WALKTHROUGH Part II, Too Bright to See
This is Part II (Part I
) of a walkthrough to my piece Too Bright to See, which can be seen here
. This vexel took around 8 hours to complete, over 2 days.
Moving on to the skin and features of the piece! The most important part. For this particular reference, I chose a darker mid-tone for my base layer.
There are different ways that vexel and vector artists work. A bit use a method where you layer up with all solid layers (100% opacity) then fill in with transition layers, to smooth it out. The way I work is a base layer method. You start with a base colour, then you pick the shades and high lights and build on that with several various opacities (ranging anywhere from 5%- 100%!) For many reasons, this is my preferred method. I like the look of it better, the way I can blend in gradients, and the total control over every single shade.
While for this particular piece I chose a darker mid-tone for my base layer, not every piece I can suggest that for. Use your own discresion when chosing a base colour. For example, in this piece
I used a fairly light mid-tone, and in this one
I used the darkest shade of the skin and built up using only white on different opacities. Regardless, I will never suggest using the lightest possible shade, if you start somewhere in the middle, you can better create depth.
I start by dropping colours from the reference image, and laying down shades first. I, personally, never start with highlights. Again, this is about depth. I throw down shadows until it almost looks where it should be, then throw down high lights to throw that cherry on top. Okay..cherry, whipped cream and sprinkles..
Notice in the following image how I layer up to create a smooth surface. Different people work different ways, I like my stuff to be very smooth, while others prefer a more layered vector- esque surface. It's all about what you want, not what other people want.
With colours, I drop from the reference as I go. To speed up this process, press Alt on your keyboard, and your tool becomes a dropper! Perfect for digital painting, as well.
Gradients are a great way to add an undeniable smoothness to your piece. Before I discuss them, allow me to show just how they transformed this particular piece.
Disclaimer: While this shows how smooth gradients made the piece, you [obviously] can't see how they are placed between the solid layers. I add them as I go, not actually at the end.
How i create gradients in my pieces is very simple! After creating a shape with my pen tool, right click > make selection. Then, using your gradient fill bucket, pick your gradient colour and style and huzzah! Linear and radial are the most-common gradient styles that I use. In this piece, all of the gradients are one colour to transparency. While I feel there is no need to share how I vexel features, like lips or eyes, I will show you at 100% how they turned out using solid layers and gradients, just like in the skin.
concludes the piece. I wanted to see if I could take the colours to a more intense level, so to do this, I created a new adjustment layer (On the layers palette, press the icon that is a half black, half white, circle) and chose "Curves." By playing with the nodes on your curve, you can manipulate the contrast, colours, amount of colour and where the colour is being manipulated. I use this at the end of almost every piece I create! This is what my curves all looked like
I hope to have shed some light on my process, and to have been able to answer any questions I've recieved in the past! This concludes my walkthrough, thank you for taking the time to read!
TLDR; Gradients are fucking cool