Designing a Retro-Style Superhero
Illustration by John Hersey

Filling and stroking the silhouette


From:

Designing a Retro-Style Superhero

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Filling and stroking the silhouette

In this chapter, we're going to paint in the body, and the face as you see here. And, we're going to start things off in this movie, by applying a couple of layer effects to the silhouette we've created so far, including a gradient overlay as well as a stroke. Now, the first thing we want to do, is determine the colors that we'll use inside the gradient. So, I've got cyan up here at the top, and then white down here at the bottom.
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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

Filling and stroking the silhouette

In this chapter, we're going to paint in the body, and the face as you see here. And, we're going to start things off in this movie, by applying a couple of layer effects to the silhouette we've created so far, including a gradient overlay as well as a stroke. Now, the first thing we want to do, is determine the colors that we'll use inside the gradient. Because my guy is the blue barbecue, and also because I'm trying to simulate a retro style comic book effect, I want to stick with a kind of cyan. So, I've got cyan up here at the top, and then white down here at the bottom. So, I'll go ahead and switch over to my image in progress here, and with the color panel up on screen.

And, if you don't see it by the way, you can go up to the window menu and choose the color command. And, notice that I'm seeing the HSB values. Now, you can work any way you want, but if you want to dial in hue saturation and brightness values, then go to the color panel flyout menu. You may see some extra functions up here, but the one you're looking for is HSP Sliders. And then, I'm going to increase both the saturation and the brightness values to 100%. And, by default that's going to give us a shade of red, and that's because the hue value is set to zero.

Strictly speaking, cyan has a hue value of 180 degrees, which is the complement to red. But, I decided just to give it a little more blue, to take the hue value up to 190 degrees. That gets us on the blue side as opposed to the green side of cyan. With those values in place, and with the in-flight layer selected here at the top of the layers panel, you want to drop down to the FX icon and choose Gradient Overlay. And, initially, that's going to give you a black to white gradient.

So, in other words, Photoshop is essentially ignoring everything you've done. To make it pay attention to the color that you dialed in, go ahead and click on this down-pointing arrowhead and choose the very first style of gradient, foreground to background. And, that will give you a cyan to white gradient, as you see right here. And, because it's going in the wrong direction, I'll go ahead and turn on the reverse check box. So, we're seeing cyan up here at the top, and white down here at the bottom. Now, that prevents us from distinguishing the form from the background, particularly down here at the feet, which is why I need to stroke the entire character in order to draw an outline around it.

So, this stroke function right here, I'll go ahead and turn it on, it's going to serve as our hand drawn outline. So, in other words, everything we've done so far, is all about creating a credible human form. After selecting stroke, which you do just by clicking on it, and that will turn on the stroke as well, you want to crank up the size value to 20 pixels. Again, if you're working along with me, make sure the color is black. If it's not, click on that color swatch and change the H, S, and B values all to zero. I'll go ahead and cancel out, because my stroke is already black.

Your's probably is too. And then, I'm going to change the position from outside to center in order to produce this result here. And now, I'll click OK in order to assign that stroke. Now, again, you may see a little bit of hitch. I'm seeing this problem on the bottom half of the right arm. But, notice if I zoom in on the image by pressing Ctrl +, or Cmd + on the mac, that little hitch goes away, which tells me that's just an element of Photoshop screen redraw when I'm zoomed that far out.

And that, quite simply friends, is how you color and outline the silhouette using a pair of layer effects here inside Photoshop.

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