Christmas Concept Art (With Lighting Effects)

Christmas Concept Art

Tis the season for Christmas Concept Art. The assignment I gave myself was to design a Christmas scene with a focus on textures and lighting effects also ensuring that I divided the foreground, middle, and backgrounds appropriately. This piece was created with Clip Studio Paint and is almost 43 layers…Yikes! That’s a lot for me.

What did I do first?

The first thing I did was browse through internet to find some references of Christmas scenes, winter backgrounds, and some cool colored environments….brr. After getting a general idea for what I wanted to create, I sketched out my different sections using a selection tool this time. I used to just pencil the whole design out using a G-Pen or brush tool but the selection tool saved me a lot of time. I also used reduced the opacity each time that I went further into the background.

Next Steps

I built the entire scene using only a grayscale and focused entirely on where the lights and darks needed to be along with any other atmospheric dispersion. Spending the most time on this part really helped me identify any composition errors, tangents (where an element touches something else create depth confusion), and balance.

Coloring

During the coloring phase, I used a lot of different layer settings. I used Hue, Color, and Overlay layers the most. I found that I could quickly play around with different color schemes without having to erase a lot. Gradient maps also saved me a ton of time combined with the air brush selection tool combo.

Finishing Touches

I used additional gradient maps to darken specific areas and glow layers to add some special effects. Mote time was spent than normal zooming around the design and adding thoughtful detail. I actually saved my progress, walked away for a day, and then returned to it to make a lot of corrections that I was missing during my initial phases. Lots of last minute tweaks.

To get the effect that you see in this design, I used a dark blue exclusion layer over the whole piece. This really added a nice level of nighttime darkness which I erased back out where light would naturally fall. Once I did all that and was happy, I exported the version with the exclusion layer as a .jpg and then reimported it into Clip Studio Paint. After extending my canvas, I dropped the other version next to the first one I did so you can see the differences side by side.

Special Thanks.

I have been studying a lot of techniques offered by Trent Kamingua. His courses have helped me to identify a lot of the flaws that I have missed in my own work and really helps you understand the basics. Simplicity is where it starts. Too complex, and you drown in your own process. I am no way an instant professional now that I’ve practiced these skills. It’s something you have to do every day.

Courses which helped me the most are.

Landscape Painting Workshop Lessons 1-10 (gumroad.com)

This one really showed me how to simplify environments…and when he says don’t just jump to the colorization video, he means it. I did that. You really have to practice how to read a reference.

Diablo 3 Environment Concept Art Workshop “Overgrown Dungeon” (gumroad.com)

This was just really cool. I loved playing the Diablo games and never knew he was one of the artists…wow. Anyway, another good set of techniques to help understand how elements are supposed to work together.

Hearthstone Illustration Workshop (gumroad.com)

I enjoyed the thumbnailing process in this course. This is useful in building some ideas to get started.

Season’s Greetings From the Mountain Snowman

Season’s Greetings From the Mountain Snowman

Season’s Greetings to all of my fans out there. Thanks so much for your comments and support to my page and my designs. This week I incorporated some Photoshop video integration to create the .GIF File you see below. The layered technology of Photoshop made it extremely easy to build. The stock was available here.

Season’s Greeting From the Mountain Snowman!

The Design Process

This design was painted using brushes I purchased from @TrentKaniuga located from his store at Trent Kaniuga (gumroad.com) . The entire design took about four hours all together. Using separate layers I was able to create the illusion of depth by making adjustments to contrast and brightness. A nice glow layer with the brightness turned all the way up was used for the fine highlights. I think this added a nice haunted appeal to the whole piece overall.

Most of my time was spent blending the colors together until I found a nice selection. By keeping the color selection simple, I reduced the complexity of the shading process. Had there been more colors, there would have been more to balance….and it would have taken a lot longer I’m sure to get the desired results.

The simple red scarf provides just enough of an added focal point since that’s the only other color there really. It makes the eyes jump to it and then over to the moon.

What Do You Think?

