g THEwaller

Letter from the Editor

All About brokenTone written by vitaamin

It's no secret that certain members of the esteemed brokenTone have helped tremendously with THEwaller, but this issue sees the addition of yet another writer from the site. And so I think it appropriate to both shamelessly plug and extend my thanks to the crew.

We continue with our features and a bonus Inspirationisms // Tutorial on perspective, taking a closer look at how to apply the basics to any wall. From creating perspective guides to estimating the vanishing point(s), asa shows some handy tricks that will make your lives much easier. As a complement, Moutonzare show his WIP in a Screenshot that is sure to impress with its curvilinear perspective.

To the annals of THEwaller, we add an Inspirationism from one of the most daring and creative members in the walling community, fellow VW admin Fran. Famous for her fearless use of patterns and bright colors, she shows us what patterns inspire her this month.

Deto15 shows us just what inspires his grim and compelling works of genius. And because we can't get enough of him, Nysha interviews fellow walling buddy in this month's Waller Expose.

Editors: asa00 // vitaamin
Writers: Deto15 // Moutonzare // Fran
Images: Kritty
» (0) Comments


A New Perspective -- PART II written by asa00

In last month's issue, Part I of this article covered many basic terms and topics. But applying that knowledge can prove more difficult than I might have made it sound. When making choices about perspective, a good portion is limited by your scan choice, but a great deal is also up to your interpretation.

Playing Match-up
A common oversight when creating a scene is remembering to take your character into account before searching for background resources or starting the construction process. Taking the time to sketch in rough perspective lines will allow you to estimate the horizon and vanishing points, providing you with a frame of reference for the addition of other objects and ensuring consistency between all elements of the wallpaper.

B. As apparent from her chair, the horizon line and vanishing points should be well below her legs. However the vanishing point on this particular background scan is almost two-thirds above the bottom of the canvas!

C. Here, the backdrop has a lower horizon line that is partly obscured, suggesting that she may be sitting on top of a hill that descends towards a garage. While the perspective may still seem a little off, this is the inevitable danger of trying to match backgrounds and scans without reCG techniques.

D. So when things seem a little out of perspective, use external objects, or shoulders, legs and arms to help you determine your perspective. But don't stress out, organic objects like bodies don't always follow clear cut rules. Even if you're not dead on, close enough is often good enough.

Finding the Horizon
While you are sometimes handed a predetermined perspective courtesy of the scan, you are at other times challenged to make the choice yourself. Understanding how the viewing angle interacts with your message can help you screen through resources and materialize your vision.

A. Bird's Eye View is naturally used when we are viewing an expansive scene from a high vantage point. It empowers the viewers by making them feel taller and consequently mightier. This viewing angle is useful for creating a dynamic and adventurous mood.

B. Worms Eye View is employed when looking skyward. In more exaggerated cases, it can make even small objects appear enormous, which empowers the scene by inducing feelings of insignificance and vulnerability in the viewers. This perspective is extremely handy for creating an ominous mood. It can also be used to bias people towards admiring the object(s) of interest.

C. Eye Level is the height at which we usually see our environment and so this viewing angle holds no particular significance. This lack of any special meaning enables you to guide your viewers' attention towards different aspects of the wall.

D. The Dutch angle is created when the entire scene is rotated so that the horizon is no longer level with your canvas. The tilt gives rise to a greater sense of drama and is often employed for its implications of instability and unease.

While I have given you very general applications, there are always more specific cases that take exploration to discover. Freeing yourself from the ever favorite Eye level view or simply considering the different angles can often lead to unexpected but welcome surprises.

Field of View
While we skimmed over vanishing points, how we place them can often lead to a very different experience for the viewer. It is important to consider how the position of your vanishing points changed the perspective of your image before committing to a background.

A. Wide Angle When two vanishing points are placed closely, you are able to see more to either side. However, the size-reducing effect of distance is very dramatic, so objects further away lose detail. It emphasizes the foreground and presents it in an unorthodox but visually striking manner, thanks to the distortion.

