I'm really happy with tonight's lesson. You should be also. The previous Making Javantea's Fate showed a girl with red hair. Her hair was not very realistic. It started as red, then I attempted to change it highlighted and shaded. It didn't work terrifically well. Well, I came up with a new hair generation technique and I'd like to share it with you. It was done in Gimp, but you can probably figure it out in any sufficiently good image editor. I started with the ink pen. This image highlights the use of an ink pen: jaw outline, eye outline, nose, and mouth are all pen. That's a simple use of pen. I tried to make hair-looking things with the pen. I lowered the opacity and painted hair strands as best I could. Actually I thought it would work, but nothing came of it. I ended up blurring it out of recognition. But I left it there because the blur looked about right. So I took out the paint brush and left the brush solid 11. I reduced the opacity to 2%. I drew curves back and forth over and over. It worked. That is exactly what you see here. The rest was not very much different from the usual. That is the lesson for today, hair can be drawn using 2% solid 11 paintbrush on top of white grey blurred gradient.
Good luck and keep up the good work.
Javantea's Fate may be in disrepair, but hopefully this summer, it will become an amazing site. One of the many changes that I am planning for this summer is advertising. I haven't advertised Javantea's Fate except in personal communication in the 3.5 years that I've done this. That's probably why my hits are fairly low. I get a bit of traffic from the search engines, but it's not much. So why haven't I advertised JF? At the start, I wanted to keep a low profile so that I could focus on getting stuff done instead of dealing with jerk-offs shouting about why 3d manga suxx0rs. JF was not a finished product at the end of year one. I was a student, so my time was limited. As it moved along, I started slacking. I couldn't get past Scene 5, so a large audience to my defeat would probably not have been wise anyway. I wanted to redo JF a few times. Eventually it came to a point where each time I was able to make progress, some catastrophe happened (motherboard died twice).
In Sept 2003, I spent 6 months working on the Linux port of Javantea's Fate. It actually didn't take much time. I was taking my Physics classes much more seriously so I was able to get my Bachelor of Science that June. In March or so, I decided that JF was a write-off and that I could use the engine for a video game that I could sell much easier. A video game could be sold for $10 downloadable or $20 via mail for a profit of $10. That game is Hack Mars. It's going fairly well. I spent a year trying to make progress on it. A lot of distractions kept me from making reasonable progress on it. Not least of those distractions was lack of money and need to find a job. In January 2005 I found a good job. I'm working on it with all my strength and making a good salary.
I may have found my knack. I quickly can produce very cool, very well-planned, but small websites. It's funny that it's my job and I am just now finding out that it's my knack. Today and yesterday I built a major website which is simple, powerful, and quite well-planned. I think the three main accomplishments of it are:
1) Key Pair generator
2) Client Certificate Authentication
More plot dev on Hack Mars tonight, but I wanted to make a very good character sketch and skin. Well, above is the result. I'm pretty happy with it. Some of it was very difficult, some of it was fairly easy. The first thing you will probably notice is the hair. You might remember this from the Hack Mars Duck Tape Mural. Actually, it's a bit different, but it's the same girl. You'll recognize the camo pants, I bet. You will notice that most of the image is shaded. That's what I've been working on for months. I've done ok without shading my character sketches until now. Truthfully, the skins in HM may still be non-shaded just for style reasons. I understood the very basics of shading a long time ago, but it's apparent that I just recently refined my shading skills. The idea is this: dark around the edges, light in the center, gaussian blur until it is correct. While this simple plan may create decent looking spheres, it doesn't work on everything. Shading requires some thought beyond darken edge + blur. I didn't shade everything in this image just because of time restraints. You can see that I didn't shade the neck, red shirt, hands, or boots. I did a lot of work on various things. The lips took a long time considering how small they are. Really, I didn't do a very good job on them. They eyes worked out even though it wasn't quite how it should be. I had to do a few workarounds to make it work. I didn't want to overdo the face, and it seems like I succeeded. It is shaded, really it is. The hair was a bit of fun once I saw that it was working out. The pink was cool because it looked very realistic. I just did a fuzzy paintbrush over and over again. It took a while, but it was worth it, I think. The blue went on very easily right over the pink. The corset (... don't ask) was a bit of a task, just using the clone tool to repeat the horizontal lines. Why? Because it needed texture. The corset string was easy, I just drew it, then selected and shrank and colored the inside light, selected just the string, then blurred a bunch of times. I think it worked well. The jacket was a bit of work, but really wasn't as bad as it should be. I just darkened the edges of the jacket, giving special care to shadow the breasts and give them a bit of highlighting. I blurred so many times that it was getting silly. I did the same for the pants and all I can say is that maybe it's too 3d looking. It's like her legs are a foot thick. By the way, the camo was made by hand drawing stripes and lightly using Gimp's IWarp tool. I think there's a camo tool, but I forgot to use it.
Her mechanical position shouldn't surprise you. This is a character sketch. Artists like me draw these type of pictures so that I can measure, look, and copy data from this picture. It's likely that a skin will come from this image. You can see the sharp angle used on the outline of the breasts; that isn't because I think breasts look that way. It's just easier to use sharp angles when working with skins. You'll notice that I'm not using bezier at all. I like bezier when it's useful, but not for edges of video game character sketches. You might notice that the head doesn't quite exactly fit with the body (size, etc). That's because I created the body and the head separately. I think it worked fairly well, but probably not perfect.