The subject of this chapter is based on a project where I designed a number of different creatures to represent an imaginary monster with some health issues. This creature is a variation of one of the original sketches. It is more like monster design, the sequel.
In this chapter, we will paint the creature using some of the most typical methods I've used when doing this kind of work. This is not the most technical chapter in the book, but it may be the most useful because of its simplicity and straightforward approach.
Defining Concept Work Setting Up the Image Setting the Mood and Tone Painting the Monster Finishing the Monster Painting the Foreground Finishing Touches
When I am speaking about concept work, usually I am talking about coming up with ideas for a client based on what they need to accomplish as opposed to drawing or painting my own ideas.
A lot of concept work never gets beyond the initial pencil sketch. Often the client can tell from a simple pencil sketch whether an idea is on track. Occasionally, though, additional work is needed to bring the idea to life. Usually it is a matter of doing more work on the original sketch. Often the work is nothing more than adding some value to give the sketch a more solid feel. Every so often, though, the ideal scenario happens, and I get to paint the original concept in color. Usually I use just one of the original sketches as the basis and integrate any additional ideas or refinements suggested by the client.
The concept for the creature in this chapter never went beyond the original pencil sketch stage and was not one of the designs chosen for the project. Most of my rejected ideas simply end up in the trash can. Often I like the original sketches that were not chosen just as much as the sketches that were used. In this case, I liked most of the original sketches more than the one that was ultimately chosen. That's why I m decided to paint the beast for my own enjoyment and for this chapter.
EL The techniques used in this chapter are not particularly complicated. I use them
MO because they are quick. Some of the painting uses techniques that I've described in
O C detail in earlier chapters. I won't repeat them in great depth.
Setting Up the Image
^ As with other images in the book, to set up the image, I scan the sketch at 300 dpi g (dots per inch), though I usually find that the full-sized scan is too big to paint com fortably. So once I've opened the sketch, I generally reduce its size using the Canvas g menu commands and selecting Resize. You can also use the keyboard combination
£ Shift+Ctrl+R on the PC or Shift+Command+R if you're working on a Mac. I am most
® comfortable working on an image that is about 2000 pixels in its greatest dimension.
The size of this sketch is reduced to around 1600 pixels wide and about 100 pixels tall. This is an easy size image to work with.
I will gradually increase the image size to whatever dimensions I need for the final printed version. This way I can paint the initial image quickly without worrying about painting in too much detail.
As I gradually increase the size, I will concentrate my painting efforts in the areas where there is the greatest detail. Larger areas like the background will not suffer or get too soft as the size of the image increases.
You have heard me say in this and other chapters that I scan the sketch at 300 dpi but I think that's too large to comfortably paint on. You may be asking why I don't just scan the sketch at the size I want for the painting. The short answer is that I never know when I might want to print the original sketch at full size, so it's best to have a scan that I can use for that purpose without any loss of quality. Most of the time, the final paintings done from sketches are the same size if not larger than the original sketches.
Figure 8.1 shows the sketch that I'm going to use for this painting. You will notice that it is not strictly a black-and-white sketch. This is not due to the scanning process or any postproduction adjustments but is actually how the sketch looked. It was drawn on slightly textured paper with a black grape Prismacolor pencil. Black grape is one of my favorite pencil colors. It is a nice dusty and dark violet color.
Unlike the examples used in other chapters where the sketch is scanned in color but then the saturation is lowered until the drawing is just black and white, here I am going to leave the colors intact. The color of the scanned sketch fits with the color scheme I anticipate using.
When the paper that I sketch on has a texture like this one does, I try to let it show in the final image. Most of the time the paper texture gets covered up anyway.
The only real adjustment I make to the sketch is a slight increase in contrast using the Brightness/Contrast effect found under the Effects > Tonal Control menu.
Note: The sketch is available for download if you would like to follow along at www.sybex .com/go/painter, or you could use any of your own drawings.
I try very early to set the mood and tone of a painting. Often I do several small thumbnails to try various color schemes. The advantage of this approach is that once you start painting on the final image, you're not making choices off the top of your head. This approach makes it possible to avoid a lot of mistakes later on.
