that no victor has a capacity for mercy, especially if he's persuaded in his victim complex and seeks revenge - which, ultimately, is the modus operandi of a victim complex sufferer.
Revenge is the key word. When you lose, don't expect a happy, chilins-of-the-earth-unite kumbayah.
If you give your power up, nobody will say "thank you" and offer you a suite in the "retirement home for oppressor scum". They dont want your apologies and understanding, despite the similar claims. In reality, they want your blood, suffering and wealth. They want an inversion of the current situation, where they are at the helm and you are collared down. Not justice. Not truth. Not "equality" - those are their weapons to make the threat duller to your dazed, fogged eyes. Dont be tricked into thinking otherwise.
If you dont cling to that top of the pyramid, it is your head that will lay at the bottom, make no mistake.
Realize that. It's either you - or you cease to exist as a human being. Dont give up your power.
Giger's biomechanics were that visual hook that caught me into painting on my own - at first I started with pure plagiarism, but that helped me evolved my art, the high standard and unbriddled imagination that denotes his works. It's weird to feel gratitude to a person you've never met, but that's what transpired.
I rarely feel saddened by the deaths of people I don't know, but if I ever had an artist to aspire to, an idol, H.R. Giger was one of them. The world of surreal and sci-fi art has lost an outstanding visionary. On the other hand, it was a life worth living.
I have many times espoused radical, extremist views. I've argued the fact that sometimes you need to weed out the "fifth columns", that people that do harm to your state, should be exterminated. But I've talked of these things when the subjects of the debacles were of different racial origin. That terror against a different enemy is plausible. What happens in Ukraine, though, is not about ethnicity even, or a survival of one of the white nations. It's about greed of the pro-Western Bandera thieves, that try to sell their people to the EU, like a pimp sells his beaten, bruised whore, and about the so-called "nationalists" that are used as a blunt weapon in this deal. These nationalists are nothing, but human scum - looters and destroyers of their own nation, the worst phlegm that this land had bourne.
If this is nationalism - I have no part in it. If nationalism today means sending your nation into a crash course, if it means to be a delusional, sellable, worthless muscle, if it means being a murdering thug with no discern - I'm no nationalist.
Yes, I always had been an idealistic person. I believed in the ideals of the old, of ethnical supremacy, of the idea od the Nation. As a fromer soldier, I accepted loss and cruelty in the name of an ideal. But I never had been for mindless cruelty, for cruelty that backfires on your own people, on those who depend on you. I don't think I can hold to discredited ideals anymore, though. I'm not blind, nor a fool. And it's natural for a person to re-evaluate their mindset when faced with a new reality.
I need to be honest - I now see what much of a bogus the whole "pan-white" movement is. There is no "white". There is only Russian, Ukranian, Polish, Spanish, English. We are as splintered as African tribes, and as hostile to each other. Idealistic people like me tend to think better of their peers. White thinkers and intelligentsia love to fantasize about the powerful unions of white men all over the world, but when geopolitics come in play, we will gladly kill each other.
And I accept that. I accept all of it. And therefore, I shed all the bullshit. I'm nothing but a Russian patriot, a Russian - a Russian for whom only Russia is "uber alles", only ethnic Russians are worth of anything, only those loyal to this state and its People are deserving of protection and life. Call it ethno-egocentrism. Does not matter. War changes everything.
Am I ashamed of my previous views? Not really. They were formed by other circumstances and experiences, and held in such experiences. Now they crumble apart. That's how life goes.
In the light of the current happenings, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this account. As Ive stated previously, I went to move onto my own sci-fi projects and cyberpunk IP. But now, in addition, some questions are raised. I don't think I should isolate, but then, to be engaged on a site hosted, created and inhabited by denizens of a, factually, enemy state seems a bit well, dissonant. Hopefully, the situation rules itself out.
Not the kind of a "thank you for 700 000 views" journal that wouldve been planned. Thank you, I guess. Go express your condolences to the Odessa victims, better.
Basically, I encountered yet another person who cannot grasp the difference between concept and visual aesthetic, and is quick to brand any widespread concept as similar to some popular piece of media that utilized such a concept.
I personally define visual aesthetic in concept art as series of image elements, art techniques and stylistic patterns that unify an array of objects in art into a single, wholesome, stand-out microcosm which is recognized by these elements. It's what allows us to relate a piece of art to a certain time period ("that's so 80's!"), a culture ("typically oriental stuff!") or movement ("absolutely baroque!").
A concept, on the other hand, is a concept – an idea made into flesh. The concept might have a definitive visual aesthetic, or it could be generic. Therefore, the concept is WHAT, and aesthetic is HOW.
However, many people seem to greatly mix the two, or mistake visual aesthetic for style and technique, which are components of the aesthetic, but not it’s contenders.
Here is what I mean under a visual aesthetic. I want you too look at these screenshots of very popular media, game and film, and get a hang of what I’m talking.
Since this blog entry was spurred by Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which I’m sure many of you played, let’s look at it first:
The most glaring visual aesthetic motifs for DE:HR is the color pallete, which falls into black and yellow/gold/orange. Most of the interface is coded in those two colors. The light and bloom effects, that tinge the games "atmosphere" is in most environments, yellow as well. Such a strict color coding immediately sets a major visual aesthetic theme. Second thing – triangles. Triangles are repeated in most of the environment, deco and character designs, along with pronounced edges in environment and object design. While the exposition may vary, the triangles and angled surfaces find their way in most of the game. And lastly, another big visual aesthetic component of DE:HR – is a use of gloss and glow atop victorian-esque setups, which clashes modernity with classicism for a truly cyberpunk feel.
Dead Space, and it’s subsequent iterations have a defined visual aesthetic as well. It doesn’t just go sci-fy – again, it creates a set of visual rules that all of the game’s elements follow, and as seen on this screenshot, the most evident rule is ribbing. Ribbing is repeated in nearly every non-necromorph object in the game, starting with Isaac Clarke’s s suit, and continuing on with Ishimura’s design, the environments, interface and object. What does that achieve? Unity of space and manufacturer. The Ishimura is feeling solid, made by one company, and existing in a real world.
