Friday, April 30, 2010

Dead Space

I made this for this weeks NSOTW (Newbie Signature of the Week) on Planetrenders which had "Horror" as it's theme. I was really struggling to find a subject and style to work with. I knew that Planetrenders had it's fair share of skilled artists, with talents ranging from photomanipulation to abstract work. I can only hope that the moderator in charge of the contest disqualifies the better work by deeming it "Un-horrifying". I am the mod for this weeks SOTW on Fallen Sword Forums since it's usual leader, DavidJames, is MIA at the moment. (Supposedly getting hitched, good luck to ya!). No offense or anything, but I hope he retires. His duties on FS are being shirked and the members need someone that is more active. But then again, the forum itself is somewhat of a joke to be honest. They're stuck in one place like a 1960's black and white town in the middle of modern america. I don't want to sound like a Hitler or anything, but they need to expand. If I was a permanent moderator I could bring them out of their stall, both in members for the game, and their inability to manage an effective game forum.

...Sorry about that rant, but they all make my OCD itch kick in.

Anyways, In the SOTW im moderating, we are also working with the Horror theme. And now I realize why I've only recieved one entry so far. No matter how easy this seems, this theme is ridiculously difficult! Now with my entry into PR's forums, I did a photomanipulation. I used a screenshot of the door with the light and such, but I added in the character and corrected the lighting before working on depth and the aesthetics of the piece. But honestly, you could probably tell that without my commentary, it's definitely not the best piece I've ever done. If you stumble across the contest, be sure to place a vote for yours truly ;)


Thursday, April 29, 2010


I found this while cleaning out my photobucket. I think it was my very first photomanipulation signature. Now that I think about it, I entered this in an amateur SOTW (Signature of the Week) that wasn't exactly amateur... all the artists produced works ten times better than this. Which really irritated me, I took the 2 hours to make this glorious Hitman tribute, and it was futile, I maybe got two votes out of the usual 40 that cast their ballots in this contest. I think the individual pieces of this tag were just meant to go together. I found a stock of an abandoned tunnel in Germany, and with my Hitman render already picked out I found a few C4Ds to help me compose my idea.

Perhaps while on my break I should follow my own advice and draw a few ideas for signatures since i usually throw mine together in experiments.


Breathe and Break

This was the first time in about a year that I used a tutorial for a signature. At first I skimmed it to get a few ideas for what I wanted to do, but ultimately, I couldn't produce something by combing my own style with this creator's ideas so I just followed the tutorial step by step. Some of the critique I recieved on it was a little discouraging, I thought it was a fairly decent outcome, but others responded to it with comments like "I don't know what it is, but this piece is jsut not catching my eye, no depth maybe?" NO DEPTH?! I assumed I knew what depth was but I guess I was mistaken. Last night, in my haste to redeem myself, I exhausted my fire for graphic design and decided I should take a short break. I will post some of my recent pieces, but nothing brand new. I need to take this time to reevaluate my career and how I can improve with my works.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Style Avatars

This post will be soley dedicated to showing off my new avatars. I learned this C4D exclusive style last night from a free tutorial on coloration and flow with abstract C4Ds. As with coloration, it teaches you how to pick colors from your render so you don't have to overload the layers with Gradient maps or photo filters. It uses minimal color alteration to preserve the original render's colors and crisp edges.

This was not made with a tutorial however. I tried to reenact the feeling of beingSam Fischer from Splinter Cell: Conviction. That he has to be absolutely stealth at all times. The render's expression was perfect for this piece. Someone named robotussin was holding a contest out of the graphics section in the FS Forum. He's from For Frack's Sake, but no one seems to mind him. His only stipulation for avatars was that he didn't want anime, which is what I specialize in. So I definetly stepped out of my comfort zone with this one.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are You DAFT Man?

I started trying to brush up on one of my old styles, just to see how well I could produce something of significant substance to my taste. This was my first outcome. The goal of this style is to effectively place a render into a stock and blend it in to make it look like its supposed to belong there. This is a form of photomanipulation but with a signature. LP's are easy enough to do with this style, but difficulty skyrockets when the canvas is 1/4 it's original size. Details become so important you'd wish you had OCD.

The main goal of such a photomanipulation is to make the piece look like a stock signature rather than one with a render. I think I conquered that with this piece quite nicely. It is very difficult to tell but I actually used a fairly mainstream Photoshop plugin known as Topaz. "Someone" erm... named "Google" gave me a link to and to a free set of plugins from TopazLabs™. It was only used to clean up the noise from the background stock but it helped tremendously. I highly recommend that plugin to anyone owning any image altering adobe product, just don't overdo the effects.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Pounce On it

This was part 2 of 3 in my sprite projects folder. There is not much to say about sprites that I haven't already posted. Just remember: flow is key, and ligthing will help you achieve that while accomplishing a creative depth.

To be honest, I think creating this piece brought me out of my anti-constructive binge that I was experiencing. I had not created anything decent in almost a year, and the pressure to come up with something to continue my graphic design career was daunting. Believe it or not, this piece might have saved my life... I started going to Marine Corps PT (Physical Training) Sessions to try to fill my time and find a career for me. I think I'd much prefer to sit on my lazy butt all day and fry my brain with photoshop.

