Wednesday, 11 September 2013

016 Anatomy of a Color Study and Workflow

I thought, I´ll post a bit about how I create a color study.

Create quick brushstrokes for the background. Here the BG isn´t that important and was blurred out in the photo anyway. Make sketchlines to indicate the rough figure. Doesn´t need to be a clear supertight lineart as it will vanish in the course of painting. Create separate layers for BG and lines!

Next I create a layer underneath the line layer and slap on some basic tones of color. I try to get sort of a middle value of each different material. Be loose and sketchy here.

Next start to add some shading (e.g. here visible in the lighter tones of the cowl). I also start detailing and cleanup. Here I used the pen tool to get clear and sharp edges for the warhammer and shoulder armor.

Go from space to space and continue refining and cleanup. I first finished all metal parts before going to other areas.

Once all areas are cleaned up and correctly shaded, go over the whole image and start the detailing phase.                Original image:
 I found that this workflow is what suits me best, even when not doing studies. I used to do lots of black & white renderings and applying color later paintings, mainly to get my values somewhat right, but I feel it is too cumbersome for me.
The advantages of this workflow are speed and an included color sketch. The downside: you have to choose your color scheme very early on.

TIPP: You can always easily check values on your color paintings by just adding a layer ontop everything in PS, fill it with black and set blend mode to saturation. You can turn this layer on and off to check your greyscale values.

Monday, 9 September 2013

015 Color studies

To be able to increase the quality of my paintings, especially rendering, values and color, I decided to do more color studies.
In doing so, you "copy" a photo or something from life without using the color picker in photoshop. This is essential, because you are forced to judge values and colors with your own eye, hereby training it to see.

As I mentioned before, it is really important to NOT blindly copy the image on autopilot, but observe the image and try to memorize why something looks the way it does under certain lighting situations. Here are some examples:

Original photo:
Original photo:

Original photo:

Best results for memorizing are achieved, if you use reference for something you want in a final image, study (paint) the reference material and apply to you own images, e.g. you want to paint leather armor on a sunny day, find reference (no need for it to look exactly the way you want, it is all about studying how something looks), paint it without color picker and apply what you learnt to your own supercool armor.