Sunday, August 10, 2014

Commuting by Jetpack

Question: What do you do when all your brother wants for his birthday is a jetpack?  
Answer: 15.5 hours in Photoshop.

Here's the process:  I sketched a quick structure of my brother over the top of a photo I found online (photo not included so as to avoid getting in trouble).  After getting the rough structure, I did a more detailed sketch and then experimented with color.


To get my perspective correct, I took my sketch into illustrator and used 3-point perspective mode to help me figure out the geometry of the jetpack.  I had to be a little tricky because AI won't let you rotate the perspective and vanishing points.  Instead, I rotated my tracing template layer to position the jetpack in a straight up orientation.  After tracing the shapes, I took the flat colors of the jetpack back into Photoshop and decided that a vertical orientation was better for this piece about flying.

That made me want to draw a view of the school from further up, so I looked at a lot of Google Earth aerial and street view shots to figure it out.  I developed the painting of my brother with the jetpack, and roughed in the new background.  I took the background rough into Illustrator.  When the 3rd vanishing point is way in the crazy down there, it gets tough to line up the 3d grid tool without some help.  What I typically do is use the pen tool to draw 3 connected points.  Point 1 and point 3 need to be placed on important corners of an object in the piece (probably the tops of the outer walls here).  Then, I drag the center point between those two down down down until the lines look like they are lining up with building's outer walls on my sketch.  I do this with the other VP's also and then I move the AI perspective grid around to match up to these 3 triangles I've established.  I love using the perspective grid in AI because you can draw rectangles straight into their proper perspective plane.  Smart guides and snapping make the perspective tool a breeze to use.

 Back in Photoshop, I started painting the school and the edges looked too crisp,
so I tried softening them.

I liked softening the background edges, but I may have gone too far in the final.  Oh well, the eye goes where it's supposed to.  I'm still not quite a fan of the color scheme, but I "finished" the picture in time to get it to my brother on his birthday.

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