Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nintendo Tribute: Elevator Action

This week's post is of Elevator Action, which is not necessarily a game that I so much played on Nintendo per Se, but more a game that was still fun from the 80's. So I figured "why not include it in the book".  There are some things that I tried in this piece, that I think worked out pretty well, however there is always room for improvement (in this case namely with the color). At any rate, below are the steps for how I got to the final piece.

Below: I wanted to come up with an interesting composition, so as always I did a number of composition studies, but they were all of the side view. I finally realized that the best view would be to have the main character shooting/looking/interacting with the viewer. Much more interesting than a boring side view. So after a few sketches, below was the final composition that I came up with. I wanted to have him running away from enemy agents, and shooting over his shoulder to have a feling of action to the piece.

Below: Now depending on the idea/subject matter, etc. I normally just skip right into drawing, etc. after doing some research etc. this case I realized that in order for this to not* look like crap, I would need as close to a live model as possible. Since I didn't have one of those handy, I decided to just use myself. I set up my camera on my mantle, used the self timer setting and then took one or two shots of me looking over my shoulder while "dashing".(I used a pair of scissors as my "gun"). Despite the fact that I do NOT look like a super awesome secret spy, I decided that this would be a good reference to start work. As I go I am realizing how important research is, because without it, your drawing is just not going to look right.

Below: I did an initial sketch, then did a basic line sketch on top of that, and then started filling in the shadow layers and the highlights.I wasn't sure who to make the character look like, so I used Errol Flynn as a model, which I thought worked ok....I of course gave him a face scar...because....really who is going to mess with a guy with a face scar, would you? The lesson learned here is that structure, form, value and lighting are pretty much the most important parts of your piece. Without it, the rest of the piece is going to look sucky. It took me a couple of tries to learn, that, but hopefully I just saved you a lot of work.

Below: Now the biggest issue that I had with this one was how to apply color. As a matter of fact, I got to the point where I would add the color, and then get to a certain point, and I would hate it! A lot. I was getting bogged down in the order of whether to apply color first, and then shadows, or* whether to apply shadows and then color. On top of that, I was also getting bogged down on HOW to actually apply the color in the piece, because I would try a number of tactics, and it would not work.
It took a couple of tries, but I finally figured out the proper order for how to apply each (it still needs some finessing, but at least I have the basics down)--for now until I find a better way.

Below: From there I went in and I worked on top of everything, using various combinations of multiply, softlight, overlay, etc. and layer adjustment settings to get things to where I wanted them.

Again the biggest challenge here was the lighting (it always is). I wanted parts of the piece highlighted, and other parts not as prominent, I think it works, but again there is always room for improvement. 
I also learned that painting metal is def. not easy. I will need to work on ways to make it not look so "chalky". Anyway, Elevator Action is done, and is def. going in the book!

Small piece of trivia...I just discovered that the name of the character that you play in the game is "Agent 17: aka--Otto"! Who knew...