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I’m really excited! Today’s design lesson is one of our most comprehensive tutorials ever.
I’m not going to bang on about how this tutorial is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Instead, I want to show you just how much you’ll learn from following along:
Cummon, let’s get started!
To start things off I made a quick sketch of what I had in mind for the main subject of the image, which is a heavy Viking Axe with all the visual details to hold a good strong sense of that culture. You can use this sketch, or maybe choose to make one of your own; the technique for bringing it to life will work either way.
So on top of the sketch we will start tracing with the pen tool the main all around shape as shown.
Be sure to setup the pen tool options as shown here so your tracing makes a shape, yet it doesn’t block the view with any fill color and the line is thin enough for us to lay it down where needed accurately.
Once you have traced the main shape you can start creating the shapes inside again with the pen tool, keeping each shape in a separate layer.
Now we have the main shape and the two inner sections of the Axe, so now we can select a fill color for each; so just pick a mid gray for the overall Axe and a slightly brighter gray for the inner sections, and setting the stroke to none.
At this point we can resize the image to the final size, and since we have vector shapes in place, we can resize those as well without loosing any detail or resolution. Then we continue our tracing in exactly the same way for the other pieces of the Axe as shown here until we have a shape for each of the sections.
Lets continue by bringing in this image of a tribal graphic and make a quick color range selection to extract it on to our image.
Scale it down to fit over the top left section of the inner Axe, and then create a clipping mask for it so it only shows over that section.
Repeat the same for the lower right section, choosing a slightly different framing
Then open up the layer style for this graphic layer and apply the settings for both drop shadow and color overlay as shown here.
Then copy the same layer style to the other sections so we have the subtle shadow effect for all of them. Just in the handle section of the Axe remove the color overlay to keep them a lighter color.
Once we are finished with the layer styles, we will now group all of the Axe layers, duplicate the group; and then merge the duplicate so we have now one layer to continue working on while keeping the original shapes hidden in case we need them. Once we have the merged single layer we can apply some subtle shading to the Axe so we have a bit of thickness on it just by painting in with a soft brush a bit darker color.
Next up we will start introducing texture to our Axe shape, so we will use a section of this image to start applying some texture to our Axe; so copy the clean section shown here and paste it over to a new layer.
I was born in Mexico City, worked and studied photography at Eastman Kodak while training in minilab management and traditional darkroom techniques. Now I am steadily growing in the freelance world on matte painting, digital art/illustration and even some 3d modeling.
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