Monday, 6 September 2010

Ridiculously inefficient character design.

I've had Manga Studio for ages, I just haven't had too much opportunity to get to grips with it, so I decided to use it for the basis of a character I needed to design.

I usually do all of my sketching in Photoshop and then shift between Painter and Photoshop once I go to final (although I'm quite sure that I could use either program pretty much exclusively if I made the effort to work more efficiently).

Ok- first up is my basic blue line sketch, created in Manga Studio.  Design-wise, I pretty much already know what I'm going to draw, so it's just a case of getting it on paper.  Or screen.  Whatever.



Once I'm happy with the pose, it's out with the pens.  Nothing fancy, because I don't really know what I'm doing yet.  I just use the G pen (which I can only assume stands for 'Great', because it is), with the stroke-in/out and auto-correct features turned off.  I add a few other lines here and there with the marker pen.  Again, nothing too ambitious.



Once I'm happy, I ditch the blue layer, leaving me with my basic line drawing.  And, in this instance, that's about it for Manga Studio.  So far, I haven't done anything I couldn't have done in Photoshop or Painter, but the actual drawing tools in Manga Studio are far superior to anything Photoshop or Painter have to offer, in my opinion.  The brushes are just lovely to use- none of that shaky line gubbins that you can get with Photoshop- just crisp, clean lines.  Plus, if I don't start using it soon, I never will!



At this point, I export my image as a PSD, so that I can open it up in Painter and Photoshop. This is the only place that Manga Studio falls down for me.  Once I've exported it, I have to import it into an entirely new document if I want to work on it in MS again- which is a bit of a pain.  If my work was all in black and white, I'd probably only ever work in MS, but as it is, I like to switch between Painter and Photoshop for the colouring process- and it would be brilliant if I could nip back into MS if I wanted to as well.  I'm hoping that this will be possible at some point (hint hint).

Anyway- I take my freshly exported PSD into Painter, where I smudge over all the lines (bear with me, I haven't gone mental), using a grainy water blender on top of a Ribbed Pastel paper texture- leaving me with this:



"RUINED!" I hear you cry.  Not so!  Well... ok.  It sort of is- but in a good way- because now I get to put all that detail back in again in Photoshop, using a brush set to around 85% opacity.



Eventually, this is what I'm left with.  To be honest, I could probably create the exact same effect in half the time with a 2B pencil and a bit of actual paper- but that's a discussion for another day.

Then it's back off to Painter to add the grey tones.  Tell a lie, I put the basic tones down in Photoshop, but I then take in back into Painter to use the same water blender/ribbed paper combo that I used when smudging my lines.



Straight back into Photoshop, where I add a 50% colour layer, set to multiply which gives my colours that washed out look without my having to think too hard.  They looked washed out because they are washed out.  This is just a basic flat layer- big blocks of colour.



Next up are the detail layers- again, set to multiply.  Red airbrush around the base of the horns and around the eyes and mouth (sweat stains on the clothing- that sort of thing), before adding a couple of highlight layers over the top.



Finally, I bung a colour burn texture layer over the top of the whole thing- set at around 30%.  I do this to a) make it more interesting to look at and b) because I think it pulls the colours together (what's left of them!).  This is one that I made myself, but you can get some really nice textures from Caleb Kimbrough over at his blog, http://lostandtaken.com/



And that's about it.  Apart from using Manga Studio at the beginning, pretty much all of my work is done this way- comics, cartoons, covers and interiors. Workflow-wise, it's not the smartest way of working, but I'm usually reasonably pleased with the results.

Right.  Back to work.

Once I've had a cup of tea.

2 comments:

The Dude said...

hey sorry about going off the topic of this blog posting. i just wanted to let you know the rendition you did of ROM being grafted into his Spaceknight armor was awesome. i left a comment about it on the floating world comics ROM art gallery blog.

Matt Timson said...

So you did! No worries about going off topic- I'm just pleased that people want to look and comment.

You can see the finished version of that Rom piece here:

http://matttimson.blogspot.com/2009/10/bill-mantlo-rom-benefit-book.html