In the continued creation of a hyper-realistic monster, I reached the stage where one overlays textures onto the body. For my fellow Photoshop nerds, you take a picture of a texture, put it on its own layer, lower the opacity to around 30%, and tweak out the exposure so the texture looks like it’s on the underlying surface. It’s a standard technique illustrators have been using for over a decade. But I couldn’t find the right texture to use with my monster, so created my own using 3D software.
I liked making the texture myself, because if feels less like cheating (especially when I came up with the way to make the texture on my own). But, it’s no different than when a traditional painter presses a sponge into paint, then on the canvas, to create a rough texture. Sometimes people send me well-intended, helpful criticism that my digital art sucks and the machine does all the work. To do something like this, though — like it or not — you need both traditional skills and digital art skills.
Moving on… one has to do each section independently, and in this case it’s one bubble at a time. You use the Warp tool to approximately form the texture to the underlying surface. Once all that’s done, you can erase or use a mask to make adjustments.
Here’s a detail:
It looks passably convincing in most areas, and ads a new level of detail. But next I’m going to have to paint over it in a few stages to add rim lighting, highlights, and tweak out the shadows. This is still pretty rough.
Before and after the first stage of adding texture:
I like the newer, smallpox version better, but the overlaying layer has greyed out color, contrastm, and lighting. It’ll look better after I touch it up.
Also, since last time I shared the Bubble Head, I pulled his lips back more to show more gums, in which case her’s looking more aggressive. With those mandibles, he’s at least as much an ant-man as he is a bubble head, and his growing intensity is appropriate for ants as well.
I’m putting a lot of extra time into this because I rather like it. It’s gone from an exercise in photorealistic techniques into a more serious digital painting. There will be a background and maybe a surprise or two.