|After completing the color tones, the next step is to deal with the shadow. Open a new layer and set it to multiply. For creating shadows, I always start by making a selection that represents the shape of the shadow, using the “lasso” tool.|
Choose the right color for it and hit edit > fill. It is faster to fill the area with color than to paint it in. The shadow now has a sharp and harsh edge so to soften the edge, change your tool to “eraser”, and before you start editing the shadow, adjust the layer opacity to 30%. Set the “eraser” opacity to 45 %, to get a better result. Slowly dab it to erase the parts that you don't need. This step will require more attention and patience, but it can be very rewarding once you do it correctly. As always, practice make perfect!
Let's move on to rendering the highlights. Open a new layer and leave it as “normal” mode. I always choose to use the “brush” tool instead of the “dodge” tool for creating the highlights for a character. This enables me to introduce a set of different color variations, and certain subtle colors for the bounce light.
When creating highlights for steel it can be very helpful to first go and do some research. Take some reference photos of the kind of rusty steel you like or you could also gather them from the Internet (ie. royalty free images), or buy some texture CDs. A few trips to Google will clarify how steel should look.
Before using the texture it's best to clean up the lighting on the photo. Make sure the texture is neutral in term of lighting with no obvious shadows or highlights. Also, make sure to get the proportions right. You don't want to have an image with a surface texture that is way too big for the object. Scale them to fit the perspective of your layout as well, otherwise it will definitely look weird in your work.
Set the steel layer opacity to 50 percent, and “normal” mode. Then edit the part that you don't need using the “eraser” tool bit by bit. Next, change the “eraser” opacity to 40 percent. Select the “dodge” tool for the highlighted areas, and the “burn” for the shadows this time. Add in some small scratches here and there, to indicate the worn areas also.
|Finally, open a new layer and set it to “normal” mode. Work out all the extra details such as the dirt, color variation, clouds etc. Use adjustment layers if you want to adjust certain layer's brightness, color variation, level, etc. This way you can make some changes or delete the adjustment layer if or when you no longer like the effect. This is a very useful method indeed.|
|Leong works as a concept artist in an animation company in Malaysia. Beside his interest in animation, Leong has a strong passion for comics. His published comics can be seen in both local and Singapore comic magazines, in which he is known by the nickname “puyuh”. Leong also makes his own toys from the designs he manipulates via the computer. Besides working on his comics and toys, he has also created a series of his own posters; The AstroCityzen Poster Series. He started this series in the early of 2004 and every now and then a new poster has been added to the collection. This collection of posters is just for himself, however, he is compiling an illustration book for release in late 2006.|
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