De­pict a clas­sic male manga face

Cre­ate a youth­ful and charis­matic male face with a touch of the dis­tinc­tive manga style. Pin-up artist Cris De­lara pro­vides her ex­pert hints and tips

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Cris De­lara cre­ates a charis­matic vis­age.

Cre­at­ing a fresh-look­ing male face in the manga style is an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge, be­cause there are so many as­pects of the style that you can play with. I al­ways start out with the in­ten­tion to keep the con­cept sim­ple, but once I’ve thought through the var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties I usu­ally hit on a cre­ative mix­ture.

I’ll take the look of male char­ac­ters from anime-based games then add a hint of manga-in­flu­enced Amer­i­can comics char­ac­ters. This kind of com­bi­na­tion of­fers plenty of po­ten­tial for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, in terms of both the anatomy and the paint­ing tech­nique. But the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in such a project is to try to stick to the main style – in this case the manga look. If you’re to stay true to the style then there are some char­ac­ter­is­tics that can’t be changed, but oth­ers are more flex­i­ble, so you can play around with them more freely. The most im­por­tant thing in the process is the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy, learn and ap­pre­ci­ate the out­stand­ing art of manga.

1 First ideas and sketches

Manga-style male faces of­fer so many pos­si­bil­i­ties. I like the look of male char­ac­ters from games based on anime/ manga, so I’ll use this as my start­ing point. Af­ter many sketches I nar­row it down to three of my ideas. My fi­nal choice is num­ber three and I de­cide to ap­ply a real­is­tic painted fin­ish to him, fol­low­ing the look of char­ac­ters from video games.

2 Sketch val­ues and colours

My next step is to de­cide the best scale of tonal val­ues for my im­age. This in­volves putting on can­vas all the ideas I can think of with re­gard to light and shadow. This ex­er­cise is fas­ci­nat­ing be­cause it en­ables you to vi­su­alise how the fi­nal im­age might look like, so you can learn a lot from it. Next, I re­peat the same ex­er­cise, but this time I add colours over the scale of tonal val­ues I ob­tained from my pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies.

3 Skintone base

With a large, hard-edged brush I fill in the skintone area of the face. Then I soften the edge of this brush, re­duce its size just a bit and block in the light and dark ar­eas. Next I paint the shapes of the lips, nose and eyes. I add the shape of the hair, then the shadow of the hair over the skin. Dur­ing this process I’m try­ing to fol­low my pre­vi­ous stud­ies of the tonal val­ues and colours.

4 Skin tex­ture

To cre­ate the skin tex­ture, I go to the Brush panel and set the stan­dard Pho­to­shop Soft Round brush to 6px in Size, Hard­ness 0 per cent and Spac­ing 118 per cent. Next I go to the Scat­ter­ing op­tion and set the Scat­ter to 55 per cent and Count to 2. These set­tings will give my brush an ap­pear­ance sim­i­lar to the pores of hu­man skin. Then I paint by hand all ar­eas of the face, vary­ing pen pres­sure to cre­ate nat­u­ral-look­ing skin.

5 Skin tex­ture ad­just­ments

Dur­ing this process I choose colours for the pores ac­cord­ing to the light and shadow on the face. The im­por­tant thing is to fol­low the tran­si­tions of skin tones and cre­ate the most nat­u­ral look pos­si­ble, adding depth and round­ness. Make-up tech­nique pho­tos are great for ref­er­ence, es­pe­cially high-def­i­ni­tion close-ups.

6 Paint­ing the eyes

Us­ing the same Soft Round brush on the eye­ball, I lighten the ex­ist­ing tone and add the shadow cast by the up­per eyelid. I then darken the cor­ners of the eye and add a warm colour close to the tear duct, to en­hance the round­ness. In­creas­ing brush Hard­ness slightly, I paint the iris and pupil, and add small dots of light for a moist look.

7 Add de­tails to the lips

Now I need to work on the de­tails. With my Soft Round brush, I en­hance the dark and light parts of the lips. I re­duce the brush size to 5px and cover the line be­tween the lips; then with an ir­reg­u­lar dot­ted brush (with Spac­ing at 1 per cent), I add some lines to cre­ate the tex­ture of the up­per lip. Set­ting the Round brush to 70 per cent Spac­ing and with Scat­ter­ing en­abled, I paint on small lines to give the bot­tom lip a more ir­reg­u­lar ap­pear­ance.

