Shadows, Midtones & Highlights

Roll on another week of concept art and more tuition in Photoshop. This week we were instructed to be observant of shadows, midtones and highlights, to achieve this we had to replicate a black and white photo only using three tones. Much like previous weeks this was more an exercise in creativity and observation than demonstrating a perfect ability to draw.

I had a quick look on the internet for a photo to use and straight away settled on this wonderful chap. He contrasted quite strongly against the negative space in the background so I hoped it may be easier to pick out his tones without distraction.

Who doesn’t love Churchill?!

We began with a large brush in Photoshop and eyeballed the outline of the person using a midtone grey of our choosing. To add detail above this we used the knowledge of clipping masks we gained last week and began to add in the darkest areas/shadows. Another clipping layer was created on top and the same method was used for the lightest shades.

For only having a mouse to work with I’m fairly happy with the result. It takes a while to get your brain to stop looking for fine detail and start looking for colour/shade but once you do it’s a relaxed experience. It’s a very quick method of blocking out shape which will most definitely be useful for trying to speed paint ideas.

A little while after class I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d seen a similar art style used in a game. Eventually it hit me and reminds me of the character portraits in Lucas Pope’s Papers Please. Proof you don’t need to be the most amazing photo-realistic artist to develop successful games.

The character Jorji from Papers Please. Drawn in only three shades.



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