Punching Pandas | Smartsheet: Photon
Welcome to the art website of Nolen Lee, creator of the Punching Pandas.
Smartsheet, photon, light, particle wave duality
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Smartsheet: Photon

Smartsheet: Photon

UPDATE: You can read more about Smartsheet’s Photon release on their blog.

This is another commission that I completed for Smartsheet’s “Photon” release similar to the Endeavour piece I worked on a few months ago. For this month’s theme, I decided to go a bit more abstract. When I was in engineering school, one of the physics courses went over light. One of the cool things about light is the phenomenon known as the wave-particle duality. The quick and dirty version is that light is made up of particles that can also act like waves. You can observe the particle behavior by looking at a shirt that’s been lying out in the sun too long. What’s interesting is that light can be reflected and refracted like a wave. For this piece, I wanted to incorporate both the idea of a photon as a ball of light and wave shapes to imply the duality. Man, this is sounding all so heady!

I actually knew what I wanted to paint even before I made the thumbnails, but I still did them just in case something more interesting came around. The thumbnail below is the concept that I had in mind.

After I had the thumbnail approved, I started created a bunch of geometric shapes in Illustrator. When I used shape layers in Photoshop for the Endeavour commission, it ended up increasing my file size and causing my computer to lag. made it a lot easier to edit the individual shapes instead of doing them all in Photoshop.

Below is a WIP screenshot of the piece as I’m importing the layers. I know it looks ugly, but it’s actually helpful from an organizational standpoint since I can easily tell the objects from each other as I’m moving things around. After I’m finished with placing them in the piece, I use Photoshop to blend and paint to make the piece feel more organic. Usually when working in digital, the piece tends to look sterile because the colors and shapes can be so precise and perfect. So much of the work is spent trying to “roughen” up the piece to make it look more appealing and interesting.

Finally, after many adjustment layers, masks, and smart layers, I finally arrive at the final piece. This piece was a lot of fun to work on since it’s more of an abstract subject that’s different from the usual characters and pandas. Thanks again to Smartsheet for the opportunity to work on this.

I have a special coupon for my shop that’s good until 12/24. Use the code “bfpandas17” to get 30% off your order. Happy holidays, everyone!