Friday, 12 October 2012

My Workflow

I always find it really interesting see how other artist work. So I thought you guys might be interested to see how I work. In this tutorial I'm going to paint a lightsaber, but you could use these techniques to paint just about anything.

The first thing I do when starting a new concept is roughly draw out a series of thumbnails. I normally just start making marks, trying not to think about it too much and just see how the designs evolve. I just keep going with this until I have a design I'm happy with.

Thumbnail Sketches

Once I've chosen my favourite design I open it in a new Photoshop document and enlarge it.  

Enlarged Thumbnail

I can now use this as a guide for drawing my line art .

Line Art

The next thing I do is get some colour a texture into the painting. To do this I make a selection of the line art and fill it with some mid tone colours. I normally use the Photoshop Dry Media brushes and my custom brushes for the this, as they're great for laying down texture. You should end up with something like this.

Mid Tone Colour

Next I duplicate the mid tone colour layer, rename it shadows and use the brightness and contrast tool to darken it.

Shadow Layer

I then add a mask to the shadow layer and invert the mask to be black and hide the whole layer.

Shadow Layer Mask

Using the line art as a guide the shadow can be painted in by using a white brush on the shadow layer mask. Make sure you select the mask and not the image.

This process is then repeated to create a highlights layer and should give you something like this.

I now start what I would call the real painting, as it's kind of all been Photoshop trickery up until this point. First I merge my mid tone, shadow and highlight layers, then I start to paint in more detail. Once I'm happy with the design, I'll often use the Hue and Saturation tool to tweak the colours of my concept. This is what I ended up with.

Now for the fun part - painting the lightsaber blade! First I draw a straight blue line (could be any colour).

Then I draw a slightly narrower white line in the centre of the blue one, on a new layer.

After that I select the blue line and apply a gaussian blur filter to it.

Now for the finishing touches, I tidy up the bottom of the lightsaber blade and brighten it up a little too. 

Finished Design


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