A place to explore the method to my madness.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Digital Methods Final

In my Digital Methods class, our final assignment of he semester is to create a digital conceptual portrait of someone using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. A couple posts ago I mentioned that I had recently been working on digital portrait painting. You can see what I've been working on for that here. While a lot of those portraits were based solely on photo reference found on the internet, this time my challenge is to create a portrait of the person I choose that is unique and has never been seen before. And while I can use my previous digital painting experiences to my advantage, I would like to push myself to try new digital painting methods to get a different effect.

So for this project, I chose to use Amy Lee again. I'm interested to see what new things I can create for her portrait considering my last one was pretty straight forward. This time I want to create something that is a spinoff of official Evanescence photos. The band's most recent release was their self-titled album in 2011. Before that, their last album was released when I was in 6th grade in 2006, so imagine my excitement when they announced my (at the time) favorite band's comeback. Anyway, their newest album has a different style of artwork to it, and I'm looking to use that style as a basis for my project. Below are some examples:

I really like the concept of the wild hair and being underwater. It also reminds me of their video for "Going Under", a song off their 2003 album "Fallen". So after lots of thumbnailing and sketching and discussions with my instructor, I have finally come up with a concept and a final layout that I think will work for this assignment.


I will be having Amy Lee underwater, like in the video and the Oceans photo, singing in a way that makes her look like an underwater, ethereal, banshee. Here are some photos that I have been looking at to help me with facial references:

Step 1: Final Layout

After about 10 changes to my final layout, and multiple changes to composition, this is the basic sketch layout I will be working off of:

Step 2: Value Study

After coming up with a line art layout, the next step is to create a value study. Like the line art, this can be done either traditionally or digitally. I chose to go the digital route. Here are some screenshots and photos of what I was working on yesterday:

Using the line art as a base and placing my reference photo on a different layer on the side, I started adding in basic value on a third and fourth layer. The body is on one layer and for ease of shading the face is on a fourth. Overall, I am probably going a little more in-depth with the shading than is required at this point, but hopefully it will serve me better later.

At this point, I still have things to change and add, but the general concept is starting to show.

When someone screams underwater, the air escaping their lungs makes intense bubbles. While my bubbles are by no means complete or full enough to get the exact effect, I am currently just roughing in their general placement since I will have to go back and do more rendering later. The same can be said for the clawed hand in the front. Here you can see the general process of how I do my digital paintings; I rough in color, starting very general, and then get more specific as I go. In the screenshot, I am still in the process of roughing in the shading and the placement and sizing are still changing.

In Class Critique

Feedback on the image in the screenshot posted above:
- Need to add in some big bubbles (but we already knew this)
- Define the arm wrapped around her body because it looks a little deflated
- Reposition the clawed hand and arm (again, this was already on the "to do" list)
- Highlights in the face; lots of nice soft blending but it's time for some harder edges
- Reflected light that water does is present in the chin but maybe bring some around by the jaw/neck
- Define the neck under the chin/jaw line by adding in some darker values
- The one hair strand is forming a tangent with her jaw that makes it look like a genie beard

Refining the Value Study

Step 3: Color

I really don't like how this colored version came out, so I will probably be reworking it.
Keep an eye out for updates!

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