Product Drawing - Learning Digital Sketching/Rendering

Hi everyone,

I just started my first digital sketching/rendering class. I thought I’d share this first week’s homework.
Hopefully it’s of interest to some of you. I’d love to get in on some of the great feedback and helpful tips I see going around.

This first assignment was to work with different textures/materials.
I used Photoshop primarily but I also tried out the Copic Markers in Sketchbook Pro for the first time.

I tried to place a reflection of a light on the mouse to indicate a glossy material. I don’t really feel it’s working as well as it could. Any suggestions as to how i could improve that?

Oops, these didn’t fit because of the upload limit

This last one was an in class assignment. We’ll be doing one each week to see how quickly we can apply the skills in class.

Damn, those are nice! If that is the first assignment then I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the progress each week!

For the mouse, the highlight that you have looks like a harsh spot light, I would instead try to simulate a light box or white reflection plane. Good car photography always does this really well, because you can use the flow of the highlight to reveal the form and surface changes really well. That might help to help it read more 3D, since right now it’s looks a little flat.

RobShook- Thanks for posting your experiences. Some of us who graduated even 4 years ago did not have the chance to take digital rendering courses. Please continue sharing!

In regards to the work- I’m not sure if you are intending all of the objects to float or not, but the grey sphere seems floating while the others are grounded. I think the shoe would also read better grounded. Just my opinion.

Nice work!

Yes, these are very nice! The machined-metal face on that truncated cone is really convincing . . .

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

@Choto - Thanks for the reference, those are really nice! I understand what you mean. Im working on this week’s homework and I’ll be sure to try and use a soft light box instead of a harsh spot light for my reflections. I can see how a reflection of a square light box could help show the surface of the mouse better. I guess it would be like creating a contour line with the reflection.

@Ryanid - This is actually one of the first few times this class is being taught digitally. It used to be an all analog class with an emphasis on Canson rendering. Just FYI I am a student at Academy of Art in SF and the class is called Product Drawing.

I’ll try to post the demos and lessons as well. Hopefully everyone can learn a little something or find something interesting.
This week were encouraged to check out a few sites that have a large number of tutorials.

Both are geared more towards Entertainment Design but they have some good demos in there.

I definitely agree with your feedback. They grey sphere had a shadow but i must of had it hidden when i saved the JPEG.
I didn’t feel that the shoe’s composition was working either. I tried taking your advice and hopefully it is an improvement.

Here’s the homework from the second week of the class.
The assignment this week was to simply sketch/render any 3 products with 3 or more materials/textures.

In the class we don’t spend anytime critiquing the design of the product. But I figure, as a young designer and student, I need all the practice I can get. So instead of just sketching existing objects, or creating a meaningless shape, I’m guessing I should put at least some thought into what I’m sketching. Otherwise, in a way, It would just end up to be a collection of “doodles”.

So here’s my first attempt to do just that

Taking Chotto’s advice I was trying to create less harsh reflections on the glass.

Not much thought went into this one. I just wanted to practice getting a glossy white material
(something I really struggled with in the past, especially with markers).

Here’s the last one from the homework this week.

I was noticing a what I thought to be a trend in athletic shoes. Many running shoes have some kind of “high tech” sole like the Nike free run or Reebok Zigtech. Im not a real sneaker head, but what really interested me was the way the upper would have a neutral color and the sole would be highlighted with a bright accent color. I even noticed Men’s dress shoes that had bright red soles. I wasn’t sure what you would call this until my wife walked in and said “Hey, that’s color blocking!”.

When I started sketching the speakers I thought it’d might be interesting to see what it would be like to apply the same idea. Maybe the speaker itself could have a soft elastomeric “sole” that would give it a nice soft bottom to rest on the table. Here’s my where I tried that idea out.

Here’s what I turned into the class. Last week my teacher wanted to see more sketch lines.

Here’s some slight changes I made after the class crit. They wanted to see a less boring color for the background and they suggested a more complimentary color like orange. Purple was about as warm as I could get before it started looking really funky.

Please, I’d love to heard all comments, crits, feedback, etc. I’d really like to learn how to improve my work as much as possible.
I grew up in the SF Bay Area and it turned out to be quite the competitive place to be. It’s really sad to see many classmates graduate and have such a difficult time getting a job, even a job anywhere for that matter. I’d really love to stay in the bay area but it seems like I need to be as competitive as I possibly can (especially If I want to work in one specific area as opposed to pursing work from anywhere in the world.)

This next week’s homework is to try a digital canson technique. We didn’t have much in the way of a demo but our teacher showed some absolutely amazing digital car canson sketches. I think this week I’ll be trying to sketch cars and hopefully the Trans majors at school can help me out a bit. Since we didn’t get much of a demo, can anyone point me to some digital canson tutorials online? Or share some reference of good sketches/photos. I’ve been noticing alot of ads that place a solid color product on a background of the same color so I’ve been looking at those for inspiration. Any suggestions of what to sketch other than cars?

Thanks everyone!

Rob, the bay is pretty competitive. Lots of opportunity though as well. Are you in school now?

nice work Rob. What school are you at?

You’re doing it right.

Thanks Brett

I’m studying at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
I currently have 3-4 more semesters to go. So i have about a year and a half until I graduate.