Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Than Just Friends

For more details about the history of characters in the drawing, please visit the DeviantART page by clicking on the image.

I originally developed this artwork as a practice sketch [again] of Jiraiya and Tsunade. As I was finishing up, I realised I drew the artwork without a face. So I just basically adding in Natsu and Lucy's face, hair, and googled some costumes for them. Done! An oversimplification of what was a life-draining procedure, where my life-force was transferred onto an artwork to bring it to life. :(

This piece was massive! Instead of working on as few layers as possible, I created a new layer for each colour I painted on. Some areas like the Sea has up to 7 different layers, one for the white sandy bay, the ocean blackness, the deep blue tinge, the white silvery reflections, the ocean green underlayer, etc.

There were so many layers, that 45 out of 67 layers were dedicated to the background! Midway through the project, Photoshop occupied 1.7 Megabytes of Memory. I had to separate the background and the characters, by duplicating and merging the Background layer on another new Document and continue painting there. Despite this, it was still so bad that I had to plug in my thumbdrive, for ReadyBoost to add another 4Gb of RAM, to stop Photoshop from lagging.

The effect can be quite nice though. The colours don't overwrite each other, but stack up, just like how it appears in real life. When enough layers of colours are dabbed on, it begins to look very beautiful. You start to see profound complexity in the chaos of colours, even though the colours are more or less randomly dabbed on. The downside is that it's a chore to go back and edit the layers.

Digital Inking
I haven't digitally inked in a long time, because it's just so tedious. But I still did it this time anyway. I managed to get it done faster too, which is good. The benefits of digital reinking is that the lines will be cleaner, thinner, and smoother. That means the artwork is going to look much more refined and nicer. The other benefit is that improvements to form may be made during the redraw. In this case the background was heavily improved.

The other benefit I was hoping for, but didn't materialise, is for the lines to help in ambience light. I had thought that colouring the lines in neighbouring colour palettes would bring a surreal feel to the lineart. Turns out the effect was rather insignificant, and perhaps even detrimental. Black lines suggest shadow and is totally necessary. The only time when it's better to fade the lines is when the lines are very clustered together, like in the vines on the tree trunk.

EDIT: I realised DeviantART only shows the preview here, you'll have to click on the link to see the actual Flash movie.

I made a snapshot preview using Flash. Just a few minutes of description typing, and 10 lines of code. What a lightweight, powerful, portable language. Condemned just because Steve Jobs only wanted App Store apps. Written in what language? Not HTML5 the open standard. No, it's Objective-C! What a way to carry the banner of open-source, while promoting their own Mac-preferred flavor of C language.

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