Q&A: jump­ing

Deirdre Toot, Is­rael

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Mark replies

The trick for show­ing a fig­ure in the air is to cap­ture the key mo­men­tum of their move­ment in the scene. If you’re able to find this peak in the move­ment, then your il­lus­tra­tion will be dy­namic and you can tell a story at the same time.

For this im­age I want to show a fu­tur­is­tic cy­ber-as­sas­sin on the run – he’s jump­ing from a high build­ing. I’ll keep the fo­cus on the char­ac­ter and give only hints for the sur­round­ings. To make the il­lus­tra­tion work I have to find the key mo­men­tum of his jump. I choose the mo­ment just be­fore he dives into the depths of the city and dis­ap­pears. We can still see the crouched po­si­tion of his legs as he jumps out of an open win­dow with­out hurt­ing him­self – but his arms are al­ready open, pre­par­ing for the long dive… or drop!

For these type of poses – ones that you don’t see ev­ery day – it’s best to use ref­er­ences as your start­ing point, so that your gen­eral anatomy and pro­por­tions are cor­rect from the get-go. You can find lots of dy­namic poses if you study dancers or ex­treme sport prac­ti­tion­ers. For this speed paint­ing I’m us­ing pho­tos of French park­our artists.

I start with a loose line draw­ing of the char­ac­ter, then quickly block in the sil­hou­ette based on my ref­er­ences. In this case the sil­hou­ette is the most im­por­tant, be­cause its job is to sell the over­all pro­por­tions and the pose. Then I block in the main lights and shad­ows on a sub-layer and roughly paint in the var­i­ous me­chan­i­cal parts, while still keep­ing ev­ery­thing black and white.

Af­ter this it’s just a mat­ter of re­fin­ing the parts and the sil­hou­ette. I flat­ten down the back­ground and the sep­a­rated char­ac­ter, and colour them up quickly us­ing Color Bal­ance ad­just­ment lay­ers. Fi­nally, I ap­ply some colour vari­a­tions, paint some graphic de­sign el­e­ments to the char­ac­ter, and add the fi­nal ef­fects – dust, de­bris and so on – to make the scene look more cin­e­matic.

Blur­ring and smudg­ing your fig­ure’s trail­ing edges will en­hance the feel­ing of move­ment through the air.

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