Insanity and Drive

Bhaalgorn Art Print
Click to embiggen

I continue to add more posters to the "Art Print" series, you can check out the ever-growing catalog of images by clicking these blue words. I've also created a page here on the blog ------->> over there, that I'm using to post new images and also write footnotes to each as I post them. 

Last week I had a rather large project fall in my lap out here in the real world, the kind of project that pays the mortgage for two months, so I've been kinda busy. Working late nights, all weekend, and will be until the middle of this week, so not much time at all for Eve. I do get to pick at art during the long renders and that is where most of this recent spat of Eve work has originated from. Two weeks ago I picked up a project that, among other things, involved a building sized poster of an old three-masted ship. I needed to illustrate the ship using vectors so that the scale would work when blown up to such a large format. This is when I cracked open a bottle of forgotten skills and essentially invented, improved and modified a process that resulted in these images as well.

There are known filters and plug-ins that will transform a pixel based image into a vector based image. I have a bunch of them that I use for various things when the situation calls for it. But they wouldn't work for the ship and they really don't work all that well for these Eve ships either. Although I do that for many of the posters and art I create from time to time. These however, needed a bit more attention.

I'm very old school when it comes to Photoshop, I rarely use filters. I am so old school that I was a Beta tester, that's how long I've been using Photoshop professionally. I can still make shadows on images without using a single layer, and that is old! So the process I use, in a nutshell, is rather complicated and sometimes easy. But it is often really freaking hard to get right. While I can tell you "how" I do something, I can't tell you how to be good at it. 

You have to start with a perfect image. This is sometimes easy and sometimes takes a lot of work. But the better you can make your first image, the better the final results will be. Even the most complicated of Eve ships, thankfully, share a common color palette. So once my initial image is perfect and pulled out of any backgrounds, cleaned up, contrasted, color corrected, smoothed, and otherwise made to look real purty - it is time to pull channels. The very first channel is the outline, which I usually make black or grey or whatever the darkest ship color might be. The rest get pulled based on color, typically 6-7 channels, sometimes more or less. Each channel represents a color. And yes, none of these will have shading yet. That is yet another channel. (And where most of the actual work comes in later, think bitmap) These channels are rendered as vectors, layered in Illustrator and then shaded using the gradient tools, artistic license and a good, practiced eye. It sounds complicated but, if everything goes well, it can take as little as 15 minutes. Although some of the more complicated ships take about an hour.

At some point, when everything is combined, you'll end up with something that looks like this:



Which looks like this in color:

Click to embiggen
That is probably more than anyone wanted to know about this, but hopefully someone will find it interesting. This is a fun project and I'm enjoying working on it, takes my mind away from some of the more mundane things I have to do in order to make a living. Which is what free art is supposed to do.

Now, what ship shall I create next?




9 comments:

  1. Very interesting for me - i must try it...and ypor posters are just awesome
    PS can u link that sailing ship graphic when u finish it ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe. I don't know if I'll be able to or not yet, it is contracted work that is supposed to be getting done by someone else - but they hired me to do it. So not sure how the rights will work out yet. Which happens sometimes.

      Delete
  2. I found it interesting. I've been wondering how you do it and now have a tiny clue. I haven't used Photoshop in many years, and was never that good to begin with, but at least I'm not completely in the dark. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good stuff. Thanks for this, I'll certainly try it out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I look away for a few days, and WOW. For someone who is busy on other things, you sure get a lot done!

    What ship next ?

    Logistics ships often get overlooked, there's many a space priest that would love to get one of their rides up on the wall. I love the look of the hull detailing on the dragoon's bow. The moa hull is crying for attention, but I haven't flown it to get a 'feel' for how it should be shown. The oracle and tornato battlecruisers are wonderful to look at. The algos has a fantastic rear hull as does the orca.

    Would you consider displaying any of the ships obliquely ?

    I'm very partial to the Tempest, as it was my very first "goal" ship to fly in EvE (I flew it out of losec without fitting any guns, because as the time I couldn't use large guns. Noobs, eh).

    Funny enough, the Minmatar shuttle model always appealed to me, and I've often thought what a wonderful base for cruiser model it would make. It would be damn menacing.

    Hmmm looking back, I don't think I've helped narrow things down any . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is how I always am, I "work" constantly, its just usually on RL paying jobs. This past week I've had one major project that is eating up 12-14hrs a day. But fortunately it also has 20-30 min here and there without anything to do, not enough time to log into Eve, but more than enough to pick at these. The pace will slow down eventually to a more normal speed.

      And yes, my plan is to try to get each major "hull" represented. I say "major" just to give me an out should I need it lol.

      Delete
  5. As you were explaining the process of pulling out the channels to achieve a vector based image, I was wondering how long it would take if you just sat in Illustrator and 'traced' it, or even in Photoshop and traced it with the pen tool.. Then I saw the pic of the Stratios and just laughed to myself.

    Kudos for putting together a workflow to enable you to NOT have to trace it out manually!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am at heart an incredibly hard working but yet also lazy ass artist, cut from a strange cloth and an even stranger background of experiences. What this means is that I will try anything to make my job easier.

      Having said that, some ships do require quite a bit of "hand-work", clean-up, drawing in missing pieces, adding lights, changing this or that. In the case of the Stratios I ended up drawing a large portion of the ship's shape by hand. The channels just wouldn't pull on so much white and shades of white.

      Delete
  6. Hei Rixx, I just printed the slicer for my studio. Great work!.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/adhx72cmnqghus2/20141015_131834.jpg?dl=0

    ReplyDelete