In today's Premium tutorial, we'll pay homage to Jim Phillips, who is probably most famous for penning the screaming hand illustration for Santa Cruz Skateboards. The challenge of this tutorial is to create an almost photo-realistic representation of an iconic graphic, whilst retaining some of the original's illustrated quality. Let's get started!
You'll find some files in the "source" folder. You'll also need the following stock images and brushes to complete this tutorial.
- Texture 1 (large version)
- Texture 2 (large version)
- Texture 3
- Texture 4
- Texture 5
- Texture 6
- Texture 7
- Texture 8
- Texture 9
- Texture 10
- Texture 11
- Texture 12
- Brush pack (found under tutorials)
First off, I gathered together some reference images of the logo on which to base my illustration. I decided to stay true to the original color scheme, but make my version much more zombified!
I used the following commercial Poser models and textures available from DAZ3D:
- Michael 3.0 Base
- Michael 3.0 Universal Texture Maps (High Res)
- Michael 3.0 Body Morph Pack
- V3 & M3 Skeletons
It's worth remembering, you can achieve similar effects with some of Poser's pre-loaded figures. In the first part of this tutorial, I'll explain how to set up the Poser scene; I've also supplied the Poser renders in the "source" folder, so if you want to skip the first part of this tutorial, jump to Step 21.
Consult the "readme" files after installing your Poser downloads because depending on which version of Poser you're running, you may need to follow different instructions when conforming the skeleton to the human figure. Launch Poser, select the default figure in the main viewport and hit delete. Go to Figures > Daz Skeleton, then highlight the CONFORMING M3 Skeleton thumbnail and click the Create New Figure single-tick icon at the foot of the tab to load the model. At this point we're not concerned with textures, so select the Smooth Shaded icon under Document Display Style.
Next, we need the human figure. Choose Figures > Daz People, highlight the Michael 3 Sr1 thumbnail and click the Create New Figure double-tick icon to load the second figure.
To ensure both figures follow the same pose, select Figure 2 and turn off Use Inverse Kinematics for both legs. You also need to make sure both figures have Use Limits active under the Figure menu. The "readme" file explains this in more detail.
Select Figure 2, then highlight/apply the Zero Figure pose (found under Pose > Daz Skeleton). Now with Figure 2 still selected choose Figure > Conform To and select Figure 1 in the following window.
Ensure Figure 2 is still active, then select each body part in turn, except for the Left Forearm/hand/finger parts, then disable their Visible/Visible in Raytracing tick boxes in the Properties tab.
Selecting some parts, especially the fingers can be a little tricky, so use the top-left, Camera menu to select the Right Hand (Cmd/Ctrl + close bracket) and Left Hand (Cmd/Ctrl + open bracket) Camera views. When you're done, return to the Main Camera view.
Switch to the Posing Camera (Cmd/Ctrl + comma) and your scene should now look like this.
For both figures to conform correctly, it's important to remember that the skeleton body parts must be posed and not the human.
Select Figure 2's Left Hand, then highlight/apply the Claw pose (found under Hands > P6 Male). In the next window click LEFT HAND to accept the preset.
We need a third figure to create the mouth. Highlight the Michael 3 Sr1 thumbnail again and click the double-tick icon. Now follow the same procedure as Step 5 to hide all body part except for the head.
Ensure Figure 3 is selected, then modify the following Transform settings: yRotate: 72, xTran: 2,292, yTran: -0.387, zTran: 0.327 to push the face into the hand. In this screenshot I've viewed the scene with the split view option (as circled) to help position the figure.
Now select Figure 1's Left Hand and change the Parameter dials to: Twist: 3 , Side-Side: 10, Bend: 60.
To achieve the desired facial expression, go to Poses > M3 All Morphs INJ. Ensure Figure 3 is still active and apply the All Head Morphs setting. Now select the figure's head and copy the following settings.
Select Figure 2 and apply the All Full-Body morph injection. Now select each finger tip in turn and set the NailsLong Parameter dial to 0.600.
When you're happy, switch to the LHand Camera view and choose Pose > MAT M3 MapsHi and apply the M3 Natural Hi P4 to Figure 2 and 3. Repeat this with the Bump Strong to both figures as well. Now click the Texture Shaded icon to give a more accurate preview of the texture maps.
