• Exotique 4
    Mario Wibisono shows the creative process for the cover for EXOTIQUE 4.

    CGSociety :: Tutorial
    Mario Wibisono, 20 November 2008

    EXOTIQUE 4 is now shipping! To celebrate the many wonderful characters between the covers, we present a tutorial on the production of the cover image.
    'Pepper Superstar' is a fictional character originally designed by Stanley Lau in Singapore. She is a young beautiful girl who always appears with her stylish headphones and bright red-orange outfit. This piece was created as a tribute for the Pepper Project by Mario Wibisono in Indonesia.

    Character concept
    Pepper is a pretty famous character. The challenge is to create a popular look, pretty and at the same time entertaining. So what came up in my mind when drawing the initial sketch was a Japanese idol, a cute girl with sexy characteristics, ready to please the fans with her looks and her spectacular performance.
    Scene Concept
    She is the main subject, so the attention must be focused on her. This scene is intended to look like a promotional poster shot, where she is sitting on a tribute chair, high in the air with the wind blowing, all of her fans cheering below and spot lights all over the scene.

    Basic Color Blocking
    The color blocking was created on separate layers. Separating the layers is important because with it you can apply one of the coolest Photoshop features ever, the Clipping mask. With a Clipping mask, you make your shading without having to worry about painting outside the base layer. I usually use the Pen tool to create a vector base path for adjusting the shape and color. For this painting, I pick a rather unusual color palette for her, a combination of orange, bluish gray and black to give a fancy warm feel but with a cool and classy dark touch.

    Skin Tone Shading
    I worked on the skin tone in several layers, the first one is some base shading in Multiply layer mode to determine the dimension and differentiating the light from the dark. I start the shading process by adding some dark strokes around the key area, then I shape it with a Smudge tool, a process a bit like sculpting.

    The next part is to add skin texture. I usually use a standard dry brush, which is perfect for a soft skin texture. Next is to refine the skin look, adding some light shading and making it look softer with a slightly warm tone.
    For details, since I’m only using a mouse for this painting, the pen tool really gives a tremendous help to create sharp hair strands and eyelashes. Also when shading the details of human eyes, notice that the eyeballs are a little wet and glossy, so adding highlight reflections on the pupil area will give them a much more realistic feel. The final process is to add some highlights around the lips, nose and eyes, using a sharp brush with white to refine the shape structure.
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  • Outfit and accessories
    The shading method is quite similar with the skin shading. Start off by determining the lightest and then the darkest part.

    The next process is to put some light textures in and fill the detail. For a decorative element, the easiest way is to draw on a piece of paper then scan it, and put a clipping mask attached to the base layer.

    The next most important thing is the shadows, human anatomy is not linear, so you’ll need to create a curve shadow line to create that dimensional effect.

    Also notice that there is more than one light source in the scene, the frontal main light and some additional lights that shoot from the left and back side of the scene.

    This type of lighting will emphasize a more three dimensional look.
    Color tone adjustment of brightness and contrast.
    The last procedure is to add highlights and add refine all necessary details.
    Color tone
    Adjustment tools may not look that important, but actually they are very useful for altering your color tone to perfection.

    There are two important adjustments that I usually use; one is ‘Color Balance’, which slightly changes the color tone to gain a much better result, and the other is ‘Brightness/Contrast’ to lower the contrast level, so I can bring in more detail and a softer look.
    After some extra hours of observations to find the perfect color tone, I finally considered the painting was finished. This process has taken more than 70 hours, all done in Photoshop using an optical mouse. I hope it can inspire a lot of people who want to learn about digital painting.

    About the Artist
    My name is Mario 'Ryo' Wibisono. I was dispatched to Earth 29 years ago. In 2001, I graduated from visual communication design from Tarumanagara University in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since then, I’ve been employed as a Creative Director at CRD Media, a seasoned advertising company. I use most of my spare time as a freelance artist finishing commissioned artwork, but sometimes I also have a little extra free time for holidays that I can spend to create some artwork for fun.

    Related lnks:
    Mario Wibisono
    The Pepper Project
    Adobe Photoshop

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