Review lesson on creating a robot in Photoshop

This lesson, created by freelance artist Takumer Homma, is nothing more than a journey to create a drawing of a robot in Photoshop – although its techniques are also great, for example, for Corel Painter or even traditional drawing with a brush and paints.

In this lesson, Takumer focuses on the basics of a pattern, such as movement, lighting, tone processing, and composition. We will use the traditional approach to drawing, using a set of abstract shapes to distribute light and shadow.

This approach can be used in conceptual drawings to quickly draw ideas, and help save time, while allowing you to effectively work light and shadow to further create high-quality illustrations.

Takumer says that before rushing headlong into the drawing, you should start with some research to find the foundation for further work and a certain direction, as well as many source images. Try not to rush in this step, relax and be open to new knowledge.

Despite the fact that there are a great many wonderful brushes for Photoshop that could be used in this lesson, Takumer found out that the best result is achieved with standard hard and soft round brushes for everything except the background.

Step 1

After doing some research, we can start thinking about the design of our robot. It is important to start by choosing a posture, and then think about how the weight will be distributed over the body of the robot. Do this — like everything else in this lesson — on a new empty layer above the background so that we can later add elements for it.

Here I wanted to create the feeling that the robot is moving through the forest with such a sluggish gait as a noisy metal robot can walk.

These quick sketches will save time in the lengthy process of drawing, as well as set the mood for all the work.

Step 2

The next step is to create a quick linear sketch. Developing a robot is not an easy task, but be sure to take enough time to come up with some interesting forms and decide on the logical center of the image.

Do not forget about the relative size and location of your blocks (the original blocks, where you will later add details). It will be necessary to include in the design at least three main blocks of different sizes in order to create a certain hierarchy in your composition.

Step 3

Add some color and note the silhouette of the robot. We want his form to be clear enough for the observer.

Constantly check how clear the silhouette is. You can also sketch out lighted areas to make the main form more distinct.

Step 4

We are still in the early stages of creating our image, so that we can easily make even quite serious changes.

Here I changed my posture, adding rotation and tilting to make it more natural – despite the fact that this is a drawing, you should always think in three-dimensional space, making changes on all three axes – X, Y, and Z. Also this change creates depth and gives a lively scene.

Step 5

Rotate your canvas periodically to look at the image differently. When turned upside down, the flaws become more obvious, and therefore you can fix everything before it is too late.

The central part of this image is the head of a robot, and therefore you should think about the lighting that will complement it well.

Step 6

Experimenting with the forms of the internal parts of the robot, you can divide large masses with the help of contrasting tones so that the observer’s eyes rest, and also bring them to the main part of the image – in this case, it is the head of the robot.

Step 7

Once you have decided on the design of the robot and the mood of the picture, let’s create shadows and highlight the light and dark areas. Do not complicate the task at this stage – you just need to group the areas of light and shadow, as well as create abstract forms that show how these areas are distributed on the body of the robot.

This stage will help us to decide whether to add additional details (in the field of light).

Step 8

You could start by drawing the background, but I wanted to focus on the design of the robot.

The tones of the background are chosen in such a way that they blend in with the color of the robot’s legs, contrasting with his head and chest, with a smooth transition from contrast to a place where the colors almost merge.

Step 9

In this step, I added some color accents — warm colors I diluted the overall cold tone of the image. Color contrast can also be used as a tool to direct the attention of the observer to the desired point.

Step 10

Next, add a few minor details. It is important to think about how your robot actually moves, especially with regard to the area of ​​the joints, so do not forget to periodically return to the source images and draw inspiration from it. Remember that the form derives from the function.

Step 11

Then I slightly changed the position and simplified the design, which was quite simple, since the details were on different layers.

I moved my torso back so that he leaned more towards the leg, which is transferred to body weight, for greater stability. The design of the torso part attracted too much attention, so I decided to revise the design and roll it back to the basics.

Step 12

After I returned to the original design, it was time to re-work on the details. If you need to do the same in your work, as before, first look at your source images, and then add design elements that will harmoniously fit into the overall picture and will not distract from the logical center of the picture.

This part is important for creating the visual language of your image, which directly affects how the observer reacts to your work. In this work, I used a rather crude, almost symmetrical style, creating a sense of post-industrial, as if “used”.

Step 13

Often it is worth working on the main elements of the drawing as the last thing, as this will help you to make sure that they work efficiently. In this case, contrast is your most powerful tool. If the center does not stand out, what kind of center is it?

Also at this stage, I added a few spots of reflected light and darkened the background so that the robot came to the fore.

Step 14

Here, some additions were needed, such as adding color accents and working out the details of the center of the composition — that is, the head.

I reduced the amount of detail in dark areas, turning them into hints of detail. This will allow the observer to focus on the illuminated part of the robot.

In the process, I recommend that you pay attention to the corners – where work needs to be more detailed, the corners should be made sharper, and in the shade it is better to make them softer.

Step 15

Complete the drawing with a few recent adjustments, in particular, adjusting the brightness and contrast, and color correction to separate your robot from the background. For example, I enhanced the contrast and added the effect of an additional light source above and behind the robot.

However, be careful not to overdo it with these effects.

Step 16

Well, as always, not without a couple of final touches. I added more contrast to the head, darkening the background.

It seems to me that a simple background would be most appropriate for this type of drawings, but as another final touch I suggest you add a drop shadow to create the feeling that the robot is standing on the ground.

Posted by: Takumer Homma

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