View Full Version : Machineflesh 2D Challenge Entry: Matthew Tito Cuenca

06 June 2004, 01:49 AM
Matthew Tito Cuenca has entered the Machineflesh 2D Challenge.

06 June 2004, 02:02 AM (

My concept behind my piece is the desire to better, stronger, faster, smarter, better looking. So I came up with the intial sketch of "Body Shop." It's a mixture of Extreme Makeover, Monster Garage and the Bionic Series.

I will be working with Photoshop 7.0, Illustrator 9.0 and Painter 8.0 on an iMac w/Mas OS 9.2. I hope to complete this peice in about 7 days with extra room for tweaking.

I have a lot of coloring tricks, so I hope you like the information I post. An exchange of questions, comments and critiques are most appreciated. Thanks for the opportunity to post with a diverse group of creative artists!

06 June 2004, 02:11 AM
Love it already, cant wait to see your colouring tips and the progress of your work. Welcome to the challenge. Keep the updates coming, youre bookmarked.:thumbsup: :beer: :D :beer:

06 June 2004, 02:37 AM (

Here is sketch #2. I've more changes on the operating table and the prostethic devices on the girl. I'm also fleshing out the background scenery. I normaly work on the background and foreground seperatly and fuse them together in the final coloring stage.

I will be scanning this image into Photoshop at 300dpi grayscale, I normally adjust the levels to get the most contrast without losing detail. I make a reference copy and export to Illustrator.

Since I have a lot of machinery I prefer using Illustrator for the details and adjustablity. I will also start color flating the illustration in Illustrator. I do keep the girl's image in Photoshop. I will freehand her outlines and color flats there.

Since I sometimes adust the composition in the illustration several times, I like to seperate each object on a seperate layer. For example I have the operating table top on one layer, the table bottom in another, the welding machine on another and so on and so on.

To make color flats, open the export sketch file , dbl click on the layer and choose template. Now you can start tracing your sketch. I start with the pen tool, colored stroke 4pt and no fill. It makes it easier to see where each path is going and placement. Make sure that the colors for each path is very different from eachother and that two same colored paths are touching. You will have problems in Photo shop if they are. After color flating I have 9 layers. I label each layer to correspond with the item. A good tip is to hide the layer you aren't using and lock it. I made made a lot of mistake adjusting the wrong layer. Also save frequently. All these layers use up a lot of memory.

I then make a copy of each layer. With these I create the lineart. I choose select > same stroke weight. This selects all your paths. Assign white for your fill and black for your stroke. Now you have your line art and your color flats.

I will post the line art and flats after I export it back to Photoshop in the next post.

06 June 2004, 02:58 AM (

Here is the line art I made in Illustrator and the girl I outlined in Photoshop.

Make sure to save your Illustrator file as a Photoshop export file and preserve the layers you made. You will be transfering the color flats into channels when you get into Photoshop.

When I open the Illustartor export file in Photoshop all my layers are intact. I first link the lineart with its correspong color flate (ex: table-line layer linked to table-color layer). This way the will remain in alignment when you move the objects around.

As you can see I changed a couple of things in Illustrator. I changed the position of the machines and the base of the table.

I will eventually remove a the outlines when I start painting/coloring. So I after I change the composition to what I like, I save a copy of each outline layer in channels. YOu can do this by selecting the outline layer then in your channels menu pallet click in the button at the lower left hand side. It looks like a circle with a dashed out line. This will selct you out line. Then click on the button to its right. It looks like a grey box with a circle cut out. this will make a new channel layer. dble click on the layer and name it, also check a make sure that the color is black at 100% opacity. Do this with each lineart layer. This way if you accidentally erase a layer you will always have a backup.

I can post screen shots of these instructions if anybody needs them. I'll post the color flats next.

06 June 2004, 03:16 AM (

Here's my first stage in coloring. Most of the tedious work is over. Like the outlines I have saved channel layers for each color flat layer. It may look like I have some colors running together, but that's okay because it just looks that way. This picture is composed of 9 seperate flat layers. That safe guards me from any future mistakes.

