Deviation Actions

HoustonSharp's avatar

Deus Ex - Adam Jensen Walkthrough

Published:
By
35 Comments
47K Views
[HUGE FILE DOWNLOAD (I wanted to keep each step at a decent resolution)]

Ever since I uploaded my painting of Adam Jensen, I have been getting asked a lot of questions about my painting process, help for achieving certain things in art artwork, and tutorials. So I decided to make this simple little walkthrough for all of you with questions, or for those who are merely interested in the way I paint. It's not too in-depth, but I think it can answer some of your questions.

[STEPS]

1.) INITIAL SKETCH+LINEWORK
This is the first step in almost all of my paintings, and it's arguably the most important. I had this idea of Adam Jensen worn out from a tough fight fresh in my mind (which doesn't always happen, but that's ok; if an idea is not clear at first, do a bunch of quick thumbnail sketches to get multiple composition options down, then choose the one that you think is the most successful). I start with the general canvas proportions I want, but at only 150 ppi. This smaller format allows my computer to not be as bogged down with information, so it functions with less lag. It will be scaled up later.
With a basic round brush with my opacity and flow settings set to "pen pressure" (and sometimes a pencil or charcoal-like texture, if I'm feeling 'traditional'), I begin to quickly lay in the major shapes of the composition on a new layer: head, hand, shoulder armor, etc. I work big to small, keeping the overall composition in mind, rather than the tiny details. When I like the placement, I start loosely indicating facial features and expression. I then create a new layer underneath this sketch and start adding light and shadow, trying different lighting scenarios to see which looks best (When adding light and shade at this early stage, try to keep it to just one light and one dark. Just like how you should keep the composition as simple shapes at this stage, keep the lighting simple too). Once I am happy with how the composition feels, I lower the opacity of both the sketch and light/shadow layers, add a layer on top of it all, and start on more intricate line work in the areas than need it. In this particular image, the only places that need this extra refinement are the eye area, the mouth, and maybe the hand.
Not every little thing in the image has to be working this early, but it is important to get MOST of what you want to convey down at this stage; mainly the big shapes (both of object silhouettes and light/shadow shapes) and how they contribute to the overall composition. Just like the foundation of a house, this initial plan will be the basis for the rest of the project. It is important to give a good foundation so that the cosmetic parts can be successful (notice that I don’t have tiny details like bullet holes, smoke, or his augmented eye drawn yet. I was not even thinking about these yet; they came later as I was trying new things while painting).

2.) INITIAL COLOR BLOCK IN
Luckily for me, the Deus Ex game had a very specific color scheme: golds, browns, and blacks. I make a simple color palette on a new layer based on this information.
At this point, I have gotten rid of the sloppy sketch and light/shadow test layers, so now I just have (from top to bottom) the palette layer, the linework layer, and the blank background layer. I fill the background layer with a dark brown and some slightly varying values so that it’s not just one boring color (keep in mind that I am still playing with composition. Therefore, I put the lighter parts of the background where darker parts of Adam’s face are going to be, and vice versa. This “light, dark, light, dark” repetition creates energy, and also helps Adam fit into the setting. If I did not do this, then he would just look like a shape cut out and placed on a generic background).
I add a new layer on top of the background to start adding my skin tones. From this point on, I will always have a mental image of where the light source is coming from. I paint in the shadow and light areas, keeping it relatively simple, trying to show a bit of three-dimensional form. Keep everything on its own layer (skin, hair, armor, etc.) and try to paint good edges. This will make it easier you if you need to select or mask off a specific area in the painting.

3.) FLESHING THINGS OUT
Now that I have basic colors and shapes established, I bump up the resolution from 150 ppi to 300 ppi.
Once I am happy with the tones, values, and colors in the face, I start to slowly blend them together. There are two ways that I prefer to do this: use a speckled smudge brush at a fairly high strength, or use the color picker (alt) to select adjacent tones and paint them into one another manually. Both ways work great.
I now start to reinforce the focal point: Adam’s mechanical eye. The easiest way to make an area a focal point is to have the darkest darks against your lightest lights. The eye here is a perfect example: the pure black pupil is surrounded by bright circular bars of light in the iris, and that iris is encased in a very dark edge. Circular shapes and lines are also easy ways to make an object a focal point (think of a target; just a bunch of circles of varying size around each other. The human eye is basically the same way. That is one of the reasons that we as humans look at other people’s eyes when we talk to them).
At this stage, I also like to add a layer mask to my linework layer so that I can get rid of it where I don’t need it anymore (you could use an eraser, but that’s ‘permanent’; if you paint into a layer mask with white, what you’ve painted out will return). To add a layer mask, make sure you are on the desired layer, look at the bottom of the layers panel, and you should see a little square icon with a circle inside of it. Click it, and the mask is applied. Now just paint in that mask with black (to hide the layer) and white (to reveal the layer).