And the movie Oblivion, which is color-coded, and shape-coded as well. Most of the movie objects are stark white, including the protagonists suit, his hub, the drones and so on. The drones and the hero’s method of transportation share a similair, spherical contemporary design awfully reminiscent in its cleanness and simplicity Apple’s industrial design, and it manages to convey to the viewere that this is high-tech shit. It’s not just a single design, but a similair design theme running through the movie’s art production that once again ups the degree of believability.
The problem I have with a lot of modern concept art and modern art appreciators – when we’re talking about large industrial projects - is that they’re more focused on the concept, but don’t care much about upholding a unified, natural visual aesthetic.
In concept art this translates into the what I call "generic fantasy cancer", ie "everything and a sink, too!"
Why I call it generic fantasy cancer? Because most of the time, when making a fantasy concept, the artist doesn’t think about a wholesome visual aesthetic, but throws in everything in their visual library that’s about armor and medieval times. Since most of the time the visual libraries are not so big, it translates into a mish-mash of discordant and generic elements, as seen in this example:
There’s no feeling of unification and believability. In art production, say, in games, the difference between simple concepting and creating a visual aesthetic, in my opinion, is most vividly seen in the Dragon Age series. While many people hate on Dragon Age 2, I hold it in much higher regard than the first installment, Dragon Age: Origins/Awakening, both in story – but most importantly, in art.
DA: O has absolutely unremarkable visual aesthetics, indiscernable from a myriad of other fantasy RPGs. What set this game apart of it’s competition, was a compelling role-playing experience, gameplay and story arch, as also a wide set of character customization options. But the game design seems ragtag, and feels like being done by different people in different places. From the beautifully stylized Orzammar (which I think of as one of the most successful visual languages found for a fantasy race) it drops to the pits of well, this:
It’s an cutscene screenshot, demonstrating dark-spawn in all their generic, reptiloid glory with what looks like celtic knotwork patterning slapped for no reason on their generically spiky-toothy bad guy armor. The difference between character and environmental and even interface design, the disjointment of it that is demonstrated in DA: O, for me, at least takes away immersion in the game, my belief in it and the satisfaction of playing.
But with Dragon Age 2, the studio went another route, and created a whole new, standalone visual aesthetic and narrative to the game universe, which enabled to solidify its mythos, and present the game universe as something that is wholesome, and not a series of maps and battleground – a REAL place.
Now, look at the dark-spawn design for DA 2 and compare it to the DA 2 design of the main character. Firstly, while it has the same concept (ie, undeadly looking bad-guy goon), the new dark-spawn is visually different from the predecessor, and yet, related to the main character. Certain elements keep them grounded in the same space, signify they share a same reality. But the studio went further. It created environments, interface elements, loading screens, maps:
All with the same overall visual aesthetic, and that, in my opinion, was a great success. It was done through a specific color pallete, use of fonts, patterns and repeating uniform elements, while adding enough variety and sub-aesthetics to keep the thing lively.
That’s why I feel that it’s important to keep a unified, competent visual aesthetic in concept art. Unfortunately, that is largely depended on research, reference and a big inner visual library, which many artists don’t find necessary to develop or limit by not consuming enough media and art per se, because as seen in the abovementioned examples, the correct thing might be found anywhere in our lives – in architecture, in fine art, in historic pieces, in home appliances and etc. Not just in other media.
I constantly try to keep this in mind when I design characters, outfits and other objects. I try not to delve in disjointed ragtagness and keep the relationship between concept and aesthetic as organic as possible. Doesn’t work at times – maybe, but that’s not a detractor. Because I believe that a concept art’s impact lies 90% in solid visual aesthetic, and only 10% - in the concept on it’s own, and its just a matter of practice and determination to create you own either from scratch or through inspiration in your whole life experience of observing the world around/
You need a tool to utilize every precious moment to do your arting, and let's be honest – the comfort of sitting hours before a screen with your trusty Wacom Intous is not for everybody. Certainly not for the working man – maybe for a NEET or student, but not when you need to show off that fat KPI to your boss.
So, the realization hits you. You understand you need a portable artistic device for quick sketching, concepting and serious artistic chops when needed, on the go – and it better be a mobile computer too. You gotta forge steel when it's hot, and you think that with the overabundance of tech on the market, it's an easy feet to go and grab the lastest and greates there is.
Most likely an iPaaaa-.... ho, hold your goddamn horses right there.
You look at that lovely aluminum body, and you maybe even buy it – and then feel horribly cheated by artsy hipsters, because it doesn't have an active digitizer, and you're confined to an array of clunky crayon-shaped styli and child-like painting programs that would make Nintendo DS users reel in disgust.
The horror, the horror! Nothing to satisfy a power-user concept-artist of the mobile, smartass generation.
Never fear, though. I'm here to briefly, and more importantly – concisely – guide you through the wondrous world of productivity digitizer tablets. Or maybe not so wondrous, because the selection is limited and in most cases, severely handicapped.
But it's a guide you'll never read anywhere else. I never reviewed these devices before, though I have had hands-on experiences, so I'll be posting 1-2 short reviews a day for this week.
First off, there's a few important points to be made.
We'll be looking at 10"+ tablets ONLY. While smaller form-factors might seem handier, for any serious work you need screen real estate. So Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Tegra Note and Asus MemoPad fall off this race.
Secondly. Platform is important. Full-fledged Windows 8 machines allow for installation of your favorite PC art programs, like Photoshop and Painter – but, because most often then not, the hardware is tablet- or ultrabook-grade, don't expect stellar software performance from them. These programs usually require graphical horsepower and RAM chops from the system, aaand that's not the case with these devices. So you trade the possibility of installing these programs for the actual performance of the device.
On the other hand, with Android tablets, you'll have to stick to more exotic and undercut software like say, Autodesk Sketchbook and Infinity artist, but the lack of familiarity and complexity of such software is rewarded by higher hardware optimization. Sketchbook will run virtually on ANYTHING – and won't eat through your battery like a fat chick through a box of chicken wings.
