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Making of “Horus”

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Date Added: 22nd August 2017
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Freelance 2D artist Juan Pablo Corredor Martinez used Photoshop and Daz3D to create his Egyptian god Horus character...


This is my take on the Egyptian god Horus. In my view fantasy and mythology have always been a huge source of inspiration which allows me to enjoy the process and have a lot of fun finding an appealing design. In this making of I will be showing you how I use Photoshop and other resources like Daz3D to build a solid piece.

Step 1: Moodboard

One of the most important phases when you are building a new project is to get a decent amount of reference. If you don't have a visual library to feed your design thinking you won't get an attractive result. I usually spend two hours minimum searching for different sources of inspiration and visual reference like materials, drapery, lighting, posing, and pieces from artists that I look up to. Once I have the images I put them together on a file that is usually known as a moodboard.

Your work is as good as your references

Step 2: Sketching time!

First, I sketch to put away the bad ideas and avoid repeating the things that my brain has stored from various moments, maybe movies, videogames, or just the general thoughts about the subject. What I recommend is using basic shapes at first and trying to push them with different sizes, thinking about new ways to approach the anatomy or the attire and the general silhouette to make it look interesting. I usually use Photoshop for this process but inspiration can hit you any time so I always keep a sketchbook.

Don't waste time on details, just try to find shape contrast

Step 3: Posing

Once I have a sketch that I consider appealing, I search for a pose that supports my design regarding a consistent attitude; this part could take a while, there are many ways to find poses: search on Google images or Pinterest, you can also find websites that provide poses for various goals. If I don't find what I need on the web I take photos of myself or use a software called Daz3D which allows me to pose a virtual body and move a camera around it.

Daz3D can help to find the right pose

Step 4: Flats

Finding color is probably the most difficult step. I like to start directly with color defining all the local tones without thinking about values, this process is known as FLATS. Technically speaking I divide the colors in layers. Doing it this way gives me a chromatic panorama from the beginning and gives me a better control over the palette.


Step 5: Light situation

It is very important to decide what kind of lighting suits your design better: do you want it to look dramatic or descriptive? When my goal is to present a character I tend to be more descriptive and try to show all the details, even though I choose the elements that I want to be more important and define them as a focal point with a stronger light.

General lighting

Step 6: Lights, shadows and color

This is the trickiest part, First I decide where the main light is coming from and if it's warm or cool, after that I use the other conditions of lighting like: form shadow, cast shadows, fill light, bounce light and reflections, etc. But what about the color? To ensure a nice result I apply the rules of warm vs cool: If my lights are warm my shadows will be cool and viceversa. The fill light is key to choose the color of the shadows, always have in mind this principle: The absence of a light is the presence of another.

Having in mind cool vs warm will always be useful to achieve chromatic coherence

Step 7: Checking the values

When you paint directly with color it's very easy to lose track of the values, so you can always use an adjustment layer in Photoshop and set it to "BLACK AND WHITE." This will show you the grayscale of your piece so you can see where the contrast might not be working.

Check your values often

Step 8: Making adjustments and adding detail

You can always improve your design as you go. At this point I felt that something was missing, so I decided to push some forms a little further and to add new pieces of cloth to my character in order to make it look more imposing and elegant, not changing the overall look too much. I'm also getting more careful with the detail, and now I could concentrate on those little parts.

Don't fall in love with your design, you can always improve

Step 9: Final touches

Once you are done with your painting you can bring together the entire piece with some extra adjustments regarding color correction, and adding subtle elements to the background such as lights, rim light, and little particles of dust. Finally, you can use blending modes like color dodge to intensify some light zones and give a little blur to secondary parts of your design. I hope this article come in handy to all of you, thank you for reading and feel free to contact me.


Related links

Juan on ArtStation
Juan on Instagram
Juan on Facebook
"Horus" in the gallery
Grab a copy of Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters


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