Introduction: How to Draw - Ears

About: Necessity is the mother of invention. | |

I didn't know whether I should post this to instructables as well. I'm not sure how big of an artists community there is here, but I thought it couldn't do any harm. In the future I might do some videos leaning more towards design drawings and models if there's any interest. Like with my other instructables, I'll be combining all the posts/videos about a specific subject (in this case ears) into one instructable.

You can find all posts related to this project in full here on my blog.

This first video concerns the structure of the ear. I've added an annotations table of contents so you can skip ahead if you'd like. The 1st image contains my final notes (the other is just for the thumb). It should appear at full size, but in case they don't here's a link to the full resolution image.

I made this video because I was doing a very realistic portrait from scratch and I was having some trouble with the ear so I thought I'd do some ear studies and record it while I'm at it. The best way really to learn how to draw something is to draw it until you can draw it without reference. There's no way around the hard boring work that studies can be. Looking at videos and posts will help guide you on what to observe and pay attention to, and mistakes to avoid, but nothing can replace practice.

A great place to get reference images for studies is morgueFile. You could also look around Flickr and such for CC licensed images but if you'll be posting your work anywhere, those require crediting. morgueFile was made with artists in mind, as long as you modify the image you can do whatever you want with your work and that can be useful so you can just worry about doing your study and not whether you can share it later or you have to attach a giant list of credits.

Step 1: Part 2 - Coloring & Subsurface Scattering

The next video concerns not so much painting the ear but something that tends to happen mostly with ears (and occasionally fingers), and that's when you've got a light shining through the skin and you get subsurface scattering. Here are the links to the full resolution images (1, 2) just in case. Patreons get access to the PSDs.

The two ears used for reference where:

"Mean me" by Pierre Vignaue used under a CC-BY 2.0 License / Cropped

"Backlight 2" by Travis Pawlewski used under a CC-BY 2.0 License / Cropped

The 3D head scan I used was: "Infinite, 3D Head Scan" by Lee Perry-Smith used under a CC-BY 3.0 License / Rendered under different Lighting Conditions (Click the link there and scroll down to download).

You can download my ready made C4D scene here. In the future these are the types of things that if I heavily modified or made myself will be temporarily patreon exclusive. I'll also probably use blender, but I'm currently still struggling with it. It doesn't play nice with my graphics card and setting my own shortcuts has been much harder than I thought. I also still need to learn how to import/export models between programs properly. Non-C4D users, Maxon offers an unlimited demo (45 days with saving) that at least lets you open files if you still want to play around with them.

You can also go to Virtual Lighting Studio like I mentioned in the video. You can add multiple different colored lights to that same head (and others) and move their positions around. The only thing you can't do is change the skin texture like I did, but the site can still be incredibly useful. If you'd like to recreate the scene from scratch or understand more about what I did, there's this video, and I've added the exact details of what I did in the third step.

If you're interested in learning more about subsurface scattering I came across this post on while researching the subject. Traditional artists especially might find it particularly useful.

If you like my instructables/blog and want to support me check out my Patreon and/or share this instructable/post.

Step 2: Setting Up the Scene in C4D

3D programs tend to differ vastly on where settings are, but the same basic concepts apply if you want to try to get these yourself. The skin texture must be changed. Subsurface Scattering must be on with the matching color. And you must render with global illumination.

1. Drag the model into a blank scene to import it. It might be huge, reduce it to a reasonable size.

2. It won't import with textures or bump maps so you'll need to add them. Create a material in the material editor, double click on it to open it's properties. Under Bump > Texture > Load Image import the bump.jpg.

3. Under Color > Texture > Load Image add the lambertian.jpg. If you'd like to mess around with weird skin colors you can add a Hue/Saturation effect within C4D (I forgot to mention in the video you could do this) or modify the texture outside C4D with a photo editing program. To do it within C4D go again to Color > Texture > Layer this time. It should change the texture to a layer, click on it and it should take you to the shader properties. From there you can go to Effect > Hue / Sat / Lightness. I recommend making a separate material for each skin tone instead of editing the same one for each render.

4. [See 1st Image] You'll need to turn on subsurface scattering for each material under Luminance > Texture > Subsurface Scattering and set it to the corresponding skin color (to get back to this section, like you clicked the layer, click on Subsurface Scattering). You will notice there's already some presets to get you started (Light Skin, Dark Skin). Oh, and one last thing, I also forgot to mention this. you'll need to adjust the path length to some value between 0-2cm, it will depend on how big you imported the head.

5. I would advice against using a standard light. Instead make a sphere or any object and a new material for it (and for each color you're going to test). Turn on Luminance and set it to around 700-1000 depending on the distance. The object color doesn't matter, only the color of the luminance setting. Note: I found bright needs to be a bit brighter to get a similar effect to the other colors. I'm assuming it's because it contains all the colors, and therefore at the same intensity it doesn't shine through as much as say pure red.

6. I also added a soft infinite light at 14% Intensity so you could properly see the ear. Even in dim conditions, it's rare that you don't have some other source of light around the figure.

7. [See 2nd Image] Finally to get all this to actually render in the render settings don't forget to turn on the Global Illumination under effects.

The default settings might be a bit spotty. I'm not an expert with this but I managed to get it to render smoothly and fast by changing the following under Global Illumination.


Primary Method: Irridiance Cache

Secondary Method: Light Mapping

Samples: Low

Irridiance Cache

Record Density: Low

Smoothing: 100%