The best way to quickly make a number of color studies is to make a small duplicate of the sketch and then quickly paint color over it. I'm not worried at all about any detail; I'm simply trying to establish value patterns in a color scheme. If I'm concerned about the mood of an image, this is the best time to consider that. In this case, I know that I want a darker and more ominous and creepy feeling, so I limit my colors to darker hues.
Playing with Color Schemes
Once I have done one small color study, I make six or eight duplicate layers and then, using Adjust Colors from the Effects menu, I move the Saturation slider and the Hue Shift slider to get variations on the original theme. I then go back on each of these different colored layers and paint in any additional colors I think they might need. I find this a quick and easy way to play with multiple color schemes and make sure I get the one that best suits my needs (Figure 8.2).
After having made several of the small color thumbnails, I decide on a rather golden yet very dark color scheme. I will accent the golden colors with some violets and reds. I want this image to have a rather heavy and oppressive atmosphere to it. The monster himself looks rather oppressed, and he is definitely heavy. He is rather like a large gooey cross between an octopus and a banana slug. In fact, the juxtaposition of these two animals is one of the determining factors in the choice of the color scheme. There is the yellow banana slug mixed with the multiple colors you can find on an octopus.
While all this talk of color scheme choice and what creatures influence the design of the creature does not directly show in the painting, it is important to know the reasoning behind an image, and it's important for you to know why I do things the way I do.
I begin adding color to this painting in a slightly different method than in some of the other chapters. I create a new layer and begin painting darker colors on it using Dons Digital Water 2 brush. This brush immediately changes the Composite Method of the layer to Gel. Gel and Multiply are perfect Composite Methods to use when establishing initial color schemes. The nice thing is that since this brush changes the layer immediately on its own, I don't have to think about it and can concentrate on the colors I want to use.
Note: Dons Digital Water 2 brush is one in the library of brushes available for download at www.sybex.com/go/painter.
I use a wide range of gold and slightly green colors to cover the whole surface 223
of the painting. I put in some reds around the base of the beast and some subtle vio- E
let colors around his eyes. I make no effort to try to paint in any detail at this point I
because all I'm trying to do is establish the color and generally how dark I want the G
painting to appear. e
The Digital Watercolor brush is a good brush to use because it blends nicely MO
with the colors already painted, and you can make any corrections or changes in the D
colors used simply by painting with the new color. A similar approach would be to z o paint on a layer with the Composite Method set to Color; however, the effect is not o nearly as dramatic, and the colors don't blend quite as nicely. E
I also decide where my main light source will be shining from. In this painting, it will be from the top right, slightly in front of the character. It is important to decide as early as possible what direction light will be coming from in any painting so you maintain a consistent lighting scheme throughout the painting.
Figure 8.3 shows the golden colors painted on the new Gel layer using a Digital Watercolor brush. The color scheme and mood of the painting is basically set at this point.
So you can see exactly how little detail is painted in this initial color lay-in, Figure 8.4 shows the painting with only the Color layer visible and the Sketch layer hidden. As you can see, the strokes are rough, made with a large brush and with virtually no attention given to any detail. You can also see that, while the majority of the colors are brown to golden, there are quite a large number of complementary violet colors interspersed throughout the image.
FROM CONCEPT TO COMPLETE
I want to darken the image even more. There are several ways I can do this:
• I can duplicate the original Gel layer.
• I can use the total controls in the Effects menu to adjust the brightness and contrast.
• I can create a new layer and use the Digital Watercolor brush once again to paint another Gel layer over the first.
• I can use a combination of all the above.
In this case, I choose to create a new layer and again, using the Digital Water-color brush, paint additional colors over the whole image. This approach gives me the greatest flexibility with my choices of color, and changes are easy should I want to go back later.
I create a new layer and, using Dons Digital Watercolor 2 brush, paint a completely new colored layer. On this layer, I use more violet and gray colors than on the first layer (Figure 8.5). Notice that there is even less attention to detail on this new layer. A large brush is used with quick strokes.
Figure 8.5 A new layer is created and more color is painted on the image using Dons Digital Watercolor 2 brush. The figure shows the new layer isolated from the rest of the painting so the individual colors can be seen.
The whole image is now way too dark, so the Opacity setting of the last layer is lowered to 33% (Figure 8.6).
The mood and tone of the painting are set. The painting has a rather heavy and oppressive atmosphere, which is what I was after. The piece would not have been nearly as effective if it were painted a nice blue/pink color scheme.