This piece's depth gets deeper and deeper the longer you look at it, and I love that about the C4D's I used. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish with this piece and I believe now I have enough knowledge of Adobe Photoshop CS4 to know how someone else does a signature or tag. To simplify, I can visualize someone elses piece, and create my own tutorial for it in my head.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

This was once one of my favorite live action Large Pieces. I had to use a total of 5 renders, all of which I had to alter the lighting and depth and such. All together this took me maybe 13 hours to complete. And yet I don't think it had quite enough work done to it. The background image wasn't edited at all give or take a few gradient maps. I think I brought the subjects (planes) to the scene, but not the scene to the subjects, if that makes any sense. I still have the .psd, perhaps I could redo some parts and sell it for a pretty penny huh?

Since I do not have many followers yet, I would not request CnC (Comments and Criticism) but if you happen to read this, it would be very much appreciated.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dusknoir Sprite Signature

This was just one of a three-part project I was doing to earn a little bit of walkin around money. Sprite tags names are usually indicative of the focal or subject of the signature. In this case we used a Pokemon Platinum game sprite of the evolution of Dusklops, better known as Dusknoir. Obviously, this is a very action oriented sprite, as well as a powerful ghost type pokemon. In order to appeal to all players and devoted fans of the Pokemon franchise, I needed to make this "leap" off the canvas in a spooky or ghostly fashion. Not to brag, but I believe I captured this Pokemon as well as the idea in a harmonious piece.

The best advice anyone could give about sprite tags is that you need to experiment, then practice the experiment that gave you the best results over and over again until you define a style for yourself.

Personally, I found that I LOVE smudging. It creates depth, flow, and if practiced enough, can create very realistic lighting with the assistance of other brushes.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Avatars for FallenSword

This is just one of about ten 200x200 pixel avatars that I've done for the various players of the MMORPG called FallenSword. Due to most of my time on there being devoted to the forums and whatnot, I usually ignore the concept of the game even though I am contracted and paid in game currency. The forums there are actually where I got started about 3 years ago, and after an extended leave, I have returned to see what my instructors and senseis have all been up to. To be honest, art in general has been somewhat "sucked dry" from that corner of the net, although a few special artists contradict that statement. But, in order to maintain order, all "avatar shops" as they are frequently called, follow a set amount of rules that must be adhered to... As well as an outline for the orders people place:
  1. "Give me a render/Stock/Theme:"
  2. "What text do you want?:"
  3. "Anything Else?:"

As you can probably imagine, this could get rather monotonous and quickly desensitize you to the thrill of graphic design, as it did for me some time ago. But now I'm back :D

With regards to the piece in this post, yes, the render was provided. You can find this one and tons like it at And as for self Comments and Criticism (CnC), I love the way it turned out... just not the circumstances in which it was created. End of Story.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Work Says it All...

This was the final piece of the two part gift set to my girlfriend. As you can see, it expresses my feelings in a more explicit way than the other one did, as was my intention.

It is entitled "Parchment Truth", and is the first text based LP (Large Piece) that I have ever done. I got the idea when I was looking through a list of the top posters of 2009. Someone had a piece with a similar composition so credit goes to him or her, whoever you may be, thank you for inspiring me.

As for comfort zone level, I didn't stray too far from normalcy since this was somewhat of a recreation, and not my own idea.

The best advice I could possibly give for someone who wanted to try their hand at a "poster" type based LP, it would be that you need more inspiration for something like this than for anything else. The text needs to pertain directly to what you're being inspired to, and your focal needs to somewhow tie the text to the theme while maintaining flow (and depth if necessary).


If you desire anything I used please message me with your e-mail and you'll have it shortly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This piece is entitled "Peace" for the sake of the feeling you get when you are completely isolated from a world of chaos and disorder. This was my second attempt at a photomanipulation and it was also my first LP. I'm assuming you noticed the strange text carving on the tree that says "Kayla + Nick" and if you didn't before, you just looked so now you know (YES, my name is Nick. Sorry to disappoint you but Fourbrezio is an alias). This was part one of a two part gift set for my girlfriend and first follower to this blog.

This being an LP, I definitely went out of my comfort zone to create it, since I'm usually working with forum signatures. But in a sense, that makes it even more valuable and meaningful.

If I could give any advice on making LP's, it would be that you need to plan out the composition of your piece. It's very difficult to accomplish visually appealing work with experimenting (although it is possible, just unlikely). When you get the inspiration for an LP, draw it out to the best of your ability, find the correct stocks or renders (Search tools are your friends), and piece everything together in something like a "rough draft".


If you desire anything I used please message me with your e-mail and you'll have it shortly.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Starting Over...

Ok, so I'll admit, my last online portfolio wasn't exactly "perfect". In fact, it was disorganized and thrown together with a very loose theme. I'm starting over and correcting this problem. I will be posting only new works, while still trying to maintain and answer a set amount of questions for each post. The questions I will answer:

  1. "What were you trying to accomplish with this piece?"
  2. "In what ways were you driven to create this?"
  3. "Did you go out of your comfort zone and try something different with this? If so, how?"
  4. "Any advice for creating your own work with this style?"
  5. "Can you share some of the resources with us?... Please!"

Note: I may randomly substitute my own questions when appropriate.