1

It’s not enough to create a character. What makes a difference is the way you portray it. Illustrator Neeraj Menon works on one of his creations to render it a disposition that presents it in a new light. He explains the process.

Render
Render

Step 01

Started out with a basic sketch. Used a fairly large canvas, usually A4 at 300 dpi, in case you would want to print it out later. It also gave enough room to zoom in and add detail.

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Render

Step 02

Rendered the basic details on the face. Modified the drawing on the left arm slightly. Used only grayscale on the majority of this painting. Realised this was the best way to ensure values and separations remained correct. Blocked in the shape of the goggles and added in the orange lenses. This would be one of the only actual colours used in the entire piece. Used a basic calligraphic brush for most of this painting.

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Step 03

Blocked out the basic shape of his flowing coat. This would help form his silhouette. Also blocked out basic folds and lines at this step. Cloth is usually tough to render and it helps a lot to have ready reference at hand. It’s best to shoot your own reference if possible.

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Step 04

Added in highlights and detail on his coat, such as bullet holes and tears/rips. Also, to help in the design of his armour, opened up alchemy, a free drawing software. Saved the design and imported into a Photoshop file. The free-flowing shapes in alchemy helped come up with a unique design which could be used as a base for the armour design.

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Render
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Step 05

Started fleshing out the armour here. Added shapes and light. Also, added some screws all over it. Used a simple custom brush. Also, at this stage, added a layer of flat purple in pin light mode to give the greys a bit of colour. It helped bring out a sterile sci-fi look.

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Step 06

Modified the armour further and added more light and shade.

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Step 07

Added a hexagonal pattern on the armour to suggest high tech. Used a brush for this to control the size of the pattern. Used the texture setting on the brush and paint it in.

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Step 07a

Added some fiery/glowing edges to the bullet holes on his jacket and small wisps of smoke from them.

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Render

Step 08

Added in bullet impacts on his armour. Added some stitching on his armor which was a simple modification to the calligraphic brush and added some decals overall on his armour.

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Step 09

Moved back to the face again. Finished rendering the hair and added some cuts/wounds on his face. Used custom brushes for some of these, which were mostly scanned splatter effects. Such brushes can also be downloaded online.

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Step 10

Added in details on the goggles. Used a pattern to suggest texture/material on the frame.

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Step 11

Rendered the right hand and then moved on to the gun. Looked for references that would help.

Render

Step 12

Added light shade on the gun and added some screws and glowing bits to suggest it came from the same family as the goggles and armour.

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Render

Step 13

Used some photo reference to get the swordhand right. Added some rim lighting around the edges and tightened up some details futher. Removed the shell casings from the gun. Added a pattern in the background and some sparks with a red gradient in the foreground for an added visual boost. Also added a noise filter in overlay mode on the image for added texture.

Render

Step 14

Arrived at the final image.

Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with Internationally renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives. So, go ahead

 

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Whether real life or reel life, we are surrounded by interesting characters. Some pass us by, but some get stuck in the mind and hearts. It’s no different for caricature expert Shijo Varghese, who wanted to draw Captain Jack Sparrow’s illustration for his eye-catchy attitude and appearance. Here he takes us on a step by step guide on how he achieved to create a beautiful illustration.

Illustration

Step 01

Drawing Detailing.

After finalising the subject, a bunch of pictures were collected to study elements like facial features, expressions, actions etc. After a reference picture was selected, an outline sketch is drawn using a Faber Castell mechanical pencil 0.5 on an 85 GSM paper. It’s better to start with the nose, the central element in any face, and then draw everything else around it. After the outlines are finalised, it’s time for detailing. Detailing always starts from the eyes. The hatching technique is used according to the shape, which are generally a group of straight lines. Once that’s achieved, it’s break time. That means, leaving the artwork alone for a few hours and returning to it. If all looks fine, it is then scanned as a 300 dpi JPEG.

Illustration

Step 02

Colouring.

Once the image is scanned, it is then opened in Photoshop CS5 for colouring. Keep in mind that the drawing (illustration) is placed on top of the layer as multiply and lock and a neutral tone is filled below the drawing layer, which serves as a foundation.

Illustration

Step 03

This is followed by creating another layer above the neutral colour layer. This layer is used for detailed colouring along with soft and hard round brushes.

Illustration

Step 04

Colouring is the critical part that is used to bring the character to life. A vast majority of time is then spent on fine-tuning the depth of colour using neutral tones because that’s what the subject demands.

Illustration

Step 05

More character and drama is created using a hard rounded brush in 30-50% opacity.

Illustration
Illustration

Step 06

The last step involves the addition of highlights to finalise the image.

Published in Issue 24

Gone are the days when Illustrations would take a back seat. Now, they are becoming more proactive and are evolving the way we communicate. This time, Creative Gaga focuses on how the advertising world is opening its doors to this exciting form of design. Featuring renowned Illustrators like Chris Beatrice, Nasheet Shadani, Vijay Kumar, Gabriel Mareno and much more, this issue promises to leave no page unturned!

