How can I recre­ate the look of tra­di­tional me­dia in my dig­i­tal fan­tasy art?

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

Adam Martin, Eng­land

John replies

Pho­to­shop’s Mixer Brush does a pretty good job of sim­u­lat­ing oils and pas­tels. I think it works best as a blender, with the set­tings at Moist, 5 per cent Load, 50 per cent Mix and 100 per cent Flow. It’s re­ally a tool that you’ll have to play with a lot to find your pref­er­ence, be­cause it works in so many dif­fer­ent ways. I like to use the Fan and Blunt-Round blenders: try some of the pre­sets to see what works for you.

I start by us­ing a stan­dard tex­tured brush to lay down my tones and flat ar­eas of colour, then blend them with the Mixer brush. You can do this with a photo to make it look like an oil paint­ing. I almost al­ways se­lect the Clean After Each Stroke op­tion to pre­vent my colours from be­com­ing muddy. When blend­ing, es­pe­cially flesh tones, try to blend along the con­tours of each shape. So for arms and fin­gers I al­ways try to stroke trans­versely around the form in­stead of down its length.

Christ­mas 2014

Ross replies

When ap­proach­ing veg­e­ta­tion, think of it as lay­ers build­ing up. It will take mul­ti­ple lay­ers and a bit of pa­tience, but the end re­sult will be ef­fec­tive and easy to al­ter if you’re not happy with some­thing.

I want to in­tro­duce a method where you can achieve the same ac­cu­rate ef­fect by sim­ple steps of what I call ‘ in­di­cat­ing’. In other words, this is a time-ef­fec­tive way of paint­ing the veg­e­ta­tion with­out be­com­ing bogged down in the de­tails. There’ll be times when you’ll make the mis­take of adding de­tails on to al­ready es­tab­lished de­tails that ei­ther don’t im­prove the im­age or even make it worse. So I want to break down my ap­proach to paint­ing ef­fec­tivelook­ing veg­e­ta­tion into three sim­ple steps.

The first is the base, which I treat it as a gra­di­ent made up of the soil of your veg­e­ta­tion. Next is the core, where I in­tro­duce the bulk of the plants and show the viewer what this veg­e­ta­tion is mostly made up of. Fi­nally there’s the de­tail­ing stage, which is my chance to touch up and pick out a cou­ple of ar­eas to show a clear, sharp in­di­ca­tion of what the whole plant con­sists of.

I try to avoid mix­ing the colours too much. For this character I want a rough, painterly look rather than a smooth, air­brushed style. I’ve added veg­e­ta­tion to this ear­lier piece that I’ve re­vis­ited, to im­prove the scene. I want to cre­ate dan­gling veg­e­ta­tion around the plat­form’s edges. Your blend­ing strokes should follow the con­tour of the fig­ure’s forms. Use a back-and-forth mo­tion to keep from push­ing colour too far in one di­rec­tion.

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