Create an Abstract Background | Jonathan Lam | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. 01 - Introduction

    • 2. 02 - Cinema 4D Overview

    • 3. 03 - Create & Manipulate Plane

    • 4. 04 - Adding Colour

    • 5. 05 - Create & Manipulate 3D

    • 6. 06 - Light

    • 7. 07 - Rendering

    • 8. 08 - Photoshop

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About This Class


This lesson will take you through the basics of how to create a Low Poly Abstract Background using Cinema 4D and Photoshop. In this class you'll learn the step-by-step process for importing creating basic 3D shapes and turning them into your low poly background.

This class is perfect for designers, illustrators and anyone else who would like to learn a bit of 3D modelling to add to their designs. The class is for beginners - intermediate. Topics will include some basic 3D modelling techniques and how to use lighting to improve the overall look of the illustration.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jonathan Lam

Graphic Designer | Game Artist


Hi everyone! My name is Jonathan Lam and I'm a Digital Artist on a mission to empower, educate and inspire creative students just like you to gain the creative skills you desire! Currently I work for Ubisoft as a concept and game artist. My skills range from graphic design, illustration, animation, 3D modelling/sculpting, concept art and video editing. Some of the projects I've worked on include Hungry Shark World, Hungry Shark Evolution, Starbeard and the Kickstarter Funded Game called Eminence: Xander's Tales. 

I've also worked with many high profile clients including Riot Games, Sony Entertainment, Hasbro and Google as a graphic designer and illustrator.