I’d really like to see your comments and questions. If there is something you’d like me to create, drop a comment and let me know. I’d love the challenge. By the way, I am very new to Photoshop. I’ve used Clip Studio Paint forever but it never hurts to learn something new. Another shout out to all the artists who create YouTube videos because that’s how I learn the best!

Until next time….Good night!

Photoshop Training

Happy Holidays

Photoshop Training

My Photoshop Training exercise is inspired by the Christmas Holiday. This week’s subject is Santa and his favorite reindeer, Rudolf. I used a screen layer to make Rudolf’s nose appear to be shining light while also allowing for the images underneath to show through bathed in a soft red light. Certainly helpful when the weather gets bad over in the North Pole.

I have spent the latter part of the last two weeks learning to use Photoshop as well as I use Clip Studio Paint. A shout out to all of the YouTubers who post tutorials and who sell brushes online. It’s great that there are so many talented artists out their who share their techniques and provide inspiration.

Line Art

The line art I used is below. I drew / inked the design directly into Photoshop. I used some pictures of reindeer as reference but wanted to keep a more comic style appearance since it is Rudolf after all. The line art took me three days to perfect. I changed my mind on some of the details in the design a bit.

The line art was drawn directly into Photoshop. I tend to work completely electronically.

Flats

Flats were a lot of fun to do. I enjoyed color picking and bringing life to the design. I used the flats layer to add some additional textures to. Of note, it’s a good practice to keep these elements on separate layers so you don’t have to make a lot of extra changes should you want to change the colors. By keeping the flats simple, you get a good base line to have more fun with when you get to highlights and shading.

Extra details were added into my flats along with some shading so that I could better visualize the overall design.

Latest Project – Ghost Story Compilation

Latest Projects – Ghost Story Compilation

My latest project is a ghost story compilation in a graphic novel format. I have always loved reading ghost stories. There is nothing better on a cold day than a horror story, a warm blanket, and a hot cup of coffee. The book will have three stories written and illustrated by me. When does it come out? My goal is to have it available in the next six months through Amazon Kindle format.

Please enjoy the sample and I’ll be sure to post more about it soon.

Creepy Frightening Snowman Animation – Will Make You Jump

creepy snowman

Creepy Frightening Snowman Animation – Will Make You Jump

My Creepy snowman video will surely give you a fright. I know winter is supposed to be over but snowmen just give me the creeps. If you have seen some of my other creepy pieces such as The Fall of Winter – Spring is Finally Here or War with Winter – Are You Ready? then you probably know that I am not that fond of the snow and the cold. However, the snoman genre does fit well with my other favorite genre…gardening? No. Not gardening. Horror.

This video was made with Motionartist. It is by far my favorite animation tool. I enjoy the animation in Clip Studio Paint but Motionartist is so much more powerful and I can do so much more with it. Here is a tip. Make sure you save each piece you want to animate on a different layer in Clip Studio Paint or photoshop. It makes it much easier when you import it. I think I’ll make a tutorial of this later on so you can see via YouTube or my blog.

Mountain Lair of the Wizard King

Lair

Lair of the Wizard King

stony

The Lair of the Wizard King sits far into the mountains. As the Wizard King plans his next move from the safety of his sanctum, he is protected from almost every direction. The tower is built into the side of a mountain and was once owned by the local dwarves that lived in the region. Once they regroup, they will take back their home and remove the wizard from his stolen home. The story continues later so stay tuned for more.

If you enjoyed this, please check out these other posts.

Wizard Mountain

Wizard Spire

The Fall of Winter – Spring is Finally Here

fall of winter

The Fall of Winter – Spring is Finally Here

fall of winter

The fall of winter is upon us. The sun blasts its heat our way while the denizens of the cold run in fright. Their world already melting under the warmer temperatures that are indicative of this time of year. The cleansing heat renews the land and prepares for new life to grow along the landscapes. Flowers slowly come out of their bunkers built to fend off the snow. Dandelions sprout out as scouts to make sure the cold is far away and pass the messages to the roses and daffodils that it is safe to grow once more. The birds that come back ensure the area is clear of the snow people that guarded the snow covered grass keeping it at bay. The insects, once frozen in their homes, are revived to explore a brand new world once more.