4.) MOAR
Just more of the previous step, but I am taking it to the armor and glasses.

5.) FUN STUFF
After I have a nice, believable, three-dimensional base, it’s time to add the fun stuff. I establish the shapes of the big blood streams, trying to imagine how gravity would pull the thick red liquid over the bumps and mounds of Adam’s forehead and cheeks. A tip to remember about blood: wherever the blood is more dense, the darker and closer to black it will look. Wherever it is thinner and more light is passing through, it will appear brighter and more vibrantly red.
It is at this point that I start to add a bit of texture where needed. It is easy to overdo texture, so be specific about where you want it. Using a speckled brush first, I indicate where there is some unevenness in the skin. I usually just use the color picker to choose an adjacent color, then paint lightly with that new color (it’s basically the second blending technique I mentioned in step 3, except with a bunch of dots instead of a smooth brushstroke).
Even though I am painting the fun stuff, I am still adjusting the overall composition; you should keep doing this until it feels absolutely right, no matter how far along in the painting process you are. For example, I took a big soft brush and lightly added a bit of dark purple under his eyebrow to make his eye sit further back into his skull. I used the same brush to lightly redden/darken his cheeks at this stage as well. I also selected his hand and slightly enlarged it.
I am still progressively painting into the layer mask on my linework layer to get rid of it as I see fit.

6.) EXTRAS
I am nearing completion at this point. I made the blood darker so that it doesn’t distract as much as it did previously (thanks Dan), and made it pool a bit above his glasses frame. I add a few extra highlights on the blood to add a bit of interest and form, but BE CAREFUL. It is EXTREMELY easy to overdo highlights. Observe different materials in real life and see how light reacts with them.
To add a bit of variation and interest to the skin, I added some discolored purple and green bruises by lightly painting with a cloud-like brush. Add a little bit of skin texture on top so that they feel like they are under the skin.

7.) FINISH HIM
The painting is basically done, but I always like to push things a little bit further. I add a few light blooms being reflected off the metallic buttons on the armor by lightly painting with a soft brush at 10% opacity, set to “screen”.
I touch up the smoke seeping out of the bullet wounds and add some smoke in the background. When painting smoke, try to imagine how the wind would carry it, and try to make it feel random. In art, making things seem random is extremely difficult, but it pays off in the end. Smoke can have both sharp and soft edges at the same time, so experiment with both to get a convincing effect. After I am happy with how the smoke looks, I lower the opacity a little bit so that it doesn’t distract from the rest of the image (which is easy for smoke to do, it looks awesome!).
Keep the composition in mind when painting the little details like smoke; they can add to the strength of the whole image (or break it if you’re not smart with it’s placement). For example, I could have easily painted cool looking wispy smoke that drifts off to the right, but that would make the viewer’s eye look off to the right. Instead, I made them float up towards Adam’s face to keep the viewer’s eye from wandering away from the focal point.

This is generally how I paint whenever i do digital works. Sometimes there are little differences (drawing in pencil first and scanning it in, for example), but for the most part it is consistent. I like to try to keep traditional painting techniques for as long as I can throughout the painting process before resorting to custom brushes, layer modes, and filters.

I hope this little walkthrough has been helpful and/or insightful. If you found it useful, please ‘favorite’ it so that it can get around to others faster. Comments and critiques are welcome and appreciated.

