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Ramah
11-01-2010, 08:36 AM
Hey there,

Thought I'd post this image that I worked on over the last few days. I needed a break from mapping so I thought I'd try my hand at doing a portrait which I've never tried digitally before.

It's of Zhang Ziyi from the film "Hero" and I have to admit I had a tough time with the skin tones.

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Crayons
11-01-2010, 08:41 AM
Marvellous! It doesn't look digital to me, which I guess is the whole point!
I wish I could draw faces... and hands... and... well... anything really. Sob.

tilt
11-01-2010, 08:57 AM
looks fantastic ramah, love the hair ... and I'm with Crayons in wishing I could draw like that :)

ravells
11-01-2010, 09:00 AM
Oh my word, that's absolutely gorgeous! Could you tell us a little about the workflow you used?

Steel General
11-01-2010, 09:00 AM
Very nice!!!

Ramah
11-01-2010, 09:12 AM
Oh my word, that's absolutely gorgeous! Could you tell us a little about the workflow you used?

Sure, Ravs. This afternoon when I've got my boy off to nursery I'll post a few images showing some of the layers etc. Although as I say, this is my first image of this type and I'm certainly no expert so I imagine much of my workflow could be improved no end.

tilt
11-01-2010, 09:14 AM
still I agree, seeing what you've done might give us a hint of where to start when we make our stick-figures *lol*

Redrobes
11-01-2010, 09:53 AM
Yup... this would be the reason I get trounced in the compos... thats sooo good.

torstan
11-01-2010, 10:26 AM
Beautiful work - love the detail in the secondary lighting. And the hair is great!

Clercon
11-01-2010, 11:03 AM
Great picture! Really amazing!

Ramah
11-01-2010, 11:20 AM
Thanks all.

Ok, here is a little run through of the image as per Ravell's request.

First off I'll just show the image with various sets of layers turned off so you can see how they interact with each other. After I'll do some kind of filmstrip image with each of the skin layers being turned on as that is the area where I had the most trouble and it has about 15 or so layers in it. :s Hopefully someone can get something out of it.

Ok.. so here is the image with just the base layers turned on - background, rough costume and base skin colour. The background is how it appears in the finished image as it was done on one layer. I had roughed it in with a giant brush, expecting to try and do something with it at the end. When it came to it I just couldn't be bothered though so I added a layer mask, filled it with rendered clouds and then added some blobs of white to the actual layer it to make it look like there were some out of focus reflections in the distance somewhere.

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Next image has the eyes turned on. The eyes have about 4 layers in total. I actually shot myself in the foot a little here as when I draw a face I always start with the eyes, which is fine, but then when I worked up the skin I actually worked over the eyes to adjust them slightly and so had to keep the eyes below the skin set which is counter-intuitive. Next time that will be something I change.

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Next up is the skin. As I say, this was very akward for me and a large part of that awkwardness stems from me doing most of the painting with a round brush. I am very lazy when it comes to changing brushes in PS. If I can get away with doing it with a round brush then I will. It wasn't until I'd been working on the skin for a while that I tried switching to one of the other media brushes that I found out how much easier it was to blend the colours. So, my top tip would be not to try and do everything with a round brush. :)
Another problem I had was getting some of the tones, the warmer pinks and yellows, and getting them to blend nicely. In the end, I found that a layer switched to Hard Light and overlaid over the others provided a very cool and easy way of getting those pinks.

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Next I added the lips. Well, actually I did them after the eyes and before the skin but once I had decided to move things around and do the details in a more intutive manner I was able to transplant them above the skin and work on them.

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And then the hair. In the end I ended up with about 4 layers for the hair (and 2 for the eyebrows). I added a lot more lighter hair than there was in the reference photo for variation. The bit I had the most trouble with was the top of the forehead and the hairline. It was akward to get a balance between too many and too few hairs there.