 


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A character is incomplete without its costumes, props and environment. Especially if it belongs to the world of fantasy. Therefore, to render a character in totality, one should be very clear of its complete image right from the beginning. Concept artist Milton Das explains creating an artwork of a warrior, complete with its accessories. Here is the step by step process.

Warrior

Step 1

Started with an empty canvas. As a practice, avoided using white. So filled it with dark blue green. This would be the base colour.

Warrior

Step 2

Added some rough ground colours. Also, darkened the edges of the frame so that the eye didn’t wander off. Since the composition would have most of its highlight at the centre, didn’t put any other element towards the edge. Blocked in the rough mass of the character.

Warrior

Step 3

Added a bit of details and a secondary light source below the legs.

Warrior

Step 4

After a satisfactory pose was struck, started to fill in areas. But avoided rendering every place of the image. One should place points of interest at even places. So that despite the eyes moving off, they would find something interesting to look at and eventually come back to the main focal area.

Warrior

Step 5

Fixed the overall composition. Also, made the edges of the twin blades pointing backwards which further reduced the chance of the eyes moving elsewhere. Did some colour corrections and added a stronger light coming from below.

Warrior

Step 6

Added some more elements in the background. Fleshed out the dead monster a bit and added some inscriptions on the sword. Time to render the details.

Warrior

Step 7

Started with the sword first. It is human nature to look at things the main character is looking at. So added two faces in the lower left corner to balance the large hydra (the 3-headed snake) from taking away viewer’s attention. Noticed that the left hand side of the image felt a bit heavy.

Warrior

Step 8

Balanced the composition by adding 3 heads on the right. Rendered the lower blade with flames. Also, worked a bit on the armour. Lastly, added a bit of yellow on the parts that got light from the weapon. Made a point to not use burn and dodge tools while drawing the flames lest they went out of control. Used a soft brush to define the glow then did the details with a hard round brush.

Warrior

Step 9

Rendered the armour and added smaller details. Changed the hair because it was looking a bit too stiff. One would require a lot of patience while detailing this part.

Warrior

Step 10

Finally, did some colour corrections. Copied the whole image and pasted it in a new layer to apply the effects. One could also use a masked layer to do this. Arrived at the final image.

Published in Issue 16

We always wish we had someone to show us the right way of doing things when we were starting our professional journey. And that’s why we have based this issue on graduates. The cover feature is an ensemble of advice from top names of the industry. We have also showcased few talented fresh graduates from across the country, keeping with the theme. You’ll find Tom J Manning and Pallavi Sen share their international exposure as well as insights behind their unique approach. Also featuring Shreya Shetty, a prominent concept artist, who shares the secret behind the believable characters she creates. She believes, with practice and patience, anyone can be a good artist.

 


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High thought about the future is inseparable from the mind of a man. It’s the dreams that define his character. And hence, holds an important place in shaping up his expectations. Rupinder Singh attempts to interpret this relationship between a man and his expectations in a surrealist manner through his poster, Live your Dream.

Step 1

Started sketching in Illustrator. It’s best for drawing geometric shapes. Took reference from a few crystal images to understand basic shape, texture and angles of a crystal.

Step 2

Created random collage of cloud images in Photoshop. Imported the Illustrator file (crystal outline file) into this Photoshop document. Cut a cloud image into fragments with a layer mask and the Magic Wand tool (W). Used the line work/outline layer to make the selection and hide the part of the image that needs to go.

Step 3

Repeated the previous steps to get an overall image similar to this. After all the areas were filled, merged all those layers to lower the file size. Left it for a while and created a new file in Photoshop for background design.

Step 4

Created the background using few high-resolution stock images such as, green field, an old man and few clouds that gave a dramatic look to the sky.

Step 5

Arranged all those stock images in different layers and made them black and white. Deleted the extra sky on the field image using a very soft brush and replaced it with the more dramatic and textured sky.

Step 6

Imported that giant crystal and adjusted its highlights and shadows using Image>Adjustments>Curves. The design was almost done. Added some details like lights, shadows and textures.

Step 7

Made two copies of the crystal and placed them on two different sides. Added some Gaussian blur to make them look out of focus. This would create depth in the design. Also created shadows wherever required.

Step 8

Added reflection and shine using white coloured normal round brush with 0% hardness and 100% opacity.

Step 9

Created light strokes of around 50% opacity and placed them wherever required. This added details and depth to the design.

Step 10

Created one curves adjustment layer and adjusted highlights and shadows.

Step 11

Created a new layer just below the light and shine layers and added the above texture to it. Scaled it to fit the canvas and changed its layer property to ‘Soft Light’. Got that vibrant coloured texture.

Step 12

Created a new layer and filled it with blue colour. Changed its layer property to ‘Exclusion’. This gave a cold temperature to the image.