Painting the Monster zow that the color and mood of the painting are set, it's time to start painting the creature.
We will use a simple approach to paint this monster. The idea when doing concept art is to get the job done well and as quickly as possible. To these ends, we won't use a lot of special effects in this painting. We will use a few paper textures to give some texture to the monster's skin, but for the most part we will use only a few brushes to complete the whole painting. At the completion of the painting, we will try a few shortcuts described in earlier chapters to add a reflection of the monster in the foreground.
As you follow along, please realize that this is just one of many approaches I will use when painting. There are many other ways you can accomplish the same task. Following along with my example will show you how I go about painting an image when I need to get the job done quickly. Experiment as you paint. You may find a technique that works better for you and is quicker than the way I do things.
First I want to make a little more monster. I think he could use another large tentacle on the far side of his body. Of course, it really doesn't matter; I can add as many or as few additional features as I would like. Part of the fun of doing this kind of work is letting the image grow. I would not, however, start adding parts and pieces to this painting if I were actually painting it for a client. Most of the time, the client simply wants to see the original idea with any already-agreed-upon changes painted.
But for now, let's go ahead and add in a new tentacle.
1. Add a new layer on top of the Canvas layer.
2. Select one of the Pencil brushes. It really doesn't matter which brush you choose at this point since all we are going to be doing is sketching.
Don't try to add any more detail than is in the sketch at this point. You want to keep the drawing open to adjustments and changes. Adding more detail early on only makes it more difficult should you need to make changes. For some reason, the more time we spend on a drawing or painting, the more it gets progressively harder to go back and alter what is already done.
As you can see in my painting, the new tentacle is really little more than a scribble at this point. I have also added a number of ribbon-like extensions or fins coming from the monster's back. I've drawn just enough to give me direction as I continue but not so much that I will hesitate to make alterations (Figure 8.7).
Figure 8.7 A new tentacle has been added to the monster on a new layer using one of the pencils.
I go back and select the most basic brush that I use: Dons brush. It's a simple brush that allows me to quickly paint a lot of color in varying opacities.
4. Create a new layer on top of all the layers.
5. Using Dons brush and selecting the colors from within the image, begin to add form to the monster.
Whenever possible, I choose colors from within the image. Not only does this speed up the actual painting, but it helps maintain color harmony.
To keep my forms solid and three-dimensional (3D) looking, I paint my strokes across the large excess of each form. For example, most of this monster is rather long and horizontal, so instead of making large strokes of color in a horizontal direction, I make shorter strokes of color in a more vertical direction.
Usually when I'm painting, I work from the darker colors to the lighter ones. In this case, where most of the painting is already quite dark, I start by adding some lighter color. Because the painting is relatively dark, I can easily decide just how light I want to take these colors, whereas in a normal painting, it is often hard to see light color until a lot of the darks are established (Figure 8.8).
The painting progresses quite quickly at this point.
6. Paint the rear tentacle and add some big blister-like features on the monster's back.
7. Paint some slightly brighter red color into the suckers on the tentacles (Figure 8.9). It's a good idea when painting to keep your brightest colors in the areas of greatest interest or where you want the viewer to look.
Also, notice how I am keeping my strokes as a vertical block in the larger shapes, which gives a sense of 3D form to the shapes. I'm not concerned about covering the sketch. I figure that the whole thing is an idea in progress, and I don't want to get locked into filling in the lines.
Now we switch between two brushes to do most of the painting. I use a combination of Dons brush and the default Opaque Round brush, found in the Oils category of brushes.
The Opaque Round brush is one of my favorites. It paints with a number of small bristle-like strokes. You can adjust the number of bristles using the Feature slider in the options bar. Lower numbers give you solid strokes with many bristles, and higher values give sparse strokes with just a few bristles (Figure 8.10).
The early stages of painting the face have begun. Switch between the Opaque Round and Dons brush as you work on the face.
1. In the eye areas, paint violet colors that are complementary to the overall color scheme.
2. Paint some rich and dark reds into the nose and mouth areas.
While these areas are important to the overall look of the painting, I want them to appear a bit mysterious, so I keep most of the colors quite dark (Figure 8.11).