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tilt
11-01-2010, 11:24 AM
thanks for the walktrhough :)
what resolution are you working in? how big is the picture? :)

Ramah
11-01-2010, 11:29 AM
Here is the image with a layer of black positioned in front of the base layers but behind everything else so you can see how the skin is built up a little more. It also reveals how most of it was built up with a round brush. :S DEFINITELY something to change there.

I also turned on the finished costume set for this so you can see how quick and basic it is. That is something else that got simplified due to running out of steam at the end of the painting. Had I done the costume at the start it would have been a lot more detailed probably. Not necessarily better though I guess, rough and ready looks decent enough to me.

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Ramah
11-01-2010, 11:33 AM
thanks for the walktrhough :)
what resolution are you working in? how big is the picture? :)

Finished image size is what you see here: 1024 x 768 and I did it at 72 ppi.

ravells
11-01-2010, 11:36 AM
Thanks a million Ramah! I'm going to try and give this a shot!

tilt
11-01-2010, 11:37 AM
cool... and yes, the round brush is prominent here... I never really painted digitally, but on canvas I've always used flat brushes - I believe however if I had started painted digitally (which I still plan to do one day) I'd probably just used a round brush too - so thanks for the warning :)

Ramah
11-01-2010, 11:44 AM
No problem.

I also forgot to mention that I finished the image off with a warming photo filter, which is why the sky is bluer on those layered images above etc.

Djekspek
11-01-2010, 11:57 AM
You are so talented dude! This is amazing! and thanks for the explanations! cheers!

Jaxilon
11-02-2010, 02:41 PM
Ramah, that looks great! Thanks so much for the workflow as well. Even though you are working that part out yourself it's helpful to see how one could go about taking on something like this in the digital world. Amazing painting man.

Ramah
11-02-2010, 05:14 PM
Cheers Jax.

Well I'm really finding the desire to paint pictures at the moment, something I've not really had for the last fifteen years or so when I used to do the occasional watercolour.
So while I'm in the mood I thought I'd start a new one, work on it as and when I find the time and document it here a little more, like a WIP thread.

I've never been good at creating stuff out of my own imagination (like Sapiento is with his alien creatures), so I thought I'd have a go at redressing that and doing that old fantasy staple, the dragon.

So here is my first image in that attempt. It is a very roughly coloured sketch that took me about half an hour to do in total. This was more an attempt to get a decent shape and pose than it was doing scenery or completely accurate lighting. I plan on building on this image now, refining the dragon somewhat and working on a more interesting setting.

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tilt
11-02-2010, 06:43 PM
looks great... I've had a little urge to paint again lately, especially since I got my tablet - just haven't gotten around to it. But I gotta practice A LOT to get near that :)

Rythal
11-02-2010, 08:36 PM
looks amazing... I wish I knew how to produce that kind of work with my tablet in Photopaint....

you might have already been here, but be sure to check out the conceptart.com forums (http://www.conceptart.org/forums/)... there is some amazing talent there as well, and hordes of critics just salivating to critique your work to a molecular level.

Redrobes
11-03-2010, 09:21 AM
Yeah, and dont forge't their gallery - really awesome stuff over there.

Ramah
06-23-2011, 04:37 PM
Hey there.

Recently I've been having a growing desire to paint an actual picture. I tried getting back to my dragon WIP but after changing the look of the dragon entirely I decided the pose was just too static and got a little down on that. So I had an idea for a realistic type painting of a character from an anime film. Unfortunately I had a lot of trouble finding an image with a pose that would suffice so for now that idea, like the dragon, has been put on hold.
However, whilst searching for reference photos I did find a photo I was really attracted to with the model having bright copper hair and some lovely warm lighting.

So here is my version so far...

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Unfortunately I've run out of time for tonight but I hope to get this done in the next day or two.

Ascension
06-23-2011, 05:03 PM
Looks good, man. It looks like she's standing on a beach just staring out at the waves.

ravells
06-23-2011, 05:40 PM
Gosh, you are so utterly talented!

arsheesh
06-23-2011, 06:28 PM
I really like the interplay of the warm tones with the white garb and backdrop. Also, fabulous rendering job as well. I haven't touched my paintings since I injured my right hand all those months ago, but you're inspiring me to want to get back to them. Great job!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Steel General
06-25-2011, 09:11 AM
Very nice!

