Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Female Game Character Concept: Chapter 2 - Painting Techniques for Photoshop

This final chapter will cover everything we need to deliver to the 3D artist, starting from the black and white draft we did in the previous chapter. I will go over tips on how to create the back view, composition within the character and what to keep in mind while adding colors.

By the end of the chapter, we will have a polished concept ready to pass down the pipeline. Just like the previous chapter, this is geared towards more advanced artists with a good knowledge of color theory, composition and volumes in a 3D space. 

¾ Back View

The first thing we want to try and get out of the way is the back view of our character.

The best solution I’ve found is to start from the front view and very roughly invert everything by painting over it. Let’s only aim for a rough silhouette at this point.

Once that’s done, using reference lines, match the front and back details as much as possible. No need to go 100% polish at his phase since some details might still change once we add color.

Spend the extra time to make it accurate if you don’t want the 3D artist to be raging once it’s time to model it!

Final composition using colors

The idea in this first step is to get a rough of our final concept. Color has such a big impact on composition that I find the sooner it is decided on, the better.

The focal point for a main character is generally the upper body or the head, so we will try to use colors to help us direct the eyes of the viewer at it. More saturated or brighter colors usually do the trick. Orange, white, bright & desaturated greens (opposite colors to orange) will be our colors of choice.

Our color palette for this character will be on the brighter side, since we don’t want her to look like a villain.


This step is reserved strictly for the shading pass where we will be adding more light information to our volumes. Imagine a very simple 3 points light setup and add the desired details to the character.

Take the chance to tweak bits here and there to make sure all the shapes work well together now that everything is more defined.

Tweaks on the shoulders, knee pads and arms were needed to match the simple triangle shapes and straight lines used throughout the armor.

Finalizing the armor design

Having fixed a couple things in the previous step, now is the time to propagate the changes to the back view and finalize it since we know everything is now final.

Just like we did for the front view, we are going to add shading to the back view as well and if needs be, colors too. In this case, since everything in the back can be deducted from the front colors, there is no need to go too far with it.

Use accent colors to help your eyes travel across the concept. Repetition works for color too!

Material pass

In this final step, the armor design and the colors being done, the last stretch of this game character concept tutorial is meant to help the 3D artist understand our vision for the different materials used for the armor.

Using shaded balls with the desired material is the easiest way to communicate it. No need to make one for every single material but at least for each of your main and secondary colors. It’s always better to try and replicate the effect on your concept as well.

And this concludes the tutorial! Hopefully you’ve picked up a few things along the way that will help in making you a more efficient concept artist!

Don’t hesitate to add extra information for hidden parts or to illustrate how a certain piece works. The more, the better!

TIP: Keep your designs simple.

Having a simple idea behind your concepts will help drive everything else from colors to shapes and details. Formulate a simple sentence describing your character and force yourself to use it as your “bible” for every design decision you make.

Here is the link to the tutorial on Layerpaint.com!!

layerpaint - MB tutorial


Daniel Francis said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial, ive been putting it into practice with my work and its been really helping me out to solidify my ideas into something more readable!

akhmad riyadi said...

aweeeesomee just following link from your stuff on DA :D
Thank you very much for the tuts & hope you make another one :D.

sirme87 said...

pls keep more workshop like this coming! It's so great