Thirdly: There are currently two main active digitizers systems utilized by tablet vendors. Wacom – DUH, and N-trig. The latter was mostly dropped due to performance issues, and none of the models we'll be looking at utilize N-Trig. However, older devices, from late 2011 and early 2012 did opt for the N-trig, like Lenovo ThinkPad and HTC Flyer, so watch out for these.
So let's start with the elephant in the room.
The Wacom (Cintiq) Companion and Wacom Companion Hybrid
Wacom, that had sold 5% of it's stock to Samsung, was late to the tablet race. A leader in digitizer tech, it took them long enough to move from the clunky Cintiq to something that is also a mobile computer. And everyone thought that being late to the game and so full of premium digitizer expertise meant that Wacom is going to change the market and bedazzle everyone with their devices.
It was meant to be messiah, over which female professional painters would not contain orgasms.
Eeeh, not really. I'd say that Companion is a flop, and a test of waters of sorts. A very rough product that undoubtely would find it's consumer in the professional art world, but that has so many stutters that keep them away from being an optimal solution.
So, what you need to know is that Wacom Companion comes in two distinct flavors. Windows 8 Pro and Android (Hybrid). They're both 13,3" slates, with a 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS penabled screens, that allow for a 2048 level of pressure active digitizer setup, wrapped in a sturdy aluminum/plastic chassis, which speaks not of fashion, but ruggedness.
The Windows 8 version runs on a 3rd gen iCore i7 CPU that makes sweet love to it's beastly 8 Gbs of RAM, and offers 256 or 512 Gbs of SSD storage and 2 USB 3.0 ports
The Hybrid packs a Tegra 4 chip, 2 Gbs of Ram, and has two storage options – 16 or 32 Gbs, expandable with a microSDXC slot.
Both have Wifi/Bluetooth connectivity, rear and front-facing cameras (2MP and 8MP) and dedicated hardware buttons, Wacom's patented ExpressKeys system, that will be familiar to the Intuos family users. And of course, there's the pen, with changeable nubs and grips.
Both tablets, being built on the same chassis, also offer a kickstand to be used in desktop mode scenarios. Wacom Companion and Companion Hybrid also throw in a few apps, like Wacom Creative Canvas and such, for those who want their painting experience right out the box.
So, how do these devices measure up to the hype of "It's a Wacom! It's a tablet! It's Superman!"?
First off, let's start with the screen. While the displays are of a commendable full HD resolution, the sharpness and density on a 13,3" inch screen doesn't seem as nearly as impressive when crammed into a standard 10-incher slate. While such a resolution is perfect on a notebook, which is meant to be used an arms length away from the user, the tablet form-factor implies that you cradle your darling closer to the face, and that shoves those gritty pixels right into your protesting retina.
While not so evident while watching movies or exploring pictures, the problem with the insufficient (by modern standard of the Retina displays, hailed by Apple) pixel density pops up when dealing with thin lineart and text, with blurring along the edges irritating to a pickier painter.
It also doesn't help that the panels themselves are not at the top of food chain. Sure, they're bright IPS screens, with good viewing angles, but they offer no truly vibrant color, or good sunlight visibility. Blacks look washed out, and yours truly found himself wishing for longer brightness bar than was present.
Wacom didn't offer information on brightness and contrast ratios of the displays on the Companions, and I hadn't performed RGB testing, but from a subjective standpoint, for the price-tag the vendor demands, the screens felt underwhelming.
The build quality is superb, though. The Companion's body design conveys functionality and professionalism, no gimmicky bells or whistles around – but it's not a tablet you're going to throw in your backpack heedlessly. It's size and weight commands respect, and the wide bezels around the screen seem to tell the unlooker: "we're not here for the looks, we're here for the job".
For some it might be a problem. The tablet is huge, the screen accentuated by the bezel, and it's no feather either. For those hoping to cozy it up with the Wacom Companion on the cough, leisuringly holding it like a fancy moleskin – nope, buddy. You're gonna use that kickstand desktop mode more than you think, and then wonder why you didn't buy Cintiq 13HD.
But maybe that's what Wacom opted for. Not a universally portable tablet, but an amalgam of a Cintiq and ultrabook, that only totes the possibility of being carried around. Also, since the device works with a clone of the Intuos pen, don't expect that fat fucker to have its own little hiding compartment in the tablet's body - it's to be carried separately, and God help you not to loose it. Or it's nifty little case.
However, that's all talk. What we are interested in, is how it performs, right? How it draws out all those squiggly lines and color splotches?
Well, there's where the versions – the Windows and Android – start to differ. The feeling of the pen and the glassy screen I found to be geniuenly and brilliantly, Wacom. The pen is close to its Intuos sibling, has solid grip and amortized nubs. Nothing new there, just the solid, expected quality. For those who find the feel of slick glass uncomfortably while drawing, there's a sleigh of matte and grainy screen protectors.
Anyway. First things first – general experience with Windows 8 and it's tiles on Wacom Companion is comparable to the first Microsoft Surface. Even though the i7 CPU is a generation behind the cutting edge of Haswell chips, the 8 Gbs of RAM aided the Companion is smooth, and pleasant performance in most Office and browsing and playback tasks. But as for the actual painting, the experience felt rough and raw.
The Windows 8 version offered the freedom to upload the classic painting programs, but at what cost? The pre-installed Wacom bloatware and Artrage worked solidly, with minimal paint lag, the pressure sensors working through their tasks without a hiccup.
Then, Painter 12 and Photoshop took the center stage. And Wacom Companion lost it's sheen a bit.
Painter 12 crashed several times, but that's not the point. The worse thing is that the companies are a bit sly in their marketing.
The Companion's pen input did start lagging slightly in both of the "big" art programs, with ghosting sometimes quite evident. But it did so when there was a bigger canvas to work on and more complex brushes.
With simple brushes and 2000 pix canvases the lag was mostly in existent, but when the sizes climbed up, or brushes became more textured (this especially was obvious with Painters RealPaint brushes), the tablet began having troubles calculating it, despite the desktop-grade RAM. It also started to significantly heat up due to increased workload.
Zooming in became a bit choppy, and programs tended to loose some interface elements when minimzation happened.