Instagram | Youtube | Dribbble

See full profile

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1. 01 - Introduction: Hey, guys, My name is Jonathan Lamb. I'm an artist at Future Gains of London, a ubi soft studio In this class, we're going to learn the step by step process of how to create an abstract though party background using Cinema four D and photo shop, starting with a basic three D shape, we'll take you through all the tools and skills necessary for the project. Well, then, take the rented image into Adobe Photo Shop, where you can add some final touches to make your background illustration really stand out . Some of the major topics that will be discussing in this class will include basic three D modelling techniques. How to add color ingredients to the model. How to add lighting to the scene on basic tips and tricks in the Dhobi photo shop. By the end of the training, you'll have learned how to create an abstract low Polly background that you can use in your own illustrations or video game projects. This class is perfect for designers, illustrators and anyone else who'd like to learn a bit of three d modeling toe add to their designs. So sign in or sign up and let's get started 2. 02 - Cinema 4D Overview: so here will do a quick overview off cinema four D on some of the main features will be using in the class. So if we click on this blue que but the top here will create a cube, click on the arrows to move along the Y axis here, or the X axis or the Z axis. You can also sort of click on these arrows here, toe combined to excesses together on sorts of move it along and in the that particular space like that. So that's how you use the move tool and how you create a cube. I will just click on the Cube here and delete that. So if you click and hold the queue button here, you've got a whole bunch of, um, objects, which you can create in the space. So things like cones, cylinders, fears. We just click on the plane here just to show you how you we can manipulate thes thes objects so it can change the width. We can change the heights Onda. You'll see it change automatically There. We can change however many segments that we want inside the plane, so to zoom in and that you use the mouse wheel on like so and then to pan across you. Hold down the bulky and click and drag the middle mouse button and then to rotates around you. Hold the Elke and clicking drag the mouse button like so if you click the middle mouse button for Windows will appear like this and you can see different views of the space top sides left and right on. Uh, you're over you like So So that's all we need for now. In the next lesson, we're going to go through how to create on manipulate three D objects. See you guys there. 3. 03 - Create & Manipulate Plane: Hey, guys, and welcome back to the low Polly background class. So now that we have our plane, we're going to change the width segments on the height segments of the plains of 500 each, and you can't see that there's any difference here. But if we go to display on go to growed shading lines, you can see straight away that there's loads and loads of polygons there, so 500 is a bit too much. So that's changes to 50 by 50. And that looks like it's just about right. So just looking at the the plane here, well, think about how we can manipulate the plane. So to start this off, in fact, let's change the with segments 1st 40 by 40 and then make it edible by clicking on that white button there, the top left. And now, if we click on one of these, or if you lift left click turn finds a tool. If you left click Uh, no, in fact, click on the polygon, then left Click and you'll find all the tours here. So now we want to look for the brush to, and then you can see by clicking on the plane. You can sort of manipulates it. So here in the brush options who were going to click on surface then the mood. We're going to put the modes to that. See moods, Teoh Pull. You can see by clicking on the let's delete the phone attack first because we're from the low Poorly. But you can see me that you can see now, uh, that by just changing those settings The brush has thes different properties when we sort of apply it to the plane So you can play about with the different brush settings and then just sort of brush over the plain to see what sorts of results you get. Make sure that you've got the polygon selected on the left Onda here we can use. You can also play about with this strength. So if it's too strong, you can, um, you can make it less or you can put it Teoh minus number like Well, I've got here Teoh to make it go below the planes. He can have a positive number, which sort of makes thes mountain looking objects, or you can have a negative number where you can when you consorts of push into the plane a little bit more. That makes sense so you can see how you can use thes different settings. Toe manipulate the plane. Like I said, making sure that you have the Polygon tour selected on the left like what I have here on, then just left clicking and choosing brush. That's it for manipulating the plane in. The next lesson will go through adding color. See you guys there. 4. 04 - Adding Colour: Hey, guys. And welcome back to the low Polly background class. So you can see here we've got our plane, which has been manipulated. We're going to click, create, create new material on then double click on the material down here, which is a sphere, and you've got all these options. So we're gonna take away, reflect INTs. We're going to go into color, click on the arrow texture and go to Grady INTs. From there, we're going to double click on the Grady in here, and then we can choose what color we want our our background to be. So you can choose any sort of color you want with this one. I'm just going to choose her. So the bright reddish color and so starts off. Maybe over here, maybe a pink. And then, for the next one, the next color that's click here and I'll decide maybe something blue. It could be any color you want. It's just a purple color, something quite abstract. And what you have there creating that you want, all you have to do is click hold it down and drag it onto the plane. Like so. So that's all it takes to add color or add a material to your to your plane or your object . In the next lesson, we're going to go through how to create on manipulate three D objects. See you guys there. 5. 05 - Create & Manipulate 3D: Hey, guys, And welcome back to the low police background class. So this lesson we're going to go through how to create a three D object for your background is just gonna hold on, click on the Cube here to bring up this menu, and then we're going to go away to landscape. So just clicking on that escape you can see here that we've created this sort of, um, hilly landscape here. So just going into properties, we're going to change a few things. So just looking at First of all, we'll delete the farm tag, which is up here to make it more of a low party look instead of that smooth look that we had four going to change the width segments Teoh lower number. So 20 by 20 just to see what it looks like, you can see straightaway that it's starting to become more low Polly and a lot more faceted . So that's kind of the look that we are trying to go forth of background, but that's changed a few more things. So with size you can see here where we can manipulate the size of the off this landscape. So let's choose a few numbers. So I'm going to try and make this hill into more of a mountain so straight away now you can see that the shape is starting to get a little bit more stressed. It's starting to look a little bit more interesting than the flat hills that we had before . So going in, you can even manipulate using the move and the rotates on the scale tool at the top there as well. But just having a look at what this mountain, these these options are available to us. I'm going to make the segments a little bit a little bit more 30 just to give us a little bit more detail. And it's all about just experimenting with these, these few, these few settings here on getting the shape off the mountain, the right shape that you want so you can see here. I'm constantly slip moving in, zooming in, zooming out, also thinking about what kind of what kind of background it's going to look like. So I wanted to fill the whole square in my view port, so I'm always zooming in to see what looks interesting. Um, at this stage, so just going in and messing around with all these settings to see what you like. Now, here you can experiment with the different seeds. Now the different seeds is basically just different types of mountains, so you can just scroll through all the different types of landscapes on just randomly seeing which one you like best, which one you find most interesting. So this one looks kind of interesting. You can sort of envision creating a background out of that or something a little bit more simple with a little bit of detail, which is something that I'm trying to go for for this particular background. Just moving around the mountain looking at your view port, seeing what's most interesting, trying to visualize how the background that's going to look from here. I know it's kind of difficult because of the off the great color, but you can. You can see the lighting in the shapes and on the details off thes landscapes and how that will reflect into your into your background. So this one's kind of kind of good that's got the right mix of detail on a plane. This that you'd want in the background. The reason why I'm looking for something which is a little bit plainer is so that it doesn't distract from whatever it is that I plan to put on top of the background. So say, for example, a logo or some texts or any sort of design. Really, you don't have to be two of powering. Well, maybe you do. Maybe you do want a no overpowering background. It's entirely up to you. But for me right now, I'm just looking for something which is kind of plane. So you can see I'm constantly switching between high segments and low segments just to see what it looks like to see what sort of effects that I'm getting. And yet it's just about experimentation from hero. So now that you know how to create a manipulate a three D landscape for your background, the next lesson will be going through how to add some lighting to the scene. So you guys there 6. 