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Submitted on
August 4, 2010
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1.6 MB


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Terran Medic - The Making Of by VonSchlippe Terran Medic - The Making Of by VonSchlippe
This is a slide show of WIP pictures; it is the Making-Of for a picture called "Starcraft Terran Medic" which can be found here: [link]

Many people have asked about some technical details about the picture, so I figured this would be the best place to answer them!

You can find all 170 layers on the right side. Not all of them have the same importance (some are tiny details, and others, like the "face sketch", are composed of 20-30 layers flattened together from a separate photoshop page). This is not a very creative nor efficient way to go around a drawing, but that's how I roll; I'm kind of OCD when it comes to photoshop. I am quite pathetic at speedpainting. How do they do it?!

Anyways, here are the steps from the screenshots I kept. The quality varies from screenshot to screenshot because I had to crop and stretch some of the images so they would show the same thing.

1- It all started out as a doodle I did while relaxing between hours of studying for exams (gah! thermodynamics!). I made up some brush that evoked skin texture and played around with it for two hours or so until I got this first image.

2- Looking at the AMAZING cinematic trailer for starcraft II that the blizzard team came up with, I had an idea to make a medic to go with the marine. A quick screenshot from the trailer provided the right reference for some basic lineart, but the crappy quality I got out of it was not sufficient to match the resolution on the face. Moar painting was needed.

3- I'm almost done painting her face; this is still on the original photoshop document I started with. The eyes are weird because they are not done yet. I have sketched out shapes and lines to emulate some marine armor, but nothing clear is out yet. I thought it was showing some potential at this point. Her face still had shape problems though.

4- I flattened the face into a single layer and started a new photoshop document with the final resolution I desired. I was still not done editing the face however: shadows helped me sculpt her figure into something more human. The projection on her face is almost final on the screenshot, although there is no specular light yet. Layer by layer, the helmet is taking shape.

5- Understanding the mechanics of the helmet helped me shape the frame around her neck, the details of the helmet and the microphones.

6- A regular soft brush is used to paint one side of the armor. I used tones of grey and blue. I am about 20 hours into the painting at this point, with some 100 layers individually displaying one detail or section of every metal piece in the armor and helmet.

7- The right side armor is flipped horizontally to save time, then edited again with a brush to display different lighting (thus breaking the symetry but keeping the dimensions identical).

8- there are about 70 layers added to complete the image; at least 40 of them are for the lighting only (overlay, screen, multiply and soft light layer modes primarily). I also added many textures in overlay mode to many key parts of the armor to add to its realism. Another part of the final touches to this image is in color correction layers (curve filters, soft lights...). Once the image was "perfect", in the sense I had calibrated it for best printing and viewing on screen, I saved a copy and gave my friend Casualzombie a big surprise!

Hope this answers some questions about the technical process behind this image. I am incredibly thrilled with the response and critique I got for this picture and this is the least I can do to say thanks! If you have any questions about any step of the process, feel free to ask! I will answer as fast as I can!

-Vonschlippe (Nicolas Kudeljan)
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ShrillLlama Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014
This is a very effective way of displaying WIPs.  I might have to try something similar.
sadowclow Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014
pls gifl me all layer .. pls VonSchlippe T-T pls pls pls
TheSupport Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice work
AVAGAX Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi! do you have any video o any place where I can get your way of work? I wan to learn it.
LaskunA Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012
WOW WOW WOW!!!! Lots of layers! But effect is impressive, i think this portrait is photomanipulation. Greate job.
yf19-sama Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Did at least your layers helped you to speed up the process?

I was thinking the picture was done using a bit of 3d software
VonSchlippe Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012
The multiple layers are actually quite unefficient and unhelpful when it comes to speed of process. The reason I have so many of them is that I use layers as backups for my painting process, allowing me to go back in time without erasing or using the undo button. There is also the fact I make heavy use of layer modes (overlays, soft lights, multiplies, etc.)to shape objects as I progress, and those are quite tricky to flatten without side effects or loss of flexibility.

TL:DR, I'm a cowardly painter who likes to make tiny last minute changes to my pieces, hence I keep everything in separate layers.
SycrosD4 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
kaber13 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Brilliant work. I also tend to work with lots of layers, merging as I go. Thank you for the little overview. It certainly helps to get a better understanding of how you developed this piece and I find it quite inspiering. I don't think there is a wrong way to go about this, just practice and time in developing more efficient ways. Thank you again for sharing.:D
quitlater2 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012
man you have so many layers. Does that usually help with more detailed work? (newbie to digital rendering on photoshop)
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