Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Process

I've gotten a couple of emails asking about my process on the recent Robin, the Boi Wonder post.  So I guess I'll take you all through it. 
First, this is the picture I started with:
I'm not sure where I got it, but it's been sitting on my hard drive for quite a long time.  Anyway, I went to work modifying it with the intention of using it for one of my typical captions.  The goal was to make it look realistic.  This is what I ended up with:
As you can see, I removed the breasts, narrowed the waist, removed the panties, and got rid of that long hair.  After a little while of trying to decide what to do with the picture, I decided that I wanted to try to make a comic book caption.    So I went to work. 
I decided to increase the contrast and change some colors around.  Originally, it was intended to follow the Robin's normal color scheme.  I would have played a little mroe with the chest if I hadn't decided to go with the comic idea.
Then, I changed the texture of the body.
After that, I added some gloves.  These things actually gave me fits.  I almost gave up when it came to this.  But I kept at it, and eventually, I got the shape right.  This is when I started to think that mabye changing to a black and white color scheme would be better.
Then I added in the shorts, which I got from an advertisement for some boy shorts.  This is the source for those:
And this is the picture after they were added:
I was actually really pleased with how well they fit into the picture.  This is when I started to really get excited.  I knew that I had a long way to go, but I also knew that it had potential.  So the next order of business was to add a utility belt.  A simple Google search gave me this:
I know.  I was suprised that someone would actually create something like that.  But to each their own, I suppose.  I certainly can't judge anyone, given my particular interests.  I was still doing this with every intention of making a semi-realistic looking painting, so real objects were the key.  It took a while to get it to fit right, and eventually I had to remove the pouches, but after liberal shading, I achieved the look I wanted.  This is the result:
Oh, but what kind of Robin would he be without a cape?  The cape came from scratch.  It was created via a blend of shapes, manual panting, and shading.  At this point, I abandoned the idea of a color painting.  I could have muted the colors, and I had every intention of fixing the skin tones, but I don't know - I just wasn't happy with the way it looked.  I liked the shapes, but I just didn't care much for the way the garish colors.  Anyway, I added the Robin symbol (taken from a quick Google search), and painted a mask.  This is what it looked like:
After I made the picture black and white, I decided to accent the edges a bit.  To do this, I applied various Photoshop filters, and I changed the background a little.  I spent probably an hour changing the image from the previous color photo to the one below:
Still, I wasn't happy.  It needed more definition.  So I loaded the picture into Adobe Illustrator, and I went to work.  This took me far longer than I expected (I only wanted to do a quick outline overlay), but when I got done, I was astounded by how cool it looked.  This is what it looked like after my first pass with Illustrator:
I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  Most of you probably know that by now.  So while that picture probably would have sufficed, I wasn't satisfied.  So I went back to work.  I spent way longer doing this than I anticipated, but after hours bouncing back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator, I arrived at the following:
Then I went to work definining the edges a little more.  I really wanted the image to pop.  So I changed the color scheme a little to add depth, and I added some contrast.  This was the final image before adding the comic book cover stuff:
And then, of course, I added a bar code, the DC emblem, and the Robin logo, all of which came from a comic book cover I downloaded after a Google search.  The Robin logo actually took a little time, because I had to change the color, and remove the background.  Then, I decided to tidy up the background.
So, after all of that, I came up with the final image, which I posted already.   For the sake of the continuity of the progession, here it is again:
So there you have it.  That's how I did it. 
I've never considered myself a great artist.  I've always been able to draw reasonably well, and I think I do a pretty good job with my photo modificaitons.  But this is far more elaborate and ambitious than anything I had done previously.  It really turned out quite well, when it was all said and done.
Starting from scratch probably would have been easier, but beginning with a model allowed me to learn a lot more about both Photoshop and Illustrator than I otherwise would have.  And that's the point of me doing this; I want to master them.
I think I'm getting closer everyday.
Now, as to my animated GIF work, I don't generally modify them much (aside from resizing and adding backgrounds).  It's far too time-consuming to change things frame by frame when some of these things have upwards of 100 frames.  That said, I did that with one of them - my recent post entitled Phase One .  It wasn't a long GIF - only about two dozen frames - so I figured I could modify each one, and get something passable. 
I hesitate to show the Before GIF because after you've seen it, you probably won't be able to ignore my modifications.  But I was asked, so...

As you can see, the model had quite large breasts to contend with.  The caption I envisioned required that the subject be flat chested (as in, not quite into the complete feminization phase yet), and I was curious as to how difficult it would be to make a cohesive GIF with modifications.  So I went to work on it.

It took a couple of hours, but this is the result.  I removed the breasts, frame by frame, while adding in extra tiles in the background.  the only thing that didn't really turn out was the shadow.  It moves a little too much.  Either way, I liked it.  Here is the changed GIF:

Of course, the original GIF wasn't really looped, so I made mirrors of each frame, and applied them in reverse order, making an endless loop.  In addition, I altered the playback to actually play continuously.
Finally, I added the background and the caption:

Generally, I don't add decorations to my backgrounds on GIFs; usually doing so makes them take too much memory.  But this one seemed special, and it wasn't a terribly big file.  So I went a little crazy. 

It's really not that hard to modify GIFs; it just takes a lot of time and an attention to detail.  Generally speaking, I don't really have hours to work on this stuff, so modified GIFs will be few and far between. That said, I won't rule it out for the future. 

Oh - I was asked what program I use to do my modifications.  It's always Photoshop CS5.  I might play with Illustrator a bit in special circumstances, but generally, it's just Photoshop.

Anyway, I hope that is enlightening to you all who wanted to know more.  And for those who didn't, I hope I didn't bore you to death.  Thanks again for being interested and for being fans. 

Ah, I almost forgot!  The Feminized Husbands story is coming along.  It's actually going to be a little longer than I originally intended (got carried away), but I've finished the outline, and written the introduction.  I don't know when it will be finished, but I wanted to provide an update for those of you who are really looking forward to it.

1 comment:

  1. Nikki, thanx for your insight and your giving or your art to the masses. I enjoy your sight on a daily basis and appreciate all the hard work you put into these great caps that let the mind wander and suspend reality for a minute or two. Again, Thank you.