Cre­ate a card art char­ac­ter

Stéphane Richard switches soft­ware to paint card art.

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

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.

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