Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Adding complementary colored clouds


From:

Designing a Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Adding complementary colored clouds

In this chapter, I'll show you how to create this dramatic background that makes the Blue Barbecue look like he's bursting forth from the image. And, it's a combination of these clouds that I'm adding inside of Photoshop, and these burst lines that I'll create inside of Illustrator. So we'll start off with the red clouds. I'll go ahead and switch over to my image in progress here and then I'll scroll to the bottom of the layers panel and click on the background. And ,next what you want to do is drop down to the black and white circle at the bottom of the layers panel, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and go ahead and click on that icon and choose gradient.
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  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
      41s
  2. 13m 6s
    1. Masking a person from a white background
      8m 20s
    2. Smoothing out the edges of a jagged mask
      4m 46s
  3. 28m 52s
    1. Adding power and motion with Liquify
      8m 21s
    2. Puppet warping the legs closer together
      6m 36s
    3. Applying a perspective-style transformation
      5m 34s
    4. Smoothing and removing details with Liquify
      8m 21s
  4. 28m 34s
    1. Filling and stroking the silhouette
      3m 47s
    2. Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
      7m 56s
    3. Hand-painting the face
      8m 56s
    4. Refining brushstrokes with Median and Minimum
      7m 55s
  5. 39m 2s
    1. Adding complementary colored clouds
      5m 28s
    2. Drawing a handful of spikes in Illustrator
      8m 34s
    3. Creating a burst pattern with Transform
      9m 36s
    4. Adjusting the spikes for a better effect
      7m 20s
    5. Bringing the burst pattern into Photoshop
      8m 4s
  6. 51m 4s
    1. Creating the extreme paths for the grill lines
      7m 31s
    2. Blending the grill lines in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    3. Correcting potential blending problems
      9m 58s
    4. Bringing the blended paths into Photoshop
      8m 27s
    5. Simulating pressure when stroking paths
      5m 35s
    6. Contouring the grill lines onto the face
      9m 51s
  7. 23m 47s
    1. Drawing a hand with the Pen tool
      9m 29s
    2. Converting the hand path to a shape layer
      6m 2s
    3. Finishing off the hands and gloves
      8m 16s
  8. 28m 49s
    1. Blend, scale, and rotate photographic flames
      6m 17s
    2. Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames
      7m 15s
    3. Shooting flames out of the hero's hands
      7m 34s
    4. Stroking the composite flames
      7m 43s
  9. 19m 13s
    1. Drawing cartoon flames as a shape layer
      5m 56s
    2. Enhancing the flames with layer effects
      5m 32s
    3. Adjusting Puppet Warp and Expansion
      7m 45s
  10. 16m 56s
    1. Installing a free comic-lettering font
      3m 59s
    2. Formatting the monologue text
      5m 43s
    3. Drawing the talk balloons (a.k.a. speech bubbles)
      7m 14s
  11. 43m 10s
    1. Selecting a font-creation software
      5m 17s
    2. Drawing consistently rendered letterforms
      9m 10s
    3. Pasting the letters into Glyphs Mini (Mac only)
      8m 11s
    4. Copying capitals into lowercase positions (Mac only)
      6m 45s
    5. Generating an OpenType font (Mac only)
      7m 56s
    6. Stylizing the custom font in Photoshop
      5m 51s
  12. 4m 24s
    1. Time lapse of the retro superhero
      3m 4s
    2. Until next time
      1m 20s

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
4h 57m Intermediate Jun 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Learn what it takes to design and create your own custom silver-age superhero. Join Deke as he starts by tracing a photo to create the hero's body and then jumps into Illustrator for the creation of the final effects. Finally, Deke takes us through the steps to lay out our own custom type to complete the comic.

