The Idea
    I started painting digitally in August 2004. Since then I did a lot of speed paintings but I never had enough faith to paint a detailed picture. "The Hunt" was done for the Master and Servant Challenge on CGTalk.

    The challenge was a great opportunity for me to use my experience I collected through the speed paintings. I started brainstorming and did some concept sketches trying to find a good idea. While I was sketching a forest, I suddenly saw the whole scene building up in front of my eyes. A giant troll with his master standing on top of him, hunting deer.
    The Story
    In a land before time only the greatest hunters of the Gorgoth tribe were able to ride trolls. To gain the highest rank of their caste they had to engage one of those savage beasts in a bold fight and cut off its horns. By doing this, they broke the troll’s pride and thereby became the master of it.

    Here you can see the first hunt the young master hunter Tholz does on his recently tamed troll. They have been roaming the coppice all morning, when Tholz suddenly spots a deer herd grazing on a clearing. Avidly he gives the command to attack the deer, pulls the reins and draws a spear from his quiver. The troll obeys his master’s order and rushes forward. The ground trembles under the heavy steps of the troll and the deer scatter in all directions trying to escape. The master hunter picks an especially chunky one from the herd and commands his troll to go after it. Although the deer is quite fast the troll easily manages to catch up with it after a few seconds.
    Tholz raises his stance and prepares for his throw, trying to get a steady aim on the deer. But suddenly the troll alters course. It spotted a small white rabbit bounding happily through the forest.
    “ARRRR“ Tholz pulls the reins and screams, “THE DEER YOU FOOL! GO FOR THE DEER!“

    I tried to capture the image I had in my mind and started sketching. This is always the hardest part. I'm often disappointed with the result because it looks nothing like the image in my head.
    This time I was neither satisfied nor disappointed. So I thought I should go on with the sketch and make changes later in the coloring. After finishing the sketch I made a cleanup line art to make the coloring work easier.
    Since the original resolution was close to 6,000 pixels, I scaled down the image to around 800 pixels for the blockings. That way, Photoshop maintains fast performance and you can use huge brushes. I normally start to block in the background colors for the overall lighting atmosphere. I define the light sources and start to paint the silhouettes of the characters very roughly. For the Blocking I use a hard-edged round standard Photoshop brush. (My favourite brush)
    Once I'm satisfied with the lighting, I scale the image back to 6,000-pixels and continue to work on it.

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      Main Painting and Details
    Now it's time to detail the whole image. I already had a lot of detail in the cleanup line art. I put the line art layer on top with Layer Mode set to multiply and lower the opacity to 50 percent. I go on painting and lower the opacity again till I don't need the outlines anymore.

    It's a good method to get rid of the lines easily. Once I’ve defined the silhouettes of the characters on a separate layer, I use the "lock transparent pixels" function.
    That way, I can add details on the character easily without painting over the character border.

    I had a lot of good critics and feedback during the Challenge. I think it is very important to be flexible. When something does not look right, just paint over it and try to do it better. I was desperate because I couldn't make the deer look right and needed six attempts before I was satisfied. For elements like the deer, the forest ground or the leaves, I often search for reference pictures on the net. It helps me a lot and you add details where you normally would stop drawing.
    Especially when you don't know how certain things look, I highly recommend using reference pictures. You'll learn a lot from them.

    During the whole painting process I also worked on the composition and changed the size relations between the characters and the image format to improve the dynamic and the depth of the image.

    About the Artist
    My name is Goro Fujita. I was born in Japan in 1979 and moved with my family to Germany when I was two and a half years old. I’ve been fascinated by drawing ever since I was a little child. After finishing high school in 2000 I founded a company called Quaintix with a friend of mine and did some graphic design and programming work.
    Meanwhile I got interested in 3D animation. In 2002 I started my studies at the German Film School for digital production. My passion for animation grew stronger and drawing remained as a hobby. Besides several animation projects I also tried to improve my 2D skills and started painting digitally. I graduated the German Film School in March 2005 specialized on 3D character animation. I'm currently preparing to move to Seoul (Korea) to work there as a character animator for a TV series at DTI.

    Related links:
    CGSociety Forum Thread to discuss The Hunt
    Goro Fujita web site

    Effects and final adjustments
    Effects and final adjustments
    I often paint a texture layer and put it over the whole painting with the Layer mode set to soft light. This adds the little extra detail to the painting. Sometimes I also play around with the levels, to adjust the contrast in the image.


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