View Full Version : Making Samurai... tokens

08-13-2009, 07:55 PM
GP was nice enough to let me post my process for making overhead character tokens. In this case I am making a set of tokens based on 4 poses. However with a bit of work I can take these four and create several variations.

My process is pretty straightforward and uses Illustrator and Photoshop and a healthy amount of pen and ink work. I've used Poser as a base reference for the poses.

Step 1.
Visualize what you want the tokens to look like or represent.
Using poser create a body shape that looks right from the overhead camera.

Step 2.
Get some reference. In this case GP provided some great links, plus I'm watching The Last Samurai and the Seven Samurai over and over.

More soon.

08-13-2009, 08:01 PM
Step 3.
After getting the sketches and reference together I draw the lower legs, torsos and heads separately.

I draw the parts on tracing vellum, over my reference or rough sketches.
I then scan in the pieces and in PS clean up the work. Adjust the levels to get a nice contrasty image, then I select the white and delete it making the background transparent. Using a large red layer stroke I find all the crap that is partially a result of having a dusty scanner. Selecting the background again and then increasing the selection by 1 pxl usually removes most of the crap.

08-13-2009, 08:04 PM
Step 4.
I've put the bodies away for a bit, since the next step there is to head to illustrator. I've taken my head template and made a nice b/w version of it.
Then duplicating it 8 times make a template to create my samuarai heads.

Truly top down tokens would rarely show the face, so here I have taken a bit of an angle so that facial features can be seen so that the tokens have a unique look to them.

Steel General
08-14-2009, 07:07 AM
Cool stuff Devin!

I could never draw/sketch people worth a darn.

08-14-2009, 06:38 PM
I'll post more as I work on it. I have very little time right now but will see this thread through the completed color tokens and some variants.

08-14-2009, 07:52 PM
Awesome - always did want to see how you did it. Repped naturally...

09-02-2009, 12:24 PM
It's been a while but I need to get these Samurai done in the next week or so.
So using the templates I have made clothing for them, and using the head template sketched up a few kabuto (helmets).
With the kabuto I have several pieces that will overlap with the head. These are traced from my sketches in Illustrator. Most of my stuff is live traced, but with things that require a lot of symmetry I will trace them with the pen tool from half the object and then reflect it.
I will be doing weapons today and will post those later.

09-03-2009, 12:01 AM
Here are the weapon images.
I almost have all the parts ready.
It's taken 18 8.5x11 sheets of sketches and tracings to get this far.
I will start posting some images with color soon.

09-03-2009, 12:06 AM
Good stuff DN. I always like to see character studies.

09-03-2009, 02:56 AM
Great looking tokens so far and I like the methodology. Thanks, DK!


09-05-2009, 05:27 PM
Ok, so all the pieces are done then live traced.
Now I assemble them in Illustrator with the various parts on separate layers.
I'll be starting the color work today.

09-05-2009, 07:41 PM
Wow stunning. Thanks for sharing the methodology. The final colour images look like they are going to be real crackers!

09-07-2009, 11:31 PM
Here is the result of todays work.
These tokens are a bit trickier since they will have 15 colored variants.
To make the last part easier I spent some time making selections of the armored parts.

09-07-2009, 11:43 PM
I'm beginning to understand how much work this is...most excellent job.

Steel General
09-08-2009, 01:37 PM
Very nice Devin!

The first image (without the heads) reminds me of the headless monsters of Ultima Online. :)

09-08-2009, 08:09 PM
Here are the tokens in the almost final stage.
These Samurai work only around christmas time and make sure that kids waiting to see ole saint nick practice good manners.
The color scheme for these was only for the purpose of making selections easier by laying in bright contrasty colors.

09-08-2009, 08:20 PM

Oh, I think I said that last time. :D

09-08-2009, 09:18 PM
These are incredible. I wish I had something constructive to offer, but you're WAY over my head here. I just had to chime in and let you know how cool they are.

09-08-2009, 10:19 PM
And to think these, I've commissioned DK to create for the Map Folio portion of my upcoming Pathfinder setting and adventure arcs - that was an excellent decision on my part, if I say so myself. Since Devin Knight has a solid reputation at FUM.com, being known in the industry for these map objects, I thought it smart to add his name in the credits for my project to help sell it, as well as get some great tokens.

As others know, I could have probably handled this task myself, but I've got writing, cartography, art direction, editing, page layout and a ton of other duties to getting Kaidan up and published. I am so glad I got DK's involvement here, and the added pleasure of watching him create in this thread!

Great job, DK!


09-09-2009, 01:28 PM
Thanks GP and everyone else.
the actual site is fouruglymonsters.com

Here is a set of the final samurai. Though these are save onto a background. The finals will have no background of course.


02-12-2014, 08:35 PM
How do you add the shadows on to your tokens? Your tokens always have gradually fading shadows off of them. That really make them look like they are a part of the environment, rather than just a picture hovering over it.

Ed Rollins
08-09-2014, 01:34 PM
Is the Oriental Symbol set available anywhere?

Sorry for the cross posts, but I have one question and "Friend Computer" insists I post five times before I can ask it...

08-09-2014, 02:22 PM
The Oriental Symbol set will be released soon (at least a month away), however, these samurai symbols are not a part of that set, as all the objects in my soon to be available set are my creation. These were used as part of Kaidan setting and created by Devin Knight. All symbol sets I release contain materials only I created.