15 July 2011

Malachi Wallpaper Developmental Progress

I have had some requests to show the process of some of Fate Saga's work and I felt this would be a good sample to use. So for Malachi's wallpaper, I took snapshots of the progress and will explain the thought processes and techniques for each step!

Sometimes, I do the sketches on paper first, and other times straight on the computer. For this piece, it was done on paper first. Sometimes it's based off of the idea and whether I feel I need a lot of references, or whether I'm physically near a computer at the time. In this particular instance, I was on an airplane so the drawing utensil at my disposal was my sketchbook and blue sketching pencil. The main idea I wanted to get with this drawing was serenity and grace, both of which Malachi is meant to represent. He is a man who has lived through the trials and tribulations of his powers and has learned to control them.

In this stage, I fixed some problems with the sketch (such as the size of Malachi's head and nose) and cleaned up the details. The inking was done in Photoshop, using the brush tool. The original sketch was at a low opacity underneath. Some of the inking was a retracing of the sketch, and the parts that were fixed were redrawn. Because the problems in the sketch weren't serious, it didn't require me to re-construct anything. Also, right before coloring I decided to move Malachi towards the right side of the screen, to both give more room on the left and cut off some of his flowing hair.

For this stage, I added a gradient behind Malachi to give myself an idea of what colors were going to be used, and because Malachi's color scheme is predominantly white, having a darker color behind him makes it easier to endure that I don't accidentally leave any gaps in the flat colors. With a background that is a much different color than the character's color, any gaps would stand out and should be more visible.

I used his bio picture as a reference for Malachi's colors, and added his flat colors before any painting or shading because, regardless of any effects I may place on him afterwards, I always keep the character's base colors the same for consistency.

I duplicated the gradient layer and heightened the contrast, and set the top gradient layer to Screen, lowered the opacity to 60% (because it was too strong), and added a gradient layer mask in order to emphasize the brightness around Malachi himself while keeping the edges of the screen dark. This was both to give Malachi a sort of holy or epic appearance, while drawing the eye directly to his face.

The shadows were done with a single additional Multiply layer, with a light grey color - as this was a piece where I didn't want the shadows to be too dramatic. The lighting is coming from behind him, giving him a rim light.

Here is where I added special effects to the background. I added some very faint smoke effects (both light and dark) to add even more contrast. I then added a series of dots and lines with the white brush tool at a low opacity, and used the gausian and motion blur to give the feel of magic. Malachi is a gentleman who is slightly flamboyant and uses magic as opposed to brute strength. I wanted to convey that visually through the background.

Finally, as with the other characters, Malachi's name and the copyright disclaimer was listed on the bottom of the image. Anyone is free to use this as their wallpaper, but otherwise Malachi and Fate Saga itself is protected under copyright law.


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