Friday, June 29, 2012

Mountains and lakes

Speedpainting based on an Al.chemy scribble. I played a bit with the channels after flipping through Exodyssey by Steambot Studios, and I like some of the effects that it produced. Also, handpaint is better for birds; I often use custom brushes, but they need tweaking anyway, so I guess I can just scribble them myself from the start...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Map Creation III

Now for some colours. Right now I want a topological map showing the heights of the land. Green is for sealevel heights; the colours go from brighter green to yellows, ochre, browns, and the highest mountains will become grey, then white. This is standard, anyway; you might want to try other colours.
I keep the outlines on a separate layer set to Multiply and lay down flat colours. I keep the landmass as a selection made from the outside of the linework, and the water on top. I roughly blend the colours with low-opacity brushstrokes, and then put several textures (rust-stained paper, acrylics paint strokes) over them to provide details. I use them on low opacity as Overlay and Soft Light layers. After that, on a new layer I brush in shadows on the lower right sides of the mountains, and use some of the texture details to put in even more mountains.
I fix up the rivers with the lasso tool and add some more. I could of course texture the water as well but find it too distracting for now.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Starmaker's Gaze blog

I created a new blog for my fantasy setting Genius Loci at
Along the paintings, you can find a lot of descriptions there (its not just a visual development, there is actually quite a lot of writing involved in coming up with a world) and, hopefully soon, some of the sketches I do. this blog right here will of course stay online. The fact remains that I wouldn't know where else to put spaceships.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steampunk mechanic concept

Originally done as an assignment for a group I run on deviantArt.

1. Sketch
I quickly scribble some sketches to get the steampunk stuff down. I already know I want an older guy with the classical hat of an engine-driver, and come up with a pressured strength-enhancing arm, jumping boots, the inevitable goggles, and a lot of tools, including a pocket watch.
I sketch in Painter 12 with the Real 6B Pencil on an A4-sized canvas. I usually use a different color than grey to sketch for a more lively effect.

2. Clean drawing
I use Poser Pro to set up a view of the character and indicate lighting (which I will later ignore, but it inspires me for the right lighting conditions) and export the render as a png. I make a cleaner drawing over it, again in Painter.

3. Colour flats
For the first colour blocking, I often use Painter, because the colour wheel beats Photoshops colour picker hands down. But here, I use a technique I learned from the youtube videos from Feng Zhu Design School: I collage photos that have the right colours and pick them from that, eventually covering the photos entirely. That I do in Photoshop (CS5). I also indicate a background with rafters and add some grungy paper textures. I use heavily textured brushes to achieve the worn, dirty look suitable for an engineer.

4. Detailing
I add details until I can delete the sketch layer and everything is clear. I create simple lighting like this by adding a new layer as a clipping mask above the character and using low-opacity gradients set to overlay or multiply.
The background gets a treatment with gaussian blur and median filter to be just recognizable.

5. Clearing the silhouette
The character is about done, but he doesn't stand out from the background because of the contrast, so with a large airbrush and soft, textured brushes, I add smoke and steam. At the end of a quick painting, I use a lot of adjustment layers like brightness and contrast, color balance, levels, and photo filter.
Adding a small border is easy in Painter: I choose a colour, go to Canvas> Set Paper Color, and under Canvas> Canvas Size, add the amount of border I want.