Posted by Liransz
on March 4, 2012

TUTORIAL Trash Hunters by Dumaker


Twisted Essence, our latest release, has supposed a quality break in our trajectory, because of the premise of working upon a double thematic: The conceptual part about the human nature, and the compositive one, in which no centred compositions would be allowed to make our artists to go outside of their confort zone and challenge themselves. We asked them to resolve their works using the rule of thirds or the golden ratio, having as a result a collection of more than 60 mezmerizing pieces.

Dumaker, one of our artists, has created for us a step by step tutorial explaining his work TRASH HUNTERS, for which has applied the rule of thirds.  

This tutorial will be a short trip through the process of creating one of my images. Sometimes I work in different ways, and this is another one: a method with its advantages and disadvantages, but that I think results in very attractive images, without a huge investment of time. We will also review and use in a practical way one of the composition-wise fundamental premises: the rule of thirds (I will explain later). Let's go!



I start with a quick hand made sketch, capture the idea in small format, without detail, it can help us get a clearer view of the composition, the picture elements and even the areas of light and shadow. We can also make little specific studies on some of the elements (the soldier in this case) to have everything clearer: Here, the idea to be depicted is already clear:

"The image shows us the product of failed genetic experiments, the deformed children of those men of science bent on being God, who have survived what should have been a sure death in the sewers and sinks of the dehumanized and immense capital. Not only did they not die: they grew, hated, and brooded over their animal revenge... Now it's time to hunt them, to avoid the scandal, protect the powerful... hunt the trash."



The rule of thirds. What is that? Well, the so called rule of thirds, is a composition law used in disciplines such as painting, design or photography, that recommends we should split our image in 9 equal parts by the intersection of two horizontal and two vertical lines. At the points where these lines intersect, we should place our hot spots, i.e., subjects or items that we want to emphasize, that it must appeal to the viewer. If our image has only one point of interest, simply place it in any of the four insertion spots, and if there is another one, it is advisable to place each one on a hot spot diagonally opposite. This standard is based on our perception of scenes and objects as the same may gain or lose visual weight, balance or harmony depending on their position practical purposes, is a simple rule that guarantees effective compositions. Of course, not always be followed and will depend on what we put into our image, but it's a basic rule that we must at least know. In my picture, you see, the hot spots correspond to the two protagonists of the scene: the most important, the mutant monster, larger and more threatening and co-star: the soldier, prepared to open ï¬re on the beast.



Time to get down to work with the PC. In this case, I start working with the free program Alchemy, which gives me working speed and the ability to easily capture volumes and shapes. Here is a basic line work that later I leave almost transparent as a guide for the rest of the process in this program.



This is the picture I get from my work in Alchemy, neither more nor less (shabby, right‘? ;). ls a sketch of volumes that will serve me as a sound basis on which to build the rest of the image based on detail and more detail progressively. In the method l am explaining the work is carried out completely in grayscale, until we get a consistent image and a review of effective black and white, only then we add color. lt is a way of working with a very distinctive ï¬nish, which may not give us a clear and perfectly deï¬ned color with recognizable cromatic brush-strokes, but on the other hand allows us to make rapid changes and create powerful atmospheres easily by layering color and playing with the blending modes of the same. We will see it later on :)!



Load the image "made in Alchemy" in Photoshop, the program I will use to complete the picture. With the picture we saw earlier as a basis, it is time to create the different values of light and shadow with stains.



As l said earlier, the process of creating the illustration is a sum of layers of detail, more accurate each time, which translates into more recognizable elements. I add textures, highlights and more clearly deï¬ning forms. It is important to occasionally stop and assess the overall image contrast to make corrections. An attractive image, and atmospheric and misterious as this must have points of light and shadow areas, chiaroscuro is everything :).



It is also a good time to correct mistakes or improve the composition, the sooner you do, the easier the adaptationwill be. Here l have veriï¬ed that the players are in hot compositional points. lt‘s time to go quietly!



I add elements that make it more attractive and give depth to the stage: some chains in the foreground and some pipes... also help to put us in the deep subsurface. The rest of the details will come from the hand of color and postproduction: the grayscale image that will be my base for the rest of the work stays as you see here.



This hideous amalgam of colors is a fundamental part of coloring method I'm using on this occasion. More or less (although in different layers, opacities and blend modes) this is the color layer that we will overlay on our base in black and white. The result, with color adjustments and some other hard work of integration we see in the image below.



Ta-da! Our monochrome image has some life. Also, as l said, it's time to add details, such as laser beam weapon.



Let there be light! The atmosphere is achieved mainly with combinations of light and shadow and color. lt's time to identify the sources and give them the strength they must have, here we try to represent how light works and how it behaves when reï¬ected in different types of objects.



Time to start with the special effects. In this case I added a couple of lens flare that previously have prepared and adjusted in After Effects over the original image. We also placed a suffocating fog below and continue detailing: the eye of the beast is a fundamental addition to give it more presence and the dripping saliva gives a fouling touch that every monster should have.



Silence on the set! Given the composition and position of the beast, it doesn't look credible that in those filthy sewers there was only a poor soldier and the monster, it was clear that the scene had to be completed by someone else, and what better to add us as viewers in front row to the scene. Nothing easier to create and add a simple interface for recording from any video camera. 



To make the video image more real I decided to create a humid environment, for it added real drops on the edges of the image, and where there were points of light I created some hexagonal halos. A hazy finish, areas of focus and color adjustments complete the package with extras to create the experience of "being there" more immersive. 

There is also something important: a change in the composition. To give more dynamism to the scene turned the image, leaving the monster even more above the soldier, and emphasize its menacing presence. This is done without ever losing the rule of thirds, as the protagonists are still at the points of interest: a simple guide in an upper layer can help you be sure if you want to make sure.



Following the advice of a colleague, it's time to exaggerate and enhance one of the strong conceptual points of the image: the use of the camera as a window that leads to the front line of action. By post-production I added noise, artifacts and typical elements of the old and faulty recordings, I made the battery nearly run out and included a new laser beam from the gun of a soldier who we cannot see: with this simple element we add another character to the scene making it gain conceptual depth. Thanks to this amount of details the drama of the situation goes up a step, and the creature is more threatening, more out of control, and we, as first hand audience, the more terrified and immersed in the scene.


As you have seen this is a fairly simple process. It is important to know what we want to express, what feelings want to convey and start from a good base. The rule of thirds will help you be guaranteed to be working on an effective composition (although remember that each type of image asks for a different type of composition, the rule of thirds is not a panacea, it is a resource to be considered) and after it is just to fine tune details, adding elements and providing the scene with color and light more appropriate to its nature. It has been a pleasure. Greetings!