Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GIMP: How to Postcard, Bonus: Light & Color Theory

New Vlog! I'll admit- for the past year, I was in a terrible terrible artists block, so I'm glad to be finally back producing works again!

This was commissioned during Jpop Summit 2014 and in this video, I'm showing how I create most of these postcards and for some reason talk some color/light theory.
My steps are: get a photo of the people or reference images and draw the figures in usually a semi-not-fully realistic style. Then I get a photo, usually one that I've taken or free use stock photos online of the location requested for. And then blend the figures into the location.

The girl's shirt was checkered so you may be wondering why I'm not just using a bucket fill pattern. Thats because clothing on a human figure does not go in one direction- the cloth follows the shape of the body, which is why I'm using curved and the angled brushes here. 

I'll actually talk a bit about the shortcuts I use here: Free select tool: I use this a lot, especially with the feathering edge, to cut excess color from fills, which is another shortcut to color a large chunk of space that you'll see me doing with their pants, the guy's shirt, his hat, and her hair 

Her hair is suddenly orangish brownish because she has highlights and I'm creating those highlights by putting the highlight's color on a separate layer and erasing so that patches of black, which is her hair, show up, then I smudge it to create more natural hair flows. Smudging for hair… takes a while and you just have to figure out what works with the shape of the head, shape of the hairstyle, and sometimes even the wind. Light will also come into play because hair is such a absorber of light, but I'll get to that later.

Shadows and highlights time: (On their bodies at least.) Light is THE number one factor that will create depth and 3D factors in your paintings. 
First, I'm choosing a light source- later on the background will show you that I've chosen the sunset light will be coming from the right. And because its a sunset, this will create lots of contrasting shadows, therefore the girl's right side, the space between the girl and the guy (which go inwards), and their pants will have deeper shadows. The guy's entire left side will be covered in first highlights, then reflection of the sunset's light.

I also find the smudge tool really useful to really get down into the curves and shape of their clothing and body. What helps is if I'm imagining physically brushing or drawing actually onto a real human body with a real light source.

And now they go into the background, which is a real photo!
I've had them on an alpha channel the entire time so that when I cut and paste them into the background, only they come out and not any extra from the white base image.

The GGB itself doesn't have the light source I want yet, but GIMP allows me to create various flare and light effects so here's that happening. This automatically creates the orangeish sunsety reflection I was talking about earlier on the figures. It's also important for that to happen so that they blend into the image, as opposed to appearing like cut and paste. That's also the purpose of the shadows- if the image was further out, their shadows would actually be longer. 
Their specific shadows is another shortcut- I duplicate their layer, select the blank space, invert the selection so that its only on them, and fill the entire space with black, before blurring the edges and adjusting the shape of the shadow to where it would fit and, more importantly, where it will blend the figures, which are drawn separately, into the background, which is a real photo.

And that's it! I hope you enjoy this return of my art vlogs. 

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