Nope, I haven't forgotten the background. I have started designing the wall panels and computer terminals for the background in Illustrator. Like I mentioned before, I like to keep the background and fore ground seperate during the initial stages. If I didn't there would be way too many layers, and way too confusing, not to say a memory nightmare.

Now I start looking for my donor colors. Sometimes I get my colors from classical painting or from National Geographic photos. I like to find a combination of color that help the story along as well grab the attention.

I will have the base palette , the flat colors and initial airbrush strokes in the next posting.


06 June 2004, 03:33 AM (

Thanks to Sketchfiend for your kind remarks, I hope my instructions are helpful and easy to decipher. As promised here is the first day of coloring post.

I made some more changes to the illustration. It felt it was a little off balance so I added an additinal machine arm on the right side. I think it looks better.

These are only the base airbrush colors. So I will be adding the background, labeling on the machines , motion blur, and lighting later.

First I found three great pictures for my color donors, two of them weren't compatible with the first so I tweaked them wih hue and saturation until they were similar in value. I created a color library in Painter (since I will beworking with the same pallet there) and a base color pallet in Photoshop. A good tip is to place swatches in rows based on subject. For example, one row for skin, one row for metal, one row for background. Of course you can use any color from whatever row, this just makes it more organized. By day 5 you may not remember if red #65 is what you used on the lips or was it red #16.

I create a new file where I merge all my line art to one layer. I set that layer to multiply so I can still see the line art as I color each color flat layer.

First I create gradients for items I know I will be using a lot. I make a generic gradient for metal and another for the walls.

I now designate my light sources. To keep track of where each light source is I create a quick mask and edit out using lasso where my light sources are and how they effect shadows. I save this mask in channels for later.

I set my wand to 0 tolerance, continuous and anti alias. Always select you color flats on your channel copies. Just toggle back and forth with layers to color your pieces. For the metal I select the color flat in channel toggle back to layers and choose my color layer (table). I use the gradient to set down the itinal color. My gradients are always the same: the hot spot (lights color is to the left, my mid tones, darkest shadow, and I end with my reflected shine (a little darker than the hot spot and usually a different hue). After I lay the gradient I start shading with the airbrush tool set on 35% opacity. If haven't mentioned it before I am using a Wacom pad with a pressure sensitive pen. I start shading with a very large brush for mid ones and reduce the size as I increase the opacity for the shadows and highlights. I still have the whole piece selected. I go under filters> plastic wrap. Set the controls to your preference. For me I keep highlight intensity low, detail mid-high and smoothness on the highest. Plastic wrap your piece. Goback to your peice and use the smuge tool set on 64 pressure and smudge the in the direction of the piece shape. For example if the space is a circle you want to smudge the hightlaights in the direct of a curve radiating from the highlight. repeat process for each piece. Rember to keep in mind where your lightsources are. Use your light source quick mask you saved in channels for reference.

Tip on lights. Keep you light on a separate layer. If you decide later that you want to change a location of a light it's much easier to move if it's on another layer. If you place the "glow" on the same layer as your piece you will have to erase and recolor everything that is effected by the glow. I my illustration the glow on the girl, her head, the lights on the table are all in one layer labeled glow,

If there is anything on this illustration your would like further instruction on ( like the x-rays) just email a request.


06 June 2004, 02:11 AM (

Here is day 2 in coloring. I still haven't finished a background but I think everything's going okay. I readjusted the colors some more so it wouldn't be too saturated. I will post a closeup next , I should be able to remove the outline and transfer to Painter as soon as I finish the background.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


06 June 2004, 02:14 AM (

Here is a closeup. I'm having a little trouble on the sparks of the welding. They just don't look convincing. Any suggestions would be great!