Ramah
06-25-2011, 04:32 PM
Thanks a lot guys. I do enjoy mapping but occasionally it's just nice to kick back and do something not quite as repetitive. :)

So, this ain't done yet but I've changed enough to warrant an update I guess. Originally it was just going to be a standard portrait but I wanted to go a bit further and stick with the fantasy elements I had originally kept out of it. I decided to completely redo the body so I needed another reference image. I found a good one of Keira Knightley from King Arthur (which the original stock photo from DA must have been based on) but I had to change her stance a little to make it fit.

Anyway, here is where I am now...

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Most of the clothing/equipment has been left as a flat base colour for now. And those bits of body that have had some work done still needs plenty of refinement so nothing is really done yet. The Keira image was a completely different lighting/palette so I'm having a tough time adapting it to my warm colour scheme but I am quite hopeful.

Juggernaut1981
06-30-2011, 01:06 AM
Nice... if you ever want some descriptive text, I know I've got some stuff that I could never draw (because I'm terrible at non-technical drawing in general) but I would love to see what an artist could make of them.

Ramah
06-30-2011, 06:54 AM
Hmm, that sounds intriguing Juggernaut. Just last night I was bemoaning the fact that I cannot seem to find inspiration on what to paint and actually had the wish that someone would just tell me so I could get past the semi-crippling decision making. Hehe.
I'd say post away but it would very much depend on what you had in mind - you will notice the dragon that I posted a page or so ago is pretty crap and although I've worked on it a little since then my inability to get down on "paper" what I see in my mind is preventing me from enjoying it.

Juggernaut1981
06-30-2011, 09:30 AM
Not a problem Ramah. You have exceptional artistic skill compared with my somewhat average ability to draw things more complex than physics experiments.

Ramah
07-01-2011, 03:38 PM
Hey there.

Finished version...

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You can see a larger version on my DA page here: http://ramah-palmer.deviantart.com/

arsheesh
07-01-2011, 04:36 PM
That is some mighty fine work Ramah! Some of the best light and shadow work I've seen in some time. My hat is off to you sir (repped!).

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Ascension
07-01-2011, 04:56 PM
That leather bodice feels real dude. I used to do leatherwork as a hobby as a child for my horse's saddle and that's some mighty fine looking stuff.

Ramah
07-02-2011, 07:12 AM
Cheers guys. :)

Ascension, that leather harness was a killer for me. I'm still not totally satisfied with it as I don't think I got past it looking more like a cartoon than a painting and for a while it really sucked the fun out of doing the picture. Ah well, overall I really enjoyed doing this piece and its certainly got me itching to do another.

Steel General
07-02-2011, 09:05 AM
Bee-yoo-tee-full!

Ramah
07-03-2011, 08:07 PM
A new image. This is my take on Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Man, I fairly rattled this one off compared to my usual speed. :S

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jfrazierjr
07-03-2011, 08:53 PM
Not quite as realistic as your previous two, but much more in the "noir" style.....wish I could half of it 1/5th as well.

Ascension
07-03-2011, 08:58 PM
I loves me some dark n moody. Good stuff.

tilt
07-06-2011, 09:25 AM
wow to both the archer and Lust ... really beautiful both of them. :)

Ramah
07-06-2011, 09:37 AM
Thanks guys.

Smokey Joe Junior... yeah it is based on an anime character so I didn't want to go too realistic with it. I wanted to simplify the shading somewhat to keep it in the spirit of the original. That being said, I uploaded a newer version to my DA page with more shading and fixes some of the problems with that image and adds a more dramatic lighting/palette to it.

jfrazierjr
07-06-2011, 09:58 AM
Thanks guys.

