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Extreme Worlds Paperback – Nov 6 2009

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: IMPACT; Original edition (Nov. 6 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600613411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600613418
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 440 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Francis Tsai is a world-renowned conceptual designer. He was the principal artist for Darkwatch and has worked on many fantasy gaming assignments, including Tomb Raider, Star Trek, The Bourne Identity, Spyhunter 2, Whacked and Myst 3. He also works extensively for major comic publishers including Top Cow and Devil's Due and is a regular contributor to Imagine FX magazine. He lives in San Diego, California. www.teamgt.com


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By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 24 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:21 Mins
The first part goes into the basics like tools, theories and techniques required to get into sci-fi art.

The second part, the Demos section features illustrations which are broken down into step-by-step sequences where you can follow along, or apply the techniques to your own creation. You'll learn how to draw humanoids, aliens, monsters, spaceships, vehicles, robots, spaceport, interiors and backgrounds.

There are tutorials on digital art creation as well as digital painting. The explanation is simple and easy to follow. There are plenty of practical tips and insights that address not just on how to create but also why it's done that way.

The final part of the book takes a concept "Space Opera" and develops the world around it, the story, characters and spaceships.

Extreme Worlds is a nice and simple beginner guide for artists who want to create their own sci-fi worlds.

-

You can check out more art from Francis Tsai on his website. I'm a follower of his blog and is really impressed with his intricate 3D models created using the free Google Sketchup, which are then painted over.

-

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3d0d534) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3dcc108) out of 5 stars A Decent Guide for Experienced Artists June 20 2010
By CB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are a number of "How To" guides out there these days that offer to teach elements of a particular kind of art - sci-fi art, fantasy art, noir comics, etc. These guides focus largely on the nuance, etc., of the styles discussed and don't necessarily get into the fundamentals (i.e. anatomy, costume, etc. - which, rightly should be covered in other books). "Extreme Worlds" (I'll call it EW from here on) is one of these books, but unlike many of its predecessors, it does a decent job of highlighting the methods of modern sci-fi artists understandably.

If you're familiar with anything Wizards of the Coast has produced in recent years, then you've likely seen the artwork of EW's author, Francis Tsai. He's an excellent artist, working largely in digital media, and is an obvious choice for this book. As it is, EW has three sections:

1) Basic Concepts, in which tools of the trade (including digital media), shapes, perspective, color, etc. are discussed. By and large, 2-3 pages are devoted to each section, and aren't particularly deep, but enough to give an introduction to what is discussed. For instance, the "Color" section discusses the color wheel, and terms like "hue," "saturation" and "temperature" are discussed. A few artworks in this section are taken from start to finish to show how traditional and digital media "work." This section is probably the weakest of the three sections simply because it is the one that offers the least depth to the artist.

2) Demos, which shows the creation of characters (a humanoid, an alien and a robot), vehicles, and environments from start to finish. I found this particular section especially helpful, as it shows how Tsai goes through his creation process and also provides tutorials on paintings (although they're not especially detailed).

3) Space Opera, in which Tsai goes through the process of creating a sci-fi story-world and populating it with characters, transports, etc. At the end, he produces a sort of "movie poster" for it. This is an interesting section, mostly as it lets you see different kinds of art and provides some nice inspiration for your own projects.

The Good: There are some nice nuggets of gold here for the aspiring concept artist, however you'll have to read closely to get at them. The book itself is very attractive and well-printed (on glossy paper), filled with Tsai's artwork in various stages of completion, and reminiscent of his 100 Ways to Create Fantasy Figures, which is a similar book, but also worth a look.

The Bad: While this book calls itself a "complete guide," it isn't, really. A number of vital techniques are given short shrift (or not mentioned at all). A major concept art technique, working with grayscale markers (like MARKER SET-PRISM COOL GRAY) is not even covered. Also, issues like painting in digital media are focused on, but since it has become an industry standard technique, a full tutorial (possible included on a DVD-ROM, which a number of similar books have done) would have been great. Also, despite the basic information included in the first section, this book does seem to assume that you've had quite a bit of artistic background and at least have access to a computer and some version of Photoshop (or a similar program).

Overall, this is a great book for inspiration and tips on how to innovate your creative process. Books with sci-fi and fantasy art as a focus, but which are more tutorial-focused, include Fantasy Workshop: Mastering Digital Painting Techniques, Master Digital Color: Styles Tools Techniques and Digital Character Painting Using Photoshop CS3 (Graphics Series), which might be more helpful from a "How To" perspective (and 2 of which come with tutorial DVDs).
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3d7ad5c) out of 5 stars Interesting and practical guide Jan. 24 2010
By Parka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first part goes into the basics like tools, theories and techniques required to get into sci-fi art.

