Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames


Designs dekeConstructed: Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

Video: Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames

In this movie, I'll show you how to fill in some of the blank regions of flame,
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  1. 41s
    1. Welcome
  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 Designs dekeConstructed: 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.

Want more of Designs dekeConstructed, the series that breaks down popular graphic designs so you can re-create them on your own? Check out Deke's page.

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
Illustrator Photoshop
Deke McClelland

Filling in gaps with symmetrical flames

In this movie, I'll show you how to fill in some of the blank regions of flame, including these areas between the legs and these regions to the left and the right of the abdomen. So, the first thing I'm going to do is create a symmetrical flame pattern, that's independent of the smart objects I've created so far. And to do that, I will make sure that my rectangular marquee tool is selected, here at the top of the tool box. And then, I'll right-click inside the image window, assuming one of the smart objects, one of the flames, is selected here inside of the Layers panel.

You right-click inside the image window, and you choose New Smart Object via Copy and that way you have an independent smart object, so it's not linked to these other two. And so I'll go ahead and choose that command, it looks the same as it did before but trust me it's different. And now, I'm going to press the control key or the command key on the Mac and drag this guy over to the right just so we can see it better. And I'm going to once again transform it, and, because I'm working with a smart object, I can scale and rotate these flames non destructively by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Free Transform or you press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on a Mac. And let's go ahead and change the angle value to 90 degrees, positive 90, by the way. And then, I'm going to select the width value and change that to 100% and them I'm going to tab to the height and change it to 80%. And now, you can press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times in order to accept that change. All right, now that this flame is scaled and oriented the way I want it. I need to make it symmetrical and I'll do that by double clicking on the thumbnail for this newest layer. Actually, let's go ahead and rename this layer while we're here. I'll go ahead and call it symmetrical like so and then I'll double click on its thumbnail. You may see an alert message telling you how smart objects work. If so, go ahead and click okay. And now, we want to flip the flames inside of a new canvas, so we need more room to work, we need to increase the size of this image by going up to the image menu, and choosing canvas size. Now, I want to expand the canvas downward so I'm going to select this top square inside of this anchor region right here, so that I'm expanding down, like so. And then, you want to put the relative check box be turned off. And I'm going to increase the height value to 1908 pixels. Why? Because that's what I came up with. Just trial and error. And make sure, by the way, that pixels, not inches or millimeters or something else is selected. You typically want to be working in pixels no matter what, and that's because pixels and going to give you the best view of what's going on inside of an image. Alright now, click okay in order to expand the canvas just a little bit downward as you can see about a third extra. And now, I'm going to flip the flames downward. And I want to flip a copy of course so I'll press Control Alt T or Command Option T on the Mac. And this time that works because I'm not working with the Smart Object. I'm working with the static pixel based layer inside of a smart object. I'm going to right click inside this image, and choose flip vertical in order to create a flipped flame. And I'll drag this guy downward while pressing the shift key. And you should feel the image snap into alignment like so. And then press the enter key or the return key on a Mac, to accept that change. And then finally, go to the Blend mode pop-up menu in the upper left hand corner of the Layers panel and choose Screen in order to produce this symmetrical effect here, and if all goes well, it should remind you of a fairly simple Kaleidoscope. Alright, now I'm going to go ahead and close this image by clicking in the Close box, and then, here on the PC, I'll click the Yes button on the Mac you would click the Save button in order to save your changes into the image. And notice, because this is an independent smart object, I effect that one symmetrical layer and none of the other two. These two guys are still linked to each other, but not to this one. I'm going to scroll down a little bit. Alright, now I'll press the Control key or the Command key on the Mac in order to temporarily invoke the move tool. And I'll drag this guy into the desired position, which I'm not finding, and that's because for some reason things get messed up at this point. This guy is actually upside down and to correct that problem what I'm going to do is press CTRL+T, or Command T on a Mac, to once again invoke the Free Transform mode. And notice that the width value is the way I left it. The height value is the way I left it but the rotation value here, the angle is negative for some reason. I did not enter a negative, I assure you. So, I'm just going to go ahead and get rid of that negative sign. Press the enter key or the return key on a Mac. Now, we'll go ahead and spin the flames. So, that what was formerly on top is not at the bottom, which is what I want. And now, press the Control key or the Command key on the Mac and drag this guy into place, which is right about there. And this is going to be possibly a little bit difficult to follow along. But I"ll try to make it more, I'll try to make it less difficult by zooming in.

I want you to see what I'm looking for here. I've got this little point of alignment. I'll go ahead and nudge this guy over. Notice these double humps right there, kind of a little mouth inside of the flame and that's aligned with the top of the knee. And also, you'll see a little bit of extra brightness below the feet. Once again, if you're following along. I want fill in that around the abdomen and under the arms here next to the chest. And I'm going to do that using another incarnation of this layer. So, I'll go ahead Ctrl+j or Cmd+j on Mac to jump a copy of that symmetrical layer.

And now, press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac to once again enter the free transform mode. And up here in the Options bar, I'm going to select this bottom middle point in the reference point matrix. And then, I'll change the width value to a 116% and I'll change the height value to a 130% that just happen to work well for this particular image. And I'll press the enter key or the return key on a Mac a couple of times, in order to apply that change. Alright, this time, what we want to do, is center the flame. Once again, it got out of whack, there. I'll go ahead and drag it up here, so that the top portion of the flame, appears to form a kind of hat, on top of our character's head. Alright, now that little hat is helpful for alignment purposes but we don't really want it to appear. So, I'm going to mask this region around the head away, where at least this flame layer's concerned, by switching to the lasso tool, which you can get by pressing the l key. And then, I'll go ahead and draw a lasso around this region. So, basically I'm tracing through the arms, up through the hands and around the bottom of the head as you can see, and I get this selection right there. And now, to mask that region of the layer away, you drop down to the add layer mask icon t the bottom of the layers panel and then you alt or option click on it and that will go ahead and mask the selection away as opposed to keeping the selected region. And that, friends, is how you fill up the empty region of the composition using an independent and symmetrical flame pattern here inside Photoshop.

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