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Online Portfolio of Cedric Summerbell


Well, after several months of piecing together my body of artwork, it finally has a new home here on CedSum.com. I’ve had this domain for years now with intentions of creating an online portfolio. After three design incarnations I’ve finally created a web page that I’m satisfied with. I plan to update this page on a regular basis with my latest creations and the process of their conception. I guess you can call it a sort of “art-blog”. This page will be dedicated to my artwork, and I have another domain that I have yet to publish that will be my coding portfolio. Please check this site out often, and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Finished LogoMy first entry in my “art-blog” will overview a little bit of the process I used to create my website logo. The inspiration for my logo was a Frankenstein poster painted by artist Kur Degen that features an oversized image of Frankenstein’s head. The background of the image is a silhouette of the infamous windmill from the movie. I have a large print of this poster hanging in my office, and I often find myself starring at the mysterious windmill in a zombielike trance.

Color ThumbnailI started the design process by creating a color thumbnail sketch to help block out the look and tone of the logo. The color thumbnail is intended to be used has a loose reference to envision the detail of the rest of the image. I used the color thumbnail as a sort of road map to help create all of the elements needed for the finished image. Once I had my idea established, the first thing I started to work on was creating a 3D model of a windmill using the program Maya.

Windmill ModelMaya is a very powerful graphics program that is used by professional artists in the movie industry, game industry, and architectural industry. It is an artist’s sandbox where anything is possible. The only problem with using such a powerful piece of software is that it can be extremely difficult to learn how to use. It has taken me years to learn how to effectively use Maya, and frequently I hit a road blocks with the software that can take days to figure out. Fortunately in the case of the windmill, everything was pretty smooth sailing.

Windmill TexturedOnce I had the 3D model of the windmill created in Maya. I turned to the program Photoshop to texture (tech talk for paint) the model. Photoshop although originally created for editing photographs also has an excellent set of digital painting tools perfect for texturing 3D models. You can also use photographs to help give your model a realistic look. For example I used an image of old painted barn wood to create the siding texture for the windmill.

Tree ModelAfter I finished the windmill model I created an old dead tree. I wanted a stylized creepy tree, something that you might find in a stop motion movie like Nightmare before Christmas. I created the tree out of primitive polygon cylinders. I stretched and skewed the cylinders to give the appearance of branches.

Perspective ViewOnce the primary models were finished, the next step was to assemble everything together into a scene. The tree was duplicated several times and scaled into various sizes to give the illusion of a dense forest. It’s a concept called forced perspective that is utilized frequently in movie and theater sets. When you scale an object down in size and put it towards the back, it appears to be much further distance away than it is in reality. I was able to utilize space much more efficiently by using this technique. Instead of building the landscape to scale, I was able to make a much smaller model that had the same appearance a full size model would have had.

Camera ViewAfter I composed my image, with the scene framed the way I wanted, I began the process of lighting. Lighting is one of my favorite aspects of Maya, It reminds me of when I took drama in High School (I would always volunteer to run the stage lighting for school plays). You can easily change the dramatic tone of a scene by adjusting the color and intensity of light. For this particular scene I went with a nice cool blue directional light to represent the moon. I also cast a small red area light on the side of the windmill to help highlight it. I also added some interior lights to add a nice warm glow coming from the windows.

RenderAfter the lighting was set up to my liking, I began the long process of rendering. Rendering is the process the computer uses to refine the model, and make it appear photorealistic. The computer uses complex algorithms to replicate the physics of light, and how it interacts with objects and different surfaces. Rendering can be a very long process, which consumes all of your computers processing resources. More often than not the real trick to rendering comes down to adjusting the render settings properly to achieve the proper look. This simple image took my computer over eleven minutes’ worth of processing time to render.

Fnished LogoOnce the 3D elements were rendered, I took the final image into Photoshop where I added a background, adjusted the color and added a stylized font. I’m extremely happy with the way the logo turned out. Overall I have about 20 hours’ worth of work put into the creation of this image, working on it in my spare time over the course of a month.