How to Render a Digital Painting for Idiots (A cheap excuse for me to show off my latest drawings)

I while ago, probably back in grade 8, I too was a baby digital artist who had no clue what the word “render” even meant. This blog post will be a short guide giving you, the viewer, a few tips on how to start rendering and levelling up your drawings.

Back when I was in my no line art phase, I had a bit of an epiphany. It all started with this OC sheet of one of my characters that I made a while back.

(I KNOW IT’S CRINGE GRADE 8 WAS A HARD TIME FOR EVERYBODY OKAY..)

This was the first time I ever rendered something, and I did it totally on accident. I didn’t even realize what I was doing. Obviously it still looks pretty rough, since it was my first time attempting to render something, but it looked so much better and had a real sense of form compared to what I had been doing previously. Here’s an example:

Now, what even is rendering? No one had really thought to make an explicit definition of what the hell it was, and it led to me discovering it WAYY later than I should have even though I’d seen people talking about it all over Tiktok. Rendering, in its purest form, is basically drawing over a sketch to create a much more polished looking drawing than you had before. When I render, I totally skip over the process of line art. I take my sketch, add in base colours, and then I go in and mess around until it looks right. You can choose to do Line art and render over that instead, but I think it’s pretty pointless.

There is a little more of a process than just that. I have a sort of “order of operations” for what I do first and what I save for last. I start by colour picking the character than I’m rendering’s skin tone and saturate it slightly, grabbing a slightly redder colour for a sort of blush. It’s supposed to be subtle, but if the character is actually blushing I usually make it stronger. After I go in on the face with some warm/cool colour variations, I switch to rendering the hair. Next is the clothing, and then I’m pretty much done. You can take the rendering process and make it your own, adding in your unique little steps to achieve whatever style you want.

Now, of course the rendering you do will be different depending on what kind of style you want to replicate. My art is mostly semi-realism with a slight cartoony affect to it, meaning if you want to learn how to render for a more anime art style this probably isn’t the place to do it.

Basic steps so far: Let’s cover them.

1. Create a sketch. It can be anything.
2. Colour it in with the most basic base colours possible. You can go in with details like the whites of the eyes if you want (if you drew a person), but you really don’t need to.
3. Start drawing over your original sketch on a separate layer. You can mess around with colour and saturation to make your piece really pop.
4. Draw over almost every pencil mark you can see. You can draw over lines with a Lineart pencil or any basic procreate brush (for your first time you shouldn’t worry too much about covering every little thing, it doesn’t matter too much. As you progress you should start to get more detailed on your own).
See the difference?
5. Now you have your fully rendered drawing, and you can add stuff like overlays. I use procreate so I wouldn’t really know how to add them or what you call them in other apps.

Hope you learned something. You’re welcome and thank you for reading.

 

Romeo, Juliet, a Gay Stoner Wizard, and the Ethics of AI Image Generation

Yes, you read that title right. Before I get into explaining, we obviously need to start off with a brief explanation of what this project was. The final product was to be our very own 4 minute long adaptation of one of the scenes in Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet, but before that we had to prepare. We spent multiple weeks watching 4 different adaptations of based on Romeo and Juliet and simultaneously reading through the original. We used the information gained from the play and the adaptations to make a theme book collecting all the varying themes and ideas introduced throughout the different acts and relating said themes to the adaptations and entirely unrelated bits of media too. Eventually we were paired up into groups of four, and from there we had scenes selected for us to remake and then perform for a camera.

To start off, here’s my theme book:

I have some gripes with this project, just because acting isn’t really my thing. I’m the type of guy who likes to hide out in the background and stay under the radar, as my teachers are all most likely very aware of. I do commend this project for forcing me out of my comfort zone to try something new, but I assure you I will not be trying acting on my own time any time soon.

My groups adaptation was just as the title says. Juliet was a homeless girl being sold off to Paris so her parents could get their hands on a fat pay check, and Romeo was a closeted gay of the upper class. Friar Laurence, now Fatha Laurence, was a magical drug dealer having a secret affair with Romeo. Juliet meets the Fatha in the woods talking with Paris, and Juliet sits with them. Fatha Laurence gives her a mushroom and Paris leaves, giving them some time to talk alone. From there Juliet and Laurence talk about a plan to get Juliet out of Paris’s clutches and into Romeo’s, and Fatha gives her the poison just like in the original. He secretly is plotting to kill Juliet so he can get his Romeo to himself. In the end, we dropped the wizard detail (against my will), so now he’s just a regular homosexual drug dealer. Unfortunate, I know.

