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Creating a Pet Portrait: Thor the Mastiff

Creating a Pet Portrait: Thor the Mastiff

As some of you may know, one of my side projects is Custom Pet Portraits. I get asked a lot how exactly I do those: what goes into them, what’s the end product look like? so I wanted to take a little time today and show you what goes into this portrait right here. Now ... Read More
Badass Lighting #3: Lens Flares

Badass Lighting #3: Lens Flares

Welcome to the third installment in my Badass Lighting series where we go over the oft-overused-and-abused effect, the lens flare. In the last two posts I discussed fresnel effects and specular bloom effects. Technically a lens flare isn’t a separate entity from those two, since a real-world lens flare is caused by either intense fresnel ... Read More
Badass Lighting #2: Specular Bloom

Badass Lighting #2: Specular Bloom

My last post started the topic of “hyperreal lighting” by dealing with the fresnel effect. Now I want to move on to the second kind: specular bloom. Specular bloom is related to the fresnel effect and, under the right kind of light, includes fresnel lighting. However specular bloom also includes more direct surfaces (rather than mainly ... Read More
Badass Lighting #1: Fresnel Effects

Badass Lighting #1: Fresnel Effects

I’m a fan of hyperrealism. My definition of hyperrealism, though, is “stuff that defies the laws of physics but looks pretty damn cool nonetheless.” In fact, good hyperrealism sells itself well enough that you might not even notice that stuff wouldn’t work that way. But in an alternate universe (especially the one in my head) ... Read More
New Piece: Declan

New Piece: Declan

I wanted to show off this latest piece, “Declan.” This is a commissioned piece of my client’s guinea pig, Declan, in a post-apocalyptic setting. She wanted some kind of sci-fi characterization of him. I knew she was into post-apocalyptic kinds of things based on her comments about some of my other work, and she’d mentioned ... Read More
Using an FX Layer Stack for Faux-Infrared Imaging

Using an FX Layer Stack for Faux-Infrared Imaging

In my last post I introduced the FX Layer Stack and the basics of how to implement it. Now I’d like to show you another way to use it. To review in a nutshell: you’ll have a group that contains, from bottom to top, a solid black fill layer, one or more blank layers for art, ... Read More
The Power of a Gradient Mapped FX Stack

The Power of a Gradient Mapped FX Stack

The featured image for this post is not a photograph. That fireball was painted by hand in photoshop using a powerful tool I call the FX Stack. I use this all of the time, sometimes with several instances in a single piece. I initially learned the technique from Mike “Daarken” Lim’s book, Elysium. When I read ... Read More
Skills Learned from Drawing (and Balancing it All, with Tutorial)

Skills Learned from Drawing (and Balancing it All, with Tutorial)

If you go through forums and ebooks for freelancers and designers there’s always someone who’s asking if they need to be able to draw to be a good designer. The response is always essentially “no, but it helps.” Being someone who’s been drawing his whole life I see this principle clearly. The things I understand ... Read More
Designing & Producing a Flier Card

Designing & Producing a Flier Card

A couple of weeks ago I promised to show a little bit more of the design process for my Black Dog Custom Pet Portraits project. One of the things I’ve created is a postcard/flier to distribute to local pet shops, rescues, adoption agencies, and art shows. Here I’ll go over the whole creation process; I hope ... Read More