Hey, guys. I'm on my lunch break, so I thought I'd do something interesting to keep the interest for myself as well as anyone trying to improve their digital art experience. The following is a commission I'm working on for our very own resident Drivaar of his fan character Quartz. I chose the name and theme Courage Under Fire after the dope comic created by the aforementioned Drivaar. So let's jump in and have some fun. Stage One: (Digital Pencils) There's many ways to approach digital art. Many artists start out with a pencil sketch of near completion, scan it into a photo imaging software application such as Photoshop. I use Photoshop CS and CS2 respectively. CS is my favorite since CS2 removes the capability of merging linked layers. For those who draw as erratically as myself, adding layers when needed to test new ideas, the merge link ability is key in producing art and rotating it, similating using traditional paper. I use a 6x8 Intuos 2 Wacom tablet for my work. I basically sketch the main look, erase here and there to refine specific areas. When I want to try a technique or look, I create a layer above the main pencil layer and test it out. If it works, i erase what's undeneath and then merge the linked layers. Again, this can only be done with CS. CS2 can "merge down", but you can't rotate the pic with linked layers like you would if you were drawing with paper. Cool stuf in CS, i love it. Anyways, I sketch everything in blue. Why? I think it just looks cool and it makes it easier to ink over it without confusion the work that was done in pencil versus inks. Anyways, here's a look at the digital sketch: (For those of you interested in settings, I start my pics off at around 10x15 inches, 150dpi. I use a standard airbrush at around 4px, 100% opacity and 39% flow. Or it might be vice versa, I forget. The blue is a standard swatch from the swatches pallete) Stage Two (Digital Inks) The next process is pretty straightforward. I create a layer above the pencils and select black as my brush color. Settings are 5px, 100% opacity and 59% percent flow. I just go over the pencils making the inks as i see fit: Stage Three (Digital Flats) This is the most time consuming and for some the most boring. I create another layer below the inks and name it flats. Then I just begin laying down colors based on the lighting I anticipate from the shot. In this piece, I'm going for a somewhat hellish warground look. The colors are slightly muted, earthy type colors. It's never good to oversaturate colors as the look is often too strong and too much difficulty to fix. The ink layer is always DUPLICATED above the flats. So i have two ink layers to strenghten the lines. Notice also, that I don't go around the bots with darker lines around the edges. This looks good for comics, but I'm going for a high production cel shaded look found in anime feature films, so the lines need to be uniform. Also, it's really important to start choosing your light source. It actually affects the tone of colors for me as well. There's another stage that I often do before this, shading the shadows, which I plan on showing tomorrow after completing them tonight. I think you guys will like this technique as it helped me out tremendously in speeding up coloring, not tomention it really allows you to have more of an artistic flair to your shadows. I used to just pick the polygonal lasso tool and lay down shadows bit by bit, but this was time consuming and oftentimes the results were not the best they could be. More on this later. Anyways, here ya go: Well, more to come later. This piece will have some really nice effects placed in it including electrical shorts, flames, ricocheting laser fire, explosions and moody war lighting. It will also include dirt, grime and more. This will be an effect heavy shot, but will not over do the effects. Muted effects add to the allure of the piece and it's always important to choose what effects will stand out over others as each attracts the eye. More to come soon. Enjoy!!