I played Romeo (in the flashback) and the plant that comes to life after they take the drugs. I imagine I felt the same way that the guy from Diary of a Wimpy Kid felt when he had to play the tree in the school play.

Now coming back to the actual analysis we did, I would like to bring in some other movies I watched during this project into my reflection on what I learned about themes and their importance. I happened to binge a TON of movies from the 1970s to the 2010s (and wasn’t originally doing it for this project), here’s the list:

-The Breakfast Club

-The Lost Boys

-Buffy the Vampire Slayer

-The Craft

-Brokeback Mountain

-The Rocky Horror Picture Show

-Interview With the Vampire

-Little Shop of Horrors (1986 version)

-Tremors

-Donnie Darko

-Scream (the original)

(Ignore how half of them are vampire themed, I like vampires okay)

These films really got me thinking. I watched all of them in the span of one weekend right in the middle of this project on a mere whim, and it was interesting. I’d like to highlight The Rocky Horror Picture show, as it was the movie that actually made me start questioning the themes in these movies. Half way through it I started to wonder, “this movie can’t possibly have a central theme, it makes zero sense, but it’s still such a good movie and a cornerstone in queer media!” …and then I thought, “wait. This movie does have a theme, even though the story takes you all over the place and doesn’t make any sense.” Part of what makes The Rocky Horror Picture Show hold up so well is literally the fact that it’s themes are so strong. The simple idea of embracing the odd and different. This movie really opened my eyes to how true it is that a movie, or any media for that matter, needs to have a strong and familiar theme to captivate any audience. It does not matter now inconsistent or nonsensical the story/plot is, as long as it has a captivating and consistent theme/number of themes throughout the movie.

Aside from that, I 100% recommend every movie mentioned on that list, ESPECIALLY The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’m still listening to the soundtrack days after and am planning on forcing my friends to watch it.

Back to my groups video, I’m linking it for you to watch here (please don’t watch it, it’s embarrassing).

Another problem I have with this project is that they had us creating AI GENERATED IMAGES (I am NOT calling that crap art) to make our movie posters… as an artist I have a number of problems with this. It’s entirely unethical, as most AI image generation tools steal human artist’s work to program the AI, effectively throwing that art into a metaphorical blender to spit out some gross amalgamation of an image. Hands, limbs, lighting etc usually looks nonsensical and the AI ends up making errors that a human would never make, and it ends up looking like a cheap alternative to making the movie posters ourselves. I mean come on, just look at this:


Not only does it look bad, but it makes no sense. Every time I think of AI imaging being used for advertisements/posters it just reminds me of the Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience, and I’m sure we all know what that was like. Instead of stealing from real artists via AI we could have used real pictures from our video’s or drawings made by us. I guarantee it would look a thousand times better to just make the posters ourselves instead of cutting corners like this for a final product that looks terrible. I hope the PLP teachers read this blog and take this all into consideration, because oh my god I cannot stress enough how dumb the AI art looks. Even the “good” example that Mr. Harris showed when introducing the AI tool had pointless, ugly errors and lines in places that did not make any sense. I wish I had a picture of what it looked like because it was laughable how bad it looked.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

They Put Me In a Room With Rats

Crazy? I was crazy once. Are you crazy? What does it take to be crazy anyways? What does being crazy even mean at all? These are the questions that we answered in our latest project, based off the 1997 apple crazy ones campaign. Our driving question for this project was “why does it take a crazy person to change the world?”. We went all the way to Seattle in order to answer it for our final Pecha Kuchas, and I think my group succeeded in this task.

Our theme for our presentation was “think different”, it was basically all about the Apple crazy ones. I specifically talked about Dale Chihuly for our presentation. I chose to talk about him because as an artist I am very inspired by his work, and seeing it in person was my favourite part of the Seattle trip. The actual Pecha Kucha night was a bit rocky; lots of groups presented their learning effectively, but there were some people who seemed to have forgotten their lines/didn’t know what to say. On top of this we overestimated how much time was needed per presentation, and there was definitely a lack of parents that showed up. There was plenty of empty seats. Despite the slight chaos, I still think it went quite well. We could have improved upon our presentations if we were given maybe a few extra days to practice our scripts and cement them in our brains I do think it would have gone much better.

