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Extreme Worlds Paperback – Nov 6 2009


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Extreme Worlds + How to Draw and Paint Science Fiction Art: A Complete Course in Building Your Own Futurescapes and Characters, from Scientific Marvels to Dark, Dystopian Visions
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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  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #382,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 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: 8 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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
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
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
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.
Practical, Concise and Well-Explained Feb. 20 2013
By Newton Ewell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Francis Tsai has become one of my personal artistic gods. He is self-taught, and continues to create beauty regardless of his struggles with ALS. In this book, Tsai not only fully explains his methods of composition, color theory and ideation; he breaks them down into easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions.

Finally, he integrates the steps in his process by using project-based exercises. These projects serve to not only teach his process, but to create portfolio-ready artwork made by the reader. It's the best way I've found to teach - and, more importantly, to learn - concept design basics.

I highly recommend this book to all artists, from beginners to seasoned professionals.


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