painting expressive pirate portraits tutorial

Painting Expressive Pirate Portraits Tutorial
Painting Expressive Pirate Portraits Tutorial
Painting Expressive Pirate Portraits Tutorial
Painting Expressive Pirate Portraits Tutorial
Download Painting Expressive Pirate Portraits Tutorial

Post on 28-Mar-2015




5 download

Embed Size (px)


Painting expressive pirate portraits tutorial




November 2006

UNI10.tut_pirate 94

13/9/06 08:45:55

In depth Painting expressive portraits


PAINTING EXPRESSIVE PIRATE PORTRAITSSteve James shows you that you dont need to render every pixel in order to create an interesting and expressive portraitne night after completing a painting my wife stood over my shoulder looking at the screen. Her lips tightened and I could tell she wasnt that satisfied with the result. All of your girls look the same, she said and then she proceeded to list off every bad attribute of my from memory characters. I scanned through my previous images and yes, she was right over the past few years my colour and rendering had improved but Id fallen into a character rut. Id been using


Steve JamesCOUNTRY: US CLIENTS: SCEA, GlyphX Games, Vivendi, Saffire LLC, Universal Games, Majesco Entertainment Steve James has been working in the video game g industry since 1999 as a texture and concept artist. He received a BFA from Brigham Young University where he studied traditional painting techniques. He works primarily on the computer and is enjoying his journey to become a better painter.

the same solutions for every character, usually one of a few angles and predictable lighting. Too many times I think were led to paint the ideal the most perfect man or the most beautiful woman that we can possibly imagine. I set myself some personal goals to try to get more life and character into my portraits, which included returning to the use of photo reference. I was instructed in school on the importance of good reference but over the years thought I could do

without it and painted whatever came out of my head. I started to observe people more and what made each one of us look different. Its amazing to see how similar we are, yet subtle changes in features can give characters individuality and personality. My goal for this workshop is to create a pirate character you wouldnt typically see in your summer blockbuster film. I wanted a portrait that might lead the viewer to wonder about emotions, or even to tell a story all by itself.

DVD AssetsThe files you need are on the DVD FOLDERS: Painter files, full screenshots SOFTWARE: Painter IX.5 (Demo)

After I get an initial subject, I start my research. I try to find more about the topic both in images and text. If time allows its nice to read a little history about your subject. I try to find many images on the web that may spark ideas on costumes and personality. To get a realistic and unique portrait you need good photo reference. Digital cameras enable the freedom to try many different lighting conditions and poses, and one thing Ive found particularly effective is to use a cameras Burst mode. This takes a series of photos one after another and gives you a better chance of getting an expression that looks natural. Set up good lighting and, for best results, avoid using the flash. Have your model go through a series of expressions and continually take pictures, filling up that memory card. I would suggest avoiding toothy smiles they tend to look unnatural when painted and get the model to wear similar clothing to your character in the illustration; it doesnt need to be exact but it will help to establish lighting and wrinkle patterns.


Ideas and reference

I start by creating a quick sketch based on the photo reference. I get enough information to establish where major landmarks are, including the shadow core, and create a skin tone


Block in major forms

gradient to help block out the major values. I dont, however, get the colour from the photo reference because photo colour tends to be dull. The colour I use at this stage doesnt have to be perfect, because Im just trying to establish values.

November 2006


UNI10.tut_pirate 95

13/9/06 08:46:09

Workshopsscene and decide how much reflection the eye needs not every painting needs a bright highlight on the eye. For this painting the sun is overhead and the light reflected in the eye would not be very strong. I add more darks to define the corners of the nose and the shadow areas under it. Then, darken the corners of the mouth and add a little red to the lips to set them apart from the rest of the skin tone. I also darken the beard area to help give him a rough look.