While this issue isn't exactly serious – not everyone works with big canvases or complex brushes – it leaves an unwanted impression that the tablet isn't as omnipotent as it's marketed. It sets some sort of inner limitation, which isn't a good feeling when you decide to shell out $2000 on a professional tool.
Still, the experience of drawing directly on a such a big screen, is awesome. The pen is accurate, with little gap felt between the tip and the on-screen cursor, and I really liked the flow of it on the glass.
Now, what of the Companion Hybrid?
It's safe to say that it doesn't suffer from the software-related issues of the Windows 8 Companion – mostly though, due to the fact that there's no such software to overload a Tegra 4 CPU in Google's Play Market.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, my Android program for drawing of choice, worked smooth and nice, but the pen input, suprpisingly, felt more lethargic and less accurate as on the Windows 8 version, reminding me strongly of Samsung Ativ Smart PC tablet. While the software-hardware relationship on the Companion Hybrid felt more organic, it also subjectively felt slower, than on a normally performing Windows Companion.
The rest of Android antics, including homescreen flippings and handling of Angry Birds, worked through the Hybrid well and zippy.
But the solid performance of the Wacom slates were all underhanded by the battery issue.
Wacom didn't optimize energy use at-fucking-all. The Windows machine was the worst offender – with turned -on Wifi and fired-up Photoshop CS in the work, with occasional browsing, it squeezed out about 4 hours. Not a device you'd want to take for a workday in the office without a USB cable or a powerbank.
The Tegra 4 device fared better, clocking up to 5 and a half hours, but still a miserable cry away from the market leaders. Of course, it could be pointed out that that the huge 13" screens account for such results, but if Ultrabooks can do it, why not Wacom Companion.
For the Windows machine the answer is in following – the older chip. Wacom Companion could have benefited from the more efficient Intel chips, but the company came out with the device a tad too early. Patience is a virtue, and Wacom should've heeded that notion.
Another let-down – at least for me – is the lack of cellular connectivity that we've all come to expect from tablets.
The Good: Wacom Companion, both Windows and Android boast a seamless integration of their digitizer tech, a must-have for tablets. The size of the screen, couple for best-in-class, 2048-pressure level, accounts for a desirable artist tool, that now also double as a portable computer. Wacom Companion has a lot going for it – a Full HD screen, ability to upload professional artist software, finely crafted hardware and mostly solid performance in the artistic department. Think of it as a Cintiq in an iPad's skin. The Windows version allows for split-screen multitasking.
The Bad: The size and weight for this duo of tablets are not for everyone's taste. Despite the marketing, the potential buyer should realize that the Wacom Companion's portability is second to it's classic desktop display mode. The screen could have been better, both in colors and resolutiion. The performance in painting isn't bug-free, and has it's limitations – something not everyone would be ready to accept for the premium price Wacom is asking. Battery life is on the abysmal side, once again, it's not truly portable device. No 3G/4G connectivity – don't have WiFi, forget about livestreaming.
The Dough: I've already mentioned that the features and performances of the Wacom Companion's don't quite live up to it's pricing. Well, here it goes: $1.499 for the base version for the Android model, $1.899 for the Windows machine. Ouch.
In these series, I will not advise or talk you out of your consumer choice. The Wacom Companion will find it's loyal follower, and it's in its own class of devices anyway.
The big, fat, Wacom computer class. I'm sure loyal fans of the brand and artists that hope for future polishing of the products firmware, would feel pleased with Wacom's first foray.
Let's hope it's not the last.
The tone of the article was preacher-like and nauseous. And even though I generally tended to follow the same thought process, something about it was off-putting, and I started to think about it in more focus.
And realized how this line of thinking is wrong.
The real problem is the human trait to think of the past in a far more idealized manner than we think about the present. It has to do with the way our brain functions, I guess – I'm no neuroscientist, but the information which I possess, points me to the fact that our mind cannot hold to the whole detailed picture of the past, but is powerful enough to process every minute detail and inconvenience in the present.
That's why we like the past. Because it's a photo that had been ran through every Photshop filter possible until there's just blurry shapes and that one thing that you really liked. Or hated. It's an ever-changing landscape of fantasy-land, filled with noble knights, and profound truths and solid morals and clear-cut values.
That's what the average man sees in the past. What the average man doesn't see, though, is that the past is made of average men.
The harsh reality is that gadgets, and iPhones and tablets are NOT killing good literature, that clip TV DOESN'T ruin our perception. That celebrity-gossip DOESN'T make people into mindless drones. That shitty movies and professional sports are NOT taking people away from classic art and music. That tweeting, sexting and showing off your personal life online DOESN'T lead to the downfall of a person's moral character.
The truth is that the average human character had always been pretty shitty from the point of someone on a more elevated position.
Consider the fact that circa the 18th-19th century, which is when our western civilization was supposed to flourish, when the greates works of art and the great scientific advances were made, 95% of the population around the globe were illiterate dirty fucks. And about 0.004% were literate dirty fucks and loved crude romance novels and ogled at bearded women in circuses the same way you stare at Miley Cyrus these days.
Consider that 98% of people in any given epoch had low taste, horrible communication skills, pretty mediocre mental capabilities (and "mediocre" I use here veeery generously), and their belief in God and Country ended where a bottle of cheap medieval alcohol began. Consider that the overwhelming majority was an unpleasant mess of crude, cattle-brained, fuck. That there never was the time where the useless, worthless majority was preoccupied with the "real, important things" – 100 years ago women were babbling around the laundry about their husbands, and didn't discuss Descartes and Voltaire.
And then, after all this, you'll understand that nothing was ruined culturally, for the most part. It's just that this nature of the average man became more evident. The tricky part is, though, that the UN-average man had lost his will to rip through the torns to the stars, that the average man became a desirable state of being. That is the difference, and that is the danger.
But modern technology doesn't make people dumber or ruin culture. Our modern way of life doesn't undermine some fragile cultural wisdom - for there was none from the start, for most people.
The naked king proclamation now would sound as "we just gave an iPad to an 90 IQ soil-toiler, what did you fucking expect"?
Technology doesn't change human nature. It just exposes it.