Despite my complaints (I apologize for how many there are) there were definitely some things that I thought went well too. Plenty of groups did very well in presenting their topics. My personal favourite was Brooke and Logan’s presentation. Props to Logan for overcoming your fear of public speaking – you did great up there!

Something I think my group specifically could have done better was even participation of all group members. Chris was left doing 8 slides while I did 2, and I think this was a bit unfair on him. I think that the organization of our sideshow and sides was well done, with most if not all of them being comprehensive and matching the theme of the topic being spoken on.

I contributed to the group effort by adding the pictures and some of the drawings to the slides. I stayed up late working on them to improve our slideshow overall, and worked with my group to get their feedback on any work I did. I also supplied and took most of the photos used in our slideshow.

The field study helped me learn through the displays we saw that had loads of knowledge I wouldn’t have had access to without the study. For example, almost all the the things I knew about Dale Chihuly I would not have been able to learn about if I was not able to make my notes in the Dale Chihuly Gardens and Glass museum when the video presentation was playing about his life and methods. There was also text next to the art installations that contributed to my script, here’s a few of them:

Honestly the teachers say you’ll learn just as much without going on the trips, but it is definitely untrue. All these things I learned would not have been made possible without the Seattle field study.

Finally, after all that yapping about what I learned and what I didn’t…here are my highlights and lowlights of the Seattle field study.

Highlight: the Dale Chihuly Gardens and Glass Museum of course! This was definitely up there with the MoPOP as one of my favourite parts of this whole trip. Nothing went wrong throughout the whole visit (unlike with the MoPOP, but we’ll get there in a moment…), and all the art was absolutely stunning. My favourite part of this whole installation was definitely Dale Chihuly’s chandelier paintings, and next to that as my second favourite it’s definitely his ocean inspired glass sculpture. His art is a just so unique and beautiful, here are some pictures (although they could never do the real thing justice).

Highlight: the MoPOP. The Museum of Pop Culture was absolutely amazing to visit. Seeing the terminator prop in real life was wild, along with all the other things we saw there. I got to play some guitar in the musical exhibits, although I am kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to watch Kadin go absolutely crazy in the private jamming rooms on one of the drum sets. I still have a video of it though, so I can’t say missing that ruined my MoPOP experience. What DID ruin my MoPOP experience was dropping my phone in the toilet (don’t worry, I managed to get it clean and save it). Here are some photos of my favourite things I saw in the MoPOP:

Lowlight: One of my least favourite parts of the Seattle trip was getting across the border. Since Caden (british) didn’t have all the right paperwork, we had to wait an extra 20 minutes for him to sort it all out.

Lowlight: Madame Web.

Links to my group members blogs: Christian Lo, Jupiter noonanCallum Rees

Who Are You Gonna Be: The Big Question

Who are you gonna be? It’s a tough question to answer, especially when you’re only 15 with no real knowledge of what life is like in our capitalistic society. The crazy part about that is “who are you gonna be” is a question that I’ve been getting asked more and more often as I’ve grown, and I feel like it’s been creating this sense of urgency and panic amongst me and my peers whenever this question has been brought up. It’s making us grow up faster and pressured us to decide what we’re going to do for the entire rest of our lives, despite us being so young!

Despite the stress inducing nature of the question, it is still vital at this age to have some semblance of a purpose in your life. It is important to think about options for university and how you’re going to make your mark on the world.

For me, I have known from a very early age exactly what I wanted to pursue in my life, that thing being my art. Art has always held a special place in my heart. As a child I’d dream about having my paintings hung in prestigious galleries and writing incredible music that would win me Grammys. As I grew up, this passion only strengthened and pushed me forward in life. I bought my first “learn to draw” book when I was around 10, and I have been pushing myself to go out of my comfort zone, challenge myself, and create meaningful pieces of art that could impact people and help to express myself and my emotions in a way that words fail to. It has been comforting to always have an idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. While my friends had identity crisis’s over what they were going to do when they got older, I was simply sketching away in a notebook or on my ipad.

