Friday, September 2, 2011

Process Log 5: Amarok

Amarok is a character I came up with a few years back. He/it came from a story idea that revolved around a guy who was an experiment gone wrong (woo original). The first time I drew it was in a side profile view, and it was also the first time I sketched and referenced proper muscle anatomy. Over the summer, I dug up this old sketch again and revamped it with an adjusted pose and design. (Once I find the scan of the sketch somewhere I'll upload it here.)
I documented this one all the way through this time! :'D Here we go:

Started with a pencil sketch and then scanned it in. Layed out a base background color to help get started with the character's overall color scheme. Commenced painting the head.

Continued painting more of the muscles and shading them. I also tweaked the overall color of the painting using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. (The previous color palette was too magenta. I wanted the colors to look more sickly so that's why I changed it.)

Darker tones and highlights. Began some spikey bone segments and cartilage.

Painted in high spec on the muscles and started shading in the bones.

With the character finally done, moved onto the background. Didn't really know what to do, but I knew I wanted a smokey, greenish backdrop (green to contrast with the redish hues on the character). Kinda messed around with the cloud filter and masking here.

Then I had no idea what I was doing with the lighting. I messed around with several ideas and then this one with the rim lighting looked the coolest. The shadow on the character blocked out too much of the detail, so I was having a hard time figuring out how to balance the back and front lights.

Got some help from Kez ( on the front lighting. She copied the dark shadow layer over the character onto a Multiply and Soft Light layer. I really liked the sharp values that turned up from these two layers, plus the increase in saturation.

Touched up Kez's help and tried to figure out what more I could add to the background. Swingy tube things over the back light seemed cool I suppose. Added a metal grate for a floor (got the texture from CGtextures). Also did a black and white pass on the whole painting to adjust the lights and darks.

Added a few blur spots here and there (for depth) and yay! Final piece! :D

This painting took a while to complete - a lot longer than I expected. The most useful technique I learned through this project was overlaying the painting with a black and white layer to test values. I've used this technique before, but not as much (or as well) as I did with this painting. I found myself having to turn that layer on and off constantly, just to make small adjustments that overall fixed the whole piece. In the end, I was really satisfied with the end result. More stuff I learned from this project:

- drawing and painting muscles
- back and front lighting with different layer types

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