5Tint and blendbrush Resize the & PC) trl+Alt (Mac brush. I C e

Block in the hair and background

At this point, I create an overlay to put the colour variation in the face. The forehead is usually yellower, the nose and eyes redder, and the chin is bluer on men. I set this layer to Overlay and drop the opacity low enough to where the character no longer looks like a clown. The Oil Palette Knife works well to blend the colours together. I try not to over- blend, to avoid losing the structure of the face. I use the fat stroke Airbrush to tint the cheeks and nose. Be careful not to overdo it or your character will end up looking drunk.


resize th Use this to constantly find myself e of the ging the siz chan on the ush based br t. effect I wan

To get a good idea how the values are going to work in the painting I block in the basic shape of the hair and the background. Again no details, just the major shapes with a couple of colours and values. I blend the background with the Oil Palette Knife and Palette Knife. The Palette Knife is good for larger areas and creates some hard edges while the Oil Palette gives a softer, more blended look.

I go back to the face and bring out the lighter values on the forehead, cheeks and nose.


Add light values

After blending, I like to paint the darker areas next, to help re-establish the form. I darken the eyes, nostrils, corners of the nose and mouth. I dont add detail at this point; just refine the major forms. The method I use from this stage onwards is layer based. I place a few stokes of paint on a layer and adjust the opacity until it looks right. When I like what I see, I drop that layer to the canvas. Once the layer has been dropped I blend it slightly to match the surrounding colours. I dont like to use a huge set of layers because I prefer to interact with just the canvas; Ive found this to be a good way to control colour and value.


Refine darks

At this point, refine the forms of the facial features. I define the dark areas where the eyelashes go and darken the iris and pupil. I use a neutral grey overlay to cool the colour of the eyes. The white part of the eye is usually a cooler version of the flesh tone. Be careful not to make it too white or bright. Analyse the light in your


Refine features

Roughly sketch out the major shapes in the clothing. Start with darker values and build up to lighter values. To make the vest a dusty navy colour, I just did a quick colour overlay and tinted it blue. I dont get carried away with the values; just a couple will do.


Block in clothing

I like to keep hair simple and dont render each strand. The most important thing to remember is that hair has volume just like the face. Establish the major dark


Add lights to hair

PRO SECRETSBrush lawPainter IX has so many different brushes and features you can feel like that its imperative to use all of them. Spend some time just playing with the tools and find ones you like. For a consistent look, pick the ones that live in similar families. I like to think about my brushes in three ways: to put colour down, to mix the colour and to add texture. You dont need many brushes to get good results.


November 2006

UNI10.tut_pirate 96

13/9/06 08:46:20

In depth Painting expressive portraits

areas and build up the light tones. I like to give hair texture with the Palette Knife. If you hold the stylus like a real palette knife and push in the direction of the hair it creates a nice hair texture. Hair will tend to become more saturated next to the highlighted area.

10 Use the Variable Splatter Airbrushto create the texture of the skin. I like to start with an overlay of red splatter at a very low opacity over the whole face to give the skin a blotchy look. Yellow and oranges can be added for more variation. Break up the highlight areas with white Splatter layer and break up the core edge with a dark colour layer. This effect can easily become overwhelming, so a few light passes over the Splatter layers with the eraser will keep them under control. Its better to do less of this effect but it works really well, giving depth to the skin. The same technique can be used for stains on the clothing. Just cluster the spray into clumps like a stain and use the eraser to soften the edges. I keep the stains in the brown and yellow colour range but adding other colours helps to add variation. Use either the multiply or overlay composite methods to create different effects.


11 Background clouds behind I wanted a few subtleortcut key to drop a laye r in Photos hop. Set the sam e hotkey up in Painter, as theres no default shor tcut.

scratches on the characters face, the earring, seams on the shirt, the hair and surface details on the belt. When I was happy with the character I added the rigging in the background. I didnt want to paint it in earlier because the linework could be too easily disturbed while creating the character.

Drop a laye Ctrl+E (Mac r & PC) This is the sh

the character, but didnt want too much detail because they would distract from the main feature. I just put the colour down with the Cover brush and blended it with the Oil Palette knife.

13 Photoshopa step back from Its time to takethe painting and look at it


View more >