Sunday, September 30, 2012

12-step program

Hi, my name is Devin, and I'm an alcoholic...wait wrong 12 step program...

So! While there are 12 steps here, it's not a program. It's just some thoughts from a not-entirely-sane-person.  As I said in my earlier post, I was trying to figure out how to get as nice a product as possible, with the least amount of work. A lot of times, you might know what that scribble is supposed to be, but other people don't really get it.  When you're working directly for a project manager, or a really bad AD...sometimes they either don't have faith in you, or just can't see what you can see.  The idea behind this was to get something that is fairly fleshed out, and quickly.

While it doesn't address a lot of issues when you need to crank out a bunch of different shape designs, I had fun playing around with everything and feel like I've added some improvements [at least some tricks] to my old workflow.               Here is the post with the page of variants

1. That's right, SCRIBBLE.  I don't know how to draw. I did a page full of scribbles that looked a lot worse than this one. I picked a scribble that I thought had some potential.

2. I took the initial scribble layer and turned it down to 20% opacity. Then on a new layer I drew over my scribble to clean things up a little bit. This was done rather fast, and the main focus was not on beauteous lines, but just making sure I got the basic forms defined in space.

3. At this point I took my slightly cleaned-up drawing, turned the layer down to 50% and on new layers hashed out some costumes for the little guy.  Again, not being careful...more back to the scribbling stage to just get my ideas out. After I got a few of the outfit ideas down, I grouped the ones I wanted to revisit and turned the group visibility off. Now GO GET A CUP OF COFFEE.

4. ERMAHGERD DRERWIN! Clean up lines!...and realize that I really don't like the shape of the head. I really wanted something much more cute for this I gave him mammal ears...but I kept this amphibian/salamander vibe with those little gill-things in his ears...This was less fast than the previous clean up, but still doesn't take too long.

5. Created a new layer UNDER my line drawing, and used the lasso tool to quickly trace the silhouette of the character. Paint bucket fill with white. A nice tip about drawing with the lasso tool, is using the alt-button to toggle between doing straight lines and free-free form. Why would I do something so tedious?

6. Well, I am glad I asked. I now took said fill-bucket layer, and my new lines layer and grouped them. Then I took the lines layer and hit alt+ctrl+g which creates a clipping mask to the layer below it. I also turned my lines layer down to 50% opacity, and set the layer mode to multiply [in case I accidentally have some white painted in on my lines layer]

7. New layer set to NORMAL,above the base layer. Because you already have a layer that is using clipping mask, your new layer will automatically also be clipped...which is rather convenient if you ask me. WHICH YOU DIDN'T. Okay, so you can hammer out a lot of different color combos at this stage. I just keep making new layers at this point until I have enough variants.

8. Turned the color layer off, and make a new layer set to SCREEN. I picked a real dark, fairly saturated blue color and painted in this 'ambient light' which is mostly going to be top-down.  The sky is a giant light source, and it's mostly coming from above. I'm sure someone can argue about this and tell me I'm wrong...but well HEY it looks good to me :S I made the base-layer darker so that I could easily see what the screen layer was doing. I'm not being tedious at all here, I just took a huge soft brush and plopped out the major forms. Now hurry up and turn this layer off!

9. Turned the base layer back to white, and made a new layer set to MULTIPLY. I decided to make the lighting come from top down, because I'm a terrible person. Again, I just used a big old soft brush and plopped in the major forms...and honestly didn't do a very good job at it.

10. Who loves rim-light? EVERYONE. Can really help to pop your character out and model the form. This was done on a normal layer. I kept the shadow/multiply layer on, because its easier to see the form and make good decisions about how the rim-light will look. While you're at it, why not add some specular highlights? Go ahead, they're quick and easy!

11. TURN ALL THOSE LAYERS BACK ON! *cough* then do some adjustments on them if it doesn't look as good as you think it could.  I actually pop the color layer on and off while I'm working on the multiply and screen layers to make sure they are doing what I want them to. Now all those color variants you've done can be popped into your layers set up, and you've got all these guys under the same lighting/mood, which can really help solidify your palette.

12. You thought you were done? nope...go back and repeat the process with the costumes! I turned the character group down to 50% to make it easier to see the costume itself. 

While rendering out the 'final', it got me thinking about a lot of other things, which I mean to do another long, possibly rambling post about...pretty soon. BUT IT WILL CONTAIN maybe it will still be worth looking at. Speaking of pictures, here are some:

Look at how loose and sloppy everything is! As long as it looks good small, that's what is important!

I think it's easier to understand things with pictures...Good layer management might be a bit hard to learn, but it's really useful, especially if you're working with other people who will need to access your PSD. My old art director loved how organized I was.


Mathias Zamęcki said...

Damn mate that's great!
thanks for tutorial :)

Dimi Devos said...

Great stuff and very injoyable read. love the ambient light step.

Chad Lehman said...

Pancakes b:

devin platts said...

mathias: glad you like it!!! Hope it's...useful!

Dimi: thank you very much!!

Chad: heheh :3 I do tend to name my groups arbitrarily... *ahem* generally they're either labelled with pokemon names, or food.

Ryan Lee said...

Pokemon names and food can really streamline a process like this. Awesome post, Devin. We'll have to pull this up on the big screen tomorrow IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! :B

Clément Dussol said...

This is incredibly useful ! Thanks a lot