B. Normal Angle is the way in which we usually see things. It should be used when you want to construct more natural compositions.

C. Narrow Angle: The distance between two vanishing points is larger, which reduces how much you are able to see. A narrow angle doesn't normally leave a deep impression the way a wide angle might, but it does allow you to perceive more details in objects further away.

The overall purpose of Part II is to expose you to considerations of perspective that should be taken before starting a wall. Whether you are using this as reference for nailing perspective on your upcoming project, or expanding on these ideas as inspiration for a visually surprising wall, applying these fundamental ideas will certainly help ease the headache. » (0) Comments


Falling can be Painful written by Moutonzare

A few months ago, my friend and photography-hobbyist introduced me to the artistic opportunities made possible by the fish eye lenses. I was immediately inspired to draw upon this perspective, not commonly seen in the walling community, to construct a thrilling and compelling narrative.

When I first saw this Hatsune Miku scan from Miwa Shirow, I knew I had to recreate this scan with my intent on curvilinear perspective. Instead of free falling, I endeavored to produce drama by dangling Miku from the corner of a building that threatened to crumble at any moment. To further heighten the effect, I wanted to create a weathered cityscape as the backdrop. In this way, I would not only show her present state but also allude to her fearful future.

A. To create my story, I flipped the scan and aligned her left hand to the right-third of the wall. In this way, I reversed the timeline of the story for a more interesting read, while creating room for desktop icons. The Rule of Thirds also left space behind Miku to build a larger cityspace for a more sensational effect.

B. The curvilinear perspective made it possible for me to fit a wide landscape into the constrained dimensions of a wall. Using Miku as a reference, I created guidelines for my five-point curvilinear perspective according to techniques shown in Vanishing Point by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer.

C. While I started with straighter lines, I needed more stylized, visual novel-esque lineart to give the buildings a tattered feel. This style invited readers to imagine the impact time or possibly war has had on the city. Additionally, the rugged lineart gave rise to movement, which can be further enhanced by addition of broken windows and damaged equipment.

The last piece of any wall is consideration of color. Since the Vocaloid franchise has created such a strong association with its color scheme, I wanted to preserve it. The mood and story would also be intensified by the blacks and dreary blues. The detailed backdrop should also be shaded with grunge textures and clean, simplified vector-shading to keep the focus on Miku and her impending doom.

When making this wall, I learned to enhance my storytelling by leveraging perspective and positioning. While colors and style certainly play a large part in any wall, looking beyond those two aspects in establishing mood allows me to experiment with unconventional technique and ultimately create a powerful composition. » (0) Comments

Inspirationisms // Tutorial

Guiding Principles written by asa00

Ever since I first started using Photoshop, I have willfully ignored the wealth of knowledge found in tutorials. However, I soon discovered how tedious setting up guides for perspective can be, even when I had a clear mental image of where they should be. After a little experimentation, a few wise words from a painter-friend, and a lot of refining, I now have in my hands a couple of easy ways to set up perspective guidelines.

My methods make use of work paths. It is advisable to stroke a work path onto a layer after completing it. For users of other software, I believe the essence of this article should be adaptable.

V for Victory

1. Create a V shaped path, with the vertex (middle) anchor point at your vanishing point. 2. After copying and pasting your V, select the outer points individually and shift them to create another pair of lines. 3. Repeat as many times as you need to. You may also want to color code so you can easily distinguish between the planes you have created.

This method is simple and efficient because it clearly defines your vanishing point. You can also easily relocate the vanishing point by selecting all the overlapping vertex points and dragging them. However, this method also gives you very limited information about the size-reducing effect of distance.

Divide and Conquer
1. Create a set of evenly spaced linear paths and connect the tops of the two outermost paths. 2. Copy the whole path and paste, then rotate 90°. Make slight adjustments to the path positions to create a grid. This is your master copy: don't change it! 3. Copy and paste your master grid, and align the duplicate to some simple guidelines. 4. Use the Edit >> Transform >> Perspective option to transform your grid. Combine with others to map out other multiple surfaces.