Topics include:
  • Turning a person into a silhouette
  • Adding power and motion with Liquify
  • Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
  • Creating a dramatic background
  • Adding grill lines and flames
  • Inserting talk balloons
  • Creating a custom comic font
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Adding complementary colored clouds

In this chapter, I'll show you how to create this dramatic background that makes the Blue Barbecue look like he's bursting forth from the image. And, it's a combination of these clouds that I'm adding inside of Photoshop, and these burst lines that I'll create inside of Illustrator. So we'll start off with the red clouds. I'll go ahead and switch over to my image in progress here and then I'll scroll to the bottom of the layers panel and click on the background. And ,next what you want to do is drop down to the black and white circle at the bottom of the layers panel, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and go ahead and click on that icon and choose gradient.

And then because I have the alter option key down, that brings up the new layer dialogue box. And I'll go ahead and name this layer red gradient and I'll click okay. Next, inside the gradient fill dialog box, you want to go ahead and click on that gradient strip right there in order to bring up the Gradient Editor dialog box. And I'm going to switch to this gradient right here, red green, even though it's not exactly what I'm looking for, it's kind of close. And now, I'll double click on the red color stop, in order to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, and I'll change the hue value to zero degrees. I'll leave the saturation at 100%, and I'll take the brightness value up to 100% as well, and then I'll click okay. And now, if you're working along with me, you'll want to double click on the green color stop in order to once again, this is the color picker dialog box. This time we're going to change the hue value to 345 degrees which takes us a little bit into the magenta territory. And then, I'll once again leave the saturation value set to 100% and I'll take the brightness value up to 50% and I'll click okay. And then, I'll click okay again, this time to exit the gradient editor dialog box. So all I see onscreen is the gradient fill dialog box, at least where dialog boxes are concerned, anyway. Now you want to take the scale value down to 77%. So that we have a quicker fade from dark red at the top to bright red down here at the bottom. And I'm going to start my drag at the figure's jaw line, right here. And then I'll drag down to the top of the trunks, down to this location here in order to move my gradient downward, so that we have more dark red and less of the bright red. Now, go ahead and click okay in order to accept that change. Now, the great thing about this red background is that it complements the cyan that I used in order to fill the figure. Because after all, anytime you want a complimentary color, you want to rotate the hue value 180 degrees. So in my case, I have a cyan that's 190 degrees. So, you subtract 180, you get ten degrees, and then of course, I took a little bit of liberty and set that hue value to 0 degrees for the bright red and 345 degrees which means I subtracted 15 more degrees from 360 which is the same as zero down this 345 to get the dark red at the top. So again, I'm trying to stick with these old style comic book colors. Now, though, I want to do something that they didn't do very often back in the comic book days. They did sometimes. Jack Kirby did quite a bit, actually, in the 70s. Which is to add a photographic image to the mix. And so I'm going to bring in the stormy clouds, once again, from the Fotolia image library, about which you can learn more, and get deals at fotolia.com/deke. And, I'm going to go up to the file menu and choose the file info command in order to find out what the file number of this image is. And it's 146 and a bunch of other numbers. I'll go ahead and select that number by dragging across it. And then I'll press control C or command C on the Mac to copy it, and now I'll click cancel. Now I want to duplicate the clouds into my image-in-progress, so I'll right-click inside the image window with my rectangular marquee tool, very important. Then I'll choose Duplicate Layer, and I'll change my document to Face-and-Body right here, and I'll go ahead and click okay in order to duplicate that layer. And now I'll switch over to the face and body image and you can see I have a new layer that's just called background. I'm going to change its name by double clicking on the current layer name right there and I'll enter the word clouds and then I'll enter an open parenthesis and I'll press control V or command V on the Mac to paste that file number, just so I remember where it came from, in case I need to come back to it later. And then I'll enter a closed parenthesis like so. So it's not necessary that you name a layer that way but it can be a really good idea, if you ever want to find the image again. Now, press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, in order to accept that new name. And now I want to blend this cloud's layer with the gradient behind it and I'll do that by going up to the Blend Mode pop up menu in the upper left corner of the layers panel and I'm going to chose the very last blend mode, luminosity in order to produce this effect here. And that's how you add a dramatic, complementary colored, photographic background to your comic book superhero, here inside Photoshop.

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