Creating Heroes from Scratch - Part 1 by Jakkar -

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Creating Heroes from Scratch - Part 1 by Jakkar

By Adam Thur     November 30, 2002

A Tutorial ByJakkar

So you want to draw a real nice super-hero, but you don't have any good base models to use?you know what you want it to look like, but you don't know where you can get a picture of someonein the right pose without tons of Frankenstiening. Well If you were Alex Ross, you'd just sit back andpaint a work of art within moments. Unfortunately, neither you nor I are Alex Ross, so here's a way toget by without a base model. (I'm using Adobe Photoshop V 6.0)

Click All Thumbnails for larger images

First, you need to have a good idea of what kind of pose you want. Is the person flying, fighting, or just standing there? first, select your image size, and then make a layer with a simple color (I used white) Make another layer and select the line tool and black color for the lines. start making a very basic stick figure, just so you know where the head is,where the arms are positioned, etc. This really shouldn't take more than an few seconds. It's OK if you slipup here or there. Just try to get the basic layout that you want.

Now take the basic stick figure and add to it. Draw simple lines showing where arm muscles neck, and other body partswould be, and giving you the idea of ordering (is the one leg behind the other? etc) this is a good place to makesure that your figure is proportionate. If not, you can erase the section that is out of scale and redraw it. By now, you have a pretty good ideaof the look of your figure. You can also add smaller details like stomach muscles, and where clothing will go. Also you can layoutthe face here too (where the mouth, ears, nose, etc goes) NOTICE: This takes awhile to get good at, so keep practicing.

Now we use one of our most powerful tools around, the polygon lasso select tool.. First create a new layer above the stick figure. Then with this tool you trace a smoother outline of you stick figure. One section at a timeone layer per section. I started with the chest. using the lasso tool I traced the basic outline of his chest and made it a bit rounder. Then using paint bucket I fill the selected area with a fleshy color. Note: make sure you name your layers. This way you won't have to figure out what "Layer #42" is.It's much easier to figure out what "layer L_Arm" is..

Now that we have a basic chest shape out on one layer we can give it some details. One of the main reasons why Iuse a different layer for each section is that you can easly select ONLY that section with a click on the layer while holding the CTRL button.This saves you lots of time goofing around trying to re-select a section.(works in Adobe Photoshop). Now for giving detail, I use the BURN/DODGEtool. This way I give the torso some shading, and definition. While doing this always to to keep track of what type of lighting you will have. I have chosen to have my light source on the left side. (if you want, you can make another layer with a colored circle to keep track of where the light will be from.

I'll admit that I've skipped a few steps here. But it's mainly a repetition of that last step. Make a new layer, lasso a section of the stick figure, fill it inwith a flesh color, then detail it with the BURN/DODGE tool. But to mention briefly, to make your sections more rounded, you can use the erase tool and remove thesharp edges of your sections. and if your outside edges look too jagged, try the SMUDGE tool at a low setting (10%) and trace the outside of the section. This works pretty wellfor me. Now we have a nice blank model. ready for a face, and some clothes.

Now for the face. If you are up to it you can do it from scratch using the lines on your stick figure's head as a guideline. Or you can take somebody's head and plop it on.I did a mixture of the two. The original picture is of some guy. It was a thumbnail and had no quality to it. But this will give me good lighting, and I used some smudging and repainting to make his face line up with my guidelines. (Trust me, when we're done, it won't look anything like what he originally did!) Now it's time to get this guy clothed up!

Until now I've had no idea which superhero this was gonna be, But when I added that curl to the hair, it hit me. SUPERMAN!Well I guess we'll have to get him his uniform. Create a new layer on top of all the other layers. Now to make sure it fits, select eachlayer section while holding CTRL + SHIFT this will select each section's area. Now click on the new layer, make sure your selection isstill there, and use the paint bucket to fill in the area. To open areas of the costume up (like the ends of the sleaves) you can either erase the section to reveal the model parts underneath. From here I'll remove the material from the neck up and from the wrists down.

OK we now have the basic longjohns look for Superman, now we can add some details to his outfit. Like with the other parts of the model, I used the DODGE/BURN toolto highlight and shade areas of the costume to give it depth. you can make the layer semi-transparent to see where the shading is on your model, and use that to matchon your costume. once your done, remove the layer's transparency. You then get and nicely shaded costume. Now I've added a belt and some undies for oldsupes. This was done by using the lasso tool on a new layer, and sectioning off an area and once again, using the paint bucket, DODGE/ BURN tools, I get the belt and other clothes.

Click here to continue on to Part II...


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