Open the Lights tab, then highlight the Fall thumbnail and apply the preset.
It's now time to perform a quick test render. Press Cmd/Ctrl + Y to open the Render Settings window, choose the Firefly tab, copy these settings, then hit the Render Now button. After a short while your low-resolution render will appear in the Render tab.
Now we'll prepare the file for the first high-resolution render. Disable the visibility of Figure 3's head and eyes, then hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + D to open the Render Dimensions window, apply these settings and hit OK. The red bars on the screenshot indicate the non-render zones.
Open the Render Settings window again, copy the following settings and hit the Render Now button again.
This render will take some time, so sit back and relax! When the statues bar is complete, click the arrow to view (1), then click the triangle drop-down menu (2) and choose Export Image and save it as "Hand_skin.png" to a memorable location.
Now disable the visibility everything apart from the remaining parts of Figure 1 and perform another high-resolution render. Save this one as "Hand_bones.png".
Next, disable the visibility of the left hand parts on Figure 1 and 2 and create a third high-resolution render. Save this as "Face_1.png".
Next, we need a final render to show the full extent of the gums. Save a different version of your Poser file to keep the original intact. Select Figure 3's head, then radically distort the lips away from the mouth. Finally, create and save a another high-resolution render ("Face_2.png") to the same location as your others.
Open the "Hand_bones.png" render, double-click its layer thumbnail and rename it "Bones". Open the "Hand_skin.png", then Shift-drag its layer thumbnail into your first document to create a new layer. Name this one "Skin", then repeat with "Face_1.png" and "Face_2.png" in that order. Label these layers "Mouth 1" and "Mouth 2".
This will now be your working file for the rest of the tutorial so hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + S to Save As and name it accordingly.
To increase the canvas depth, press Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + C, copy these settings, click OK, then Proceed in the following window.
Shift-click all your layer thumbnails, grab the Move Tool (V) and nudge them down to create a larger space at the top.
Switch off the visibility of the "Mouth 2" layer, then add a mask to the "Mouth 1" layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + I to Invert the mask to black, then use a small, soft-edged Brush (B) set to white to paint back the area as shown. My mask is shown on the right of the screenshot for clarity.
Enable the visibility of the "Mouth 2" layer and repeat the same masking process to reveal the upper and lower teeth.
Highlight the "Mouth 1" and "Mouth 1" layer thumbnails, grab the Move Tool (V), then Alt + Shift + drag inwards to reduce slightly from the centre, then rotate clockwise.
Place a new layer at the bottom of the stack and name it "Black". Press D to reset your Foreground/Background colors to black and white, then hit Alt-Delete to fill the layer with black.
Download and open the large version of this texture, choose Image > Image Rotation > Rotate 90 degrees CCW, then place it as a new layer above the "Black" layer. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay, then Transform to cover the canvas and name it "Texture 1".
If you zoom in, you'll notice white halos around the edges of your 3D render layers. To fix this, target each one in turn and choose Layer > Matting > Defringe and enter 2px in the following window.
Add a mask to the "Texture 1" layer, ensure your Foreground color is still black. Set the Gradient Tool (G) to Foreground to Transparent and Linear in the Options bar, then Shift-drag a Gradient on the mask as indicated by the length and direction of the arrow.
Add the large version of this texture as a new layer above "Texture 1". Enlarge to fit the canvas, change the Blend Mode to Soft Light, reduce the Opacity to 18% and name it "Texture 2".
Select Color Balance from the Create new fill or adjustment drop-down menu at the foot of the Layers tab. Now enable the clipping option to affect just the target layer ("Texture 2") and copy these settings.
Open this texture and rotate 180 degrees. Place it above the adjustment layer, resize to fit and label it "Texture 3". Now change the Blend Mode to Soft Light, but leave the Opacity at 100%.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer, check the Colorize option and apply the following settings.
Open the "Metal_plate.jpg" image (from the "source" folder) and Shift-drag its layer icon into your project file to create a new layer. Change the Blend Mode to Hue and name it "Texture 4". Now clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer with the following settings.
