Monday, January 9, 2012

VN Character: Flight attendant

Happy new year! I'm starting this year off with a still illustration designed for use in a VN-style game, meaning: has to be nice to look at, has to show some personality at least, doesn't need to be animated. In practice, a still that's more or less facing the viewer and can be used for dialogue scenes.

Click to see the full picture, and there's also a small making of showing the various stages the image went through.

The goal of this image was pretty simple - other than getting back into drawing a bit (and especially painting, as opposed to pixel art), I just wanted something nice to look at, with a stated purpose (VN illustration). I might expand the whole thing a bit and add more characters - even without having planned an actual storyline.

If you're interested, here's the first batch of WIP images - everything from rough sketch to lineart. Of course, thing like pose and anatomy could definitely use some more work, but as a rough attempt, it should be fine. At least it's not run-away-right-now hideous.

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I proceeded to coloring/modelling even with the face somewhat undefined and unsightly - facial features are pretty much impossible to properly define in a tiny lineart sketch, and will always look better if done during the modelling step.

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Here's the shading and coloring process. The first step shows the rough areas of shadow, and while practically all of it is lost during colorization, it's still useful to do just as a mental exercise. One of the weak points of this image is that outside of a few speculars and rim lighting here and there, there's no fixed light source - by repeating and repeating the pre-shading-by-hand step I'm hoping to improve in this area.

Next up, of course, the flip. This is a pretty flat picture and has no real depth to it, so it's especially important to flip the image several times in order not to screw up all the propoertions. If you're working directly from a reference, this is still nice, but I'm imagining not as crucial as when you do the whole thing from scratch.

The last image in this sequence is the "final" result, but without contrast balancing, color filters, temperature tweaking etc. This is the step where it pays off to look at the whole image and decide where to draw the eye. Usually, the facial area will have a lot of detail already, and the eye, being very lazy, normally moves to areas with large, flat colors.
A good strategy is to change the temperature of the image - areas with warm colors (red, purple, orange) will usually attract the eye and become the focus of the image. Adding more red to the facial area (or wherever else you want the eye to look) is a pretty efficient counter to the "too many lines" problem.
In this case, I overlaid a simple red to blue gradient at about 20 %.

If you'd like to have a look at the original working size, it's actually pretty small. I'm sure professional illustrators will work at much higher sizes.

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Hope you like it!
And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them here!

1 comment:

  1. holy wow, ain't she a beauty. :)

    great shading, great work!