I also keep the face dark and slightly obscure because the viewer's imagination is much more powerful than my brush when filling in the details. This is not to say you should leave everything vague, as there is some danger of the painting not looking finished, but you can leave some of it up to the viewer's imagination.
I am pretty happy with how the painting is progressing. The monster is starting to look pretty creepy, the values of the painting are working well, and there's a nice color harmony to the whole image.
I want to reestablish the drawing. As we've been painting, we've covered the original sketch. This really doesn't matter because we've added enough new material that the original sketch does not include everything we are currently painting. I want to draw the far tentacle and the ribbon-like extensions on the monster's back with a better idea of where I want to take them as they are painted.
3. Using Dons brush and a small size, redraw the far tentacle in the ribbon-like appendages on the monster's back (Figure 8.12).
Developing a Wet and Gooey Look H
I envisioned this monster from the beginning to be a wet, gooey kind of creature. 0
Right now he's neither wet nor gooey. We will add most of the highlights at the end T
of the painting, but we want to start developing that wet shiny look early on to make R
sure it's going to work.
Adding a Little Shine one of the easiest ways to add some shine to anything you paint is to add some bright highlights. An easy way to paint these highlights is with a default Painter brush, the Glow brush. This brush is found in the FX category.
The Glow brush is another of my favorite brushes. You need to be careful when using this brush, though, as the effect it paints can be quickly overdone.
1. Choose the Glow brush, and in the options bar, set the Strength to 8% and the Grain to 8%. Lowering these settings makes the stroke easier to control.
2. Choose a nice bright color from the Colors palette. The brush will use this color to produce a glowing effect. You'll want to pick a color that is similar to the area you'll be painting. In this particular example, I select a bright gold color.
3. Using a small brush size and light touch on the stylus, paint some glowing strokes on the monster.
Don't make your highlights too large. The larger the beast, the smaller you'll want to paint the individual highlights. This assumes that the creature's hide is not perfectly smooth and is made up of a number of smaller scales, or bumps, or something similar. Figure 8.13 shows the initial experiment at creating highlights on the monster's hide.
While I have not specifically stated that you should be saving your image, you should be. Especially make sure that you save the image before and after any major change. It is assumed from this point on that you will save consistently. I won't mention it again.
I want to vary the color on the monster's back where the big blister-like features are painted. The easiest way to do this is using the Color layer. A Color layer is a convenient way to either add or change color in any painting. Of course, one of the main advantages is that you are not committed to that change and can easily modify the colors any time. In fact, it is easy to use a Color layer and do away with color entirely. If you want to eliminate the colors in your image, you can simply paint with gray on a Color layer.
1. Create a new layer.
2. Change the Composite Method of the new layer to Color.
3. Using the Digital airbrush, paint some orange color over the blister area of the monster.
4. Use the Soften effect to get rid of any artifacts or strange edges the airbrush may leave.
5. Adjust the intensity of the new color by lowering or increasing the Opacity setting of the layer.
Figure 8.14 shows how easy it is using a Color layer to adjust the hue of any section in a painting. In this case, the Color layer has been used to change the colors on the back of the monster.
Figure 8.14 A Color layer has been used to change the back of the monster from gold to a more orange hue. 0
Figure 8.14 A Color layer has been used to change the back of the monster from gold to a more orange hue. 0
Giving the Monster Texture
The painting is coming along nicely, and the monster's colors are working well. We want to go ahead and add more detail to the beast using the same techniques described in earlier chapters. The creative use of paper textures can not only add detail but add that detail quickly and easily.
The textures in this painting are located in a paper library called Hides and Skin. If you've not already done so, you should download this paper library now.
Note: The paper library Hides and Skin is available for download www.sybex.com/go/ painter.
None of the brushes we've been painting with up to this point interact with any paper texture, so we need to choose a different brush that does. Go ahead and use the brush we have used so many times before when we've wanted to paint texture: the Variable Chalk brush. If you don't remember, this is a default Painter brush that can be found in the Chalk category.
1. Load or append the Hides and Skin paper library.
2. Choose the Variable Chalk brush.
3. Create a new layer on which to paint some of the monster's hide.
4. Pick a darker color from an area already painted on the monster and paint some bumpy, hide-like patterns there.
5. Create another layer on which to paint some lighter bumps on top of those already painted.
6. Pick a lighter color from somewhere on the monster.
7. Invert the paper texture.
8. Paint some lighter spots into the darker hide you just painted.
9. Using the Soften effect, slightly blur both the light and dark layers.
10. Use the Eraser tool to clean up any strokes that strayed into the background or onto adjacent areas of the monster where you don't want texture.