Add a new layer above the last adjustment and label it "Middle grad". Set your Foreground color to # 468895, then drag a Foreground to Transparent Radial gradient out from the centre.
Now go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, set the Amount to 2 and check the Uniform button to eliminate any banding in the gradient. Finally, change the Blend Mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 56%.
Place another layer above the "Middle grad", then set your Foreground color to # 0a2124. Grab a large, soft-edged Brush (B) and paint around edges as shown in the inset.
Now change the Blend Mode to Multiply, lower the Opacity to 36% and name it "Outer grad".
To keep your layers organized, highlight the "Outer grad" thumbnail, then hold Shift and select the "Black" thumbnail (this also highlights the sandwiched layers). Now Choose New Group from Layers from the top right fly-out menu, name the group "BACKGROUND" in the next window and click OK.
Target the "Mouth 2" layer, then Cmd/Ctrl + E to Merge Down, then click Apply in the following window. Rename the resulting layer "Mouth".
To remove the sharpness of the 3D renders. First, target the "HEAD" layer and disable the visibility of your other render layers. Grab the Blur Tool and paint as indicated in green with a medium, soft-edged brush at 70% Opacity.
Now use the Patch Tool (J) to remove the large palm crease and odd shadow as shown in blue. Next, run the Blur Tool around the hard edges on your "Mouth" and "Bones" layers as well.
As I mentioned earlier, only a small area of the "Bones" layer will be revealed in the final image, but it still needs a couple of color and tonal modifications. First, switch off the visibility of the other render layers, then clip a Levels adjustment to the "Bones" and apply these settings to boost the contrast.
Now clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the same layer, choose Yellows from the drop-down menu and use the following settings.
Next, we'll give the skin tones a blue deathly, pallid appearance. Target the "Skin" layer, then clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to it, check the Colorise option and copy these settings. Now change the Blend Mode of the adjustment layer to Color and reduce its Opacity to 67%.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and apply these settings.
Clip the same Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Mouth" as you did on the "Skin" layer, remembering to use the same Blend Mode and Opacity settings.
Grab a small, soft-edged Brush (B) and paint with black on the adjustment mask to reveal the original color of the mouth and tongue.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the "Mouth" layer with exactly the same settings as Step 40.
At this stage the mouth needs blending in a little better with the hand, so add a new mask to the "Mouth" layer and use a small, soft-edged black Brush (B). You can also add a mask to the "Skin" layer to reveal the elbow bone.
Now place all your render layers, along with their adjustments into another folder called "3D RENDERS".
We can now start to overlay some real-world skin textures. Add this image as a new layer above both folders and label it "Skin texture 1".
Reduce the layer Opacity to around 50%, then hit Cmd/Ctrl + T to access Transform. Flip Horizontal, then resize to fit over the original hand. You can also press Cmd/Ctrl and drag the corner points to distort the texture into shape.
When you're happy, set the layer's Opacity back to 100% and change the Blend Mode to Hard Light. Now Cmd/Ctrl-click your "Skin" layer thumbnail to create a layer-based selection, ensure the "Skin texture 1" is the target layer, then click the Add mask icon at the foot of the Layers tab.
Deselect, then modify the mask with an assortment of soft-edged brushes to blend the hard edges. Now paint over the mouth and tongue as shown at the bottom of the screenshot.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer and copy these settings to make the texture match the hand.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and use the following settings to slightly darken the texture.
Open this image, then use the Lasso Tool (L) to roughly select a small portion and Copy > Paste at the top of the layer stack and Transform/place over the thumb.
Duplicate this layer several times and reposition these to cover all the fingers. You can now use the Clone Stamp tool (S), set to Current Layer with a soft-edged brush to fill and spaces and cover them completely.
Follow the same masking technique on this layer as you did for the first skin texture (Step 47), then modify the mask further as shown.
Now change the Blend Mode of the "Skin texture 2" layer to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 57%.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Skin texture 2" layer, check the Colorize option and apply the following settings.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and copy these settings.
We now need extra wrinkles over the knuckles. Use the same workflow as explained in Step 50 to place a finger from this image as a new top layer.
Access Warp from the Transform menu, then resize/position over the thumb. Now repeat Step 51 to cover all the finger tips. Merge these layers and name it "Skin texture 3".
