Thursday, September 13, 2012

Helen of Troy, part 2

I don't think I thought enough about how much work the battle scene was going to be when I was laying this piece out, but you gotta do what you gotta do. You can't chicken out of doing the right thing just because it's hard, right?

So here's the first bit of progress on said battle scene.

First thing you'll notice is that I've finished up Achilles's shield. I happen to have a letter opener that's Achilles's sword and shield, so I took pictures of it to use for the background bit. That was handy. Once I started working on the actual battle scene, which features Achilles's shield, I started to notice subtle differences between the full sized version used in the movie and my miniature. I'm not about to go back and make changes at this point though; those differences are pretty hard to notice unless you're up in its face and obsessing over details like I am when working on it.

When I'm drawing something I have to decide, as I go, how much I want to do with my "pencil" brushes and what I want to leave for other "texture" brushes. In some cases I get carried away and do the textures as I go, like on Achilles's helmet and vest. For most things, though, I usually wait and do the textures once the "drawing" part of it is done. Achilles's shield looks awkward here because of this. Most of it is blank because I'll be coming back to it later.

This is another screen shot showing the image zoomed in to 100%. I think I mentioned this before: I usually work at 100%. I'll work at 50% sometimes, but nothing else really. Well, not entirely true. Every once in a blue moon I'll zoom in to 200 or 300 percent, but that's rare. I'm already crazy for working at 100%. It's just that the line quality suffers when you work zoomed out too far and my anal attentive nature won't let me do it. Hopefully you don't have this problem.  :-)

I feel like there should be some kind of time lapse here because there were a LOT of hours between the previous image and the next one. For some reason I didn't save any process jpegs between that and this. Oh well. My master file was getting pretty big and unruly as I progressed on this part so I cropped my image, got rid of as many layers as I could, and saved the file as a different photoshop document. I save all the time, so when a file gets big and I have to wait while it saves the time lost adds up. Breaking off bits of an image to work on makes things flow much more easily. I'll combine all the bits and pieces later, once all the line work is done.

So, yeah. After a LOT of work - did I stress the LOT bit enough? I doubt it - a LOT of work, the battle scene is done. Holy Moses I mush have some screws loose in my head. 

As it stands the two major figures don't stand out as much as they should, but that's where color will become king. If I were only going to have this as a black and white piece I would have done some things differently, like having more blacks surrounding the main figures to help the pop, but since this is for color it's fine the way it is. It's good to know where you're going with a piece - to have a vision - because it helps you make the best decisions along the way. 

Of course things never turn out exactly as you imagine, so even with the best pre-planning you end up having to make adjustments. That's part of what makes the journey of creating artwork so much fun.

You'll notice a lot of "splatter" here. There will be a lot in the final image, not limited to the battle scene, but it's always kept on its own layer so I can manage it as needed. Sometimes you have to get rid of it in faces because it can become too distracting. Hector's sword is a perfect example of a place where I cleaned it up. There's no splatter there at all. I want that sword to really pop. It's surrounded by textures and grey tones, so having it perfectly clean makes for a nice contrast. Once it gets blood on it, it should REALLY pop.

Anyway, the splatter draws a lot of attention to itself right now but, by the time it's done, it should blend in and just exist as a part of the overall texture. To end this segment of progress, here's another shot zoomed in to 100%. You can really ge a sense for some of the textures and the detail, or lack of details, in the background figures. 

Now to finish up the remaining portraits and move on to color. Hope you're enjoying the sharing of process as much as I'm enjoying creating the piece! Cheers.

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