Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deadwood - Rex Sees Something

I took another stab at the Rex image from last week, and I'm still not happy with it. The composition and lighting are still way off.

Turning his head, Rex watched as a hideous shape
emerged from the shadows... a shape that was hauntingly familiar.
Now that I've got a decent contrast between his beard and shirt, I've got to increase the contrast between his shirt and britches. In color, they are too similar in tone. Right here, with this quick inking conversion, I compensated for that by using two different techniques: His upper body is Basket Weave and his lower body is inked with Cutline. Both of these are settings in the Photoshop India Ink filter by Flaming Pear. To get a clear look at the effects, click on the above image to see it full screen.

Right now I've got to decide if this image is worth pursuing, or if I should go back to my original idea of using the Wolf Willis character, instead. No matter what I do, though, the lighting and composition (i.e. how the figures are framed) need work.

Oh, and that fire pit looks HUGE at this angle. I definitely need to shrink it down a bit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Deadwood - Rex Hears Something...

This week has been tied up with a lot of work and other projects, so I'm actually very  behind on creating art for the Night of the Living Deadwood book. However, I did get a start on a new image... one that's surprised me in more than a few ways.

You see, I originally pictured this scene with Wolf Willis, reaching for his pistol which would be in a gunbelt draped over the log. Instead, I found myself using a new character named Rex... an old frontiersman/prospector character with a bald head and a long beard. I also found myself using a lot more props this time around. Often, I add trees and logs in post-production (that is, I don't put them into the scene, but add them in Photoshop).

There was a noise behind him. Instinctively
his hand stretched out for his trusted Henry rifle...

The other images I've shown you were mostly completed (if used, some will be tweaked before being printed). But this time I decided to bring you in at the early stage and show you the first step in the process. This is a low-resolution, low-quality rendering of the basic scene. Right now I'm just putting things in their rough location and doing a rough pose on which to start building. In other words, this is the digital equivalent of a sketch.

As such, there's no ground, nothing around the tree, and most of all, nothing lurking between the trees. This is a simplified scene with just the basic elements that I need. For instance, I need the campfire for a light source (and it comes from a low angle, so that will make it more ominous). I need the log as something to lean the rifle up against. I could have it lying on the ground, but that would make it hard to see and that location would require him to lean over to reach it. Not practical for a still image. The tree behind him could be done in post (i.e. Photoshop), but I want it to be more solid, so I'm actually putting it into the scene. I will use it and the branches of the smaller tree to frame a zombie that is coming up behind him.

I'v already made a few decisions regarding changes:

  • I need to shift our Point of View (POV) to our left and rotate it so we get a better look at Rex's face.
  • I need to raise his arm so we can clearly see it reaching for the rifle
  • I need to put a coffee cup in his right hand (just to give it something to do)
  • And, if I have one, put a coffee pot in the fire (gotta explain what's in his cup)
  • I need to alter the pose of his feet so they don't touch
  • I might need to make his shirt darker so his beard stands out better
A closer view with different lighting. Things were way too bright
 in this scene, so I toned it down, as you can see in the render above.

Anyway, those are just a few of the thoughts I've had regarding this scene so far. Hopefully, I'll manage to get back to this before next week and show you how I've progressed. Until then... keep yer powder dry, saddle pals!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Deadwood - Art Preview: Hungry for Revenge

Arizona pulled back on the reins and the horse came to a gentle stop. She sat still in the saddle -- a few pebbles bounced on the ground -- the last movement from hooves on a rocky ground. Monty's tail made a gentle swishing sound and he cocked his head, wondering why they had stopped here, where there was no grass or water. Taking cues from his mistress, it sensed her anxiety and snorted, turning his head to look first one way, then another.

Arizona shushed the horse -- listening intently. At first, it was too quiet. Not even a buzz from flies or bugs. Then she heard it. Falling rocks... something dragging in the dirt, loosening a spray of pebbles and debris from the ridge to her right. And a shadow fell upon her then, but that wasn't why her skin turned to goosebumps and ice grew on her heart. The skin was rotting and dry, eyes sunken but still burning with hate. And if she had any doubt who it was, that vanished when she saw his hand. It was in a bar in Tombstone where she herself had cut off the little finger on his gun hand. Right before she gutted him.

Cole Black had risen from the dead... and he hungered for revenge.

Cole Black is back!
Click on image to see it full-size.

Another illustration for the upcoming miniatures game, GUTSHOT: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADWOOD. This time I experimented with a slightly different style. This isn't quite perfect, but I think it's a good direction. I will definitely be continuing my experiments down this avenue. As with other illustrations in this series, this is rendered in color in Daz Studio 4.6 and then converted to b&w in Photoshop.

I'm ready for my close-up!
Ugh. Not even a mother could love this face!
Tune in next wee for more glimpses of the dark side, as I continue to work on nailing down the look and feel of the artwork for our cowboys vs. zombies miniature game.