- Listening to: ESC -
In any case, you know, me being a white supremacist and all, I get these pinko libfags all over my shit with the same mantra over and over:
"African people are exactly like me and you, they have as much talented people as everywhere else, they're vibrant, and harmonious with nature, and beautiful, and capable of the most wondrous things - and if they don't achieve anything, it's because WHITE MAN IS HOLDING THEM DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY! Racist whites robbed Africa of their riches, sold all the negroid race Einsteins into slavery, DUUUUH!" "POC's are just as smart and intelligent as you, even more, because they're not RAYCISS!".
They're telling every white person that black people are equal, that they are all future doctors, scientists, the cream of the crop of humanity - and the only reason why they arent such NOW, because facts say that blacks have the potential, but not the result, is because of RAYCISSSM everywhere, lack of edumacation and praise for the black race.
Well, I will present to you, my watchers, the hugest slap to the face of SWPL, bleeding-heart egalitarian white shitheads and social justice warriors. I will present to you the real African achievement black people amount to when there is no evil whitey holding their hand and whipping their back, figuratively speaking.
I give you - Spooknig 1, the Ugandan homebrew Space (anal) probe to launch a mouse, and then a black person. The pinnacle of Black teknawlagay!
And no, this is serious shit people. This aerogrill-ricecooker hybrid is the spacecraft Ugandans intend to launch at the nearest forest... sorry, space orbit.
Let's hear from the scientists and venture capitalists themselves:
Uganda will soon launch the first space observer called Cadimella, Capt. Chris Nsamba, the chief executive officer and founder of the African Space Research Program (ASRP), has revealed.
Nsamba was briefing the Vice-President, Edward Ssekandi, who inspected the launch pad of the space observer at Kimaka Airfield in Jinja on Monday.
"This has demonstrated that Ugandans can also participate in sophisticated programmes. This is impressive and the Government will support the association. I am going to brief the President about this," Ssekandi said.
Nsamba revealed that the space probe has self-defence, anti-time missile features, which protect it from being hit by missiles destined to destroy it in case it passes in the space of another country.
After its launch, they will put a mouse in it and will have it lifted to the stratosphere by a helium balloon.
"We shall send a mouse to space. If it comes back alive, it will mean that Uganda is able to send human beings into space and we shall embark on constructing a new space observer that a person can use," Nsamba said
This, my friends, is fucking Hi-tech. Not your dumb iPhones, electric cars, vacuum trains and ISS. This is what creative minds do when they are confronted by lack of resource and funds. You snap a 120mm PC fan and a webcam to a rice-cooker, then break apart some calculators to form solar-panel arreys, scotch-tape it together and voi-la - you have a SOPHISTICATED AIRCRAFT with SELF-DEFENDING ANTI-TIME MISSLE features and then have it launched in space with a mouse on-board with a helium balloon.
Never mind there is no visible defence systems, nevermind that helium balloons cannot into space, never mind it's not even pressurized - awww who am I kidding, why would you pressurize a bean pot - never mind noone know what is this mysterious African weapon such as an anti-time missle? No, the power of Black Hope and Change will charge it right up to greet the motherfucking alien niggaz. And of course, it has defences, because you know, all the jealous whitey and azn nations are gonna target this flying turd-saucer with their ICBMs, because DEY RAYCISS!
Here are some technical specifications of this Ugandan miracle breakthrough:
-Orbit Altitude: Over 176km Above Sea Level
-Orbit Speed Range: 6200km/h
-Life On-board: Mice/Rat
-Re-entry method: 3 phase shoot deployment in ascending order
-Number of dake pilots/controllers: 4 persons excluding mission commander
-Space Collection: Will collect dust molecules from space neighborhood for lab analysis in regard to ice age
-Ability: Can be controlled from anywhere in the world
-Re-Entry cooling systems, manual and remotely deployed.
-Anti float in mice chamber -Anti float method: magnetism
-Each command you send to the Cadimella, it talks back to you, it can talk ladies and gentlemen, it can talk back to you as its in space .
HOWLEE LAWDY NIGGUH! IT CAN RETURN? ANTI-GRAVY-TY WITH DEM FUCKING MAGNETS (HOW DO THEY WORK?) IT CAN TALK TO YA BACK? Like wut? "Im not yo homie nigguh, I beez in spess n shit, ya give comands to yar bitch, dawg!" It say it can talk ladies and gentlement, can it talk them to bed? But most importantly, the general idea is that if this metal bowl can somehow carry a mouse to space, it CERTAINLY can do the same with a human. Can we volunteer Obama to be the first Afronaut?
But yes. This is state of the art, demonstrated here in all it's aluminum foil glory:
Dem buttons, man.
You'll say: - damn Torture-Device, you're a racist, horrible motherfucker, why you come up with this crazy shit to make black people appear dumb and savage? This is most likely a racist white supremacist fraud to cover up the fact that indeed, Africa is moving forward with all her might and becoming the leading power of the world, with all the fucking VIBRANCY in that motherfucker? The unity? The POWER OF DA BLACK MAN COMPELLING YA? Jesus, Torture-Device, it's not like Egypshuns and shiet invented stuff, it's not like Africans had dem universities and brilliant cultural social thingies when we savage whites were bathing once in a lifetime in dirty Europe? It's not like we didn't steal everything from these peaceful minorities who couldn't defend their innovation? This be a fraud, you bigot.
But no. It's fo rizzle - check out the ASRP site, the organization of the African Space Research Programm: ugandanway.com/asrp/news.php
And these are these mighty brains behind the breakthrough, this brilliant spark of black ingeniousity:
Oh these smiling faces, each of them denying the horribly rayciss myth of the Bell Curve. You know these people are gonna launch this space probe with a giant rubber band, and then it, wheezing, would propell itself through the air and vacuum with its 120mm PC fan powered by a piece of buffalo dung. Who needs NASA or Roskosmos?
But hey. We're still told about how black people are great. How they are capable of great things. And this is their great thing when they're not working for some white guy or corp. I mean, jesus. In Russia space flight had been a special thing, given our breakthroughs and contributions to the humanity in this branch of science and industry. We had launched a man in space only 60 years after being a rather technologically backwards agrarian country, that had suffered a devastating war.