Change the Blend mode of this layer to Hard Light, reduce the Opacity to 64%, then use the same masking technique as described earlier.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer, check the Colorize box and copy these settings to blend the texture with the hand a little more.
Lasso (L) a loose selection from this image and add it at the top of the layer stack. Press Cmd/Ctrl + I to Invert the image to negative, then position it over the forearm. Now change the Blend Mode to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 74%. Name this layer "Veins/hairs".
Use a layer-based selection from the "Skin" to create a mask, then modify it as shown.
Now Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Veins/hairs" layer, check Colorize and apply the following settings.
Next, clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer as shown.
To keep things tidy, place all your floating layers into a folder called "SKIN TEXTURES".
Open this image, then use the Lasso Tool (L) to roughly select the tongue and Copy > Paste above the folders. Transform/position over the original tongue, then lower its Opacity to 67%.
Name this layer "Mouth texture 1", then change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Add a layer mask, then hit Cmd/Ctrl + I to Invert the mask to black. Now carefully reveal the tongue with a small white Brush (B).
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Mouth texture 1" layer, modify the Master Saturation to -12, then the Reds to -35.
Next, clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and copy these settings.
Place an empty layer in Overlay Mode at the top of the stack and label it "Mouth texture 2". Paint over the mouth with a small, soft-edged Brush (B), pressing the Alt key regular intervals as you work to pick up the underlying colors.
Add a layer mask and paint with black to hide any excess as required. My layer is shown on the right of the screenshot for clarity.
Open this image and use the Lasso Tool (L) to loosely draw around the tongue and Copy > Paste to create a top layer, then Transform/position, Flip horizontal and mask as shown. Now change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and name it "Mouth texture 3".
Paste the same selection over the lower teeth, change the Blend Mode to Multiply and mask as shown. Label this layer "Mouth texture 4".
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Mouth texture 4" layer and apply these settings.
Paste the same image from Step 69 as a new upper layer and name it "Mouth texture 5". Resize/position over the existing mouth and change the Blend Mode to Overlay. Add an inverted layer mask, then paint with white to reveal the area as shown.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to the "Mouth texture 5" layer and copy these settings.
Roughly Lasso (L) the top lip from the same mouth image again and Copy > Paste as a new top layer. Transform/resize then mask as shown. Name this layer "Mouth texture 6".
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer, apply these settings, then reduce the adjustment layer's Opacity to 96%.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer with the following settings.
Place all the mouth texture layers, along with their adjustments into a folder called "MOUTH TEXTURES".
At this stage we can reintroduce the original 3D rendered lips and position them further from the teeth and gums. First, revisit the "Face_1.png" and roughly Lasso (L), then Copy > Paste the lower lips to create a new layer. Repeat this for the upper lips, then Transform both layers as shown.
When you're happy, Merge Down the upper lip and rename the resulting layer "New lips". Add a layer mask, then carefully blend the hard edges with a medium, soft-edged black brush.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment adjustment to this layer and apply the following settings. Now change the adjustment's Blend Mode to Color and reduce its Opacity to 67%.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and copy these settings.
Open the "Mouth.jpg" (in the "source" folder;) and roughly Lasso (L) the bottom lip and Copy > Paste as a new top layer. Repeat this for the upper lip. Transform/position over the existing lips, then Merge to a single layer.
Change the Blend Mode to Hard Light, add an inverted mask and use a white Brush (B) to paint back the textures as shown. Name this layer "Lip texture".
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer and apply the following settings.
Now clip a Levels adjustment and set the whitepoint Output slider to 136. Invert the adjustment's mask to black, then use a small, soft-edged white brush to reveal the darker area to the left and bottom of the lower lip.
Place all your floating layers, along with their adjustments into a folder and label it "EXTRA LIPS".
Open this image, then use the Lasso Tool (L) to loosely draw around the top-right section and Copy > Paste to create a new top layer. Name this "Raw flesh 1", then Transform and position as shown.
Add a layer mask, then use an assortment of soft and hard-edged black Brushes (B) as shown at the bottom of the screengrab.
Clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment to this layer and modify the Master, then the Reds and Yellows with these settings.
