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Gone are the days of drawing a portrait using pencils and brushes. Digital is the new canvas and Photoshop is the new tool. Digital Illustrator, Vivek Nag is fascinated by ‘Sadhus’ and here he takes us through the making of a portrait using Photoshop.

Portrait

Step 01

The first step is to make a rough patchy sketch of the character. It’s best to do this using a chalk brush or special Photoshop brushes which are meant to replicate a traditional look on the digital canvas. The lines mostly trace the shadows and/or contours of the face as seen in the image.

Portrait

Step 02

Taking the rough sketch as the base, the next step is to start making line art. This is made using the pressure sensitive round hard brush to create thin and to the point lines. Detailing is important in this step. Building upon the rough chalky sketch is beneficial. When satisfied, hide the sketch layer to proceed.

Portrait

Step 03

The next step is to start with the colours. Irrespective of the colours being used in the portrait, it’s best to dim down the background. This offers contrast and a better understanding of how bright the colours that are being used in the painting actually are. The next step is to make a palette of colours using the original image. Depending on the intricacy of colors in a photograph, it’s advisable to make a palette of 5 to 8 colors. In this case, a palette of six colours was used. It’s best to select colours in such a way that for any other shade or tint you require, one’s ability to create that using a combination of the set colours in the palette. As seen above, start filling the composition with patchwork. Using flats helps launch into the fray of the painting.

Portrait

Step 04

Taking the previous step forward, it’s now all about concentrating on detailing. Smaller brush strokes are employed as well as the colours being used are more varied. Notice how the freedoms of the strokes have become a little more restricted here. The line art acts as guiding points and this is the stage where it is put to most use.

Portrait

Step 05

Minute details start from here. The eyes are the most important part of a portrait. A lot can be conveyed from the eyes. For the most natural look, one needs to make the eyes detailed and relatable. The blending of the strokes also starts from this step. As is evident in the image, a certain level of ‘rawness’ is maintained with every stroke rather than applying a smooth blend. Keeping hints of patches provides a natural feel, especially on the skin. Also, one needs to keep the sheen of the eye in mind that is executed with a simple brush stroke, keeping minimal blending. The more striking the sheen, the better the eye tends to look.

Depending on the intricacy of colours in a photograph, it’s advisable to make a palette of 5 to 8 colours while performing a digital sketch.

Portrait

Step 06

The next step is replicating the previous steps with the lips and beard. Here, treat lips the same way skin near the eyes was treated. The beard however forms a rather tricky part of the portrait. The beard is mainly just brushed strokes with hardly any blending at all. The direction and the thickness of each stroke matters. For example, the brushes below the lip and at the origin of the beard are thick, whereas the strokes in the beard are rather fine.

Portrait

Step 07

The prior two steps are repeated on the remaining parts of face. The sides of the face are left undone because it will add on to the next steps. There are still many strokes on the face which are strongly patchy and look undone. However, this adds to the composition. The parts of any illustration with the most amount of detail and/or contrast attracts attention first; in this case, the eyes.

Portrait

Step 08

Once the face is done, this is where one needs to start working on the background. Against the already set dull gray background, start putting horizontal strokes with fine art brushes. The colours used are part of the portrait itself – reds, yellows and whites. This enables the background to compliment the main subject of the painting and establishes a flow to the composition. But also remember not to steal the focus from the subject by using colors that are too vibrant.

Portrait

Step 09

This step is called ‘The Haze’. This is where the focal points and edges are merged into the background. For example, the yellow ochre on the forehead is transformed into a form of smoke (haze) which drifts away from the head. This is still done using fine art brushes. Along with that, more horizontal strokes have been pulled around the beard and hair. These strokes are pulled in about 30% opacity and serve to blend the edges till the background looks like a part of the subject itself.

Portrait

Step 10

The last and final step is to add a layer mask. This is where curves are applied to the artwork. This is where contrast is also added to the painting. This helps the shades to pop out and there is a lot more depth than there was before.

Published in Issue 22

This issue is dedicated to the talented design graduates who are not just looking to work but seeking experience in order to realise the greater goal of life. The issue features various designers from India and abroad. Kevin Roodhorst from The Netherlands realised his goal so early in life that propelled him to start his career as a designer as young as 13. To name a few talents we have Vivek Nag from Fine Arts from Rachna Sansad Mumbai, Simran Nanda from Pearl Academy New Delhi, Anisha Raj from MAEER MIT Institute of Design Pune, Giby Joseph from Animation and Art School Goa and many more. This issue gives a fresh perspective of talented graduates and their unique approach to design.

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Finding the modern in the ancient is a matter of vision and desire, to renew the old in such a way that is thoroughly transformed in not only its form and look, but its very fibre and perception. That is what illustrator Omar Gilani prefers to do through his rather fascinating interpretations.

Ancient Future
Desert Warrior Aunty.
Ancient Future

CG. Your range of work bears contemporariness as a trend that seemingly defines or represents your style. What inspired this concept and what is your idea behind it?

OG. I wanted to show what I want to see (more like giving a perspective into one’s outlook, interpretations, and perceptions). Science fiction or fantasy typically falls into very western tropes, and the subcontinent is usually ignored in those regards. That was frustrating, for me – that no one was depicting how this region may look in the future, and so I decided to give it a shot in my spare time just for fun.

