dimanche 26 mars 2017

Character Design - Ghost of Poveglia / Drapery rendering

Design for CDC.
Here is a character design I made for the "character design challenge" on facebook. Through this article, I'm going to show you a few steps along the realization of the picture, then I'll talk a bit about the process I used to paint draperies.

Steps :

First, I made a few researches once the theme (The carnival of Venice) was revealed. I wanted to draw a kind of ghost, because there is a very famous island in Venice, called Poveglia, which has the reputation to be haunted. I thought it could be cool to try to design a "classy" ghost that could fit in both ideas : Poveglia and the carnival. I worked with silhouettes mostly, here is the final concept sheet :

Concept sheet
Line work

Above, you can see the detailed line work. I picked my favorite silhouette from my researches and cleaned it until I got a refined line work.

This is going to help me to define more precisely every accessories and clothes of my character, when the concept is too rough, it could delay the final realization so it's good to take enough time to get the line as clean as you wish.

Once the line is done, you can put layers of flat colors under it. In this way, you can choose what color you want for each element of you design. Once your done with the colors and/or values, you can start painting and detailing each element. I generally begin with the face, because it's kind of the focus in a picture that describes a character. 

This is the result once all the rendering and details are done. There are always some ways to correct your drawing and to improve it. You decide when you think you spent enough time on that step of realization. For me, I almost get it done in 6 or 8 hours but I thought it was not polished enough at all so I spent a lot more time on it ^^'

 This is the final. I added a few adjustments on the character, with level and hue/saturation layers.
Here is the layer mode I used to enhance the light falling on the top of the character :


Now let's talk about draperies, because there is a bunch of it into this picture, and it's often a tricky thing to paint.

1/ There is just the layer of "flat"color (actually there is a lighter hue on it, but let's say there is only the flat dark blue color on the layer) and the layer of lines.

2/ Here, the volumes of the folds are done with a basic round air brush. There is no texture or color variations yet.

3/ Then, I added color variations on some folds. I put orange and redish hues between the different parts of the dress. I also added a soft light layer with strokes of custom brushes, to add texture on the fabric.

____ About the importance of color variations, I know a very educational video made by a great artist, named Clint Cearley, that talk about it a way better than me and can show you how important it is to bring colors into your paintings. The video is focused on portrait painting but it applies very well on other subjects. Here is the video for the ones who are interested :

...End of the aside ^^_____

4/ If you want a shape to be very sharp, try to use the lasso tool, it could help you to enhance a part of the fabric. Here, this part of the dress is supposed to be ripped and it's moving forward us because it's flapping in the wind. The sharp edges of this bit help to convince this feeling of floating material.

 5/ In this step, I'll describe how I did the patterns on the dress. First, I drew them all following the shapes and volumes of the folds. If you don't want to paint it, you also can paste an actual pattern that you can find on the internet or even painted by yourself on a flat basis like this :

...and then apply it on you folds using the option "free transform" and "warp".

6/ I just put light and shadows on the patterns, always with the idea to make them fit closely to the folds.

 7/ To put a shadow under the patterns : duplicate your layer with the patterns, then put it under the original patterns, and then press ctrl + u and reduce the luminosity. Move this duplicated layer a bit under the patterns and then the shadow appears.

8/ I added dots. I used the lasso tool here again, so it's cleaner than if I just painted them with direct brush strokes.

9/ I reduced the size and number of the dots using a basic round brush without any transfert as an eracer. You also can use a mask and paint wih black to erace the dots just like this :

10/ At this stage, the dress could have been done, but there is something missing to me : comparing the dress with the elements on the chest of the character, I thought the dress was too "empty" even with the patterns and the dots.

11/ I decided to bring more colors and variations to the dress. I split the folds into two different kind of material.

12/ I added blue with a color layer, because I thought the dress was too grayish compared to the rest of the character's clothes. I also put golden edges on the blue folds to remind the top of the character which contains golden hues too. The part of blue clothes I added is to break the verticality of the other parts of the dress.

13/ Don't forget to had drop shadows when it's needed ;)

14/ Added a few golden lashes to create depth (they are floatting forward us so it projects drop shadows on the dress that show they are not in contact with the character) and an accessory with a moon shape to bring more interest in this part of the character.

15/ I added the same kind of jewels that on the ruff (around the character's neck) because I was still thinking that something was missing on the dress, and the red reminded me of the ruff's color, so I thought it could even have the same decorations.

16/ This is pretty much done now. Here I took a few notes to show you the variations on the folds. To render it, I paid attention to the sharpness of the different kind of folds. Generally, the deepest a fold is, the darker and the sharper it's going to be. You can compare what edges are soft and what edges aren't on the picture above.

Here we are, I think we're pretty much done with this painting. Hope it helped you somehow, thanks a lot for reading. Cheers! :D

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