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Parka (Singapore)

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Blackwater Archives
Blackwater Archives
by Unknown
Edition: Hardcover
2 used & new from CDN$ 999.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic art in a premium book, April 21 2015
This review is from: Blackwater Archives (Hardcover)
Length:: 2:30 Mins

Here's the companion book to the PS4 exclusive game The Order: 1886.

This is another quality artbook from publisher Bluecanvas, who also published The Art of The God of War: Ascension, The Art of Journey and The Art of Homeworld.

This huge hardcover artbook has 268 pages and is leather-bound. I'm not sure if it's faux leather or real leather but it feels real to the touch. Unfortunately for me, I live in a place where it's hot and humid so extra care is needed to take care of the leather. The exterior appearance of the artbook just looks and feels premium. The paper used is the thick and non-glossy type.

The concept art featured in the book covers the characters, environment, enemies and weapons. The mixture is good and since the book is so thick, there are a lot to see.

For the character and creature designs, there are sketches, black and white tonal drawings, monotone 3D renders and the full colour textured 3D renders as they are seen in the game. The details are amazing. The portrait paintings are almost like photographs but has more aesthetics.

The environment art are wonderful also. They capture the mood really well. They should be digitally painted but they don't have the digital look. Many I think are painted at really large sizes because when they are printed to fill a page or two, they are still look in high definition. I love the wide angle composition of the various places. There are also many in-game screenshots included and those look terrific also. It's like someone brought a film camera and went into the game to take photos. There are lots of details in the environment art and you can only imagine the amount of research that was done to get the architecture and interior design correct.

This is a fantastic artbook. This should be one of the top artbooks for 2015.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters
by 3dtotal Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 51.71
30 used & new from CDN$ 43.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great instruction book on digital painting characters, April 13 2015
Length:: 1:43 Mins

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop is a helpful guide for digital painters tackling character art. It's a 224-page paperback artbook published by 3Dtotal so the presentation style is quite similar to their other books which are filled with screenshots and instructions.

The first few chapters by Benita Winckler covers the basics of character design, more on the design aspect than on digital painting, things like what makes a character appealing or an idea work. It deals with colours, anatomy and postures, compositions and other portrait drawing related topics.

The next few chapters on Bram "Boco" Sels goes into the digital painting of a character and builds on the art fundamentals covers in the first few chapters. Bram's use of colours and understanding of tone looks amazing.

The other chapters feature several artists which each going through their digital painting process of a character from start to finish. So you get to see more variety of characters which includes sci-fi, fantasy and the traditional portraits.

Then it's followed by a Quick Tips section with many little mini tutorials that focus on certain features of the characters, e.g. different types of hair, skin, eyes, nose, mouth, clothing material. The last two chapters are the artists gallery and a glossary of terms for beginners.

It's a helpful and insightful book for digital painting beginners. If you need something more basic on digital painting, check out Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop.

The full list of instructor artists included are

Admed Aldoori
Charlie Bowater
Carlos Cabrera
Romana Kendelic
Devon Cady-Lee
Tim Lochner
Markus Lovadina
Gerhard Mozzi
Alex Negrea
YongSub Noh
Pyeongjun Park
Andrei Pervukhin
Bram "Boco" Sels
Derek Stenning
Chase Tools
Benita Winckler

3ds Max Projects: A Detailed Guide to Modeling, Texturing, Rigging, Animation and Lighting
3ds Max Projects: A Detailed Guide to Modeling, Texturing, Rigging, Animation and Lighting
by Matt Chandler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 54.41
33 used & new from CDN$ 46.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Intensive course to learn more about 3ds Max, April 12 2015
Length:: 2:26 Mins

3ds Max Projects is a hands-on tutorial based book that aims to train you to be more proficient in using the different aspect of the software. In particular, this book covers modelling, rigging, lighting, particle effects and dynamics, and blending 3D with photography.

All the exercises are quite detailed and includes plenty of screenshots and explanation. By the way, this book is for beginner-to-intermediate level users who already know the interface and main features of what 3ds Max can do.

The modelling exercises are intensive and covers modelling of characters, one that is stylised and the other a more realistic caricature. There's also the modelling of a more inorganic subject like a tank.

For some chapters, there are exercise files already set up for you, so you can just focus on learning the particular feature in the chapter, e.g. putting bones into a character that has already been modelled.

The downside of the book is sometimes you'll need to use other software besides 3ds Max. Some of them include Photoshop which you should already have of course, then there's Zbrush because you need to import the characters there for touchup (sometimes using the Zbrush UV Master plugin). There's a section that requires V-Ray for rendering. The chapter on FX particles and Dynamics requires the use of Realflow for liquid, FumeFX for smoke.

