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Making Of 'Pat the Pirate'

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Date Added: 27th July 2007
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So above you can see how I'm blocking in the sky and, heh, water....yahhh. I also roughed out the rest of the figure, and a possible sash....which I ended up painting out.

Remember when I said layers can get overwhelming. Well above is just that. I'm working with a multi-planed landscape, and am moving around objects to see how the composition could work. Most of those are set to normal...because I applied, or baked (whatever term makes sense) the Color, Hue, and whatever other layers I tried into one normal layer, Layer 1. So, each layer is another element, which I'm painting, and seeing how it works. Once I like the composition, I'll squash all of them together, so I'm back to one layer. And then I'll continue detailing the piece, and unifying it's elements.

A quick word about the masks above. You can see Layer 1 has the figure with the dark maroon. I used the wand tool to grab the maroon around the figure, then selected the second button on the bottom of the Layers palette (it's that dark square with a light circle). That creates a mask of that selection. So now, I can paint whatever of the background, and not worry about going through the character. And, as you can see below, the edges of the character are fuzzy because of this. Again, once I flatten everything, I'll repaint most things and make the character feel like it's painted in with the piece.

After receiving a comment on possibly adding a cooler light source coming from the right....I tried a layer that looks like below, set to Overlay. Which got the results that person, and I was looking for.

Ok, check out below. This was right after merging all the layers so I'm down to one again, to continue painting. I did the left, thought it was fine, and was about to move on and keep working. But I thought I'd try and see what it looks like to mess with the Levels. And the piece pops...has a fuller value range, and is more saturated. Now, this might not be your intention for the piece, if it were the Antarctic you're painting, you might not want to do this....but my intention was a colorful and vivid piece, and I thought the left was exactly that...till you experiment with Levels, Color Balance, etc..

You might have noticed I repainted the sky entirely. This was after a night's sleep and realizing what I painted the night before was just horrible, too detailed, and it interfered with the character. So using the same palette I just stroked in a more calm sky, which helped pop his face out more.

Also, I put what I had so far into Maya, lined up the camera, and modelled that grate you see on the deck, applied it to a layer, erased where the figure intersected it, and below is a first stab at a result. I end up basically repainting the entire thing, but getting perspective on something like that in 3D is very helpful. The actual planks, were done using the Polygon Selection tool in Photoshop, clicking the vanishing point, clicking way in the foreground, twice very close to each other, then going back to the vanishing point....making thin triangles of selection, from which I painted the dark shadow color, then moved the selection right a few pixels, and painting in the bright orange highlight, making sure to break up the highlight and shadow so it looks like wood, and not pixilated lines. Then a photo I took of some moss was thrown over the area by the pirate's feet, set to color dodge, which created a nice texture.

Below is a 100% zoom of the final left hand so you can see how rough things get. Anatomy's not perfect, but it worked for me, heh. You can see the small details, on the vest, and the hand creases, and the very blotchy strokes making the fingers....but because it's such a high resolution....zooming out, it looks very tight...or somewhat tight, heh. Remember, when painting; hold ALT for an instant color picker.

And below is the finished work. A few details have been fixed recently from a few comments people have made. And the goals of the piece were experiment with a broad color palette...try adding subtle textures, render a full figure, and try to keep things loose and painterly. Hope you gained something by this, even if it's just a new keyboard shortcut...heh.

Yeeeearrree!!! And have a mighty fine day by thunder!!!

Have a good one!

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