06 - Light: Hey guys, And welcome back to the low Polly backgrounds course. So here you can see that we've got the mountain or the the sorts of landscape that we created and I've gone ahead and added, Some materials are or some colors to the background exactly like the ones that we did in an earlier lesson with the Grady INTs. So from here we're just going Teoh just looking around the mountain, just visualizing how the backgrounds going to look just double clicking on the material that it's it here I seem for happy with the color Steiff chosen, zooming in visualizing how the background is going to look. And now we're going to add some light. So click target light. And now with target light, you can manipulate it just like any other object. Just using the move tour Teoh, move it around your your background. I'm just going to try on used different views on changing the tart. The light target here said it actually points towards my my background, so just going here to manipulate some of the settings so you can just play about with them and see how they affect your background. So I'm making me out to angle a little bit bigger. And it was originally to see how that affects the mountain. And then I'm just going to come back here and move the lights to see how it effects the amounts in them going for a top light. Look here on that looks pretty cool in the view port, I think a physical sky and I with physical sky. It works differently to the to the target light you have tow click on these arrows here, toe. See what time? What time like you want. So you can have a morning light and afternoon light or in the evening light. You can see this is three o'clock. Just going to move this light here using the move tool to see if I could get a better top like angle. I'm just clicking on the middle mouse button. Teoh, bring along four views here so it can help me. Teoh Teoh, change the light to position the light in the right place that I want. Try. I'm just trying to make it fall off on Teoh the front off my mountain. Um you can see here. What sort of effects is giving me so that the target trying Teoh manipulate that as well. So it goes further down on the same with the other target. And that's pretty much well, I want my set up to be. So once you're happy with that set up or you have to do is, uh, go in on Venza. So that's it for this class in the next class. We're going to go through some rendering techniques, see? 7. 07 - Rendering: Hey, guys, And welcome back to the low Polly background class. So now that you're happy with the set up on the lighting set up of your scene, we're just going to go through some rendering techniques. So from here, I'm just going to set up my view port because we're going to render to view poor what sorts of background were going to go for. So I'm just trying to fill in as much of the background as possible with my view Paul. Click on Brenda Settings, Goto output and I'm going Teoh. Keep my settings as it is, 1000 by 1000. You can change the changes you want. Here you can change where you're going to save the at the image to just going to save it, as as it is as a PNG, and you can also have an Alfa Channel there as well. Also, you'll need Ambien inclusion and global illumination, so it's like those those air inside effect there. Click on effects, and then you can click on Ambien inclusion or global illumination, add them to the render settings. Once you've done that, all you need to do is click on render and you can see here the final render of how it's going to look like typically, once you for once you have a look at the render, you can go back once it's rendered it safe, so you can then go back. Change your view. Port would change whatever settings that you want if it's the lighting. If it's the type off landscape or if it's the color and then go back into settings, change the name and then render again and you can have multiple renders off your background . So with this one I have with that, um, it's already been safe, so you don't need to go in and save here. Um, and you That's it. So that's it for this class. In the next lesson, we're going to go through how to take your final render into photo shop on how to do a little few tips and tricks into making it look nice. So you guys there 8. 08 - Photoshop: Hey, guys! And welcome back to fi Lo Polly Background close eso in this Listen going to take on the appointee background into Photoshopped by clicking and dragging its You can also just open it traditionally, But that's how I've done it, Onda. And now with this background in photo shop, we can start using a few things to change it and manipulate it to make it look nicer. So I'm just going Teoh, find the layers so amusing Marquee tool Teoh Select to select the background. And here we have the two layers. So what you've seen me just do is I've done refused the marquee tool done control, see to copy it and then control shift fee to paste it into place. So I've got an original layer on I force it got the layer that I'm going them going to manipulate. The reason why I've done that is to just just so I could go back if if I've done anything that I don't like So here I've created a vibrance, a vibrant slam just going to make the vibrance into 40 on the saturation up a bit to about 15 10 and I'm going to go back down here on select curves. Today I'm going to manipulating curve like so putting it down and putting it up. I'm going to go into the Blue Channel on. Just bring blew up. The bench is making the the color a little bit cooler when it was originally Thanks. So you can also experiment with the other colors as well. But I like the blue Andi. Then what we're going to do here is we're going to use the soft round brush tool. Um and then make sure Make sure the harnesses old weight down getting select a size of 300 or 300. Make sure your color is set to white. I'm going to create a new layer and named this layer light. Then I'm going to do is just dab it on that layer and then click control t to make it bigger. So I'm just going toe zoom out here, Control minus Andi. Manipulate that circle so that we get some sorts of nice undock, low toothy background to like So So when she happier that apply the transformation, Zoom back in on. What I'm going to do here is I'm going to make this layer into a screen and turned the capacity down to about around 30% maybe 40. See if you're happy with that, next thing I'm going to do from here, just looking at what we've got. Once you're happy with that, we will go in to, um though goes So these are just a few logos that I've created its previously So I'm just going so select them from illustrator. Now, the best thing to do if you're putting a logo into or onto your your background, the colors work best when they're whites. So I'm just going to make a wall of the elements of this logo here, uh, so whites. So I'm just quickly working. Adobe illustrates it. Here. You can see that their colors are grace. I'm just going to quickly make them white and then just going too fast for the video quickly on. Then we'll go back into photo shop rights and that you're happy with once you're happy with your logo, just go back into photo shop on, paste it in and apply. And then what I'm going to do with this logo is I'm going to make it a screen rename it logo In fact, let's duplicate that layer and then I'm going Teoh, make it a blur. There. I'm going to put the galaxy and blurred to about 20 just to give it a slight low and then put the capacity down to about 30% like so on. There you have it. That's pretty much how I've created or how I use the background. Onda and I encourage you to play further with the adjustment layers that have been showing in the class on to take a look at the other settings available, especially once you get comfortable with creating shapes, manipulating planes in cinema four D. So that's it for the course. I hope you've learned a lot in the demos and learn some new tips and tricks that we've used along the way to complete this background. I had a lot of fun creating this piece, so thanks for watching good luck creating your own abstract images, and I'll see next time for some more. Our tutorials