Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Raphaël Lacoste

Raphael Lacoste
If you, like many people, envision the process of 3-D CGI (Computer Graphics Imaging) as arranging a few wireframe shapes and pressing the “render” button, you may as well say painting is as easy as taking a brush and slapping some color on a canvas.

The same skills of composition, proportion, perspective, color and, yes, drawing, are as important in the creation of a successful CGI image as they are in traditional painting. Yes, it’s possible for an amateur to make an image in a 3-D application without knowing those things, and the results are similar to someone trying to paint without them. I’ve seen enough poorly done amateur CGI, and have worked in 3-D applications myself just enough to have some idea of how important those skills are to a good CGI image.

Raphaël Lacoste is a French matte painter and concept artist now living in Canada. He is also an award-winning art director for high-end games in the Prince of Persia series. He uses a combination of 3-D CGI and 2-D digital painting in Photoshop to create beautifully atmospheric images that are at times evocative of classical and 19th century paintings.

The image above, Path to the Gothic Choir (large version here), is the subject of a feature article on the CGSociety site that goes into some detail about the process of creating this kind of image, including preliminary sketches, initial renderings, details and an image of a painting by 19th Century German romantic painter Caspar David Fredrich called Cloister Graveyard in the Snow, that was the inspiration for Lacoste’s image.

Lacoste’s own site has a nice selection of his moody and atmospheric matte paintings and concept art, including a wonderful evocation of Arnold Böcklin’s The Isle of the Dead. (See my previous post on Arnold Böcklin.)

There is also a gallery of his work on the CGSociety’s site.

4 thoughts on “Raphaël Lacoste

  1. Jan Blencowe

    Well, “The times they are a-changing”, and in reality the times are always changing. Artists, being the creative and expressive individuls they are, will always be game to try new techniques and mediums available to them. Be they the camera obscura, the daugerrotype,co-polymer paint (as acrylic paint was once called) and now CGI. Out of that experimentation will come “the good the bad and the ugly”. I’ve seen some amazing CGI artwork, whether it sticks around and has a lasting impact on the art world only time will tell.

    Jan Blencowe
    Art&Life

  2. Charley Parker Post author

    Thanks for your comments, Jan.

    I think some form of digital tools will be part of the “paintbox’ available to artists for some time to come, if only because of their wonderful flexibility. 3-D CGI may have a limited application in the creation of “painterly” images as the technolgy seems to be striving for photorealism, but digital painting tools like Photoshop and Painter have surpassed charcoal and oil as the most “plastic” of all mediums.

    Other readers will be intereseted to check out Jan Blencowe’s blog. She is a New England plein air oil painter and her blog features a painting a day with floral subjects.

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