While certainly more time consuming and less flexible (you won't be able to reposition your vanishing point easily), this method gives you more information on spatial recession and makes it far easier to visualize the planes you are working with. In order to take full advantage of this method, a detailed understanding of perspective is crucial.

When you want sound perspective in your artwork, nail the preparatory guide lines first. These two methods have certainly proved their worth and made my life easier. So when you have the occasion, give them a try and see if they can also help you out of a daunting perspective problem. » (0) Comments

Inspirationisms // Journal

Vines and Lines written by Fran

I've earned myself the reputation of abusing patterns and bright colors when it comes to walling. Patterns unveil a world of possibilities because they easily spice up any solid shape. However, working with them can be challenging because each pattern holds historical and cultural significance, opening your art to a wide range of interpretations. Striking a balance between completely different patterns is not easy, but success is immeasurably rewarding.

The Patterns
The rich colors and designs found in kimono and origami patterns are an obvious complement to the xxxHolic style. These floral designs, while organic, reflect an abstract interpretation of nature. They reference the surreal and mystical aura surrounding Japanese folklore. While their complexity adds more dimension to simple/abstract pieces, they possess little flexibility due to their cultural and historical specificity. However, I like to see this as a good challenge for the mixing and matching of styles.

Meanwhile, op art designs hail from a very different art movement, which is grounded in mathematics. They construct more architectural and modern forms, giving the impression of movement on a static surface. In contrast to the liveliness seen in origami patterns, op art utilizes monotonous lines, shapes and colors to draw the viewer into its vortex. Such patterns provide users with the opportunity to complement shapes with designs that bend and warp the original form. At the same time, their simplicity makes them easy to combine with other different styles.

xxxHolic's plot revolves around Yuuko's shop which links the drones of modern Tokyo with their deepest, most irrational longings. The combination of these two patterns seem particularly appropriate for the theme: The bold florals and free flowing shapes of the kimono patterns pinpoint the setting while drawing upon the raw, heavily-repressed nature of our deepest desires. The op art pieces distort the boundaries between the tangible and the abstract so that we may exist simultaneously in both realms.

The most difficult part in creating a complicated mixture of styles is figuring out how to piece them together without confusing your subject. Color plays a big part in creating cohesion. In this case, the bright colors work with Yuuko's secretive smirk to set an intriguing mood and the lack of shadows puts the focus on the patterns.

Whether it is the focus of your wall or just an extra little texture for your piece, patterns are as versatile as they are plentiful. I have built a large library over the years, but there is a subset that I find myself turning to again and again. You could even call it an addiction. So next time you find a pattern, experiment and see where it takes you. » (0) Comments

Take Two

Agent of Chaos written by Deto15

Christopher Nolan redefined the Batman franchise with his 2005 hit, Batman Begins, whose distinctly darker atmosphere captivated audiences worldwide. I was particularly impressed by the haunting yet sophisticated cinematography, which was elevated to another level with the 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight. The heightened chaos and insanity gave the movie a roughness that inspired me to create this wall.

Interpret When I saw the scan, I immediately drew inspiration from The Dark Knight to create a wall that expressed anarchy through a cooled color scheme and stylized composition. The unnamed character turns her back to the viewer, hiding her identity. With her animalian features, bare arms and urban-punk dress, she is the incarnation of chaos.

Construct Anarchy typically calls for grunge textures, but The Dark Knight posters still manage to communicate destruction despite its clean and smooth style. Thus to create disorder even without the help of grunge, I divided the background into two distinct parts: a messy graffiti wall and a sterile glass floor. This division successfully conveys a more futuristic take on the anarchistic message, while the light textures and steel-blue color scheme evoke the sophisticated atmosphere of the Batman franchise.

Compositionally, the dark floor and gradient lighting draw the viewer's eyes upwards while bringing focus to the character. However, the top part of the wall was lit too brightly, which, in conjunction with the poorly blended splatters, takes attention away from the main character.