I think having this to push me throughout my life has really helped me to have a better mindset when it comes to things like school, jobs, and getting important daily tasks done. My art has served as a tool for self preservation and holding my memories within it, while also staying as a motivator for self improvement and was vital for developing my growth mindset. Being able to witness my art improve over time has been very eye opening, and it is real physical evidence that shows me that as long as do something for long enough I can become very talented at it. I apply this mindset to everything I do now, especially for things like public speaking, playing guitar, and socializing with others.

My art, then vs now:
2022:
  2023-24:

My art and its improvement over time has also allowed me to be able to say “if anyone else can do it, I can.” I strongly believe in this idea that if anyone else on the planet can become good at something, I too (with enough practice) can become very skilled at that thing. I used this way of thinking when I was learning to rollerskate, a hobby my mom had shown me first. I am now better at rollerskating than my mom.

A Whole New World (prePOL)

Intro

I have a few personal opinions on this presentation of learning that I am not going to be sharing out of respect for whoever decided this was a good idea. Let us face this whole new world of grade ten and get into this post!

This year we were told to make a “pre-POL”, something to talk about how we are going to be responsible and hard working learners in the coming year (even though that was half of last years tPOL). This is the first blog post for PGP. I’m going to be discussing what we have learned so far in PGP. This includes learning and concentration strategies, how to keep your mental and physical spaces declutterred, and much more.

Skills we were taught

We were introduced to a plethora of different strategies so we could see if they helped us at all, but honestly none of them were able to stick with me. Journaling and writing down things from my day helped for a bit but honestly it all just acted as more things I had to shove into my already overpacked schedule. Between getting a full nights sleep, having a social life, my own personal projects (art, guitar and writing), eating three meals a day, soccer and keeping up with school assignments there was really just no time to do any of that stuff. Every minute is pretty much spent doing something that I value above any of those tasks, plus I was unable to turn them into habits. They just sort of slid off my brain whenever I tried to get them into my schedule or make them into something I do regularly.

Along with that I also had problems with the daily reflection journal. It should have been something to help with my productivity, but you miss one day and suddenly you’re spiraling and falling behind in the writing. Especially since I was sick for most of the days when this was going on. I genuinely believe this journaling activity only set me back. It was an added stressor on top of my regular work. This could have been avoided if I had been paying more attention to Basecamp on my sick days to follow along with the roadmap and do the writing at home to prevent myself from falling behind. Overall I think I should have faced the daily reflections in a different way that would have suited me better.

On the other hand, something that helped was the learning we did for strategies to keep our physical, mental and digital spaces tidy. For me my digital space has always been very organized (yay for me) but I struggle with keeping my physical spaces clean, e.g. my bedroom. Through PGP I was able to set routines that now help me with keeping my space neat and declutterred. It really helped me with my focus and also works to effectively relieve some stress. When everything isn’t all over the place I feel calmer and have minimum distractions so that I can start my work and keep it up until I finish it. Along with this being introduced to the app Things and Craft by this project have SAVED MY LIFE. They are so helpful and straightforward to use and they have proven to be very beneficial to me in order to keep track of time and write things (no pun intended) down.

Some Work We Did

A couple of my daily notes

Before learning how to use things:

After:

The Driving Question: What Strategies Can I Use to Maintain Balance For My Learning and Wellbeing?

In the end I think I was able to learn some interesting methods to improve my Learning and wellbeing. I have found that list making (specifically with Things) is one of the best ways for me to keep on track with my learning. It also helps with my wellbeing by allowing me to get done with schoolwork faster and leaving me more free time to do things that make me happy.

Tpol grade 9

This year, we did so many new things, one of highlight being the Alberta trip on which we learned so much about Canadian history. Before then I’d never been on a school trip that long, and the longest one I’d gone on had only been for 2 days (outdoor school). This is a summary and reflection on everything I have done and learned about this year, and also how I could have done better.

One of the projects I struggled with this year was the building a nation project. I felt it just wasn’t a topic I was that interested in, and for that reason it was a lot harder for me to focus on the things we were doing in class. I think a lot of the work I produced during this project was mediocre and I want to be able to put out high quality work in all the things I do, whether the idea of it is captivating to me or not. I think next year I should try to find interesting things in everything I do, that way it will be easier to focus on the topic we are learning about in class.

