Sil­hou­ette ex­trac­tion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Workshops -

This is an old Art Cen­ter tech­nique that I use if I start run­ning out of ideas on a job. It’s es­sen­tially an in­fi­nite de­sign gen­er­a­tor: you can take any ob­ject and cre­ate a com­pelling de­sign out of it, or at least get your cre­ative juices flow­ing. Start by cre­at­ing a unique top-down de­sign. Then, us­ing your per­spec­tive skills, draw the forms out and ren­der it from imag­i­na­tion to cre­ate the de­sign. Once you get a han­dle on this more tra­di­tional ap­proach, you can save time by pho­to­bash­ing into the sil­hou­ette and ren­der­ing out the de­sign. This method of­ten benefits from happy ac­ci­dents!

A Pick a good ref­er­ence photo

I start the process by find­ing a base photo with an in­ter­est­ing de­sign, sil­hou­ette or shape lan­guage such as a fighter jet or in­sect, and cut out the sil­hou­ette and turn it black. Then I start to cut, copy and re­ar­range it into new de­signs and ideas. I ex­plore in­ter­est­ing shapes on a purely graphic level.

B cre­ate a unique shadow

I take the best sil­hou­ette and warp it into per­spec­tive as the cast shadow of this new de­sign. I then use the sil­hou­ette to start block­ing out what I imag­ine to be the over­all sil­hou­ette in per­spec­tive. This gives a sense of weight to the de­sign.

C app ly pho­tos and de­tails

Next I take pho­tos and stretch and drag them in­side the sil­hou­ette, plac­ing them where I think they make the most sense for the de­sign. Then I add de­tails to flesh out the de­sign as far as it needs to go: I’d stay loose for an early ex­plo­ration sketch, but go in tighter for a fin­ished de­sign.

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