Specialisation Project – Research Blog Post

Hey everyone! You’ve seen my specialisation project being created over the past couple of weeks in my Progress Journals, but now I shall compile that research and anything extra I’ve found, here in this blog.

On Composition

My first source was this image on DeviantArt by genicecream. It is a really long image, so I will not post it in this blog post. Mostly from this image I focused on the first section, looking at layout.

Composition Test layout

I experimented with the placing of the rock in the first image I created, eventually setting it slightly down and to the right of the center point. The image from DeviantArt also coincided with other videos I watched on Composition.

These two videos gave explainations of framing, leading lines, points of interest, contrast and overall balance to an image.

Composition Test coloured

When making the forest around the rock, I tried to get the branch of the framing tree to lead towards the rock, and also keep in mind the digital painting tips that WalkingMelonsAAA gave in her tutorial video, on using colours that fell in the same spectum.

After I finished all the base colours on the rock clearing, I decided that I couldn’t work with that image anymore, so I started a new one, being the current Christmas background that has been in my most recent progress journals.

Christmas Landscape blackwhite layout

In this image I used white on black to remind myself that I wanted this image to be a night based image. This then started me looking at how to make custom brushes.

On Custom Brushes

The main source of information I used for custom brushes was this video here:

It taught me the most about how to create my own custom brushes for use. Another place which gave me the same information was this blog post, by a fellow student at SAE Qantm. From the tutorial I then started making shapes to then turn into brushes.

The most useful ones made were the signature brushes that I could add to my art, without having to redo my signature a thousand times over. The mess of dashes became the leaves of my trees in my Christmas background.

Christmas Landscape - Progress

More recently I created a cloud brush which then became the snow in this image.


Christmas Landscape - Progress 2.png

The Adobe Help Center also gave some interesting directions that can modify the brush that is being used, the spacing changing how often the shape of the brush is placed in a line, shape dynamics affecting the size of the brush, which I accidentally discovered when my drawing tablet got stuck with the tip pressure dictating the brush size, and other settings for air brushes, bristle brushes and more general settings.

On the Fantasy Genre

I looked at a lot of images that could be classed as a fantasy landscape in some way, and collected them onto a pinterest board.


I also put research into what “Fantasy” is. Children’s Literature Classics explain it as “events that occur outside the ordinary laws that operate within the universe.” From this website I learned the three different types of fantasy, where the story begins and ends in the fantasy word, where the story begins in the real world and shifts to the fantasy world, and when the fantasy elements exist in the real world. This then reminded me of research from high school on dark fantasy.

I also looked this up, curious to refresh my knowledge. Joanna Penn said this about dark fantasy:

…a work is dark fantasy if it deals with any elements of fantasy and/or the paranormal in a way that studies the dark and frightening side of our nature, psychology and the weird, sublime and uncanny. If it doesn’t shy away from the gore and horror of its own darkness, yet doesn’t primarily aim to spook. If it has heroes that are not knights in shining armour, but people that sometimes have to do unsavoury things. If it has villains that aren’t necessarily all bad as well as villains that really are all bad. If it’s dark and twisted and delves into the depths of speculative fiction, without primarily aiming to scare or gross out its readers, then it’s dark fantasy.

So dark fantasy includes ghosts and spirits, while not being about the horror. Like the Persona games by Atlas, which delve into depths of the protagonist’s soul to beat the antagonist, depicting ocult themes while also staying within the setting of the neigborhood that the protagonist lives in while going to school.

That’s all for my research, now I shall finish the background that I have started. Thanks for reading this post.


genicecream. (2017). composition tips. DeviantArt. https://genicecream.deviantart.com/art/composition-tips-669381371
D4Darious. (2017). Mastering Composition + Cinematography with Will Smith. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIvGRytmRaw
Blender Guru. (2014). Understanding Composition. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8i7OKbWmRM
WalkingMelonsAAA. (2015). Part ONE General SpeedPaint TUTORIAL – (using Toriel from UNDERTALE). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB5iT_8_lsk
Pinsky, H. (2012). How to Create Custom Brushes in Photoshop. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlNLavelIM8
de Graaf, J. (2017). How to create your own custom brushes in Photoshop.. My Time at SAE Creative Media Institute. https://jackdegraafdgd210.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/how-to-create-your-own-custom-brushes-in-photoshop/
Adobe Staff. Create and modify brushes in Adobe Photoshop. Helpx.adobe.com. https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/creating-modifying-brushes.html
Children’s Literature Classics — The Fantasy Genre. Childliterature.net. http://childliterature.net/childlit/fantasy/
Penn, J. (2009). Dark Fantasy as a Writing Genre: What is it anyway?. The Creative Penn. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/07/19/dark-fantasy/
Persona (Franchise) – Giant Bomb. (2017). Giant Bomb. https://www.giantbomb.com/persona/3025-456/


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