Jul 19, 2010

A Gold Tooth Named "Cedric"; Rats Instead Of Children; Some Methodology.

Rats Instead of Children?

Hello, thanks for looking at these.

They came about from doodles while I was chatting on the phone. Something that Coreopsis planted in my small brain.

I thought I might need a 'view' out the window one day, so I conjoured some up. They are variations on four different houses placed across a landscape, then treated differently in post processing. I've also thrown scattered lights at them to get some variations in the lighting, to dapple it up a bit - so to speak.

This is how I work. When I'm not doing an illustration I will be getting things ready for a future illustration. Like making an ugly child, in case I need one in the future. Or a cute dog with a silly hat....

About the Images:

The bottom left hand image is an example of what the render might look like a small amount of fiddling. (A 'render' is the image that I produce with my 3d modelling program.)

Initially, with the views over the house tops, I aimed for that French village feel that you might find round Haute Provence or maybe Languedoc (Language of  Oc .. isn't that amazing).

But of course I had that moon and a few birds just wanting to get into the pic, so there is a Japanese feel in some of them. Blame Hokusai. :)

For images 5 and 6, I thought I would change the weather a wee bit.

To make the rain? If you havn't seen a tut, here's one. In photoshop, fill a new top layer with black, render some 'noise' then do a motion blur at the correct angle to make the rain drops. This will stretch the dots of noise into small rectangles. Change the layer parameter to 'screen' - then play with the contrast and opacity settings to brighten up the drops. Duplicate the layer, shift it a little so that it is not lined up with the original layer,fuzz it slightly, and you will have depth to the rain. You can also use the threshold filter to make it even more black and white if necessary.

The third image down has a mud texture overlayed in a new layer - I think it's parameter is 'overlay". Just for fun. It adds another dimension - a muddy dimension.

As far as the layout of the images. Sorry about that. It's the best I can do with blogger ..... ugh. :)

The two images below this text you are reading at the moment are early work on the Pied Piper. The surf was pretty good today, so I didn't have enough time to do the children following him. I did rats instead.

Rats instead of children?
Who would have thought?

Of course I made the big mistake of not putting his instument in his mouth. I wanted that marching band feel.
Oh well.... He had a tambourine as well, but that didn't last long!

The rats were fun todo, but the little blighters won't keep still....
If you are wondering how to do the rats as they are?
In my three d program I have four different rat models that I have placed in different poses on the landscape. Then I make a copy of the landscape in 3d and use what we call a surface replicator to replicate instances of those four rats over the landscape surface. I can make the random in size and angle, but cannot change the original poses.

I then make the landscape invisable and 'render' the rats en masse against a transparent background -so it is like blue screening on television. I then bring the render of the rats into my image which just has the pied piper and trees and  ground in it. I place a few different renders of the rats en masse around the Pied Piper and erase those that look a bit weird. I have probably used five layers of rats, one upon the other. I then adjust the lighting and contrast and colour to make them 'sit' better with the original work.

If you look closely some of the rats have missing heads, or two heads if they are lucky.
I think there are about eight hundred rats, but you can't see them all because I have cropped the scene quite visciously.

There is also one Rat with a gold tooth named Cedric somewhere near the back....
Bet you never heard of a  gold tooth named "Cedric" before?


  1. You know, Andrew, the way you make a mockery of words sometimes, that is a compliment, by the way, they way you play with words, you might as well have been an etymologist or a compiler for the Merriam Webster Company. When I read your title, I thought to myself, Hmn, does he mean mythology or truly methodology. Hah! You got me on my toes as I pursued trying to uncover mythology. What a cunning artist you are both in colors and in words, for your constant teasing, jumbling, mixing, misspellings and unique typograph have me now on the alert.

    Indeed what methodology. A very complicated process which I know you tried to simplify, still, I find my right arm, it may be your left, sore and tired from the constant digitizing movement.

    I'll stop before my dissertation turns to folderol. I love these images. I love the cluster of houses, an almost perfect rendition of slum and squat dwellings, albeit, a bit sterilized, for the real one would reek of filth and squalor though the images.

