Other 3D programs
Sketchup - Here is the link for those of you too lazy to google it :I [link]
3DS Max - Fully functional 3D program that can be used for modeling, animation, games, etc. It comes with Mental ray, a fairly good renderer. It's not specifically designed for making buildings, so it's harder to use than Sketchup in that regard, but it has awesome free plugins like the ones listed below. It is not free, but they offer free versions to students in participating schools (usually most colleges) which means as long as you have an e-mail account registered to your school, you can download it for free. [link]
Ghost Town - A free 3DS Max plugin that will procedurally generate cities within minutes. It is still in development so expect it to have bugs, but it still works well enough for me. [link]
Building Generator - Another free 3DS MAX plugin. It automatically generates buildings within seconds. These buildings are more detailed and customizable than the ones in Ghost Town, but it only generates one building at a time. Also, it does not generate interior furnishing, only the exterior. [link]
Blender - 100% free fully functioning 3D program that can be used for character modeling, animation, games, etc. Best used with the plugin below [link]
Suicidator city generator - a Blender plugin that comes in both free and pro version. It has ups and downs compared to Ghost Town so it's good to check out both and use them both to best fit your needs. [link]
City Engine - It's a crazy complicated 3D program that generates super realistic and customizable cities. However, it is also crazy expensive and will immediately crash if your computer doesn't have 16-24 gigs of RAM. Not really recommended unless you want to base your entire career on drawing cities [link]
CityScape - An amazing and easy to use program that used to come free with 3DS Max but stupid stuff happened and now the program doesn't exist at all; you can't even buy it. However, if you know your google well, and knows the dark corners of the internet, you can still find a student version of it. No link because it technically doesn't exist anymore (or does it? ಠ_ಠ )
Kerkythea - A free external rendering program capable of photo-realistic results. I just found out about it and haven't used it yet but it sounds pretty cool on top of being free.
V-ray - a render plugin for 3DS Max, Sketchup, and other 3D programs. It can render realistic and non-photo-realistic images (i.e. cartoon line art), it also has cool fisheye lens and other effects. It renders directly within the 3D program so you don't have to switch to another render program to use it. It is not free ): [link]
Other Drawing programs
Paint tool SAI - Love this program. Very easy to draw with compared to Photoshop, which is better for editing than drawing. It's also very cheap. Only around $50 when I bought it [link]
Corel Painter - Good for mimicing traditional materials such as oil paint and water color. Ideal for adding that extra hand painted feel to 3D images. Not free and not cheap ): [link]
Photoshop - Everyone has heard of it. Like the name, it's best at editing photos (or 3D images). It's also used by many artists to paint, but I prefer SAI. [link]
Too poor to buy any of these?
Most of us are not rich or just too young and mom said "NO"... well, I'm NOT encouraging this, but a standard rule is: If there is a program, a free cracked version of it exists somewhere on the internet. Usually google is enough to find them, if not, try 3D forums.
Haha very true
i don't care about the legal aspect of this, tbh. it's just this has nothing to do with 'how to draw' backgrounds. you're not drawing them at all; the computer is doing all the work. and i don't mean like this is 'cheating' like it's morally wrong or something, but:
i can sketch scenes quickly in 3d because i practiced, and the fact that i can see things in 3d in my head (from all the practice) means that all other parts of my drawings are improved as well. you are crippling your ability to improve at drawing, by doing this stuff. every time you let the computer carry you through, you are denying yourself 100 opportunities to get better.
it's the butterfly metaphor. the butterfly needs to fight out of the cocoon to survive. if you cut the cocoon so the butterfly can go free easily, it will never have the strength needed to fly.
... Artists aren’t clones programmed to have one goal in mind. That’s not saying we shouldn’t try to improve ours skills without 3D, because it will come in handy for many other situations. I honestly wouldn’t be able to integrate 3D and 2D if I didn’t learn how to draw everything in 2D the old fashioned way. Sketchup just speeds up the process.
i wasn't trying to 'show off', because nobody really cares about backgrounds. i almost don't even care, myself.
i am trying to make a graphic novel and it doesn't matter how nice the backgrounds are, I can't tell a personal story about people with them. no-one's going to be emotionally invested in 300 pages of random backgrounds.
like, yeah, WHO CARES if i just walk in and say 'oh look i can draw backgrounds', it's not about how 'great' i am for doing it. it's the fact that it's a valuable ability, and i want other people to have it as well!