8 Tex­tur­ing the nose

Us­ing an ir­reg­u­lar brush with 22 per cent Spac­ing, I be­gin to paint the tex­ture of the nose area. Vary­ing pen pres­sure is key to cre­at­ing a nat­u­ral­look­ing tex­ture. I work most of the time with the same brush, just vary­ing its size and colour. The next step is to swap to the Soft Round brush, try­ing to bal­ance the ar­ti­fi­cial ef­fect of the over-tex­tured paint­ing and soften some ar­eas.

9 De­pict a char­ac­ter’s stub­ble

To cre­ate the tex­ture of the stub­ble I use the same process as for the skin, but first I pre­pare the area by adding a sub­tle yel­low­ish tone to repli­cate the nat­u­ral look of hair on the skin. To paint the beard, I use my Soft Round brush with the same set­tings as for the skin tex­ture, ex­cept with the Scat­ter­ing set to cre­ate dots with a more ir­reg­u­lar ap­pear­ance. Af­ter I’ve cov­ered the whole chin area I re­duce the Opac­ity of this layer slightly and also add a sub­tle blur ef­fect to it.

10 Cre­at­ing the hair base

Here I block in the mass of the hair with a spe­cially con­fig­ured blurred brush. In some parts, I use a Soft Round brush to bal­ance or soften ar­eas be­tween masses of hair. Us­ing a brush cus­tomised with ir­reg­u­lar dots, I en­hance hair spikes and add small de­tails and loose stray hairs that match the di­rec­tion of the light.

11 Hair sec­tions

All hair de­tails are painted with one reg­u­lar Round brush (which I change to an oval shape), one ir­reg­u­lar dot­ted Stan­dard brush (present in most ver­sions of Pho­to­shop) and the two cus­tomised brushes I cre­ated for this im­age (A35 and B52). I be­gin by se­lect­ing the A35 brush, go­ing to Shape Dy­nam­ics (in­creas­ing the level of Pres­sure of the brush) and cre­at­ing a brush stroke with pointed edges to paint the spiked sec­tions. Al­ways ad­just them to match the light­ing and the shape of a manga-style hair.

12 Fi­nal hair de­tails

Now I set the A35 brush Spac­ing to 13 per cent, the An­gle to -55 de­grees and opt for no Pres­sure to change the brush shape. Us­ing this, I add looser lay­ers of hair with a soft look – this helps give hair a look of nat­u­ral move­ment. To cre­ate the ef­fect of stray hairs high­lighted by lights around the head, I set the dot­ted Pho­to­shop Stan­dard brush to 140 per cent Spac­ing and en­able the Tex­ture and Scat­ter­ing op­tions in the Brush panel.

13 Over­head lights

I add a new layer set to Color mode, take a Soft Round stan­dard brush (also in Color mode) and add a red­dish hue to ar­eas of hair lit by the main light source. Us­ing Lev­els, I change the light in­ten­sity and, with a cool colour, turn to ar­eas that will re­ceive re­flected lights and shad­ows. I cre­ate one more or­ange/red layer (in Color mode) and with a large Soft Round Eraser I re­duce the ef­fect on ar­eas that won’t re­ceive this light di­rectly.

14 Fi­nal ef­fects

Be­cause the main light source is be­hind the head, I de­cide to en­hance the tones in some ar­eas of hair. I se­lect the ar­eas I want, feather the se­lec­tion, then in­ten­sify their light­ness and dark­ness us­ing Lev­els. To help with this, I use a black layer at the top of the layer stack set to Color mode. When vis­i­ble, this can show me the tonal val­ues dur­ing my paint­ing process.

15 Last-minute de­tail­ing

When­ever I fin­ish an im­age I al­ways take a cou­ple of hours away from the can­vas. Then when I re­turn with fresh eyes it’s easy to see things that I hadn’t no­ticed be­fore and should be im­proved. Here I de­cide that I could add more de­tail to the eye­brows, more sat­u­ra­tion to the eyes, and more light­ened dots to the skin. I also add more hair to the beard and in­crease the tex­ture ef­fect in the lips.

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