Q&A: slime

Jo-Anne Mel­bury, Eng­land

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

An­swer

Alix replies

Cre­at­ing a crea­ture made out of slime re­quires get­ting com­fort­able work­ing with a tricky ma­te­rial to ren­der. There are two key fac­tors to con­sider: the sub­sur­face scat­ter­ing that oc­curs in translu­cent ma­te­ri­als; and the spec­u­lar high­lights that form on wet sur­faces.

As with any­thing un­fa­mil­iar you paint, ref­er­ence is key. How­ever, ref­er­ence gath­er­ing can be more fun than a sim­ple on­line im­age search. I use an on­line recipe to make my own slime us­ing bo­rax, clear school glue and some food colour­ing. This gives me a great re­source to re­fer back to through­out my process.

Work­ing in Photoshop, I paint a crea­ture that has a core skeleton in­side a mass of slimy ten­ta­cles and an eerie in­ter­nal glow. Get­ting cre­ative with this ef­fect in­side of the crea­ture has the two-fold ben­e­fit of cre­at­ing more light to play off the in­ter­nal struc­tures, while also help­ing to cre­ate a fo­cal point against the dark back­ground.

When cre­at­ing light­ing ef­fects, whether it be the in­ter­nal glow pass­ing through the ma­te­rial or the shine on the sur­face, Over­lay lay­ers are an artist’s best friend. They en­able the colours un­der­neath them to show through while ap­ply­ing what­ever new colour you se­lect, and are a great way to layer in light. I use Over­lay lay­ers to punch up the in­ter­nal glow as well as cre­at­ing the spec­u­lar high­lights where the light di­rectly hits the slime.

Don’t for­get the ef­fects of re­flected light on your slime. Adding some sub­tle high­light­ing on rounded ar­eas not af­fected by light di­rectly can help give them form. I use an pro­gram called PureRef ( www.pureref.com) to cre­ate boards of ref­er­ence that can re­main on top of my Photoshop win­dow while I work.

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