Welcome to my tutorial! This is a tribute painting I did for Final Fantasy X. I’ll show you step by step how to start and finish an illustration.
I start with an idea of how I want to place the characters. I know I want the Aeon to tower over Tidus. First I create a new canvas set to 300 Dpi using Photoshop Cs3. I then search the net to look for reference pics on the characters. Once I find what I’m looking for and I start with a rough black and white sketch. I don’t want to worry about the colors yet. In the beginning I focus on composition and values; meaning how dark and light I want the painting to look. I detail the Aons face ( I copy and paste from an in-game image and desaturate it to make this process quicker) and put a blur filter on the fingers up in front. I do this to get the viewer to focus on the face. I will do the same for Tidus near the end.
Now that I placed the characters and values how I want them now its time to put in the details. I start with a new layer and add details with a few texture brushes. You can find these brushes anywhere these days. I always work on new layers instead of directly painting over the original if I don’t like what I did.
Now I want to add a reptilian skin texture for the body. I use google and search for reptile skin . I found a large photo over 2megabytes. Anything lower will give off a low rez look. I find this one——>
I use the select tool to outline what I want and drag the image into the painting. I desaturate it and placed it where I want it. I use the transform/warp function on top to give it a 3D look. Then, I softly erase the edges and copy and paste it on more areas of the body. I add more details like the chest marking and bottom armor on a soft light layer mode. I also change the scene to night-time.
I change Tidus’ pose to make it look more proportionate and correct. I set Tidus on a seperate layer. I add the background and add more details on the Aeon. Now I’m ready for color. I start with a single color first. In this case I want a blue and orange color scheme. I open a new layer and paint it all blue with alt/backspace shortcut and set it on the color layer mode. you can also use the paint bucket or any quick way of coloring the image.
I now have over 15 layers active and I sometimes get lost in them. I manage them by sorting them in 4 separate folders: one for the Aeon, one for Tidus, one for the background and a last one for the colors. Now I add a another color layer and use an orange color and paint it over the Aeon and Tidus. I use a few color and soft light layers on top of each other to get the color to become brighter. I used to get frustrated coloring this way until I leaned that It’s ok to use many, many color layers. Sometimes you need to play with them and try different layer modes.
Now on the fun part and the finish! I first blur Tidus a bit using the filter/blur/Gaussian blur option on top. I use the dodge color layer and add these cool glow effects. You need to use a soft brush to apply them. Play with the colors and have fun. I place a finished illustration by a professional artist next to mine and I compare the values and colors; I found this to be the best way of getting exact colors if you don’t have a professional grade monitor. I finish with 2 new hue/saturation and levels layer mode on top of the image. I adjust according to the image I placed next to mine.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you need clarification or have some questions, please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by =)