So, being the bandwagon type – I thought I’d do what he did. I realised I’ve still got all my working files – I can actually go back and piece them together into a little animation. So here it is.
(It might take a moment to load, as it is about 2mb – but unless you’re on some 14.4k modem, you should be fine.)
Obviously I didn’t save it every five seconds, so this will only have major iterations. This was done fairly straight forward. I always tend to work on sections when I’m painting (getting the detail for one area before moving on to the next) but I normally work in layers and go back and forth between them. With this one, I pretty much painted on a single layer (with a few exceptions – mostly being hair).
It was basically a matter of getting the shape down, then refining the details… and repeating. When I’m painting, I use the colour picker frequently. So I’ve mapped it to my wacom. This allows me to pick up the colour from the canvas quickly and push it around, and then switch to another colour (again, taking it directly from the canvas) and go back and forth and blend colours efficiently. If you were to watch me do this, you might even miss that I’m doing it at all.
At first I started off using a digital oil bush, but found that it wasn’t fast enough and I decided to stick with the airbrush tool (modified a little to suit my purposes) It’s basically flat colour that is applied at about 25% transparency with a low flow rate. When I’m working between light colours and dark colours, with the colour picker and airbrush tool, I can create gradients without ever having to stop and think about how I’m going to do it. I just put down the two extremes and gradually blend them together.
I use a large brush to create the basic shape, and as I refine the details I’ll gradually shrink the brush and zoom in closer until I’m working at up to 400%.
Shadows and highlights are pretty important. Shadows will create depth and highlights will bring the image forward (or something along those lines). All I know is after you add shadows and highlights, your previous version will look flat and boring in comparison.
Another thing I focused on, that I think helps a lot, is texture. I spent some time detailing inconsistencies in the skin, adding red spots (pores and/or freckles) and some sickly yellow in parts. I’m discovering that our skin is a whole myriad of colours at times… so simple pink flesh won’t do. There are greens, browns, reds and yellows in there. Even after hours of pushing colours around, I decided I wasn’t happy with the overall tone so I took the whole thing into photoshop to tweak the it by pushing the vibrancy and desaturating it and upping the contrast until I was happy. Also, I added a noise layer to further enhance the tone.
Hair is simple and quick to do. But surprisingly hard to perfect. You might notice the beard is pretty much finished within the first couple of frames here. It took maybe two or three minutes to get that almost complete. Although, as always, I came back later and spent a while adding stray hairs all over the place.
So there. I can’t think of anything else to add just now. Perhaps I will write more if I think of something. Let me know if this has been illuminating, or just boring. Any questions?