The second part, the Demos section features illustrations which are broken down into step-by-step sequences where you can follow along, or apply the techniques to your own creation. You'll learn how to draw humanoids, aliens, monsters, spaceships, vehicles, robots, spaceport, interiors and backgrounds.

There are tutorials on digital art creation as well as digital painting. The explanation is simple and easy to follow. There are plenty of practical tips and insights that address not just on how to create but also why it's done that way.

The final part of the book takes a concept "Space Opera" and develops the world around it, the story, characters and spaceships.

Extreme Worlds is a nice and simple beginner guide for artists who want to create their own sci-fi worlds.

-

You can check out more art from Francis Tsai on his website. I'm a follower of his blog and is really impressed with his intricate 3D models created using the free Google Sketchup, which are then painted over.

-

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa48f6258) out of 5 stars Excellent resource Nov. 27 2009
By Stopher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine place to begin to understand fantasy design for games and movies. Francis Tsai does a wonderful job of breaking down the fundamentals and helping the reader to grasp what makes an effective image. Along with his other book, "100 Ways to Create Fantasy Figures", you get an insight into what it takes to work in the industry and what will be expected of you. Well done and thank you Mr. Tsai!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ef6da4) out of 5 stars Excelent book, good sequal April 11 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over all this book was excellent, a nice follow up to Tsai's first book...100 Ways to Create Fantasy Figures

In the first one it was more like a collection of different tips and suggestions, which was nice but not to directly useful or ground breaking really. This book however was much better both in terms of layout and content. It broke down the artists actual working process, which I have always found to be most helpful to be able to study. This is done through several examples of both character and vehicle sketches, from initial gesture through to finished painting. A good over view of science fiction art, and better than the usual "how to" book. Lot's of little gems an stuff in here to pick up on.

That said...this is not a book for a beginning artist. The examples within are not so much intended as "follow along" kind of how to draw techniques, but as a sample of a type of work flow that could be adapted and incorporated into your own. At least I think that is more the intent of them, but if nothing else just the artwork alone is a nice inspiration. This won't take you through the basics of drawing, and it is very specific...science fiction concept artwork...in it's subject matter. If you need basics, you have to look elsewhere...but for a more advanced art student, or even industry pro, this is a nice inspirational book that you might pick up a tip or two from.
HASH(0xb402a768) out of 5 stars A Good Primer for Designing Scifi Worlds Dec 21 2015
By MWF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Written and illustrated by the late, great Francis Tsai, this book does an admirable job of introducing would-be artists to both the world of scifi art but also to the worlds of conceptual design and illustration, however brief that introduction may seem at times.

The book is split into three sections: Basic Concepts, Demos and Space Opera.
The Basic Concepts section briefly goes over most of the fundamentals of successful representational art, including materials used (both traditional and digital), understanding forms in 3-dimensions, perspective and the complexities of color. He even goes into things like finding inspiration and the practical use of photo-reference.
Demos showcases his process of creating everything from characters to creatures, to vehicles and environments. Aside from some delineation among the environment demos, the demos are very logically formulaic in process, from initial concept to final rendering; they mainly involve linework followed by a layer of color, followed by the overlay of light and dark values.
The the third and final section, Space Opera, is basically Tsai showing how to create an entire world, or universe even, via the fundamentals of conceptual design and illustration. He explores different characters in both a visual and narrative way, as well as everything else that world-building entails.

The pro's of the book:
What buoys up the book, like any art book, and whether instructional or otherwise, is the fine level of art on display. It's clear Tsai has a passion for scifi art and concept art, and it really shows through in every aspect of what he designs.
His overall artwork in the book is great, but really my favorite part of the book is the Space Opera section. It really feels like a fun world he's created, it's a shame it didn''t fill up more of the book--I honestly wish he had made two books; one entirely instructional, the other just exploring his Space Opera concept.
Tsai even had creative ways of portraying things that most would-be artists wouldn't find all that interesting, such 3d shapes, or the theories of color and value in imagery.

Cons:
I feel it suffers overall from a lack of priorities; as others have pointed out in the reviews, it just doesn't go into enough detail in his process demos to be a completely successful introduction to someone who is starting out in concept art. This is largely because he tries to cover both traditional and digital art methods, when, to be honest, concept artists specializing in scifi art and illustration, with few exceptions, have largely left traditional mediums behind (fantasy illustration still has a strong traditional foothold, but fantasy concept art is little different in its prejudice of digital art than scifi concept art). I think it would've been better if he had just saved the paper space and only focused on digital art and all of its intricacies.

In the end though, I feel the pros well outweigh the cons. However, if I was going to recommend this book to anyone, it would be to artists at the lower end of the intermediate spectrum; people who have some degree of understanding when it comes to the fundamentals, including the basics of digital art, but who probably don't know where to go when it comes to something like scifi art.


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