Overall, this 304-page paperback is an intensive course to using 3ds Max. It's good practice to get into more technical areas of using the software. Recommended for more intermediate users unless you're a beginner who likes to challenge yourself.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden
EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden
by Various
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.99
31 used & new from CDN$ 28.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic artbook for fans of the game and sci-fi art, April 7 2015
Length:: 1:59 Mins

So CCP Games has finally decided to put out the best-of-the-best art for their EVE universe. The first artbook was The Art of EVE, released in 2007. Then there's the companion book EVE: Source released in 2014.

EVE Universe: The Art of New Eden is a collection of more than 15 years of artworks from EVE Online, DUST 514 and EVE: Valkyrie. The book's an oversized 192-page hardcover. As with all Dark Horse artbooks, the production quality is excellent. The artworks are wonderfully reproduced and presented.

This is a book for fans of the game and sci-fi art. The concept artworks are beautiful. There are sketches, fully painted pieces and also some 3D renders. You'll get to see the mesmerising gas clouds, numerous spaceships and space stations, weapons, environment art, interior art for selected locations and a few pages of character designs. The art, especially the environment art, really brings across the grandiose of space travel. There are many landscape art which I felt could have been printed bigger. Compared to the first artbook, the artworks here look more polished.

On the back cover you'll find a quote from me saying all the nice things about the art. That quote is meant for the companion book EVE: Source, not this artbook. It's misleading to use a quote meant for another book here. I had no idea that the publisher was going to use my quote. Anyway, I did not preview this book or get a review copy. I bought my own copy.

Overall, it's a fantastic book with great art. Highly recommended.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination
How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination
by Scott Robertson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 46.66
29 used & new from CDN$ 42.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended indispensable drawing guide, March 31 2015
Length:: 1:29 Mins

Concept designer and educator Scott Robertson has finally come up with his own book on how to draw, after teaching that to students for years. It's wonderful to finally have a book from him that we can learn from directly.

This is a book for artists, architects and designers.

The focus of the book is on perspective, and learning to draw from imagination. There are a lot of step by step instructions. Just copy them and the lesson points will sink in as you practice.

The information is technical, but explained concisely. There are even videos online that goes through the main lesson points again for even more clarity.

Perspective fundamentals are covered comprehensively, and subsequent chapters build on that knowledge to draw subjects of different form, environments, vehicles and aircrafts.

You'll learn stuff like the usual 1-2-3 point perspectives, vanishing points, and also additional bits on cutaways, exploded views, ultra wide angles and more. There are lots of drawing tips.

Compared to other perspective books, examples here are more challenging and stylish, such as cars, planes. curved bodies, instead of the usual houses, railway tracks vanishing to a point. There are plenty of illustrated examples.

One part I like is where he shows off drawing as if they were taken from camera lens at different focal length. The difference in effect is quite stunning and can make a drawing look either dull or dynamic. Throughout the book, he emphasises on using grids and you'll be able to see immediate effects on how that affects the look of your drawing.

There's nothing on drawing shadows though. But if you look at his illustrated examples, you'll see that even without shadows, you can make out the form and shapes of the objects perfectly.

The last section briefly covers several sketching styles and mediums. You can experiment with different styles to suit yourself or the drawing.

Here's the list of chapters included to give you an idea what to expect.

Drawing Materials and Skills
Perspective Terminology
Perspective Drawing Techniques
Creating Grids
Elipses and Rotations
Working with Volume
Drawing Environments
Drawing Aircraft
Drawing Wheeled Vehicles
Sketching Styles and Medium
By the way, he is also the founder of Design Studio Press and has overseen the publication of many DSP artbooks. Some of those artbooks are actually student projects and you can see what's actually possible when you master the fundamentals taught in this book.

Mine's the paperback edition and the binding seems good enough. There's also the hardcover edition available.

This is a highly recommended indispensable drawing guide.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

The Art of Charlie Adlard
The Art of Charlie Adlard
by Charlie Adlard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 47.61
25 used & new from CDN$ 25.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Cool artbook for fans of Charlie Adlard and comic art, March 31 2015
Length:: 1:52 Mins

This is a nice artbook for the comic artist Charlie Adlard, whose most prominent work is probably from The Walking Dead comic series.

The book covers his career so it goes years before he drew for The Walking Dead in 2004. There are stories his childhood, teenage years, the days where he looked for work at comic conventions, the different drawing jobs he took over the years, and of course how the got into The Walking Dead and the other titles beyond walking dead.

The art is great. Even on the cover art you can see what Charlie Adlard is so good at, the characters he draws and his amazing use of black and white. He's most comfortable in black and white so you get to see the bulk of his work in this style. Additionally, there are also examples of his colour painted works, as well as a rather interesting comic rendered in charcoal called White Death. Besides zombie art, you'll see the comic pages for The X-Files, Batman: Gothman Knights, Judge Dredd, Codeflesh and others. Majority of work is for The Walking Dead that he has been working on for close to a decade.

