Create a card art character
Stéphane Richard switches software to paint card art.
The ImagineFX editor asked me to illustrate a character inspired by the Gwent card game, from The Witcher 3 video game. The brief was to depict a comical hero and we settled on a chubby elf looking proud of himself and ready to win the next battle with nothing more than a smile.
Card art, especially in digital games, presents a very specific challenge. The image has to work at a very small scale. But it also needs details to support full screen mode, attentive scrutiny by the player, or even larger print versions. I’m going to focus on a workflow that’s suitable for tight deadlines. This image took around 10 hours to complete, from initial sketch to the final image, and this wouldn’t be possible for me without using 3D software and photobashing.
Starting from the sketch, I’ll take you through DAZ 3D to quickly generate a posed base mesh that I’ll import in ZBrush for further detailing. After adding some rough clothes and props, I’ll bring the 3D model into KeyShot to render a few material passes. Then I’ll finish the image in Photoshop, by compositing all the render passes to develop a base before adding colours and details on top.
After using photobashing to generate a background that matches my sketch, I’ll use the Camera RAW filter plug-in in Photoshop to apply photo-retouching techniques to my image.