11. Use the Eraser tool and paint on the edges of the texture to fade them into the surrounding areas.
12. Vary the Opacity setting of the light and dark layers to make the effect subtle yet still obvious.
Figure 8.15 shows some texture painted onto the monster to give more interest and credibility to the skin.
When painting texture into any creature, you do not want even coverage over the whole beast. Any texture that covers too evenly looks artificial. The goal of using these textures is to add an additional impression of realism to the painting. Also remember to vary the size of the skin textures. Larger textures can be used in larger areas of the body, while smaller textures should be used in areas such as the face, the hands, or anywhere that there is more detail.
The paper library includes a number of different textures. There are no right or wrong textures to use. Any of them will work, and you should pick one or several that look good to you.
13. When the skin textures are finished to your satisfaction, drop all the layers onto the canvas.
Because the background is going to be left much as it already appears, there's no reason to paint the monster on a separate layer. Dropping the layers makes it easier to lose some of the monster's edges into the background colors, helping build the final mood of the painting.
The monster is coming along quite well at this point. We added some textures to give the skin a more realistic appearance, we have some nice highlights, the colors are harmonious and working well together, and the values work. We are satisfied with the monster so far, so we will use the same techniques to continue painting.
We will concentrate on adding a few more details to the monster himself as well as start to paint some of the background.
We'll do most of the work on the creature on the Canvas layer. Painting on the 2
Canvas layer is much quicker than constantly moving between different layers. When H
we need a layer to make a task easier, we will, of course, create a new layer and use it. NG
Using a limited number of brushes also helps speed up the painting process. We will TH
be using only the three brushes that have been used for the majority of the painting. M
Those brushes are Dons brush, opaque Round, and Glow brush. N
Much of the painting on the monster from this point on is really up to the individual artist's vision and taste. Artists have their own style and areas that they want to draw attention to. Because of this, I will list only the areas where I did additional work and then show you the painting. Follow along as much or as little as you would like.
Figure 8.16 shows a lot of additional work done on the monster as well as a bit of work done in the foreground area. I gave the following areas the most attention.
• I refined the features in the face. I added some creases and folds around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
• I added a lot of small teeth to the mouth. When painting teeth, don't paint them too white. There is a general tendency to paint teeth too light and too white. We all want a white smile, but it is not necessary for our monster.
• I painted the ribbon-like extensions on the monster's back with some highlight and color.
• I added creases and folds all along the back and head and around the blisters.
• I added highlights to the blisters to make them look wet.
• I painted suckers on the close tentacle with a color similar to the blisters.
• I painted the wet floor or foreground in broad strokes, only generally reflecting the lights and darks of the monster.
While I was painting the picture, some of the edges were becoming a little too crisp and harsh. I want the overall painting to be softer and not nearly as clearly defined as some of my strokes were becoming. I can use a number of options to soften the overall look and feel of the painting.
• I can use the Soften effect, but I really don't want to blur the image; I just want to soften it a bit.
• I can duplicate the whole image, apply the Soften effect to the top layer, and then lower that layer's Opacity setting to give a softness to the whole piece. The effect looks a bit like a soft-focus photograph. While this is not a bad effect, it is generally used for more romantically inclined imagery. I don't want my monster to be romantic.
I am going to use Adjust Dye Concentration from the Effects > Surface Control menu. This effect is nice to use when you want to add just a little bit of noise to the image. Painter does not have a noise filter like Photoshop, but you can achieve almost the same look using Adjust Dye Concentration.
1. Select a paper texture from the Papers palette. Choose Sandy Pastel Paper as your paper texture, which is a Painter default. The paper texture will drive the effect.
2. From the Effects menu, select Adjust Dye Concentration. An option box opens with three controls and the preview window. Change the default settings to the following:
Notice how the image in the preview window changes (Figure 8.17).
You do not want a very dramatic effect in the preview window. In this case, subtle is much better.
