Jailbirds

Sometimes you read or hear something that triggers a picture in your mind's eye. "Jailbirds" was such a case. As the idea was developed, many design challenges surfaced. The largest was how to get the proper perspective on the multitude of props staged within the scene. This included how to illustrate the sunlight coming through the barred window and falling on objects inside. Unless you are gifted with the ability to observe and draw like Michelangelo, how do you construct such a picture so it looks visually accurate?


Hurrah for the age of computers. After a bit of research on prison cells, their sizes and shapes, Sketchup was used to construct the unit to scale in 3D and to stock it with all the 3D objects seen in the scene. When each object was positioned in its final location, Sketchup displayed the correct perspective automatically since all props are 3-dimensional and are being viewed from a position that is user defined. A light source was put outside the window and adjusted until the illumination hit the bed and floor in a suitable manner.


DAZ Studio provided the model, a man that I call Doug the digital dude. This app offers choices on gender, age, body shape, etc. Body parts are adjustable so the pose could be made as needed. Clothes and tattoos were added and the walls were covered in make-your-grandma-blush graffiti. When the scene arrangement was finished, a screenshot was made and traced as a line drawing in Xara. All the colors, shading, and textures were added to the drawing and a bitmap made. The final step was to paint this bitmap in Essentials using brushes that reflect the constant tension and despair that must exist in hell holes.


Software used:
Sketchup, for 3D modeling,
DAZ Studio, for a posable, indisposable 3D Doug the digital dude,
Screen Hunter, for producing a screenshot of the completed scene,
Xara, for tracing the screenshot to produce objects occupying different layers so they could be manipulated individually,
Paint Shop Pro, for touch up work that is an inevitable part of graphic work,
Painter Essentials, to produce the final, painted artwork.


Wow, just think how Michelangelo had to do all this using nothing but God-given talent and time. The word "genius" fits him as snugly as oil on canvas...oh, wait, another picture was triggered in my mind's eye!