This was the first class I’ve had with Tony in Concept Art, since last Friday everyone was at EGX. We were doing work with Photoshop and creating loose character designs from silhouettes. Tony began by showing us what he wanted us to do in Photoshop:
- Start up a new document and create a new layer.
- Take the lasso tool and loosely draw some shapes that resemble the character you would like to make (ie, have some general concept of a structure, which doesn’t necessarily have to be humanoid).
- Without clicking off the shapes you’ve now squiggled, choose the paint bucket tool and fill the shapes with black.
- Begin by trying to fill in, pain/brush, and smooth out some of the shapes to see beyond the squiggles; you’re starting to build up your character.
I ended up with the above figures, since Tony told us to try and make 3-5 different figures to work with in the next step. I didn’t find the actual characters very good, since I’m not much of an artist, but I could still see the sum of the shapes beyond the lines, which I think is what Tony really wanted from us. I filled in some of the figures, but the right-most one is actually pre-filling, to see what it looked like beforehand.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any screenshots of the steps, but basically he showed us the tools to copy half of one of the silhouettes we made, and then paste/mirror it to create almost a Rorschach image. I ended up picking the right-most silhouette and began the cleaning up of it to add more details, changing lines, blurring some other parts.
This is the pumpkin man I could see beyond the lines and decided to run with, which I actually can’t much believe came from that silhouette:
We were then shown how to create a clipping mask layer, which is used when you just wish to draw over the layer it’s associated with. So, in this case, picking a lighter colour and drawing over some details on the clipping mask meant that I would only draw the lines on the pumpkin man.
As you can see, I decided to give him some clothing, a mouth, eyebrows, etc. He now has some personality of his own!
I really do think that this sort of drawing is better for me. While I can’t draw very well, you don’t have to in order to make something unique and still have something at the end. I did find creating a silhouette I could work with a little more difficult at first, since my initial instinct is to see something human rather than (for example) alien or animal. I believe, though, after doing it myself now, that it can be one of the best ways to come up with unique characters and designs for a game, even if it’s just to get the creative juices flowing. There were a lot of people who could draw who did much better in the end, but there were also people like me who couldn’t draw and still managed to come up with a final product.
I would like to try this exercise again with a tablet and see if I can improve my designs. Currently my tablet isn’t working, but I will try again before our next class, so I’ll have something more to write about soon.