23 June 2011

Photo Manipulating Creature Concept

Since I haven't posted much of these kind of concept art on my blog I though I'd shed some light on how this creature came into existence! Something you probably did not know is that I had made a previous attempt at showing off this technique but failed because I was too eager to dive in and get working that I didnt even have an idea what it was that I was concepting. So that was quickly thrown to the bin and I did a quick drawing to give myself a direction. Most of the time its important to plan what it is you are working on, it will save a lot of stress and brain power on the long run :P The only exception to planning is speedpainting where you set out to discover the piece as you go along which I think makes it harder to pull off than people think (maybe I will talk more about speedpainting in a future update).

With the drawing giving us a plan I start gathering some photo textures and cut and pasted them together to make a texture base. I was looking for textures that has a flat lighting so that I can control it later. I used the warp transform to shape the textures to follow the contours of the creature's form and to make some monstrous deformation as seen on the head piece. A lot of the textures had to be desaturated and colour balanced to give all these different cut outs unity. There was hardly any painting done at this stage but you can see a few form shadows I couldn't help but drop in, but nothing huge.

Once that is done I flatten it down to one layer and set it to 'overlay' blend mode. I then add a new layer below it and paint the lighting in, adding shadows and a tiny bit of highlight (dont go too crazy with the strength of these or they will look really fake). Its easier to make a mask around the creature so you can paint freely at this stage.

With all that done I then flatten the image down begin to paint on top of the image. This is where I will fix oddities in the photo comp like where there are odd transitions and if I just want to change something completely like the mouth piece. I added some red patches around the body using a 'hard light' layer to echo the reds on the head, again this is to ensure there is a unity to the design so that you dont look at head and think it doesn't belong to this creature.


Trying out a new technique using lots of photographs knitted together to make a texture base then set it to an overlay layer and painted the lighting on the layer under it. Then I collapsed it all and painted over the top. Quite a handy trick for quick concepts.

17 June 2011


Speed paint :)

16 June 2011

Master Toad

Hey folks! I saw Kung Fu Panda 2 the other day and felt inspired to do my take on a potential bad guy character. I was telling my friends how I liked that the villain in the new film was not an obvious animal choice. In the first one you had an intimidating beast but in the new film the baddie is a peacock but somehow I think it works. The peacock at first might look harmless and physically incapable of challenging Po but he is always out there diligently trying to kill him which makes feel a bit psychotic for placing his mission to defeat our hero ahead of his own capability to match him. From a talk with my friends I suggested trying to come up with another enemy lined to grapple with Po. I wanted to go with another animal that naturally doesnt fit the bill of being a bad guy and is rooted in Chinese tradition too. I had a Chinese figurine of a three-legged frog on my desk which gave me this idea. There are elements of a kirin with its head design and piercings that echo the rings on the 9 ringed broadsword. One of the difficulty with this character design was working around the toad's sunken head. It would have been preferable to give the head a clear silhouette which can help the character emote but I tried to work round this and frame the head as much as I can.

Last week I was at the Annecy animation festival. It was my 5th year in a row there! As always I loved being there and meeting people with a common interest and ambition. One of these days I shall have to learn the language since I frequent France so much! Will next year be a 6th year in a row?