Clarify The background only sets up the mood; the character and its placement really give your wallpaper its story. Thus when vectoring, I put a lot of thought into how I would draw the viewer's eyes towards the girl whom I decided to center. First, I gave her a different color scheme, coupling a faded red tone with intensely bright skin to provide color contrast against the darker background. I also took a more detailed approach by adding a tattoo to reinforce her rebellious image.

Stylize Typography plays a major role in further defining style, so I made use of distorted, damaged text that I deconstructed into three separate blocks. The placement of the blocks around the character lead the viewer through the story. I chose a color scheme that mixes colors seen in the character vector and the background.

Dishevel Up until this point, the wallpaper was extremely deliberate in positioning, but this approach seemed too clinical for what I was trying to express. The addition of the asymmetrically placed wing tattoo literally upsets the established order, while linking the background and character seamlessly. Its abstract design, coupled with the splatters and stains, implies that the wing has been drawn on the wall behind the character, but there lives the illusion that it is actually a part of her body.

I have grown as a waller since the days of Agent of Chaos but even when I look back now, I still feel a sense of accomplishment. I take pride in the details that came together to create such a well-constructed story. Properly honoring your source of inspiration while keeping your work indisputably your own can be difficult. But this wall has taught me that it certainly is possible to seamless combine someone else's artistic magic with my own creative touch. » (2) Comments

Waller Exposé

Life Isn't Always Black And White written by Nysha

Deto15 | brokenTONE // Animepaper // Minitokyo
As one of the most familiar and iconic wallers, Deto15 knows how to keep it fresh with his distinct, sleek and modern style. Whether he is walling or designing, he always has a great eye for the keen and professional. Many know of this Polish web designer and CG engineer by name, but few can say they really know this elusive figure. However, as a fellow member of brokenTone.net, I am proud to uncover the entertaining walling buddy and best friend that lies within this legendary waller for this month's exposé.

While Deto has certainly proved himself in various styles, he rose to fame when he almost single-handedly propelled the monochrome craze. Black and white walls, accented by a single color, became an addiction and established Deto's body of work as the most prominent in the style. "It just works," he says simply, but the style isn't as compelling in every waller's hands. Deto's wildly popular gallery showcases his ability to convey emotion and suspense with his signature touch.

I think focusing on wallpaper atmosphere is important, because simple emotions can easily be expressed with a limited color palette. Making a wallpaper look nice is only the first step, evoking emotions through art is your most powerful tool.
Beyond the monochrome style itself, Deto also knows how to successfully capture different genres and themes through his use of typography. Few have been able to match the meticulous consideration of words that he intuitively applies to creating his story. He is able to match the right words to the right style, ultimately finding the perfect complement to the atmosphere. From style to context, his use of typography is not only aesthetically insightful, it is story-telling magic.

Given his achievements, it's hard for us newer wallers to remember that he too came from humble origins. Starting out as an all-too-familiar sig-maker, Deto was inspired by AP to challenge his abilities. While sig-makers rarely reCG their images, Deto was soon confronted by a challenge many wallers at the time faced. "Extracting [was] imprecise, and the scan [was] often not clean. [He] saw most people rely on messy textures and the grunge style," so he naturally gravitated to vectoring techniques which allowed him to create cleaner backgrounds and styles. Soon enough, he was on his way to becoming the waller we know today.

The best advice I can give to new wallers is to not get too comfortable with your skills; aim to improve them with every new wall. Too many promising wallers reach some level at which they stop, just because they are too satisfied with their current results to experiment and excel.
His work is often dark and solemn, but the man behind the fifty-odd wallpapers proves to be surprisingly different. His humorous and cheerful personality is a breath of fresh air when I'm stressing out about my latest WIP. Between his latest gaming, movie and music updates to his comically-enthusiastic obsession with ecchi, he keeps my hands full with his lively wit.

