Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Practice, practice

I've been re-watching heroes, which has made me want to paint the characters in it. I've used this to experiment with different styles and ideas.

From left to right:
Noah Bennet - Nothing special here. Just ended up using hatching for value.

Nathan Petrelli - Here, I was experimenting with the notion that, in painting, if you get the values right, the hues don't matter very much and the image will still look believable. However, I messed up a bit on the process. What did I do? I took three colors (a red, an orange, and a yellow), and placed them on a 3x3 pixel document along with 2 stages of gray for each pure color. I made the 3x3 area was made into a pattern (Edit -> Define Pattern) and then used the pattern to fill a second small document (about 200 x 50). Over the pattern I put a gradient that went from black to transparent to white. This document was my value scale. Now, on my main painting document, I set up a paint layer and then added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer on top of it and set it to zero saturation. This way, I could paint onto the document with a colored brush, but it would show up as a gray. Now, all of this would have worked great, but for one problem in how Photoshop deals with saturation and value. We all know that a highly saturated yellow is much lighter than a highly saturated blue. However, in HSV color, both colors have the same value. Thus, when desaturated using Hue/Saturation, they both end up as the same shade of gray. Interestingly enough, it does change the colors' numeric value in the process--from %100 to %50, but it does not take into account inherent color value. Anyway, I did find a work-around: Instead of using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, use a regular layer set to the 'Saturation' blending mode and fill it with white. For some reason, here Photoshop will take color value into account. I'll have to give it another try with this corrected process. (Update: It turns out the effect I'm looking for can be created with the "Black & White" adjustment layer as well)

Peter Petrelli - Just a regular caricature. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. :)

Sylar - In this one I tried to keep my brush opacity rather high (80-100%) and pick my values carefully. Normally I use a combination of high and low opacity brushwork. I feel that high opacity work can add more life to a piece.

Ando - I cheated on this one. I traced my reference image, copied the traced layer into a new document, and fiddled with the proportions a bit before painting. I was just curious to see how it would affect the likeness.

The current Creature of the Week at ConceptArt.org is Zombie Dinosaur. I came up with the sketch on the left, but after I tired to color it, I was less than satisfied with the results. I feel like my colors are off, like they're sort of muddy or something. Sure it's a zombie, but they just don't look right. I also realized that the image was very static and boring. So I started a new one with a more action and a more interesting perspective. This is as far as I've gotten. I'll try a different approach to the color this time.

And, here are a few random sketches: (John Wayne from True Grit, an old cowboy from my imagination, a gecko)

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