Monday, May 30th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

How to design animation backgrounds in Blender

The Gnomon Workshop has released Designing Animation Backgrounds Using Blender & Photoshop, a guide to production workflows recorded by former Castlevania background supervisor Jose Vega.

The workshop, which provides over four hours of video training, explores how to create backgrounds for 2D animations using open-source 3D software Blender and stock assets from KitBash3D.

Create fururistic urban backgrounds for 2D animation in Blender and Photoshop
In the workshop, Vega demonstrates the speed at which 2D animation backgrounds can be created with the help of 3D assets, using Blender and Photoshop as his tools of choice.

Starting with a rough storyboard, he demonstrates how to block out a scene in Blender, before adding fine details and establishing the lighting using a combination of photobashing and digital painting in Photoshop.

The scene uses assets from KitBash3D’s free Neo City kitbash asset kit, with Vega setting out his techniques for isolating individual elements from larger models in Blender to create unique mini-assets.

The tutorial also covers lighting and texturing in Blender, and how to render a scene with reflections and fog.

As the final step in his pipeline, Vega discusses his personal approach to using render passes generated from Blender to create alpha channels to help polish the final image in Photoshop.

As well as the tutorial videos themselves, viewers can download project files for the workshop, including Vega’s storyboards, work-in-progress images, and his final, multi-layered Photoshop document.

About the artist
Jose Vega is a principal concept artist who has been working in the entertainment industry for over a decade. He is currently senior concept artist for Magic: The Gathering at Wizards of the Coast.

He was previously background supervisor for the Netflix animated show Castlevania, while his other clients have included Riot Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Paizo and Hi-Rez Studios.

Pricing and availability
Designing Animation Backgrounds Using Blender & Photoshop is available via a subscription to The Gnomon Workshop, providing access to over 300 tutorials. Subscriptions cost $49/month or $490/year.

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Full disclosure: CG Channel is owned by Gnomon.