Whether he's walling, coding, or just spamming me with ridiculous MSN icons, I look forward to any future creations Deto has to share! (PS, only I got to see exclusive spoilers of his ongoing FMA online card game.) » (0) Comments


AP Clash Round 2: A Second Look

And so another round of the ever exciting AP Clash has come to a close, with an even stronger showing from our great contestants. Jay and flyindreams challenge wallers to reach into the past for inpiration. And down from more than 40 entries, we take a look at the remaining 18 wallers who take on a very interesting theme.

Old School Groove
The Immunity Challenge called upon the not-so-long-ago past when techniques were less sophisticated. While we've certainly come a far way as a community, there are many lessons that can be learned from old school walling. There are also many classic styles that we can appreciate even today. So we now take a look at what wallers can learn from the IC2 entries.

A. The most vital ingredient to creating a brilliant scan manipulation is to commit to a dramatic mood and cohesive message. Be bold with colors and lighting but keep the composition simple to tell your story powerfully.

B. When not relying on reCG techniques, matching texture while blending various stock images can be difficult, but a great scan manipulation leaves no detail untouched. Between the sepia tones and realistic photo edges, this wall succeeds precisely because it integrates the fictitious anime scenery into a lifelike backdrop.

C. Overfiltering has been the bane of many-a-waller's existence at one point or another, so much so that we often forget how useful they can be. But here is a piece that shows how to use dynamic filtering to achieve very natural effects that don't seem overdone. Instead of using many filters uniformly, this waller used filters in varying degrees across the wall to give it movement and action without degrading the scan.

Finding your Inner Waldo
We were initially taken aback by the unexpected/seemingly-narrow theme. But after seeing the entries, we realized that this theme challenged both the technique-and-detail-obsessed tendencies and the innovative mastermind in any waller. Three distinct interpretations surfaced:

A. The contestants who emerged on top were the ones who used the theme to their full advantage by having fun with the childlike essence that defined the Where's Waldo theme. Vividly colorful and effortlessly energetic, these pieces invest in an over-crowded composition that is stylistically inspired by the theme, while having fun with it.

B. Other walls creatively blended their hidden mascots into the fabric of the wall, integrating their iconic figures into the shadows. While certainly thoughtful, this interpretation failed to take advantage of the stylistic inspiration provided by the theme.

C. Lastly, other walls sought to hide their mascots in the darkest corners of the wall, while trying to earn points through detailed technique and self-expression. While many of these walls have the most well-hidden mascots, the interpretation of the theme is ultimately missing.

Although we have stressed composition and storytelling again and again, this Round of AP Clash certainly brought out a very important lesson: drawing inspiration from historical/pop cultural icons to communicate your message. Referencing other art can be a powerful tool because each person can connect through their own experiences.

The learnings here can certainly be applied to EC3, which asks you to both express your current style and how you wish to develop. Try to define your style before starting and look for inspiration for extending your art. The most exciting experience for any wall-fanatic is seeing their fellow artists reinvent themselves while remaining true to their roots. » (0) Comments

Shining Artist | July 2010

Crime and Punishment

by Deto15

vitaamin: Spot on lighting, moving composition, what more is there to say about Deto's AP Clash entry? The wonderfully detailed landscape is rendered breathtaking with clean, effortless technique that never tries too hard. The most impressive part of this wall though, is the unexpected placement of the two characters that creates an spellbinding tension.

aqiaqua: Deto has shown us that it is possible to piece together mere screenshots and create a visual masterpiece. Deto's technique with vectoring is superb - shapes seamlessly overlap to create fluid shadows and a sense of movement. Lighting has been carefully thought out, adding to the dramatic atmosphere.

Choose your condition. by ze-anarchy

Ze gives us a fine example of a minimalist wall – the clean vectoring, soft gradients, and subtle shades of neutral browns really pull this one together and complement his simple yet creative interpretation of the human condition. Almost zen-like in its execution, this wall certainly gives evidence for “less is more.”

-- Nysha

Starburst! by alshRoi

alshRoi bring us this extremely heart warming wallpaper. Pastel colors and a simple but extremely effective background set a dreamy atmoshphere that seems to be taken straight from a child storybook. All of this perfectly accomplished by alshRoi's neat vectoring technique.

-- Fran