I think the most interesting thing I learned about this year was all the things I researched during the WW1 project that we did in humanities this year. I got to present some very (in my opinion) captivating work for the exhibition, and I did some research on human psychology and trauma during war. My least favourite/least interesting project from this year was the Frankenstuffies project. I thought the book was boring and I had a hard time staying on top of reading deadline because of this. I thought I would like it more because of the creation aspect, but overall I found this project unfulfilling.

An instance where my goals for my work changed as I worked on it was during the prep for the spring exhibition. When I was working on my art for the exhibition, I originally had a much different idea then what it ended up as, but the more I worked on the original sketch the more I disliked it, so I did a 180 with it and decided to use a completely different style for the art. These are the drawings I ended up with, I’m very proud of how they turned out.

here are the art pieces:

Something I struggled with this year in PLP was the blog posts. I had a hard time committing to them, more specifically when nearing the end of the year. Next year I want to put in an effort to stay on time with blog posts, and with that staying on top of assignments.

This year, not all of the work I did met my standards. A lot of it was rushed or incomplete, and I wish I had thought about putting more time into my work so that I could create and learn with much higher output quality.

During my mpol, I set some goals for myself for the rest of the year. The main one that I think I completed to it’s most potential is the one in which I talked about how I wanted to explore my own interests more. This goal was mostly about wanting to learn how to express emotion through art and also make my art look more pleasing, and I think I was able to accomplish this goal with evidence for it from the spring exhibition. The drawings I made were able to effectively and clearly tell a story about the progression of trauma throughout war, which is definitely something I wanted to accomplish with this goal.

Now let’s look back at my learning plan. My statement of learning intent was “I will improve my time management and work on task management. In order to do these things, I will aim to police myself when it comes to staying focused in class. I will strive to listen and learn, and be open to new concepts and ideas. When I don’t know or don’t understand something, I won’t be afraid to ask for help from my peers or a teacher.”

I think I really fell off on my statement of learning intent nearing the end of the year, and I’m not sure whether this was something that came out of burnout or just lack of motivation in the final stretch of the school year. It was most likely a mix of both, but I do know that once the middle of may hit I was feeling unfulfilled and bored when it came to school. I feel like I could’ve learned a lot more if I had just spent a bit more time thinking about my statement of learning intent whenever I was feeling less motivated.

Despite this, I think that overall I was able to commit to a lot of the goals behaviours I had listed in my learning plan, for example:

-I feel like I achieved my maker goal of being the most creative version of myself possible through some of the art I made this year in and outside of school

-I was able to set reminders for assignments and regularly checked basecamp like I said I would in the habits section of my learning plan

-I was able to implicate the system I talked about in my learning plan for after school and weekends

This year was filled with plenty of different successes and F.A.I.Ls, all of which I hope to be able to learn from in the future. To answer the driving question, I think I am ready to move on to the next grade level because I am looking forward to extending my learning capabilities and using the things I have learned this year to make higher quality, more captivating work that I can use to express topics, feelings and emotions.

Mpol

So far this year, we have done and learned so much. From the Alberta trip where the seycove bus broke down to the avatar-themed winter exhibition, this blog post is a reflection on everything I learned PLP this year.

First let’s talk about my learning plan.

In the growth section of my humanities 9 chart I said I wanted to stretch my comfort zone by being more open when it comes to talking to others and sharing my ideas. This semester I failed to do this, but the year isn’t over and I’m going to try to keep this goal in mind for the rest of the year.

For the maker growth section, I think I successfully completed my goal of being the most creative version of myself that I can be, and I think I demonstrated this success through the rollercoaster project we did near the end of the semester. I also think I was able to build on my chosen skill, which was my engagement in class. I feel like I have gotten better at paying attention to teachers when they are speaking, and I have also gotten better at taking in information.

In science, I think I accomplished my goal of asking more questions and asking for help when I need it. This is something I have struggled with as a learner for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally starting to cross that barrier.

some goals I want to set for the future include:

  • setting an alarm and improving my sleep schedule so that  I can get to school on time more often
  • start using doodling to take notes
  • Set aside time for homework (I know I’ve talked about this a lot before but I am going to actually do it this time)

Here’s my core competencies.

