Monday, May 17, 2010

Processing a Claymore

Hey all. Here's something a little different. Here's a few progress shots of me doing a piece of Claymore-based fan art. I can explain bits of the way I work to you through the progress shots.

So I started with a really simple figure study using a reference from a stock photo DeviantArt account. It gave me a basic idea of the forms and proportions, so I just stuch with the basic form. Then I blocked out lights and darks using browns and yellows, which I had originally wanted to be the main hues for the piece.

With that in hand, I began to alter the pose to fit with the subject matter (i.e. the character, Clare, from Claymore). I used an outline layer as a guide for where I would have her hair, nose, armor, sword and the repositioning of the hands. I wanted the pose and scene to just have the suggestion of something just outside of the frame so I had this looking away pose. After the outline I painted those forms in. I then created a multiply layer to get some real shadows creating form on the character. I wanted to create a bit better of a scene so I established a very basic background.

There is an image missing on my photobucket account so you'll have to reference this link if you want to view the next step in the process.
I then proceeded to give some more definition to the background. I wanted to establish a warm light source which means cooling your shadowed areas down, so I adjusted some of the levels to bring a more grey-blue tone to the wall. After that I began to apply colour with a combination of multiply, overlay and soft light layers. I used a standard spatter brush with size jitter set to pen pressure and with wet edges set on to create most shapes. I began to define the costume and get some textures into everything. I used a colour burn layer to create the dirt stains on Clare's outfit.

There is a lot I'm skipping here but to summarize, I was playing around with the background and I decided that the out-of-frame intrigue wasn't working and cropped the frame. I then adjusted the head pose for something a bit more atmospheric.
I began to really focus in creating textures for the whole image. I used some photographs of scratched up metal and made some texture overlays to create the textures on the sword and shoulderpads. It was really about refining the details to a decent level of completion and adding little details like the purple blood on her sword.

Finally, I adjusted contrast and did some colour balancing to really make the image pop. then I applied a hard light gradient in a circular pattern on the window, and adjusted the textures on the back wall with a texture brush for dirt. I think applied a gaussian blur to the wall textures to really draw the focus to the character. All told this piece probably took about 5 hours of work.
Here's the final:


  1. Fascinating! Cool post.

    Capt. Charles Bukowski of the Guard at Desh (Hark)

  2. Claymore is teh awsomz.

    Also, I really appreciated you leading us through the process. It was very enlightening.

    And the youma blood on the sword is damn sexy.

  3. Thanks guys. It's funny because I work differently almost every time I tackle a new piece, but since I had a bunch of the frames pretty well ready to go anyway, I thought I'd try my hand at it.

    I was pretty happy with the Yoma blood. Funnily enough it's the same custom brush I used for the splashes in the Ursadon piece, I just put x-jitter on it and did a couple of touch ups.

    I'm thinking I'll try and do a full on tutorial for one of my creatures in the future. Probably upwards of 8 process shots so I can lead all the way from outline to final. That will depend a lot on what the next COW topic I tackle is.