|Once the main colors were in place I started working on the detail. I love this stage. On this image, there were lots of separate characters, so I could flit about as my interest in certain elements surged and waned. I got out the scooter reference and worked up some of the detail, whilst trying as hard as I could to maintain the ‘painterly' feel. I created a separate layer and started adding shadows to help define the form of the scooter, van and characters. Sometimes I paint the shadows into my color layer as I work, and sometimes I draw them into a separate layer.
Having a separate layer gives flexibility on the color of the shadows, their opacity and also their blend mode. In this case the blend mode was set to ‘normal', but ‘hard light' ‘soft light', ‘vivid light' and ‘overlay' can all be useful. It's a bit of a cheat to put shadows on a layer, but it makes life easier and can work very effectively.|
It also means you can modify the shadows easily by painting and deleting, although there's always aspects of the color layer that are painted in conjunction with the shadows.
Another common trick for me is using a layer mask. I ended up using a layer mask on nearly every layer in this image. Layer masks let me play around with what's visible on a layer without actually deleting pixels. So if I've painted a nice texture, or intricate details, then I can mask and unmask with a stroke of the brush. With so many separate elements in the image, I was very aware that too much defined detail might detract from the messy, painterly feel that I originally envisaged, so I tried to keep the strokes fairly loose and didn't shrink my brush too small. It's very easy to get carried away with the detail when working digitally, because you spend so much time zoomed in to the canvas with a restricted view of the whole image.
|It's always difficult to decide when a painting is finished. It's the easiest thing in the world to keep fussing and touching up and pontificating over minor details. So I kept up the pace and whizzed around the canvas adding small details in the snow, giving the monkeys party hats, throwing some rough clouds across the sky and erasing areas of baboon to define nuts and bolts and teeth and mechanical elements. And that was it. |
|I was very happy with the final image. I work in a variety of styles in my day job as a concept artist, but don't get much chance to work in a style that's more personal to me. And I thought that ‘The Chase' reflected my personal style more closely than my Machineflesh piece. I was delighted with the response it had on CGTalk, hitting the front page and receiving a Choice Award. I entered it for judging in Exposé 3, but it didn't make the cut. So I've decided that I'll just have to do something that bit better next time… |
|Jonny Duddle: I've been working as a concept artist in the games industry for the past six years, following brief ‘careers' as a secondary school art teacher, a children's entertainer, a gallery warden, a painter and a square rig sailor (Ooooh-argh!). I try to do as much of my own work as I can when I'm out of the office, and currently have lots of book, comic and story ideas swamping my little brain.
I live in Buxton, in the Peak District National Park, with my lovely partner, Jane, and our beautiful baby daughter, Daisy. |
CGTalk thread for Monkey Girl: The Chase