3. When you're satisfied with the image in the preview window, click OK.
The whole image is softened just a bit by adding some noise based on a paper texture to the painting. The details are not lost as they would be if the image were just blurred (Figure 8.18).
Figure 8.18 The whole painting with added noise based on the current paper texture. The overall effect is one of softening without blurring the details.
As I continue to paint, some of this texture will be lost. This is not a great concern, because I will just add that texture back in the final step of the painting process.
I continue to paint on the monster and extend his detail off the right side of the painting. I made this change because the character was feeling unbalanced. I finish painting most of the detail into the far tentacle and soften the edges of the monster's face so that the edges merge into the shadows.
I really don't like what's happening with the foreground. We need to give the monster a little elbow room and give ourselves a little more room to work.
1. Using the Canvas Size command from the Canvas menu, add an additional 200 pixels to the bottom of the image. This gives you more room to work as you paint the foreground, and it makes the monster not feel as crowded by the edges of the painting.
2. Repaint the entire foreground area, eliminating the beginning reflections. Paint with the three brushes we've been using all along: Dons brush, Opaque Round, and Glow.
3. Switch to the Grainy Water brush, and blend all the colors. Grainy Water is a great default blending brush that you can find in the Blenders category.
Figure 8.19 shows all the work on the monster as well as the painting and blending on the foreground.
Figure 8.19 shows all the work on the monster as well as the painting and blending on the foreground.
Figure 8.19 A lot of painting is done on the monster, and the foreground is repainted and blended.
For all intents and purposes, the character is finished, but something more definitely needs to be done about the foreground.
Painting the Foreground
While the monster is finished, the painting cannot be considered complete until the foreground is finished.
I like the idea of a reflection to give the environment a wet feeling, but I don't like how the initial reflection is working out. I decide to use one of the techniques described in an earlier chapter to create a reflection of the monster in the foreground. This should give the very wet look that I am after.
To create the reflection of the monster in the foreground, we will do the following:
1. Select the whole painting.
2. Copy and paste the painting back into itself, creating a new layer with the whole painting on it.
3. From the Effects menu, choose Orientation > Flip Vertical.
4. From the same menu, choose Free Transform and scale a flipped layer so the layer is only as tall as the foreground (Figure 8.20).
5. With the Reflection layer active, choose Focus/Glass Distortion from the Effects menu.
Figure 8.20 The whole image is copied, pasted, flipped vertically, and scaled in the vertical dimension in preparation for creating the reflected monster.
6. When the options box appears, enter the following settings in each of the controls (Figure 8.21):
• Variance and Direction: Default.
A nice reflection of our monster is now added to the foreground, and the painting is basically finished (Figure 8.22).
Figure 8.22 The reflection of the monster
The painting is 99 percent finished at this point. But I never seem to be satisfied and want to make a couple of final adjustments to the piece. I want to add a little slime to the monster.
1. Just in case you make a mistake, create a new layer to paint the slime.
2. After you create the new layer, use Dons brush and paint some slime hanging from the back tentacle. Let the background show through, and paint only the dark areas and the highlights. I'm not really concerned about the realism of the slime, and actually it is added more as a subtle point of humor to the rather grim painting (Figure 8.23). After all, who can't laugh at a little slime?
Figure 8.23 Slime is added hanging from the back tentacle.
one of the last things I want to do is set the monster's head into a darker area shadow to add a bit more mystery. We can accomplish this easily using the Apply Lighting effect.
3. Choose the Apply Lighting effect from the Effects > Surface Control menu. In this case, I use the default Warm Globe preset. Applying this effect results in a painting where the head is in deep shadow while the body maintains its bright color and intensity (Figure 8.24).
4. The last touch is to once again use the Apply Lighting effect, but this time use the Splashy Color preset.
You can see the finished painting in Figure 8.25.
This painting is probably the least technical of all the paintings in this book. It shows a quick method you can use to take a piece of concept art to the final painting. More than anything, speed is the main consideration when doing this kind of work. Just because you will paint quickly does not mean you cannot paint work that is of high caliber and quality.
I hope that you can use this rather straightforward technique in your own work. Quite often in the digital art forums that you find online, this technique could be called speed painting. While it is not quite as quick as a color sketch, it does take significantly less time than the other tutorials demonstrated in the book, with results that are significantly more refined than just a color sketch.
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