06 June 2004, 12:37 AM (

Here coloring day 3. I removed the black outlines. But since I like some sort of holding line I loaded selection channel-lineart expanded the outline by 2 pixels in select.expand and feathered the selection by 2 pixels. I used adjusted saturation to the lowest and darkened the selection -13 to -22 depending on the object layer. This makes a holding line that stays consistent with the surrounding images. I also used blur on some selection layers, like the armor, to remove most of the jagged lines left by the color flats.

I also started to develop the face more and I went for the plastic surgery ideal. Caucasian features, almond shaped eyes, pouty lips and blue pupils.


06 June 2004, 01:49 PM

great job man!!!

your draw and colors make me think in a egyptian girl, because the expression and color scheme... I think in a chin like "tutankamon" to amply this... hehehe not consideres, its a fly think that scapes of my mind...

Just keep! your progress is amazing!


my entry (

06 June 2004, 12:24 AM (

Today I spent most of the day cleaning up jagged lines and color and saturation. Londero got me thinking on his comments regarding Tutankhamon and decided to change the background from a garage type to a futuristic preperation chamber. I also can dabble with mystical transformation as well as mechanicle. Thanks Londero for you comments!!


06 June 2004, 12:25 AM (

Today I spent most of the day cleaning up jagged lines and color and saturation. Londero got me thinking on his comments regarding Tutankhamon and decided to change the background from a garage type to a futuristic preparation chamber. I also can dabble with mystical transformation as well as mechanicle. Thanks Londero for you comments!!


06 June 2004, 03:05 AM
i like your drawing and your direction, but i don't seem to comprehend what you are going to do with the background. you give us a lot of negative spaces and i feel drawn to them. i think that focusing on what you want in the background will help us to focus on the character instead of just leaving her on a black bg. it's starting to come along. keep it up. sorry, i just read what you posted instead of just looking at the images. yes a futuristic setting would be good, better than a garage. and another thing now that i look at it some more. i think that you have too many light sources. they're all trying grab my attention too...which causes confusion because i don't know where you are trying to lead my eye.

06 June 2004, 09:12 PM
Stormeffex, I agree. I've been battling back and forth on all the lights. I darkened them twice, but I think the best thing is to remove several. I will first place a rough of the background so I can direct the light source and focus from upper right to lower left.

Thakns for the comments. I'm taking a day off and will post on Wednesday.


06 June 2004, 12:48 AM (

I've been having great difficulty choosing a background so I haven't been posting. But finaling here is what I've come up with.

The thumbnails show the stages I went through in creating the background. I started with a scanned in pencil sketch and mapped out the foreground to background in shades of grey depending on distance. Then I went into Illustrator and created my lineart and color flats. I then went back into Photoshop where the started coloring the foreground. I then went and recolored the background and added some texture. Finaling I added all the details of the background before joining it with the image. I can show details of each stage if anyone is interested.


06 June 2004, 12:54 AM (

Here are my choices for final coloring. The first (L>R) is the image with lens flare and full lights on high. The second is with full lights on high. The third has lights on low. Which do you prefer?

You may have noticed I also added the labels on some of the machinery and rearranged some of the machine arms. I still might add more shadow and blur out the foreground and background some more to place more emphasis on the central image.

I'll post close-ups of the final final image in the next post.


06 June 2004, 02:18 PM (

So here is my final coloring WIP. I'm pretty happy with the results. I changed the skin tone, added shows and lights and extra bells and whistles. I think the stars in her hair adds that fantasy/mystical feel I was looking for. I might still goof around in painter to add some texture since everything looks so clean and new.

Well that's it from me. Thanks to everybody for the opportunity to be part of a great learning experience.


06 June 2004, 04:21 PM
I really like your sketches, the colours are definetely not in my style, but anyway i don't doubt they are really good. There's definetely something mystical in your work, also a bit of technical atmosphere. Very interesting concept. Good luck!!!!:wavey:

06 June 2004, 12:17 AM (

Here's my Final Image Milestone.


06 June 2004, 09:39 PM
Thanks for your comments ioio. I got to see your artwork and I'm now a big fan! :thumbsup: Good luck with competion!

---Matt :beer:

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