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The making of ‘Katsu’

By Kian Kiani
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 18th March 2015
Software used:
Photoshop
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Kian Kiani guides you through his image making process sharing tops tips on color, lighting and composition.


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In this tutorial I am going to explain each step of my artwork process. I mainly focused on lightening and coloring. After developing your idea, it is better to collect some references for designing both your character and environment. It is so important to observe and do some research before you start sketching. In my opinion this step is one of the most important things in creating and developing your concept.

Step 1: Create and develop

First of all I would like to show you some of the brushes that I mostly used for this work. I was inspired by a type of fox called a Fennec Fox (The fennec fox or fennec is a small nocturnal fox found in the Sahara of North Africa).

I started off my work by drawing some thumbnails with a basic brush. Thumbnails are so important for me to find the right composition and the correct pose for the character based on the idea I have. You should always think about your overall composition.

I chose the third thumbnail because the character is in the right composition and other visual elements help the character to be the focal point. One of the most important elements for a focal point is the shape of the main area in your work, which should not be same as the other shapes in the image.

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Step 2: Value

Then I tried to improve my previous thumbnail and worked on it with more detail. For the background I got inspired by the eastern mountains and cliffs.

The next step is the value. Lighting, depth, atmospheric perspective and volume will be developed in this step. For lighting I used a light background and a dark foreground. The character in the foreground will help the focal point as well. You should pay attention to the position of your key light; you can either choose sunset or sunrise. I chose sunset which I will discuss further in the coloring step. I used a basic and soft brush for this step.

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Step 3: Color palette: background

For coloring I created my own color palette. At sunset the color spectrum is from a blue range of colors to orange and then yellow similar to what happens in a rainbow. The colors of the object also become less saturated and shift towards the background color. The clouds in the background are all under the effect of the sun and atmosphere. The clouds in the foreground are affected by bounce light off the sky which is in the range of bluish purple.

After making my color palette, I used a soft brush for the sky and cloud brushes for the clouds. Make sure your pen pressure is on.

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