Step 13

Added text on the top. Final image

Published in Issue 09

This issue focuses on strengths and weakness of Indian creative business with cover from Archan Nair. Also, include some of the fearless creatives who had made their mark in the industry without compromising on the quality of the output and many more interesting reads.

 


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Every one of us responds to emotions in our own personal ways. But for all of us, it is an explosion. Sometimes it is expressed through an outburst, at other times, it just submerges within. Every time we explode, we lose a little bit of us. Digital Artist Fahd Hussein captures a moment in that explosion to create his piece, ‘Extraho’.

Step 1

Found a collection of stock textures on the net that would be the building blocks for the image. Found a wall texture and smoke/ ink in water shot.

Step 2

Dug out stock images of a broken egg shell and a jelly fish. These would be part of the visual elements to be used.

Step 3

Picked out an expressive face from T-gar’s stock collection on deviantart.com to create the ‘protagonist’ of the piece. Arranged the model’s face on top of the texture and erased out enough to force a seamless blend. Colour-toning the image helped in setting the mood. The green was chosen to give it a little ‘creep’ factor.

Step 4

Time to explode the face. Chopped off the eggshell and placed it to fit the contours of the face.

Step 5

Added some shading and colour to get the depth. Air-brushing helped to get the desired effect.

Step 6

Blended in some cracked earth/ peeling paint textures for stress marks where the face exploded.



Step 7

Took the smoke/ ink pic and masked it out to get the ‘hot smoke’ feel. Blended it in Screen mode to get the desired effect.

Step 8

Took a couple of the jellyfish pics, inverted, huerotated and curve-adjusted the jelly out of them till they looked adequately ominous.

Step 9

Took another one of T-Gar’s lovely face shots and placed them in line with the flow of the jellyfish body.

Step 10

Masked out the extra bits and did the usual blend-mode/ colour correction routine till it started looking natural.

Step 11

Did this for multiple jellyfish till a swarm was created.

Step 12

Placed it all together. The finished piece started taking shape a little.

Step 13

Added appropriate shading to get depth. Some ink-splats and similar textures were added to enhance the ‘creep’ factor. A liquid spurt on the head, some spot colour and final colour-toning signed it off.

Step 14

Got the final image.

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.

 


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Concept Artist, Raj Khatri, takes us through his step-by-step fan art progression of his favourite band, Iron Maiden. Starting with the initial sketches in the pages of his college notebook, he transports the sketching into the elaborate stages of adding drips and streaks; highlighting; playing with tones, and such other details, before finally reaching the envisioned representation.

From Sketch To Canvas

What Raj Khatri began as light sketches between the lines of his college notebooks, eventually found expression on the digital canvas. He executed and represented his love for the British band, Iron Maiden, through the application of layering processes; complex colour blocking; shading and blending, and the likes. He elaborates, in detail, each of these steps in detail, thus showcasing what it took to arrive at the final picture.

Step1 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 1

Started out by scanning copies of original sketches from my college notebooks, done in 2000-2001, proceeding onto digitally cleaning and balancing the black values to get the details and contrast out from the scanned images.

Step2 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 2

Since Iron Maiden are a British band, composing all of them in the shape of the Union Jack was the base concept, digitally linking the sketches was a primary step.

Step 3 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 3

Ready for digital painting, the first shading of mid tones were applied onto the top character, likewise isolating the layout into individual characters, before adding the second layer of shading and blending.

Stepa4 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 4

Shading with dark tones and blending in together, creases and wrinkles were brought into effect, adding the first layer of highlight.

Step 5

Colour blocking was applied to the second character, Eddie from ‘Seventh Son from the Seventh son’, followed by Midtone shading, highlighting and blending for the second character.

Step 6(a) Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga
Step6 (b) Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 6

The same process was then executed for the third character, Eddie from ‘Fear of The Dark’, as also for the fourth character, Eddie from ‘Best of the Beast’.

Step7 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 7

Recomposing all the shaded characters back together, adding a flat colour behind, made it possible to see how the shape was forming or coming together.

Step8 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 8

Proceeded onto colouring the characters using the gradient map, then drawing the basic shapes and streaks for drips on it.

Step9 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 9

Toning the dark values of red, and balancing the overall colour spectrum of the layout, before painting the details of shadows and highlights on the drips, finally adding the round edged border to the layout.

Step 10

Added more details to the drips, also placing the painted logo of the band in the center.

Step11 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 11

Adding additional drips and more details to them; adding shadow to the logo. Applied a layer of flash off-whitish beige colour on top of all layers in the ‘Darken’ mode.

Step12 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 12

Final colour adjustment, using colour balance and levels to manage the overall contrast and red values. Added sharpness by taking a merged copy of the layout on top of all layers and adding the ‘Sharpen’ filter. Then reducing the capacity to 60-70% as per your taste and finally completing the artwork.

Published in Issue 37

To answer some of the basic questions for designers, freelancers and creative studios, we interviewed some of the creative legends to guide and share their wisdom. The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing. So don’t wait, just order your copy NOW!

 


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