This illustration was done to demo a pipeline of 3d to 2d. This pipeline started out in film and game studios during the concept art phase. The 2d artists would use lowpoly, crude 3d items and paint over them to flesh out details, colors and materials or do a light pass on a scene before the level artists and the lighting artists would actually implement it in the engine. But lately, technology has evolved and it no longer takes a lot of knowledge to use 3d for presenting ideas, light them and texture them. Marmoset 3, Unreal, Unity and even Blender Game give you the option to build up a scene, add materials to models and light it realistically for an impressive presentation. I use this pipeline to do illustration. If the idea is solid enough, then you can cut down a lot of time in the painting of details phase.
So let’s break it down.
- The Ideea: a white, good sorceress during the money shot. She has a bird companion which she summons; it represents her warrior spirit and her “extended fist”. The girl is the embodiment of good, but a strong, independent woman, capable of fighting strong opposition. The shot needs to look empowering, powerful, memorable (and other seo-friendly industry-standard pop-culture sticky terms). That makes it “sellable”. Very important.
- Costume design: somewhere between the classic Valkyries and your generic – run*of*the*mill – rpg sorceress class lies our design. Catchy, sexy – bling – bling yet simple and sugestive.
- The scene setup: a rough sketch of how the characters are set up, what they do, what relation is between them and a hint of the environment. Oh, about the environment – it’s set to support the presentation of our 2 subjects. Anything that can empower the idea that the sorceress is clean, noble, “urban”&”high value” if you like. I could’ve placed her in a cave but…not the same effect!
- 3d Block-in: I use Blender (it’s free) to set up my scene with the architectural elements, posed characters and most importantly – the lights. Blender Engine is like a Dacia 1300 car (also known as Renault 12): it’s awful at first drive, but after 2000 km you start to appreciate its simpleness and easiness to fix problems. And in general it gets you there even if you choose to drive through Boulderland.
5 and onwards to the final image: this is the simple process of painting, overpainting, repainting, suprapainting and postpainting. You know, like in the good old days.