As I feel I am getting better and better with these near photorealistic illustrations I figured I would give a little bit of a breakdown as to how I did this one. Now unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to screencast this process, I would truly like to do that with one of my future illustrations as I think it would probably be rather interesting to see how I work (personally). However for the sake of this I have 10 screenshots of different phases of this given project. This will give a very high level view of what I did to come to my finished product. So let’s get started:
Step 1 – Lay the foundation down.
This is the point that I will either trace or free-hand a photo of the given object depending on it’s complexity. This given illustration the majority with the exception of the numbers was free-hand work. So I take the pen tool in photoshop (or illustrator) and lay the vector shapes out with very rough coloring of every aspect of the object that I can now.
Even at this point the watch is very recognizable. I try to go as far as possible with vector shapes including shadowing on some of the strap elements.
Step 2 – Styling the Face.
Now that I had the basic shapes down I wanted to work my way from front to back so I started with styling the face of the watch and as many parts of that as I possibly could to a near finished state. In this given part I work heavily with layer styles. The best part about this is that it allows me for often easy scaling of the illustration if needed. With the face style 100% of it is done with the layer styles, including the rings around the “glass”. (I can’t say that for every part of the illustration, but the face I can)
Step 3 – Body Style.
This is the point that I wanted to keep my downward movement and get into the body of the watch. Adding in all of the given shadows and highlights, the subtle metal texture. Along with details in the adjustment pin, this really brought the face and body to a “finished state” that I could have removed the strap and called it good. I would say that this section is 98% done with layer styles with the exception (and I could probably figure this out with a gradient) of a highlight on the top of the body that gives it a nice rounded edge and some very soft shadows. These are so minor that if I were to scale this up I could easily adjust them to look correct with some minor brush work.
Step 4 – Stitching.
This was a very simple step that I knew was laying a groundwork for what would be a rather tedious yet worth it step in the illustration. Something as simple as the stitching, laying out the basic vector shapes and the gradients for each one. This needed to be as close to finished as possible because I didn’t want to much need for adjustment when I went on to the next stage, adding the “texture” to the stitching.
Step 5 – Stitching Detail.
I have the stitching done with the basic shapes, shadows, and gradients so at this point I want to get the holes and the texture added to the stitches. This part had me try a few things because I wasn’t 100% certain of how I wanted to do it. At first I thought I would pain the “stripes” on each thread and give it a very organic natural feel to it. Well that didn’t work out for me, I didn’t like the final look it gave me. So what I ended up doing was creating a texture pattern that had a layer style on it with an inner shadow and outer glow that I could adjust for each thread on the top and bottom strap. This took much longer but I like the final outcome much more and again it has full adjustability and it is non-destructive to the project.
Step 6 – Initial Strap Shadows.
Now that I got the stitch work done I wanted to get the initial shadows and depth of the strap done. This step was rather simple, a gradient overlay on the strap along with an elipse on each where the strap met the body. Both turned into smart objects with a blur applied, so again non-destructive and fully editable.
Step 7 – Leather texture added to strap.
This step would be the one that I would have to really watch out it scales. I did use a stock leather texture and added it to the bands. Adjusted the coloring and the blend modes to get the right age to the leather on the strap. Again this is even a point where I could honestly call it good, it looks pretty good at this stage.
Step 8 – Strap shadow details.
This is one of the points that I can say that maybe and I mean maybe 50% of the styles created are scalable. I utilize a mixture of gradients, inner and outer shadows and the brush to create a good combination of natural looking shadows on the leather of the band.
Step 9 – Leather highlights.
The leather highlights came down to my final step for the strap and in turn the watch overall. Again I took a combination of both layer styles and brush work to get the style of the highlights just right. Yet again this is a part of the illustration that is maybe 50% scalable, so overall the band is the one aspect of the illustration I would have to pay close attention to if I were to ever need to scale something like this up to a much larger format.
Step 10 – Final Product.
We can call this a step but it really isn’t. Just added a light shadow and gradient treated background to it. I think the dark presentation works well for this illustration.
That was a very quick and again high level view of what I did for this personal project. If this is something that is helpful and it would be helpful to screencast my next one let me know.