The finished piece can be seen here: [link]

and don't forget to join me on facebook: [link]

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the continued support. I really appreciate it!
Image details
Image size
3084x1996px 2.73 MB
© 2012 - 2021 HoustonSharp
Comments35
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
A shocking testimony of how i got back my husband. Getting him back after separation was a very difficult issue for me because he went to settle down with another lady, i already had two children for him already. I have tried to make contacts with him to come back home yet he refuse, each time i look at his kids i become more sad and i needed him at my side to raise the children together. I was so lucky i finally got the help i needed, i went on a search and i saw Priest Ajigars contact.. People say he is a very powerful spell caster that he can put an end to relationship problem, fertility issues, causes that disturb destiny, he is also good in curing different diseases. He is such a special man gifted with powers and reliable spell caster that have a cure to most problems of life. My husband is back to me and we are living happily as it used to be, Priest Ajigar have done what i could never have done with my own powers, i'm also very happy that i will have a very lovely Xmas with my family here is USA. Here is his email in case you need help too (priestajigarspells@live.com)
J25TheArcKing's avatar
The concept to the final piece...

Very hard work, but you did a very good job on this. I like it!
I lost my husband to another woman 2 weeks ago after 27 years of marriage . We had a lovely marriage but he started a relationship with a co worker who chased after him . He is living away near his work and her and refuses to talk to me or to come home . I am devastated and am finding it hard to cope . I wish I did not love him and that I could move on but I can't . I don't know how to stop feeling like this I wish I didn't as its eating me away and I m starting to feel ill. I have degraded myself begging him to come home all to no avail.  I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Frank Ojo  can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. tow days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Frank Ojo . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. if you have any problem contact him, I give you 100% guarantee that he will help you, This is his details, E-mail: Templeofloveandprosperity@gmail.com , Web site:  lovespell2.yolasite.com . Mobile number +2348072370762. Thank you  all for reading.
How To Get Your Lost Husband Back

With great joy and happiness in my heart i want to appreciate Dr. Ukaka for bring back my lost husband within 24hours after the spell was been cast by him when my husband left me for the past 4 month without living any information behind and all his contact not reachable and i'm so happy my husband is back to us since i contact him on freedomlovespell@hotmail.com for urgent help web site: freedomlovespelltemple.yolasite.com call him+2348133873774 Goodluck
I am so happy and proud to let everybody know about this great spell caster named Priest Ajigar, he brought my ex back to me after 2 years after he left, i have really wanted this man as my future husband after school and it was just one girl that took his attention and before you knew it he started avoiding me before we use to chart, talk on phone, spend some time with me and we go out together but when he saw this girl every part of his feelings towards me changed but right now i am so happy that i consulted Priest Ajigar and really it worked and today my ex is fully back to me and it is my great pleasure to announce Priest Ajigar as the most Powerful spell caster in the world and you can email him for help at (priestajigarspells@live.com)
killswitchengagex's avatar
good job man i wonder why it didnt get a DD
xXPharaohAtemXx's avatar
this is beautiful o_o
punkeuzNDA's avatar
Woaaaw *^* this step by step is....
Really awesome !! And the final !! You rock !
Painthisice's avatar
AsheFF's avatar
Wow, really gorgeous! I could observe this forever
blackOliv's avatar
Amazing job! I love It!!!
renegadesoldier's avatar
Fucking amazing. Thanks for your insight, I completely agree with it, and yes, I'm all for traditional painting first and then only then further pushing a piece with effects, filters etc.
Algarys's avatar
That's wonderful ! I wish I had your technique ! :D
So real :)
HoustonSharp's avatar
it's a pretty straightforward technique, so you can do it too if you try. Hope this walkthrough helped!
fullcreamilk's avatar
crap.. i thought the finished product was a photo!
ponykenso's avatar
i still haven't finished that game, its rather hard when you pick the crap tranq rifle, good work though
ArthurTales's avatar
How many hours of work?
HoustonSharp's avatar
not many to be honest. I would say about 10. I worked on it for about 3 days, a few hours each day.
CoLdEmBeRs22's avatar
Oh my god this is beautiful! Adam Jensen is my favourite character~ Deus Ex: HR was such a beautiful game.
ZLibbenga13's avatar
Poor Adam...keeps getting beaten and bloody, but gosh I love this. Recently become addicted to the game.
HoustonSharp's avatar
same here, love the game.
ZLibbenga13's avatar
It makes me feel so sneaksy :P also makes me want to be augmented...
bionicron's avatar
not a praxis short of AMAZING
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In