Ancient Future
Pindi Boyz.

CG. What impact or effect do you intend this ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ element to have upon your audience?

OG. I just wanted to show that it is possible to create such kind of visuals and interpretations through such representations of everyday objects, many-a-times easily taken for granted. If anyone can look at my work and feel motivated to do something outside the box for themselves, I’d consider that a huge win for myself.

Ancient Future
Sitaar Player.

CG. What inspires you as subjects for your depictions?

OG. Just everyday things I see around me inspires me as subjects, and I easily find them worthy enough to take shape as depictions. We have a pretty rich culture and ancient history, and to wonder, visualise, interpret and finally depict how that would evolve – or not – in the next hundred to two hundred years is a rather interesting and exciting task.

Ancient Future
The Bounty Hunter.

Ancient Future

CG. What role does lighting have in your illustrations, and how do you approach and apply it?

OG. Lighting has a rather significant role in any realistic illustration. I use lighting to determine the initial composition of a piece. Dividing the canvas into simple black and white shapes to see if all the various aspects are harmonious, helps me do that. The lighting in the shot helps guide at this step, and it does go on further to play a huge role throughout the development of the piece as a whole.

Ancient Future
Smog City.

CG. How do you conceptualise what you depict?

OG. I have a fair bit of back-story for the world I’m depicting, and so it is a matter of combining a certain scenario with that back-story. Artistic elements like colours and lighting play a role in conceptualising, composing and finally executing a shot to create the final image. I approach it as thinking I’m creating a screenshot from a movie.

Ancient Future
Inner City Tourists.

CG. What kind of improvisations or changes would you like to intend to bring about in your style?

OG. I’m learning to work with 3D these days, and it’s already hugely improving my flow of work. An essential change that I would like to make is to just get better at showing what’s in my head i.e. depict more clearly and precisely the image that is conceived in the mind, such that it is represented effectively on canvas. Although, it must be noted, that is a lifelong, constantly ongoing and evolving journey.

Ancient Future
Panorama1.
Ancient Future
Departure.

Published in Issue 38

With this issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!

 

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Maxim Shkret is a freelance digital artist with over 10 years of experience in various advertising agencies. His 3D Portraits are the brilliant confluence of realism and surrealism. In each of the work, the subjects are displayed with a high degree of detailing, yet the layered treatment of the form brings in the ethereal and surreal appearance to the work. The crispness and precision cannot be missed. The sharp edges and smooth textures add to the intense mood of each subject.

 

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3D Portraits
3D Portraits
3D Portraits
3D Portraits
3D Portraits
3D Portraits

Here is an interesting portrait series created on the phone by Miten Lapsiya. This series is a collection of celebrity portraits like Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Barrack Obama, and more. Miten uses very realistic paint styles like watercolor for this series. Thus the portraits beautifully capture the essence of each personality.

 

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Celebrity Portraits
Celebrity Portraits
Celebrity Portraits
Celebrity Portraits
Celebrity Portraits
Celebrity Portraits

It’s easy to watch a sixty-minute play, stand up and clap or look at a painting or portrait for hours and be spellbound. In such cases, it’s not only exemplary execution that excites the viewers, but also the impeccable composition that makes for the perfect picture. Aman Chotani, a renowned travel photographer, shares the tricks for compiling the right shot that’s more than just a photograph.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

01. Focus on the eyes

Eyes are the main element in a portrait because there’s a reason why they’re called ‘the window into the soul’. Eyes can make or break your story and thus it’s advisable to always take them in sharp focus.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

02. Use elements and depth to highlight your subject.

If elements were worthless, we’d frame our passport photographs and hang them on the wall. This only emphasises how the use of elements like reflections, shadows and patterns in your composition can make a shot more attractive and exciting.

 

If you want your subject to be the main focus in the image, create a shallow depth of field.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

03. Choose your subject wisely

It is but obvious that a professional not only knows the best process but also understands what raw material makes for a perfect masterpiece. Needless to say, this goes for a photographer as well, when working with portrait shoots, selecting an important face is a quality that is mastered with time and experience. Like good actors make the movie better, similarly amazing and interesting faces make your shot interesting.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

04. Let the light guide you.

The most important tool is to follow the light. Play along with nature’s incredible phenomenon, for it gives you the perfect colour palette and hues to work with. Make your subject pose according to the light; keep them as silhouettes or bathe them in the golden beam. After all, “controlling light is photography”.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

05. Talk through metaphors

Metaphors are considered a powerful tool in language. It can also be employed in imagery where you can use one image to suggest something else. This is really hard and takes time to master because it’s a fine line between corny and effective.

5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait
5 Tips for Capturing the Talking Portrait

Published in Issue 25

Creative Gaga kicks off the year with an issue that asks the important questions, is it the web that’s leading the brands or the other way around? With 2014 witnessing an increase in brands investing in digital marketing, 2015 will only be bigger. We can say India has accepted the revolution, where more and more people are opening browsers to e-commerce, literally window shopping, and setting up shops online as well. The issue brings together renowned designers with digital experience, who discuss and throw light on the pros and cons of this change and where we possibly are headed with this in the future.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49