For my communicating competency I’m not sure that profile 4 is accurate for me, and I’ve demonstrated this through my (in my opinion) inability to talk to people that I don’t know that well. For my creative thinking competency I think I was able to demonstrate a profile 4 as my learning plan says, and you can see evidence for this in my asexual reproduction comics, which I worked to make interesting and creative concepts/drawings for. For personal awareness and responsibility, I think a profile 3 is slightly inaccurate. I could get to a profile 3 by coming into tutorial time when I’m missing an assignment instead of procrastinating. For my collaborating competency, I think a profile 3 is accurate and I displayed evidence for this in the rollercoaster project, in which I helped my group to build and present our rollercoaster. For critical and reflective thinking, profile 4 is accurate and I have evidence in the exciting electricity science project, in which I used information I had learned in class to form a conclusion and make an electrical circuit that worked. For my positive personal and cultural identity, I think at the start of the year a profile 4 would have been inaccurate, but right now it is. I feel throughout this semester I’ve really opened up as a person and I’m way less self conscious.

How the Geography of the West Shaped and Shapes Us

Our first humanities project of the year was called “the Power of Geography,” and it sets it self apart from the others by being the only project that had a trip in which we went for more then a week. We had so much fun creating and presenting our answers to the driving question. I won’t be covering everything we did on this trip, because there is simply too muchto cover.

The first thing we did on this project was bus all the way up to a ghost town. The food was pretty good and the hotel beds were comfy, so I rate this place a 7/10 because there was no wifi in the rooms, but everything else was pretty cool. After exploring the place we did a reflection thingy and then we went to bed.

My favourite part of the trip was the golden Skybridge and zip lining, but the part where I learned the most was definitely the Columbia Ice Field.

Here are some photos and my e book from this project.  

 

Handle With Care

We just finished one of the first projects this year, and this blog post is going to be my reflection on it. In this project, we learned about ecosystems, the earths spheres, bioaccumulation and biomagnification.we also learned about all the impacts that humans have on these things.

what did I learn?

I learned about many different environmental concerns in our current society, and more importantly I learned about the different things that I have listed above.

I’ll start with bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Bioaccumulation is when one small thing, like a fish, consumes a kind of micro plastic. Then, later, a larger organism like a shark comes along and eats that fish. Since the shark eats hundreds of those fish a day, it now has a hundred micro plastics in it. That description was kind of bad, so here’s the GIF I made to visually represent it. IMG_4232

biomagnification is a little different. Biomagnification is when the higher up on the food chain you are, the higher concentration of contaminant you have inside of you.

Speaking of food chains, let’s talk about them.

I’m sure you’ve heard of food chains, but you might not have heard of the different pieces that make up a food chain. Producers (e.g, plants) make their own food, meanwhile consumers eat producers and other consumers. Decomposers work to decompose the waste that the producers leave behind.

here’s the masterpiece I made to show how food chains work:

Reflecting: what could I have done better?

something I feel I could have improved on for this project was my participation. I was absent from a lot of classes (I can’t really be held accountable for this but still) and I didn’t make many notes. Next project I will be sure to actively involve myself in class.

Extra stuff we did in this project

 

 

 

The ultimate design challenge

The ultimate design challenge was a project we did to test our designing and math skills. In this project, we learned how to calculate the surface area and volume of many different types of 3d shapes, and learned how to build, model and design using a 3d modelling app on our iPads. In this blog post, I will be explaining and reflecting upon my learning in this project.

Our goal for this project was to create and object in an app called Tinkercad, and then do various measurements of that objects surface area and volume. We had to either maximize surface area or volume, and then put it in a presentation to show to the class. The object that I created and measured was a solar panel.

And don’t think I forgot about the calculations I had to do for my object. Here are the slides I used in my presentation which include all of the information needed.

Reflecting back on this project, something I would have done differently was spend more of my class time working on this project. Failing in this area led to me having to do a lot of my work last minute. Another thing I would’ve done differently would have been to make a more interesting object, because in my opinion a solar panel is pretty boring. In the future I will be sure to use my class time more efficiently and learn from my experiences and mistakes in this project.