|CGSociety :: Tutorial|
Michael Dashow, 16 January 2006
It should come as no surprise that when I started on this piece, I was not having a great time at my job. None of my managers looked or acted like the boss depicted here. Nonetheless, the CGTalk Master and Servant Challenge proved to be a great place to channel my workplace frustration, and the collaborative environment of the Challenge was a refreshing change from the day job.
I started with a rough pencil sketch that was pretty on-target for the rest of the piece. From there I refined the sketch by drawing new elements and importing them into Photoshop to tweak and adjust. I spent a while on this step because I like to have really solid line art from the beginning. By the time I had finished this early stage, I really wanted the composition to be solid and complete. Finally, the refined sketch was printed out and traced onto 11x14-inch heavy tracing vellum with a 4B Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencil and scanned back into Photoshop at 300dpi. The working size of the image was approximately 3200x3800 pixels.
|Next, the line layer was set to the Multiply ink. This let me add many more layers underneath this one and the white was, in effect transparent, while the black lines were always visible. At this point I blocked out all of the main colors of the image by adding several more layers underneath the Line Art layer and coloring parts in with a hard-edged brush. |
Each element went into a separate layer, which allowed me to quickly select its contents and make color changes easily. Command+Click (mac) or Control+Click (windows) on a layer’s image in the 'Layers' palette to load its opacity as a selection. I ended up with a dozen or so layers; One for the humans’ skin, one for the boss’, one for the boss’ suit, another for the foreground elements, another for the cubicle walls, and so on. I wasn't too picky about what colors each element was, because I knew that they were all merely placeholders. Still, I took my best stab at what each should be. I finished up with a flat colored version of the artwork.
|I then created a new layer below the Line Art but above the flat colors. This was the Shadow layer, and was set to Multiply. Using a pale purple, I used this layer to flesh out the main shadows in the piece. This was mostly done with a brush set to pressure-sensitive opacity and a hardness of 50 to 65%. I wanted this setting to feel like an office, so the main light-source was directly overhead from the fluorescent lights. I Command+Clicked on various layers to select their alpha to help me color within the lines. It was important to keep these shadows all on a separate layer so that I could change their color later.|
|Above the shadow layer, I created a Highlights layer. This was set to Overlay mode and painted with a pale blue. (If it were an outdoor scene, I’d would have used a yellow, but fluorescents tend towards a blue tint.) Using the same techniques as above, I painted in the brighter areas on everything. I also made another lighting layer for the candle light in the lower left that mostly serves as a warm under-light for the human characters. I also painted in a depth layer to fog the areas of the illustration that are most distant. At this point, I had a ridiculous number of layers, all with different colors to tweak. I now had all of the painting’s basic parts roughed out, except that none of the colors were what I’d consider final.|