Now clip a Levels adjustment to the same layer and copy the following settings.
Next, we need to darken the inner edges of the flesh wound. Highlight the "Raw flesh 1" and both it's adjustments, then drag them over the Create new layer icon at the foot of the Layers tab to duplicate them.
Double-click the "Levels copy" adjustment and modify as shown to darken the "Raw flesh 1 copy" layer. Now modify the "Raw flesh 1 copy" mask, so only the edges of the wound is visible.
Duplicate the original "Raw flesh 1" layer again, along with its adjustments and Transform/reposition over the middle finger nail. To move the layer content independently, turn off the chain link icon between the layer and mask thumbnails.
Modify the mask accordingly, then repeat the process of darkening the edges of the wound as explained in the previous step.
Follow the same technique to add more rotting flesh around the elbow joint. Now place all your flesh wound layers, along with their adjustments into a new folder called "RAW FLESH".
The next stage is to texture the teeth and finger nails. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to roughly select the top set of teeth from this image. Copy > Paste as a new top layer above the folders.
Rotate and position to match the existing top teeth, then duplicate the layer and reposition over the lower teeth. When you're done, Merge Down the top layer, then change the Blend Mode to Hard Light. Add a layer mask and hide the area just below the bottom row of teeth as shown.
Now we'll move onto texturing the fingernails. Lasso (L) a rough selection around the nose of this image and Copy > Paste at the top of the layer stack. Use the same workflow as before to duplicate and cover each nail, then convert to a single layer.
Label this layer "Nails", then change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 93%. Now mask this layer as shown at the bottom of the screenshot.
Place both layers into another folder and label it "TEETH/NAILS". Add a mask to the folder, Invert the mask to negative, then use an assortment of white Brushes (B) to paint back the areas as shown.
Grab the Brush Tool (B), then load the "Zombie_brushes.abr" from the "source" folder. Add a new top layer in Screen Mode and label it "Hair 1", then use the Color Picker to sample a very pale blue from your canvas. Select one the hair brushes and carefully paint over the forearm and knuckle joints. It will take a few attempts to achieve a realistic result, so it's worth experimenting with the settings in the Brush panel beforehand.
Place another layer above the previous one, this time in Multiply Mode and name it "Hair 2". Sample a very dark blue and paint some additional hairs.
Place both hair layers into a folder and name it "HAIRS". Generate a layer-based selection from the "Skin", then hit Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + I to Inverse the selection and click the Create mask icon. Finally, modify the mask to hide/reveal areas as required.
At this stage, I decided to add a couple more flesh wounds (as circled). To do this, duplicate, reposition and modify the relevant layers/adjustments in the "RAW FLESH" folder.
To give the backdrop a softer appearance, first place a new layer at the top within the "BACKGROUND" folder. Load this brush pack (found under tutorials) and use the sampling technique to pick up underlying colors as you paint.
For best results, use some of the softer brush tips then work at a low Opacity and slowly build up the density. When you're done, try reducing the layer's Opacity slightly to allow some of the original textures to show through – mine's set to 91% and is also shown on white for clarity.
Drop a new layer above all the folders and name it "Retouch 1". Set the Clone Stamp Tool (S) to Current & Below and use a small brush at around 50% Hardness/80% Opacity to repair any small flaws in the illustration. My retouching layer is also shown again on white.
The illustration is almost complete, apart from adding some more painted layers using the sampling method. For flexibility, I prefer to paint on several different layers. Place your first layer at the top of the stack, change its Blend Mode to Multiply and label it "Paint 1". Create a layer-based selection from the "Skin", then slowly build up shadow areas with an assortment of soft-edged custom Brushes (B) and sampled dark colors.
Continue to paint on additional layers, some of which can be in Normal Mode and some in Screen Mode to accentuate highlights. When you're done, try reducing the Opacity of some layers slightly. Finally, label them accordingly and place them within a folder called "RETOUCH/PAINT".
The overall red appears a little too dominant, so as a final tweak, place an unclipped (to affect all layers) Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above the last folder and reduce the Reds Saturation to -23.
Conclusion and Scope
Now you know how it's done, why not create your own illustrated version of a famous icon?