So here you are, a budding digital artist. Sat in front of your copy of Dreams, wondering where your electronic painting will take you. Or maybe you’re more of a sculptor, eager to get hands-on with your virtual clay to mould your perfect statue. Either way, if you’ve not used 3D art software before, it can be tricky to wrap your head around. Which is why we’re here to break this down for you, with some top tips on getting to grips with all things art in Dreams.
Who did we go to for such pearls of wisdom? Why our lovely art team of course! Here are some of their top tips for getting stuck into the art tools in DreamShaping.
1. Start With Something Simple and Familiar
This is just a sensible tip when learning anything, really. The first thing you make in Dreams doesn’t have to be an elaborate masterpiece worthy of display in The Idyllium (and let’s be real, it probably won’t be at first!). Instead, why not try to make something you know really well, like a mug or a lamp you look at every day. Use an item you’re familiar with to help you get your head around the tools, and you'll be a better judge of whether you’ve got the shape, colours, and style of the object down correctly. Using reference material can be a big help too!
2. Have a Play Around With Every Tool
There are so many tools in Dreams, and they will take some time to learn, so don’t be worried if you don’t pick it all up immediately. But one thing you can do to help yourself is to at least try them all out to give yourself an understanding of how it all works. Art has FIVE modes in Dreams - Sculpt, Paint, Coat, Style and Effects. So get stuck into all of them. In Sculpt Mode, pick a shape and find out the difference between Stamp Shape and Smear Shape. In Paint Mode, pick a fleck and mess around with Brush Flecks and Draw Flecks. Build up from these basics to some of the more tricksy stuff. The art tools are incredibly expressive and loads of fun to play with, so go on - throw some paint about and squish some virtual clay!
3. Take an Idea and Run With it to Completion
Having trouble creating something you’re happy with? Our advice is to not give up. It can be easy to just abandon something and move on to the next project, but early on we reckon you should stick with an idea and see it through to completion. That way, you are guaranteed to understand how you got from A to B, and it will give you a solid foundation for future creations. Even if these early attempts don’t turn out exactly as you expected or wanted, you will have a significantly greater understanding of the controls and tools.
4. You Don’t Have to Do Everything in Dreams
Yep, we know, this is a bit of an odd tip, and sounds somewhat counterintuitive given that this is all about using Dreams. But whilst you’re getting your head around how all the art tools work, if you get frustrated, take a break and switch mediums to paper or a drawing tablet, or whatever you’re familiar with). Don’t worry too much about creating everything in one go - you’re still learning how it all works!
5. You Can Change the Environment Too
If you’re not feeling particularly inspired by the default background that appears when you’re creating in Dreams, you can change how that looks as well. Using the Sun & Sky gadget you can change not just the colour grading of the creation you’re working on, but also the background of edit mode. You can change the colours, sky, and other features to create an artistic environment that suits your artistic style.
6. Enhance Your Art
We’ve already talked about the wide variety of tools in Dreams, but it’s worth remembering that there are things you can do to give your creations extra oomph, and even make them look completely different. Using Frame-by-Frame in Paint Mode, for example, you can make your paintings come alive. Playing with Coat Mode you can make your sculptures glow, or change their colour or texture. That's before we even start on adding animation, lighting effects, colour grading... ok, we'll stop now. Just don't be scared to play around. You might find yourself with a serendipitous "mistake", or just plain adding a final lick of polish.
7. Consider How You Present Your Creations
When releasing your art upon the unsuspecting Dreamiverse, it’s worth sparing a thought for the people you want to see your creations. How will they receive them? How will they feel about what you’ve made? Think seriously about how you want your creations to be presented, and how you can get them to stand out. For more tips regarding how to present your work, and how to get more attention on them from other coMmunity members, take a look at this article.
Take time to conceptualise your vision before attempting it in Dreams. Think about the lighting you might want in the scene, for example, and how that will impact the objects you want to highlight. Try to have various art references around you, such as artwork you enjoy, or items that inspire you. It might be worth taking a trip outside (blasphemy!) to take a bunch of photos of nature or environments you find aesthetically interesting. Think about how lighting and shadows affect and change the environment around you.
9. Make Use of Kits
Okay, so we know you’re a creative type, but you do realise that you don’t actually have to make everything yourself, right? Some dreamers like to, taking pride in having made everything in their creations from scratch. But in reality, that’s incredibly time-consuming, and you have to be be part-octopus to be able to pull off something like that all at once! So we suggest you start with our wide variety of kits to help you get on your feet. We also have a whole article dedicated to getting the most out of the various kits, so check it out!
10. Use Genealogy to Find Out How People Made Things
One of the most frustrating things in Dreams is when you see something really amazing but you can’t figure out how it was made. Or it would be if it wasn’t for the incredible genealogy feature. Scroll to the right on a creation's cover page to find it. It lets you see the process the creator used, showing you what other creations are included or were remixed to make it. This is helpful - and fascinating - if you want to incorporate a similar style or mechanic into your creations, or if you just want to understand the creative process of another dreamer.
11. Remix Other People’s Creations
As well as making use of the kits and templates, you can also remix what other Dreamers have created as well, giving yuou a leg up or adding your own flair. You can even share these creations with other dreamers, and even directly send a remixed version back to the dreamer that made the creation in the first place!
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Creations
Never be afraid or concerned about chucking your creative expression across the Dreamiverse - far from it! The Dreams coMmunity are an incredibly friendly and supportive bunch, and will give you positive feedback and suggestions. You can easily strike up a dialogue with members - some have even become firm friends from this. Try asking for feedback - you never know where it might take you!
13. Cut Yourself Some Slack
You’re not an expert Dreams artist. Not yet. But that’s absolutely fine. Just like anything else, learning the tools in Dreams takes time. Remember to have fun whilst you get to grips with it, experience the art and games of other dreamers for inspiration, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get things right on the first go. Or the second. Or the third. Or any go for that matter. You'll get there one day, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with.
And if you're looking for a bit of inspiration to get you on your way, our art team have some suggestions of dreamers to check out. HalfUp, Cryshly, and SootyPinions all come highly recommended, but there are many other fantastic artists that use Dreams, so the best thing to do is to explore!
The Dreams User Guide is a work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for updates as we add more learning resources and articles over time.