Smokey Joe Junior... yeah it is based on an anime character so I didn't want to go too realistic with it. I wanted to simplify the shading somewhat to keep it in the spirit of the original. That being said, I uploaded a newer version to my DA page with more shading and fixes some of the problems with that image and adds a more dramatic lighting/palette to it.

Cool.. going to check it out... I don't mind the original, it's quite great(much better than I could do), it's that flash of red that really gives the "pop" and noir feel to it.... great job! Oh.. BTW, you NAILED the archer's red hair perfectly... again, great job....

Ramah
07-10-2011, 04:34 PM
Ok, this should be the last one for a while as I need to get back and work on some maps. Zzz.... I'm having too much fun with the painting atm.

Anyhoo... Arwen...

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jfrazierjr
07-10-2011, 05:19 PM
That is just superb!!!!! Back to mapping... perhaps some more ISO mapping elements? Ruins, more towns, etc....(just saying...;))

arsheesh
07-10-2011, 06:07 PM
The detail work and color blending on Liv Tyler's face are fantastic! In fact, the overall color scheme of the piece (especially the golden quality of the light) is quite attractive. I noticed though that it seems as if only Liv's face seems to be in clear focus. Perhaps this is intentional, a compositional choice to help focus the eye on salient features of the foreground. However I think adding a bit more clear detail work to Liv's ornate collar and her hair (particularly those strands of hair closest to her face) would still be nice. My 2c.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

ravells
07-10-2011, 09:15 PM
Holy moley!!!! That's just fantastic!

P.S. I remember that when you joined the guild you said you were a writer. So while you've been here, you've produced some of the best maps the Guild can boast, and then you wrote an incredibly useful software application for us, now you're producing works of art that are stunning.

...I really want to read one of your books!!!!

Ramah
07-11-2011, 07:01 AM
Thanks a lot guys. :)

Arsheesh: You make a good point. The intention was to make her face the most detailed part of the image and thus help draw focus. I was, however, slightly dissatisfied with how she was integrated into the image. She stood out a little too much to actually seem like she is there. I lowered the opacity on her by ten percent which helped, bringing some of the texture of the paper through. I shadowed her left side more which again helped a little. And that brought me to the image you've seen. But your comment has just brought me to the answer: she IS too sharp compared to everything else. So I just selected her face and gblurred it 0.6 px... looks much better now to me. So thanks a lot for that. :)

Ravs: That must be the best compliment anyone has ever given me. :) Unfortunately with the writing I seem to have tidal changes of enthusiasm. It's been a long, long time since I wrote anything. Hopefully one day soon I'll have a corking idea, need to get it down and that will spark my imagination in that direction for a while.

tilt
07-11-2011, 12:10 PM
I'm with Ravi - your work here is fantastic, so if you ever get to write that book brewing inside you, I wanna read it ;)

Aenigma
07-11-2011, 05:54 PM
Great work, Ramah!

Juggernaut1981
07-11-2011, 10:25 PM
Ok, this should be the last one for a while as I need to get back and work on some maps. Zzz.... I'm having too much fun with the painting atm.

Anyhoo... Arwen...

See now you're making me choose between mapping and Liv Tyler... *pouts with incredibly difficult decisions*

Ramah
08-10-2011, 02:13 PM
I posted this a while ago on my DA page but I spent a little time this afternoon adjusting it, hoping to make it a little more focused. I heavily blurred the boy and washed the background out a lot to hopefully bring the girl out a bit more. I also chopped a lot of the bottom off... as in the picture... not HER bottom... although her bottom has been chopped off too... oh, you know what I mean. :)

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tilt
08-10-2011, 03:07 PM
thats damn nice :)

Ascension
08-10-2011, 08:22 PM
I think the blurring worked great. One thing that just caught my eye...the level of soakage on her shirt doesn't match the level of soakage on her hair. Either the hair needs to be plastered down to her head or the shirt needs to be drier.

tilt
08-11-2011, 05:09 AM
Either the hair needs to be plastered down to her head or the shirt needs to be drier.

the hair - go for the hair ;)