Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Gig: Step, by Step, by Step.

This isn't something I do very often, but I knew this was going to be a fun gig from the beginning, so I decided to save my steps as I went so I could show the process. Hope you enjoy!

The first step, after discussing the job with the client was to provide a rough sketch of what I wanted to do. He had the characters already in a very specific style and wanted something that felt epic. I was asked to design a poster image that could work with either a horizontal or vertical layout. Right off the bat, I knew it would be easier to plan for a wide image and crop it down for the vertical layout than vice versa. I didn't know a lot about the characters yet at this point and hadn't seen much reference material, so I took a stab in the dark. This was my first sketch to be submitted:

After discussing with the client, his initial response was great, but he ended up having some changes to reign the image in closer to the source material, which I still hadn't seen. So, at his request, I made some minor changes and submitted an updated sketch.

While I was making the revisions, the client had been thinking more about what he wanted to see in the poster specifically. At this point, I was given much more reference material as well as a general idea of what he wanted to see. He wanted a city in the distance with a robot destroying it, and the characters on a circular hovercraft. This is also when I found out the scene did not take place on earth, but rather on something similar to a Stanford torus. I was provided some reference material for this and looked for some of my own online as well. Then I submitted my third and final rough sketch.

The client liked the sketch, but thought there was a little too much curve to the ground, so I was allowed to proceeed, but keeping that in mind for my final image. This is when I started into the actual art that would be seen in the finished product. First came the background/environment. The portion nearest to the "camera" was painted in Painter Essentials 3, then saved as a PSD to be opened in Photoshop CS3. After this, I looked online for a non-specific Sketchup model of a city to use as a starting point. Turns out, there were plenty to choose from. I picked one without much detail to keep it from fighting the style I was using for the piece. Then, in Sketchup, I made some minor changes like removing buildings here and there and moving a few to suit what I was looking for more closely. Then, I exported a 2d image to Photoshop and did some distorting to fit the cartoony curve of the image and masked it into my scene. After that, I painted in some clouds from a set of stock photos I took a while back and hinted at the Stanford torus in the sky to make it look a little less like earth.

Next, I finally got to start on the characters and the hovercraft. The hovercraft was created totally level to my canvas, then distorted to achieve the funky perspective seen here. Also, the characters faces were all but traced from the style guides provided to me by the client. No one *likes* tracing, but they had what I needed already and I wanted to make sure the likenesses were spot on. This is also when I added the robot to the background. This might have been the most fun part of the entire job because of the mandatory mechanical and laser sounds you're required to make while drawing.

At this point, the image was just about done. All that was left for me to do was polish it off. Here, I added the spiraling trail behind the hovercraft, the leaves being blown off the tree in the foreground, and some last minute color adjustments to unify my color scheme that up to this point had been pretty generic. Following that, I signed my name and sent it off to the client for approval.

Well...that's that! I hope this was helpful to you in some way or at the very least, insightful.


Lisa said...

Very cool. I liked seeing it step by step.

Andrew Cramer said...

This looks great mate!!

John Rauch said...

Thanks guys!