And despite all the humanitarian aid and technology supply of Africa, they do this. What is this, but not a testament of difference? And don't tell me this shit sucks because it's a small-team, underfunded project.
This is what black people do on their own: youtu.be/qF2FQIoXMYg
This is what white people do on their own with limited resources: rt.com/news/hover-bike-star-wa…
The space probe fiasco, and the Skyhawk fiasco - srsly, see the above Youtube video about a Ugandan plane with no rudders, no ENGINE, no NOTHING but a fuselage - is just the testament to the "cargo cult" nature of black people. They just can't into technology.
They try to slap together some Radioshack debris parts together to make it look like the shit the abhorrent whitey does, and they think it will do the exact same thing. Its a CARGO CULT. And dont even try to excuse it with lack of information - these people do have Internet access, they have videocameras, they have cellphone, all that shit, but they have no idea how anything works. They can just smile and say big words like parrots, not really processing whats going on. They are fucking unbelievable.
This is just brilliant. I'm hiccuping still from this invaluable piece of evidence, that so solidly, blantantly stomps the pink-glassed liberal egalitarian fantasies in the soil in pieces. Into the fucking mud. Yes, fuckers, look at this shit, look at it and weep - your favorite disadvantaged minority performs so WELL when the playing field is evened, doesnt it? It so vividly demonstrates the futility of venture and development in the region where these people dwell. They have no shame of their ignorance, no awareness of their cargo cult.
Instead of building the wheel, they try to imitate a plane.
And really - these people, if we're supposedly their descendants, had a headstart on us whites. So why are they lagging behind? Why - and isn't this the answer to this question? The answer that no matter the donations, the aid, the cheating in rules, affirmative action, grants and so on - biology, simple fucking physiology, trumps all of the stupid white libfags cum-crusted dreams and movies and ads about smart and smooth black doctors and scientists. There's their Django, looking in the cam and holding a mock-up piece of shit, announcing it can launch a man in space.
Spooknig 1, this is ground control... we have a problem. Pilot had suffered a cooncussion when launching the probe, over.
Also, thanks for all the feedback on mah audioblog! Taken everything into processing, so look out for the new and improved rant coming next week)
- Listening to: ESC -
Basically, some time ago, pointed me to this contest, "Train your brain" that was going on dA under the sponsorship of "The Art Department" , a well-known in the professional artist community virtual art school. The contest that went on dA - ayame-kenoshi.deviantart.com/j… - had several categories of admission, and it caught my friend's eye, since the prizes offered an ability to get masterclasses and online workshops from this well-established educational group and quite a few big names in the industry.
Now, as you know, I'm not a professional artist or even a person who capitalizes on their art, plus after browsing entries I've seen the high level of industrial standards in the work and hadn't any illusions. But the contest looked so decent, that I submitted a few pieces purely to get exposure. And promptly forgot about my submissions.
Yesterday, however, on the Journal portal the journal announcing the winnders of the TAD "Train your brain" contest which I clicked on out of curiousity, the winning 1st prize artwork for the category of "2D Entertainment" seemed was so bland and undeserving of the 1st place, that I couldnt help to click on the journal announcing 2nd and 3rd prize winners, just to see my suspicion of those works being better.
I clicked, and scrolled through the winners, and there, a familiar shape appeared. MY OWN FUCKING ARTWORK OMG JESUS ON A SHITSTICK - ayame-kenoshi.deviantart.com/j….
Holy fuckballs, I won a 3rd prize in 2D Entertainment of a more or less serious graphics art contest with this - - and I'm super-excited about it.
The prize is an online class course in art of my selection for 16 weeks, 3 hours a week, which is pretty neat and which I intend to share the knowledge of with others. There was an idiocy on the contest inhibitors though that they made NO notice to the winners of the fact that they won, but meh.
It's just that this is pretty ironic - entering a contest knowing you'd not win for the heck of it, but still win. And not in some circle-jerk user-inhibited contest, but something serious and professional. I'm flabbergasted.
- Listening to: ESC - "Alpha male"
So I'm gonna jump on this whole "technique & style" bandwagon.
The newfound notion is that art is about "expressing ideas, emotions, fun, story - insert whatever", not technical skill. Lots of shitty artists with their crappy internet popularity and webcomics engines suddenly decided that they're awesome and epic ideas are so AWESOME, so EPIC, so LOVED by people, that giving them a decent technical framing is not important at all, and they can be lazy cuntfaces.
I have to say one thing about this: technical skill IS expression. The better your skill, the more instruments for you to convey whatever you want to convey with your art. Or nothing at all, if like me, you're mostly focusing on plain aesthetics.
Technical skill is the language of art. Not emotion - emotion doesn't draw. Your hand does. Your eye. The nerves and muscular tissue connecting the brain, eye and your hand. Art is about control over physiology - imagination comes second.
Let's see. Can a man with a vocabulary of 300 words write down "Hamlet"? This is what I ask you.
People who say art is firstly about the imagination, emotion, expression, whatever, by saying this imply, that one can write "Hamlet" with 300 words. Because, they would say, these 300 words are sufficient to express what Shakespear did.
But let's think about it logically - are they sufficient? Is there a difference between "So this totally broody Danish prince meets his fathers ghost and he tells him that he was murdered by the dude's uncle, so the prince sets out on revenge, kills his father councelor by mistake, abandons his girl, feigns insanity and talks to a skull named Yorik before attempting to kill his uncle" and
"To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and frrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to dream; Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause."
No. Of course not. Not all the emotion, drive or desire can make this happen. The mastery of language opens for a 300-worded savage the opportunity to express even the tiniest tones and themes in order to tell their story in the most appropriate way.
Same with art. Technical proficiency is the key to EVERY door, the skeleton key, if you will. While crappy and mediocre artists found a key only for their limited little chamber where they wallow in till they die.
When one has a limited resource, his expression becomes limited. Once again, it's impossible to relay complex concepts with a savage's vocabulary. It's impossible to present an idea in a shitty envelope and wait for success.