The text provides a clear overview of his career progression. There are also guest writeup by Jonathan Ross, White Death writer Robbie Morrison, special effects guy Greg Nicotero and of course Robert Kirkman.

The unprecedented look at the making of the 100th issue is actually a look at the penciled laid out panels side by side with the finished inks. It's quite interesting to see finalised ink heavy version. Unfortunately, there's no commentary for this section.

It's a cool artbook for fans of Charlie Adlard and comic art.

If you want to check out more of his art, you can look for The Walking Dead: The Covers artbook.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Resident Evil 6: Graphical Guide
Resident Evil 6: Graphical Guide
by Noriomi Ito
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.49
20 used & new from CDN$ 9.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Resident Evil 6 debrief, March 30 2015
Length:: 0:59 Mins

Whether this book is good or bad will depend on what you were expecting. Imagine you're an investor and looking at a game to invest in. This is the sort of book you'll get to see the game concept and characters.

This is the guide that gives you more background information relating to the characters, zombies and game system in Resident Evil 6. It has only 96 pages though so it's not that in depth but I would say the writeup is adequate.

The character parts are covered very well, but the only the main enemies are mentioned. I was expecting a an encyclopedia-like guide to each enemy. I hope they do come up with a detailed and thick Resident Evil encyclopedia in the future.

The pictures included are mainly screenshots from the game. And if you've played the game, then this book is like a debrief, a summary of what happened. I'm not sure if this is worth the money for me if that's the case. I prefer the much thicker and more visually beautiful Resident Evil 6 Artworks artbook.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

More Heroes and Herones: Japanese Video Game + Animation Illustration
More Heroes and Herones: Japanese Video Game + Animation Illustration
by PIE Books
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 27.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Great sample of Japanese video and animation character art, March 30 2015
Length:: 1:15 Mins

Here's the second artbook from the Heroes & Heroines series. The first artbook was published in 2011. It's great to see another volume after three years.

It's still a 208-page paperback. Text is in both Japanese and English.

This time, 63 artists are featured. These are all artists who draw for animation and video games. There's also an interview with the character designer Miwa Shirow of 7th Dragon 2020-ii.

The works featured are the main character designs. It's a fantastic character design reference book because there are so many characters to check out. The variety is incredible. I only know of a few titles, such as Persona4, Metal Gear Solid V, Kill la Kill and the rest are all new to me. It's really difficult to catch up with what's being released in Japan so this book is a nice sample of the art used in the games and animation from 2012 to 2014.

Oh, the artworks are fantastic.

Highly recommended to those who like Japanese characters.

It's wonderful reference book to those into character design or manga drawing as well.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors
Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors
by Ray Hendershot
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.36
15 used & new from CDN$ 16.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Bring your watercolour textures to the next level, March 29 2015
Length:: 1:09 Mins

Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors is a book for intermediate and advanced watercolour artists who want to take their texture techniques to the next level.

The artist and author Ray Hendershot's style is geared more towards realism rather than the stylised watercolour art based on shapes. However, it's not about photo-realism. You can still feel the full flavour of a watercolour painting.

While many instructional watercolour books devote a few pages to texture effects, such as creating effects with splatter or using the salt, this book is all about the textures as used for fully realised paintings. There are 128-pages of exercises that you

There are 21 step-by-step exercises with real paintings as examples, as well as five demonstrations. For the exercises, you can easily follow with the instructions, although it will take a lot of practice to get to the level of finesse shown by Hendershot with his paintings. The best thing is you now know what's possible with watercolour.

The exercises cover subjects like trees, weathered wood, worn surfaces, bricks, grounds and landscapes. The examples look amazing in terms of detail. You won't be reproducing the exact paintings, but merely practice the techniques used to create effects.

One downside of the book is the colour reproduction. Most of the paintings look as if they were painted in the era where the Old Masters lived. The colours are very subdued, with lots of browns and blacks, which could be due to the nature of the subject being drawn. It will really be interesting and fun to see these watercolour texture techniques being replicated with more vibrant pigments. With this book you can do just that.

Overall, it's an incredibly informative book with great exercises and instructions.

Highly recommended.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks
Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks
by Gavin Aung Than
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.25
21 used & new from CDN$ 10.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring comics, March 28 2015
Length:: 1:27 Mins

I can't remember exactly when I discovered Zen Pencils but when I did I was hooked.

I like how Gavin has packaged the inspirational quotes from famous and iconic people into comics to make them more accessible to all readers. The art is great and the quotes and stories are inspiring. It's a wonderful combination. This has been the recipe for success for Zen Pencils.

One thing you need to know is all the comics in this book are available on the Zen Pencils website. I'm buying this book to show my support for an artist who dares to pursue his dreams to make cartooning full-time, and to do so independently. There's a comic story that Gavin drew about his own life but that particular one is not in this book. Zen Pencils is popular enough so a second volume will not be surprising and is expected.

Highly recommended.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)

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