Thursday, June 28, 2012

Going all digital and regretting it.

This workflow experiment took ages and I blame that primarily on the all digital process I was trying out. Once in a while I start an illustration and it ends up being the longest, most frustrating journey to an okay result. A lot of big sighs and the occasional mental breakdown aside I documented the process for future generations.

So this is the original idea. A little girl finds her monster-dad hard at work on bills when she get out of bed for a glass of water. I skipped my usual thumb nailing on paper to find a composition and tried to go all digital.
I've decided to add more of an angle to the BG and start figuring out the attitudes and poses of the characters. I initially wanted a sort of muppet like design for the monster. I've got a PS vanishing point grid on top of everything here

I'm looking for a way to suggest the girls bedroom with light or a reflection in a window in the living room. Trying out some fur painting, not happy with it though. I don't really want a realistic fur render. Up to now I've done everything in grayscale. The idea was to get my values right and then add color with the color blending mode.
Adding color that way didn't really work for me so I just used my grey scale as a guide and repainted things. I rescaled and redrew the background elements. I also redesigned the monster, going for a more cartoony render style and ditching the white of the eyes. The pose is still awkward
Trying to place the girl in the BG a little better. Obviously not working out here. Adding a teapot. Getting rid of my table clutter.
Different pose for the girl, messing around with the color palette for the kitchen.
Still looking for a pose for the girl, more changes to the color palette, correcting the monster pose. Teapot disappears. Added in the living room BG. 

Started rendering the monster and changing the design again. Looking for better shapes on the head. Changed the girl again, different pose, different colors, different design. Finally satisfied with that. I also closed of the composition by lowering the shadow on the left.
Here I'm adding detail and I'm trying to make the monster's haircut have some depth without losing it's straightforward shape. I also added some eyeballs.

changed the position of the hand with the letter and added additional letters and bills.
 And here's the final result again.

I've added a little bit of a rimlight on the monster. Took out some tangents. Subtle textures to my big flat areas of color some kitchen clutter on the countertop. I desaturated the living room background, getting those blues closer to my color scheme. During the whole process I flip the illustration continually to check for wonkiness.

As frustrating as the process was, I think it turned out alright and I've learned some lessons. Thumb nailing on paper saves me a lot time and designing and redesigning things take a lot longer in PS than they do on paper. PS is great to scale or rearrange compositional elements but in this case I was better off making a final drawing on paper. Perhaps a cintiq would enable me to be more efficient in a digital only workflow.
Here's an animated gif


Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

This whole process is a bit foreign to me, so I appreciate being able to see it. I do think the final result came out really positively--in spite of the long sighs and occasional breakdowns ;) Very interesting post!

jamie peeps said...

The end result looks great! I still prefer paper for sketching.

tek! said...

this came out very nice me thinks.
i love how you sculp the hands , even that lightswitch looks like something i want to touch.
sweet colors behind dad aswell.

Wouter Bruneel said...

Thanks everyone!

I guess I will put it in the portfolio :)

(I put a lot of time in those hands)

the comics expert said...

It looks stunning as always, but give the unhappy artist a rest will you? You're up there with the best of them, no fooling.

Rajesh said...

That was awesome and educational. What things are you considering when you decide to scale things down/move like the power outlet or the horizontal "bar" on the wall/archway?

I'm asking because when I color a illustration, I usually just stick fairly close to my finished drawing, but here it seemed reminiscent to a traditional painting process, the continuous refining of everything.

Wouter Bruneel said...

Most of the changes were done to fix tangents (wall paper bar),some spacing issue or to add some extra appeal. The continuous refinement is a result of not having a cleaned-up finished line drawing to begin with. In client work I will always start with a finished composition. There might be time to changes details, clothing or character design, but in general it's a lot more straightforward. There's no time in the workflow for endless revisions.

Koen De Koninck said...

sweeet stuff

Rajesh said...

Ah yes, of course. Cheers.