Saturday, October 26, 2013

In the Making

Don't mind my comment on my last blog post. I totally got confused about which week I'm writing what post and announced the wrong post for this week. But hey, my professor did the same thing in class so no judgments! This week, I get to talk about a topic of interest related to this course. My choice then, is to explain some of the process work for my album cover assignment and the reason why I did so. This post may be long but it will have pictures so bear with me.

I decided to do a CD cover for an Anime soundtrack because 1) I love Anime and 2) I love the music. I also wanted to digitally paint something because the last time I actually finished a digital painting, was over 5 years ago. It was terrible, and is thankfully lost in the void that is my old, dead laptop. I wanted to make something I know I'd enjoy doing, as well as brush up my skills at the same time. I will thank my brother for letting me use his tablet until I get my new one soon enough. Really, it saved my life.

My first design was going to be for the Anime "Ano Hana" and have the main focal point being "Menma". Below will be my rough drawing.

Here, I did two things that totally flew over my head and that I totally forgot about. The biggest one was drawing it on the CD cover file itself. That being, as a layer on top of the background. The other issue was the drawing was WAY too small. When I do lineart, or drawings in general, I usually do them on a very large canvas (above 2000 2000, more or less) with the dpi set to 300. Having it just set to fit the album cover resolution itself made the actual image, although 100dpi, very small.

The issue here is that brushes only go so small and because of this image size, I have to not only be extremely careful, but the actual brushes and strokes will be larger, more visible, and just basically look bad.

I would also have a difficult time painting the parts of the image where it is cut off. By being cut off, it loses the actual shape itself, so I would have a hard time figuring out the proper shading. I also didn't like this idea very much because it was rather boring. Sure, she's cute, but many anime characters are. I left this as practice and moved on to a new piece.

My next piece decided to be for an anime I loved much more than the above, called "Mirai Nikki", Future Diary. I have a love-hate relationship with the main character, she is so annoying yet I love how insane she is, so I decided to draw her. Her name is "Gasai Yuno". I'll try not to explain TOO much of process to save it for the class as well as your sanity.

I first made the background on my actual CD cover with a part of the Anime in mind. When a character's "diary", which is often their phone, predicts they will die, it says "DEAD END". I found a small clip from that anime showing the phone screen.

By comparing text to the picture, I found the font to be "Gautami". To be faithful to the show, I used that font. I wanted to repeat the background over and over and make it similar to the phone screen by adding scan lines. I made them by creating a custom pattern.

I changed the font's angle to make it diagonal because diagonal lines are more appealing to the eye and viewer than horizontal lines. Afterwards, the background was too boring so I darkened it with a gradient to suit thered and black theme that the opening of the Anime has. I changed one of the "Dead Ends" to white to make it stand out and be less confusing. Lastly, I added a bit of a Gaussian Blur to make the words not as crisp and distracting, and to add a small bit of depth for when I add my focal point. I won't continue further on this subject.

Next on the agenda is my main attraction, the character herself. I made her separate of the CD cover so I could paint on a larger image, add more detail, and be able to scale it down and play with its positioning on my seperate album cover file. At first I was fooling around with ideas in my sketchbook and scanning them, but the positions were boring, they looked terrible, and all around weren't good. I soon found a nice reference picture online to draw from because drawing from life, even if it's just an image, is better than drawing from your mind. Unfortunately it wasn't nude so I had difficulties with some parts. Here's the reference:

I made my canvas this time with much better settings and a higher resolution and size so it will be a lot easier to make and look a LOT better. I still used 100dpi. I didn't want to make the image too big because I'd have a hard time re-sizing it on my separate CD cover file.

I don't have my full rough drawing because I was erasing it a bit as I went along but I have a small cropped version along with my first base coat of skin (that I erased soon after).

I like to use colours for different part of the rough lines so I know which layer is which and can have an easier time erasing areas. As you can see, I decided to do the eyes because eyes are fun and doing line art is the most tedious thing ever. Unfortunately, to continue, I had to do so. I used the pen tool for the line art so my lines were a lot more smooth, consistent, and it took less time. It made things a lot more easier.

The following image is both my line art, and a dark green background. I use a dark green background for when I'm colouring light colours so I can see any imperfections by the lines and overall reduce eyestrain.

I also used a copy of the CD cover's background to see how the colours look compared to it as well. Even so, I still turn off the background once in a while, use ctrl+shift+alt+e to make a copy of the flattened image on a new layer without actually flattening it, then I paste and re-size it on the CD cover. I noticed the colours were off and didn't fit the background, so I played with the curves under Image>Adjustments>Curves.

Once again, I won't continue further as to save some explanation for class but this is my process, at least in the beginning. I'm a lot further than this, thankfully, but I still wanted to explain. Until next time, when I do actually explain CRAP, I shall keep working on this and try to focus on my other classes as wellMaybe.
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