LOSE YOUR FEAR TO MAKE BACKGROUNDS

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INTRODUCTION

Hello! My name is Hoz, you can find me on Instagram @hozartist and on artstation as HOZART. For four years I’ve been painting and creating professionally for the animation and video game industry. In this tutorial I will show you the process of how I did this background. Let’s begin.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZxvrzDyRa8

STEP 1: COMPOSITION THUMBNAILS

The first things we’ll make are composition thumbnails, our goal is that our idea can get through with only two values (black and White) and simple shapes.

After this we’ll add more values on the grayscale to give an idea of lighting.

When I’m thinking my compositions I keep in mind 3 things:
1- FOCAL POINT
2- HIERARCHY
3- DIRECTION

FOCAL POINT

So, focal point, I used the most basic composition grid. THE RULE OF THIRDS, basically in these intersections (X) you can place the important stuff. Right now it’s ok but it can get better…

So I cropped the frame at the right side so the thirds can fit better the statues.

HIERARCHY

Thinking in hierarchy I decided that the closest statue to us, or the camera is the most important object for me, second the farthest statue and the ruins and lastly the small characters that just found this place.

DIRECTION

What do I mean with “direction”? Well...when you draw a character this “direction” it’s called “RYTHM” or “GESTURE” it’s the force within the pose

In backgrounds it’s really similar, but this force is the one that takes you to the focal point, for example: Here we have a small person, alone in the desert

Nothing fancy, but if we add a mountain in the background this will work as an arrow that makes us look at him,

This directions can be found anywhere, like a cloud, a sign, or even a shadow, you decide!

Coming back to the statue, I tried that my hierarchy worked like a circle, also, I added some secondary elements (ORANGE) so the viewer would be trapped in a loop inside the composition FOREVER!

STEP 2: ROUGH

Now, let’s draw some lines. My first advice, specially with flat/hard surfaces like the ruins is to make a perspective ruler, we’’l go to “LAYER” “RULE/FRAME” and “CREATE PERSPECTIVE RULER”

I used a two-point perspective and then I set the horizon line to the ones I stablished in the thumbnail, then I started to draw a ROUGH looking for more defined shapes in the thumb and always looking at references

STEP 3: SKETCH

Having our rough finished we can continue with the sketch in which i'm trying to make the elements more understandable, thats why its really important to have a good collection of references , so we wont loose time trying to make something from scratch, here we have the sketch.

STEP 4: LINEART

NOW! Before doing the final lineart, have in mind that the thickness of the line can help with the illusion of Depth.

First, create a VECTOR LAYER (The green one!!!!)

The vector layer is your friend, lets draw, keep in mind the thickness of the line, this is the FG (foreground) so I used 7 pixels, for the MG (midground) i created another VECTOR LAYER and used 6 pixels for those lines ( for the details inside the objects i used 5 pixels) I finished up the remaining elements and here we have the final lineart.

STEP 5: COLOR THUMBNAILS

Now you may be asking “HOW DO I CHOOSE MY COLOR PALLETE?” and I would answer:
1- Think in temperature, the place is warm or cold, how cold?
2-Think in the local colors (the local colors are the natural colors of things, for example, an aplee is red right? Well red is the natural color of the apple, it’s local color)
3-The feeling, you want a scene that feels homelike? Frightening? Mysterious? Again if you feel lost, just look up references

Anyway, with this in mind, we can begin with color thumbnails, these are color explorations to find something that works or adapts well with we are looking for.

Here I'll leave you a scheme of how I thought the temperature in all the thumbs.

STEP 6: COLOR FLATS

Let’s keep going, now FLATS, this time we will click in the our lineart layer, and turn on this Little lighthouse, then we will add a NORMAL LAYER and we’ll place it beneath this new layer

COLORING TIME, I will color with the “FILL” tool, remember to have this things turned on and you’ll be happier

Here we have the FLATS, i know these are random colors...

But now we’ll bring the color thumb i liked the most and we’ll place it right here so we can color pick and begin to assign the real local colors to the flats that we did previously

COLOR JITTER

Before continuing, small tip: COLOR JITTER, you know what that is? IT ‘S MAGIC! With color jitter a normal color stroke will transform into a stroke full of life!

How do i do it? Easy

1-First we will duplicate any brush (sub tool/that little plus icon at the bottom), so we can just play with this new clone and mess it up a little bit

2- With the new brush selected we click in this little wrench (tool proterty) and that will open this tab called Sub Tool Detail, and we look for color jitter

We look for color jitter small tab (1), we check all of this (2) and finally you need to move this bars (3)

With this we can turn our boring flats into something more interesting. LOOK! I just colorpicked and repaint the flats with this color jitter

STEP 7: (MULTIPLY) SHADOWS

We start placing some shadows, again, new layer and we change from normal to multiply, these are the colors that I use (it's the same layer but one with normal mode and the other with multiply)

STEP 8: COLORING THE LINE

After add some details to the drawing i'm ready to color the line, that will help us to increase the depth in the background, how? I’ll show you:

Here we have some happy lines, I’ll add a new layer on top of it

Then clip to layer bellow

and that's it, we can start to coloring those lines

Here is how the background ended up with the colored lines

STEP 9: LIGHT n SHADOW FX's

We're gonna use the GRADIENT TOOL in a new layer between the planes, between the FG and MG and we're gonna do a gradient with a saturated color using any of these LAYER MODES

Try them all and stick with one you like the most, I chose ADD (GLOW) and turned down the opacity.
With this power in your hands you can add volume to all the elements you want and your scene will look more volumetric (at the end I added some particles to insinuate some wind) i added couple of characters, and here we have it.

This can already be considered as a finalized BG, but...

STEP 10: THE PAINT-LIKE STYLE

To achieve this paint-like style i'm gonna use these explanatory-cube-and-sphere

First I set the line to a lighter value

Soften up the edges here, bouncing light there

Paint on top of the lines and for me the most important, the OCCLUSION SHADOW and the HIGHTLIGHS, ill place some explanatory-arrows so you can understand better what i'm saying

Now, for finish up the background, first, I changed the tone of the line into a lighter and saturated tone, then I appllied the occlusion shadows, these shadow are the areas where two surfaces meet, usually those are the places where the lineart is, in painting for example, between the branches and the cracks of the ruins

I also added some high tones on the leaves and on the edges of the broken brick

I added more details to the Grass and added volumen to the columns, and here we are at the end of our tutorial. Always looking to cover the lines of the previous style

And here we are at the end of our tutorial, I hope you’ve learned something. THANK YOU !!

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