    You know what came to mind as soon as I saw the first image? FIRE! You have painted a tinderbox, and topped by the Pied Piper of Hamelin with a mob rattus, you have successfully stimulated my erector pili. UGHH! ARGH! EEEEEK! I was born in a country where the some of the biggest rats roam, rattus argentiventer (rice field) and rattus everetti (forest). We even have a rat that can only be found in one forest, in Tawi Tawi - rattus tawitawiensis.

    Ugh, I have abdominal cramps. I need to look at the balancing elephant for some relief.

  2. Hi Andrew, fantastic perspective and texture on these illustrations! The illustration #1 with all these red and blues make me imagine of the sunset sky that it's colors reflect on the roofs. Love it. Thanks for the methodology too, you make it sound too easy but I know it's not.

  3. These are stunning, Andrew! I'm amazed at how quickly you produce such detailed images! The lighting, weather and atmosphere (Your work always makes me think "atmosphere"!) are spectacular.

    That last one has a very N.C. Wyeth feel. Magnificent!

  4. Well hell, Andrew--this puts my doodling to shame for sure. This is really fascinating. Looking at these and reading about what you did with them makes me feel like a small child, standing gape-mouthed in front of a magician. They are LOVELY. Wow. (And they don't exist, huh?--I guess you have your system backed up several times over....I've totally lost everything more than once....)

  5. To make rain??? Hohohohooo...you are playing God??!!

    ..Okay, umm, so... fill a new top layer (will vanilla do?) with black (forest??). Make some "noise" (is that loud enough?)...and err...dance the tango??!! Then do a slow motion to create blurry vision (I want a free prescription after this!!)... at the correct angle, to make the rain droppings (HUH??!!). This will stretch the polka dots into small polka rectangles... Change the blablabla..doobeedoobeedoo..rubbahubbahubba... Aaacckkhhh!!!! (*O*)..(+_+)..

  6. Sorry, I'm thick when it comes digital rendering. 4 years of brainwashing at college made absolutely no difference. Heheh. :)

    So....I suppose a hard round of applause is rigthfully in order for these marvelous works!

    *Sigh* I'm in love with that second image... :)

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  8. sometimes I would like to lose me in your magic picture... like now

  9. I have to say I am with Amalia and in love with the second one, though I like them all. I also love the first one, just the render of the roofs. They are all very cool and well done. You are amazing like quicksilver, fast, fast, fast...

  10. Well Andrew, I should get three grades (marks I think it is more correct, many times I'm afraid not to use the correct word, I apologize if that happens) for all your work (only for the visual, as written, is too much for me, sometimes I can read it, sometimes not, so I refer only to the visual).

    a) first grade (I will start from the highest): say 10.
    b) second score: 9.80 ...
    c) third score: 9.75

    Well, for all the pictures I've seen lately I give a score of 10.90

  11. hi Andrew, i like them all but i am particularly interested in the third image with muddy-dimension. I clicked on the image and i believe i just saw a fish-like airship.

  12. was this Cedric the son of Amos?
    Amos Diggory?
    i dont know him either i just googled it and found it on harrypotter_wiki (like seriously...)

  13. i know you're kidding but i am serious.

  14. Andrew, I am impressed with this sequence of illustrations!
    and the way you explained, very interesting!
    I loved the different light conditions, rain,
    the mice ... finally, everything!
    as always well done and very generous in detail

  15. Hello, Andrew! What amazing houses! I adore all kinds of houses in children books' illustrations, especially when they are picturesque, fairy or distored and I dream to meet at last a puppet scenographer who can draw such houses! And then to create together a puppet show in a cool and merry environment!! I like the changes you've made to reveal that part of the village/town at night, at dawn, in a rainy day, etc. My favourites are Houses №5 and 7. Your process of creating them sounds so easy, nearly like a game, but I'm sure you've passed through a lot of hard work and practice to reach this ease. If it happens that my son takes an interest not only in Photoshop, but in animation,too, I'll let him read your post like a lesson...:-))

  16. I love those houses :)
    the first image and the...
    I'm counting...
    ... and the ninth and tenth!!!
    3D modelling program? wow :0 you're good! fantastic!
    a gold tooth named Cedric? I've never heard!

