Digital Painting Process: Tips and Tricks for Character Design in Photoshop
This is how I currently work, well, most of the time. I change how I work every now and then, and some artists would probably not be comfortable working like this at all. Still, I hope this little documentary is of some use.
By working with lines and masses early, and gradually increasing the 'resolution' of the design (note: not res. as in pixels) I do not have to deal with render stuff too early. I want to be unconstrained in the creative stage. One problem I've been having is going into details and rendering too early. Sometimes I felt that since I had spent time rendering a detail, I should keep it despite not liking it a lot. Also, I never quite got the hang of doing design with solid strokes of light and shadow. Some people might be more comfortable throwing strokes on the canvas and gradually refining those into details, but I've found out rather recently that working with gradually refined lines gives me better results. I follow up quickly with grays or some color to make the silhouette read, which brings me to...
Coloring inside lines takes precious time, so I just use the Magic Wand (my I make sure my silhouettes have no leaks). I want to spend my time being creative, not doing machine labor. If you notice crisp edges, it's because I have no aliasing on the wand selection. Not sure why, I haven't experimented with that yet. When rendering (painting over the whole thing) I sometimes give the edges a little attention.
Keeping colors and shadows in layers is good, because I can change them separately. However, I tend to flatten if I'm doing lasso+transformation stuff (like fixing placement and proportion).
I may have neglected to say:
Rendering (as in painted with a sculpted look) can bring some issues to my attention which I could not see in the line art with color block in. Apples and oranges those two can be. With lines and color I can get a good feel of the masses of a design quite early, but when it comes to details... rendering can give me a new angle. I just want to make sure that I at least have something sensible before getting entangled in rendering and polish.
It doesn't actually take that much time rendering stuff up when I have the colors and shadow blocked in adequately. Kill some edges, add extreme shadow and highlight, work with the edges between light and shadow (which might have some saturation and hue shift), hues in general, etc. Got another tutorial for that (recently updated a tiny bit).
I use Photoshop 5.5. Because it's all I have, and I fear the newer versions are bloated.
Split the image into two (attachment size limit). I also have it on my site. These are 1:1 work size. Most of the time, I usually work so I can scale down to 50% (or 40,30,20,15 etc). General pinups can be some 500-2500 pixels X or Y. Unless I do stuff for print, then I go higher.
Last edited by Sepulverture; November 24th, 2009 at 10:45 AM.
Reason: try and try again - prometheus; clean up and reorganizing - sepulverture
Jamen jag tror att han skäms, och har gömt sig. Vårt universum det är en av dom otaliga spermasatser som Herren i sin självhärliga ensamhet har runkat fram för å besudla intet.