Q&A: holo­grams

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

Fred­die San­ders, Eng­land

An­swer Tony replies

Holo­grams in real life have been re­al­is­tic look­ing for a few years now. For nar­ra­tive pur­poses, though, I still love when com­puter screens and tech­nol­ogy have a lit­tle bit of dis­tor­tion to them. It leaves room for artis­tic flour­ishes.

For this ex­am­ple, the bulk of the paint­ing process is pretty much the same. Paint with bright blues at first and keep the light ar­eas on their own layer. Make the darker lay­ers more trans­par­ent with the Opac­ity slider in the lay­ers win­dow. Hav­ing the lighter lay­ers more opaque will make it feel more di­men­sional. Fo­cus on paint­ing all of the high­lights with bright, sat­u­rated, high-value shades, and keep it rel­a­tively light in the mid-tones as well.

Once the por­trait is done, copy the high­light layer and ap­ply a Gaus­sian Blur. The halo cre­ated im­plies that this im­age is a light source. Add some rays com­ing from the pro­jec­tor if you like. Se­lect all of the light-em­i­nat­ing lay­ers, then right-click and choose Group From Lay­ers. Copy/paste an army of thin, evenly-spaced hor­i­zon­tal lines on their own layer. Put that layer over the main group, right-click it and se­lect Cre­ate Clip­ping Mask, then set the layer to Sub­tract. The lighter your lines are, the more trans­par­ent they’ll be. I pre­fer mak­ing them white and just ad­just­ing the Opac­ity slider.

Giv­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tion im­per­fec­tions like be­ing monochro­matic or hav­ing scan lines helps the viewer quickly grasp that this is a dig­i­tal 3D fac­sim­ile. Even though the holo­gram it­self is emit­ting light, you still need to plan out the por­trait with a high­lights and shad­ows as usual.

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