Since I am currently working on a realistic skin for a lowpolygon character, I thought it might be a good idea to share the progress and to sum it up into a tutorial. Many people still have problems with drawing a quite realistic looking head, and so this tutorial maybe will help out. I have been skinning characters for some time now and liked to share this technic with you, maybe you will find it useful.
This is not a tutorial for bloody beginners, I won’t describe every layer I place, or the exact settings of the tools. Generally I make a new layer for every step I do. Try to be a bit individual.
I leart a lot of technic by looking on other skins from famous artists, this might be a beginning download some skins and look how they might have been doing this.
- A version of Photoshop (7.0 recommended)
- Some basic experience, e.g. how to handle tools
- Be able to create your own layers
- maybe some skill
Part 1. Setting up the skin and drawing a half-shaved beard and chin
- The very first step is to create a palette that we will use for our head. I createt this one that I bincluded in my image in order to pick them every time I need. Then it is quite important to get a fitting background color. I decided for RGB (172 114 100) and filled the whole image with it. Now take a close look to your unwrapped mesh in order to see where are important things such as the eyes and the mouth. I made some quick selections and added a superior layer to fill these with a good visible color. First step is done now.
2. Now it’s already getting a bit difficult. We now take a quite lake and low ocopacy pencil and create a general shape of the whole face. Remember to make the forehead in brighter colors than the chin for example. Also the eye sockets need to be in some brighter colors while the cheeks need to be some kind of reddish. I also decided to do a half-shaved beard. You maybe need to spend some time with this because it’s quite important for the following steps. Now a quite useful trick. In order to make the skin look a bit irregular and meaty, create a new layer select the whole image and press ‘q’. You are now in the selection mode and can paint your selection. When you press ‘q’ again he creates the selection you have just painted. Well before pressing ‘q’ again we first need to create our selection. Go to the pixelate-filters and choose Mezzotint. Don’t frighten now because the whole image is kind of reddish looking we will soon change it. Ok now press q again and you have a quite cool selection. Now we simply need to reverse the selection and fill it with a reddish color. Play around with the ocapacy of the layer now till you get your desired result.
3. In this first step of the tutorial I will only care for the chin and the beard. Other steps willl follow soon. Choose a darker brown out of your palette and care for the chin. Remember to do darken the parts quite a lot that are just below the chin. For the first step of the beard we simply paint with some kind of brownish looking color around the cheeks. Now you need to be a bit individual. You need to develope an idea of where the beard will be, also be creative with picking the desired pencils. We won’t always use the default pencil but also look around for others. Looks ok so far? Then just follow with the next step.
4. This step is quite simple, just select your bourne and dodge tools and play around a bit on the chin and the throat, till you get the desired result. I took quite a lot efford in defining the area around the chin to make it look more 3-dimensional. When finished follow the next step.
5. After finishing you duplicate the whole layer and go to the layer options. Copy both layer into another, it will look quite oversaturated now. So just decrease the saturation of the second layer and play around with the ocopacy. Try to give the beard more style now. Remember that the hairy effect comes through the combination of blury parts and stoppy ones. I tryed to work with more stoppy brushes on the borders of the beard and make it more blury in the centers. Just take you time till you are satisfied.
6. Now just give the beard and chin more definition. I selectet the bourne and dodge tool on quite a little brush size and low ocopacy and added a little more contrast to some parts. Also add some skin tones right above the skin to boost the half-shaved look.
This was the very first part of my tutorial about skinning a photorealistic head. Hope you enjoyed so far and watch out the other parts. The next part will care about improving the meaty look of the skin.