Form and content depend on each other. But art is visual. It can exist when content is missing, but the form is there. But the other way around? Never.
Proficiency in technique is what the whole human world thrives on. I can't really imagine a nuclear reactor engineer that would roughly outline the reactor's blueprint and be all like "well that's it guys, let's start building". I can't imagine an animation artist that doesn't do a 3-view turnaround of his character so that the animation is smooth and uniform, and doesn't become an inconsistent blob unless it's implied. I can't imagine that I, as a reporter, begin writing without holding to the standards of existing grammatical structure and when my editor says "WTF" tell him that it's "my style", I'm "expressing myself" or "writing correctly was never my first-point goal".
Artists, especially paid ones, aren't exempt from what all other professions demand - a high degree of standard, and technical quality.
So, kids, you can tell all the shit about your unique awesome style, personality and expression of emotions - but if you draw like a rooster with a broken claw, no-one will get to the page of your genius comic where the real epic stuff happens.
They'll just throw the shit into your face.
Same as you will wish the guy who's telling you a gossip while stuttering on every word and backtraking, to just shut the fuck up. Even if the story is really good.
Technical skill uber alles. After all, doubtly any of you, myself included, has worthy ideas and designs that haven't been done before, and probably better in quality. So many people have a delusion that what they want to express is something new and something that SHOULD be expressed.
I'd rather people made better furniture and phone designs.
Let's talk about the most controversial thing ever: STYLE in art.
There's a lot been said about this matter, how to find your style, how to hone it, be original and stuff. But I wouldn't be me if I wouldn't rant and rave about those people who use their style as a defense against critisim. Yeah, some of my watchers and friends, who fall into the same trap, inspired me to post this.
The thought is very simple. In my opinion, a person can claim to have established their own personal style when they've reached a skill level that allows them to convey realistically anything they wish to. Basically, you can develop as STYLE you can call your own only after you've achieved at least some medium skill in academic art. Why? Because when you learn the art rules, which are actually very rigid and objective, you can break them and transform them. You can't do it BEFORE you get good at academic art. Because otherwise it turns into a disastrous trainwreck of crap art.
In all other cases, the so-called style is just a person's inability to paint and draw objects as they wish to do. This "style" young artists love to speak about is nothing more than a temporary compromise with their lack of technical skill.
Inconsistent anatomy is not style. Screwed up perspectives with no thought put into it isn't style. Innapropriate usage of color, texture and digital painting gimmicks isn't style. Drawing exclusively cartoony or exclusively surreal isn't a style. Any kind of discrepancies, flaws and mistakes - ISN'T YOUR STYLE.
What all these people call their style, is just a more attractive way of saying "I can't draw in any way or better than this, so I'll avoid cognitive dissonance by claiming it's my unique way of artistically expressing myself." Sounds good, sounds plausible and self-confident. Suuuure.
Now you'll say "TD, but what about J00? You're prolly thinking you're some art guru or shit when you're a mere mortal like us!". Well I don't.
At this point, I'm more mimicking other established artist's styles. I learn constantly, I take notes, I borrow techniques, visuals and well, real styles of real masters are my inspirations. In the end I get a somewhat original blend of these, but can I say that I have MY style? Nope. I have my painting techniquse that are unlike many others, I have my own way of drawing separate objects that can be the budding elements of what CAN become my style... Yeah, I guess it's elements. If I keep up, maybe these separate instances would once evolve into a really MINE artistic style, but at this point it's severely incomplete. And that is because I hadn't reached that required level of academism.
When someone point's out how I fucked up, I don't have this comfy excuse of saying it's because it's meant to be like that. Nope, I most likely fucked up.
In any case, style is reserved to someone who's devoted a great chunk of their life to art and getting better at it, breaking themselves over and over again. Many established painters, mind you, never developed their style. They've spent their lifetime churning out bland copycat academic shit, but even that took considerable skill that most people lack.
So I'm all gawking at these teens and I dunno, amateur hobbyists that pridely announce that their stuff is done in their style. Um no. Firstly, your style is just a mash of borrowed elements from a shitton of other artists. Secondly, your experience is insufficient for you to claim having developed this intangible, ethereal substance of art. People spend DECADES before finally realizing they've invented something of their own. And you all jump in and proudly announced you've acheived it by lazily scribbling in your notebook during lunch breaks?
Style isn't getting the "snake part lumpy" and claiming it so. Style is pushing the boundaries and discovering something new in art and showing it to the world, making the world recognize it as suck.
Wonky anatomy, disproportions, inability to venture out of comfort zones, sparkly wolves with scene hair, shittily redrawn Marvel comics, manga-blend elements and the like aren't breakthroughs. I'm sorry, they're not.
You don't have a style, I don't - so shut the fuck up, people. Humbleness never killed anyone. And anyway, style isn't prerequisite for success, or for getting satisfaction out of the process of creation. If more people would focus on quality rather than "how else can I distort normal art so that I differ from all the oooother SHEEPLE" popularity contest, the art world would benefit.
- Listening to: ESC - "Alpha-male"
Seriously. It's driving me crazy. I don't see a vampire fad, whatever you people say. Yeah, we got Twilight and the clones, but generally, vampires is a good, old, established and actually inspiring mythos. I can see why the theme of vampirism is mildly popular among the horror genre: it's a good combination of sexual, existential and religious themes. You've got the thirst, the humongous lifespan/immortality, tough choices, ethical problems and shit. Admittedly, vampires allow for lots of plot derivations and exploration of these eternal themes.
But fucking zombies. I'm fucking sick of them. I'm sick of the:
- endless movies (>10 a year), all following the simple "hurrr lets survive among the living dead" plotline and never getting away from it
- endless videogames (>10 a year), all following the simple "hurr let's make X enemies zombies too, wow, what a good idea!" production design
- endless popculture meme-ing of these pathetic, uninteresting monsters.