the fact that i can see things in 3d in my head (from all the practice) means that all other parts of my drawings are improved as well. including people, composition, etc. etc. etc.
it's not about practicing until you can 'show off and say look at all the backgrounds i can draw without sketchup', it's about learning to create any shape you want, with fidelity! tracing can get you rigid, geometric backgrounds quickly, but it can't get you organic, dense backgrounds, or characters and expressions, different poses, etc. etc., you know? drawing is a holistic activity, where all techniques are interconnected! if you isolate different parts of it and avoid practicing on them, everything else you draw will suffer somehow.
if you want, you could create your scene in sketchup, pick your camera angle, and then try to draw the background using the picture as a reference instead of tracing it. it will have the best of both worlds: a complicated reference for a specific scene with all the angles planned out, as well as a lot of valuable practice getting your hand and visualization ability (in the reproduction) to do exactly what you want them to.
Im in at work so my posts have to be brief between clients. What question do you have?
anyway, paperman took about a year to make. I mean those 3d models and rigs would've gone through dozens of revisions. not to mention all the animating which--even though it is rendered in 3d--was all ANIMATED by hand. the whole work was run as a 3d animation pipeline, NOT a 2d one, and the whole thing would've taken months. some of those sets would've taken a LONG TIME to make! not to mention the render times. the tracing effect in paperman wasn't actually so much tracing, it was sparse hand-drawings which were attached to the existing 3d animation (which would've taken a long time to do btw) and dragged around by the 'meander' software system. not only that, but artists would actually draw a thing and then go back and adjust the cg to make it look more like the drawing. it would've taken forever and been very painstaking, and certainly was responsible for the 'organic richness' you mentioned, instead of the other way around.
back in the 2d animation days, disney only accepted people with giant portfolios full of life drawings, scenes, designs, etc. etc., and they expected you to have drawn it all by hand, not just traced off a photo you took.
nowadays, disney and pixar wouldn't hire a visual artist based on their ability to trace—if the artist didn't have any paintings, drawings, design-work, etc. They might hire a visual artist as a background and prop modeller, but they would almost certainly have this person working from DRAWN concept art, to make 3d models that look more like the drawings, instead of the other way around.
and then there are the lighting specialists and the camera specialists, the riggers and modellers, the texture painters who must understand all kinds of photorealistic textures before understanding how to stylize them. ask any industry professional and i am certain they will tell you the same thing!
This is AWESOME!!!
Faving that and putting it to good use for sure! *V*
I SEE YOU USE MIKU MIKU DANCE.
i believe this is for people who needs to draw the same background over and over again (like those drawing comics, for example) It doesn't mean these artists can't draw by themselves, it's just that having a premade background that they can just draw over will save them a lot of time.
May I ask a question? It's going to sound confrontational, but I don't mean it that way, I only want to hear your opinions: How do you feel about the legal issues of this method? Say someone uses a background created this way in a comic book that they then sell online ... should they credit the free 3D resource maker and the various programs that they used? Should they share a portion of the profits, if any of those people ask? And say a film producer wanted to adapt the comic ... and the film did very well, once again giving those others possible claims to some of those much larger profits. After all, without the backgrounds the comic might not have attracted the producer's attention. Later on, can the comic creator really claim that all the art is theirs? The story, sure, but the art? Who owns the art that is created?
Now I'm not saying that a method like this shouldn't be used or taught, I'm all for a culture of free where people create art and then share it with everyone and no one has to worry about the legal issues I bring up ... but that world doesn't exist yet. Artists need money to live, and the best situation right now is for them to be paid for creating their art. That's the worry I have for using free 3D resources when creating backgrounds to be used in art. Do you agree that this is an issue? If not, how does your opinion differ?
Okay, that does sound good on the legal side, it's good that someone who uses free 3D sets to create the backgrounds for something shouldn't have to worry about people wanting something for that use. It remains possible that someone would upload a 3D environment and then complain later if it got used in say a major motion picture, but if they gave up their rights to it then I suppose there's no harm except one angry person.
As for the ethical side, you seem to be saying it is better than any alternative for artists as a whole to have free access to countless digital resources ... I like that argument, but do you ever doubt it? What are the downsides? Do you think it would be possible for a site like that to reward its model creators for their work, like how YouTube will pay you if views of a video go high enough?