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Creating 3D illustrations

Loïc Zimmermann shares his unique image creation technique to show how he produces striking three-dimensional illustrations...

Recently, I’ve been busy experimenting with a variety of art techniques to combine different sources and produce great 3D illustrations. Taking my inspiration from both the real world and the digital one, I usually start the over-paint process on a pre-textured 3D scene. I rarely go into high-end rendering, since it’s a waste of time for illustration, choosing instead to focus more and more on modelling a detailed and funky scene with good, effective lighting. I’m using the same topology each time, which is obviously a very fast way to get decent results (especially when you can share UVs, Rigs and so on).
In this workshop, I’m going to share some of my personal favourite options in Photoshop, for working with layers and making adjustments. I admit, this is a very personal approach, but I’ll explain it as best I can. Hopefully, this guide will encourage you to find your own individual method of working.
I’ll split the workshop into a few key areas: importing sources (which can be CG or photographs), fixing rendering artefacts, tweaking the shapes and adjusting skinning issues. Then I’ll go on to look at enhancing the basic rendering with local contrasts, levels and increasing highlights and shadows. After that, I’ll use a set of textures to create details to produce a more organic feel. I’ll integrate my characters with a background, over-paint and finally look closely at colours.
The idea of the picture is a very classic girl ’n’ guns thing. I did a lot of these in the old days, when I was still drawing. Anyway, I wanted this portrait to be cool and calm, with a touch of sci-fi and an efficient focusing point… Hopefully I succeeded. Let’s see how this was made.

From issue 17.

Click here to download the full workshop for free (PDF)
Click here to download the support files (23.72Mb)

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