QUIT ZOMBIFYING EVERYTHING. No, you're not a creative speshul snowflake cuz you made Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, or a Disney Princess a zombie. You're not cool because you draw cute things rotting and shambling around. You're not funny and cute with your obsessions over Hunter from L4D. You're not hardcore because you thought out your escape plan in case of Z Day, cuz you're like that guy from Metro 2033 or Stalker, because you're a nerd expert on zombie types or have watched all of Romero's garbage. You're a sad turdnugget. Shut the fuck up. You can't stand up to a Walmart cashier miscalculating your microwaveable dinners, somehow I doubt you'd survive in case of cannibalistic corpses chasing you around.
Yes. Romero's films are garbage. Most of zombie flicks is intolerable shit, and I'd gladly take a dump down Romero's throat for popularizing this fucking dreg of a genre. Probably, the only zombie movie I enjoyed was Shawn of the Dead, and that's due to it satirizing the whole ordeal. And that old film, I think that was called "White zombie", because it was at least about the actual Vodun rituals, and not someshit of a genetic experiment gone wrong.
You ask what's my beef with zombies? They're BORING. Boring, boring, boring, BORING. They're as boring as disaster movies about tsunamis and earthquakes, because zombies are OBJECTS, lack personality or realized intent, and therefore are nothing but a force of nature. It's like watching a movie about killer sharks or killer bees....though wait, those have some spark of intelligence about them. I guess you need to be a pretty stupid and easily impressionable person to be scared or entertained by zombie flicks, serials and books. Firstly, because it's probably the genre that has the least plot variation.
It's always the same fucking story about a group of survivors running around dilapidated buildings and without even a smudge of suspense, dying in the jaws of some undead. That's fucking psychologism right there.
There's no variety. There's no second layer to this. I like horror where the enemy knows what's he's doing. Thing is, I usually associate myself with the antagonists of horror movies. When it's a sentient being it's easy to do so. Even if I don't associate, like in some alien movies, or etc, I like to muse about the antagonist character and figure what drives them. Like say, the pod people from Body Snatchers - sure they aren't too charismatic, but at least they have a plan, and from there tension arises. The horror, you might say. Vampires, werewolves, evil aliens and concious undead (que Evil Dead) are all representatives of parts of the human psyche.
But zombies don't have a personality or a masterplan, therefore they represent nothing about ourselves, and the only scare factor of them is well, that they're anthropomorphic. There's no secret behind them, no bigger threat or question.
So I don't really understand why everyone and their grandmother latched onto them.
I'm tired of zombies. Their horror capabilities are shallow and had been exploited to the max, yet more and more producers, designers and etc jump on the bandwagon that's going to crash soon under the combined weight of uncreative fucks riding it and milking the idea.
Gimme back my "Thing", gimme back good Stephen King adaptations, gimme back Body Snatchers, badass vampires and radioactive shapeshifters, evil cyborgs and alien invaders. Fuck your zombie pseudo-hardcore survivalist bull.
- Listening to: ESC - "Alpha-male"
Don't want to sound like an extremely important person, but time from time people would gently nudge me and say: "psst, dude, have you read this ttly awesome webcomic? You gotta go take a look!". And, being the easily influenced person I am, I'd go and look. I'd read the stuff and then my face would become such -
Even worse are people who propose me to do a webcomic.
In this light, I want to say - there are NO good webcomics. There are ok webcomics, there are plausible webcomics, ones that I understand why they gain a certain amount of popularity, there are bad ones and there are horrid ones. Being a frequent visitor of BadWebcomics Wiki, I become more and more persuaded in that point of view.
The main aspect in my Universal Webcomic Suckage Theory is the fact that most of the webcomics is a natural human way of communicating a simple habitual pattern - "LOOK GAIS I HAVE STORIES IN MY HEAD". Thing is, that being a srs artist, one that draws standalone art requires skill to impress the viewer. And writing literature, even if it's shitty fanfiction, requires a lot of time wasted on typing pages after pages.
But webcomics are a medium that combines the "best" of both worlds, and most importantly - historically doesn't focus that much on actual visual art skills of the artist. Anything from stick figures to copy-pasted dinosaur sprites goes.
So, we've established the axiom of webcomics being a vehicle for a person to share his fantasies with the public. The logical conclusion to it is the fact that most people would rather sprout wings and learn to shit pure chocolate then be entertaining. Most people haven't got any good ideas or creativity. Most people don't have a sense of humor. Most people have problems with characterization and building plots.
All of which is necessary for making a good comic, web or not.
But people are prone to delusions. They think that what they concote in their heads is interesting and entertaining to the outside world - and god forbid if it has to do with some existing works of literature, art, fandom, movies or video games. Sometimes, though, if an artist is actually good with the chosen medium, he can CONVINCE the public in that he as a person is interesting. But that glamour rarely holds on for long, and longetivity is the factor of survival for a webcomic.
Going back to the vehicle of personal delusions and desires to share them with the world, it's quite easy to see that even stories that started out with a clever plot, nice humor or even the dreaded ride on the wave of pop-culture references, eventually - and inevitably slide unto uncovered and blatant expression of the artists' warped mind, ego and life.
Simply because of the "Oh my gawd I can COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE THROUGH THIS STUFF" phenomena. Shit, dude, stop drawing how your life sucks and you can't find a girlfriend whilst wrapping it into cutesy-sarcastic paper! Wasn't this comic about I dunno... the actual plot?
Thing is, these mindfucking brainfarts are completely inevitable. One of the main reasons why I don't do a webcomic, apart from my lazyness and irresponsibility, is the fact that I well know I'll do the fucking same. I mean, how boring it is to continue on with some stale, slowly-unwinding plot when you could give social commentary about one's life hardships? How tempting is it to use characters as self-insterted mouthpieces?
But this is what generally ruins a webcomic. If it's not so bad from the beginning, with actual plotlines, humor and truthfulness, popularity causes the author to realize that he can't waste his grip and power over the audience on such silly things as entertainment. Oh shit no, this has to become a means to OPEN UP TO THE WORLD! And I dare you to find a non-absurdist webcomic that doesn't fall into that trap eventually. Seriously, the person who finds a non-absurdist, non-pornographic webcomic that isn't a vehicle for the author to share his problems or fetishes with the world and douse it with angst or hyperactive adoration of the subject, will get a free art request.
So that's my problem. Webcomics are generally a form of public masturbation. And that is a bad idea.