    PS- thank you :D yes, we have a super mom!

  17. Vraiment magnifiques et magiques les différentes vues sur les toits... j'aimerais pouvoir sauter d'un toit à l'autre...
    Cependant les rats... ne m'attirent pas! Ce sont bien de sales gosses!

  18. "wow this is so good i right clicked save you rip." ~A.F

  19. hey i have something for you.
    you will understand!

  20. Well Andrew, only came to thank you for your comment.
    I was not sure, but if I choose one of the pictures, I prefer the first, watching her with my eyes half-closed discover a compsición almost abstract. With almost expressionistic colors. And an atmosphere almost metaphysical. And I almost think that I know see a painting. haha.
    (Ah, I see that Lakhsmita lives in the upstairs!)

  21. I am just pretending to know a lot about rats. My expertise is actually Chicken Fajitas.

  22. Oh Ces, you are wonderfully kind, thank you. To be truthful I can spell.... I can even spell seperate. see! But my keyboard is a cheap one made in Tasmania out of old tea towels - and it refuses to write what I spell!

  23. Aspa, thank you a lot. :) I made my next post from your suggestion, the one with the kids standing on the blocks. They are blocks made form recycled digital works...!!

  24. Ahh made it back!

    Krista, than you. I wasn't sure how the piper image tuned out, so than you for commenting on the N.C. Wyeth feel.

  25. Theresa, thankyou very much! Ah yes, I am a bad backerupper, thankyou for reminding me, I have my book backed up that's all Ugh :)

  26. Amalia, thanks for picking an image. I'm glad you don't do digital. Why wreck your talent with recipies and technique?

  27. Laura thankyou. I'm glad that you can get lost in these (in a good way!)

  28. Karen! Hi, and thanks for picking one out too. I really need to get a portfolio together so that is good to know what to put in it. Quicksilver? :) The images make themselves, did you know that?

  29. Roberto, that is very high praise coming from someone as gifted as your self. So thanks! Big hugs :) Don't tell Mita about the hugs ;)

  30. Mita :) I'm so glad you havn't read Harry Poppins .. err I mean Potter. Though I read them all but I won't admit that. Thanks for the airship thing and picking out the mud one. It is strange like rorschach inkblot.

  31. Denise, thanks for taking the time to take in the details.! It's fun to find things (unless it is a fly in your soup!)

    cheers :)

  32. rossichka geee thankyou too for picking out the images. Me I don't work too hard, it's just that I am obssesed at the moment in exploring this medium. It has so much to offer and I have so little time.

    I've been doing this for four years. Things got better when I got 12 gig ram. It means that you can work faster and experiment more and hopefully make good discoveries!

  33. Amba! Hi. Did I ever say thanks for sterting that inside out challenge? And thanks for your kind words - your mother is lucky too

  34. Martine Bonjour! , ahh à sauter du toit au toit, que la manière nous pourrait éviter les rats ! Quelle bonne idée. acclamations :)

    In Australia we have bush rats that have big ears and are cute. Except when they get in the house and hide behind the television!

    En Australie nous avons des rats de buisson qui ont de grandes oreilles et sont mignons. Excepté quand elles obtiennent dans la maison et se cachent derrière la télévision !

  35. SFD thankyou so much. They big dirigible like a fish is grand. :)

  36. Ahh Roberto, è il mio piacere commentare il vostro lavoro. Sì vorrei fare una pittura di alcune delle immagini. Manterrò le mie barrette attraversate ed occhi chiuso. Posso sentire Mita battere sul soffitto di sopra realmente:)

    I hope that makes sense. You speak Italian I noticed?


Hya! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate your time and thoughts.