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Making of a Mutant... Or Two. by Robaato Making of a Mutant... Or Two. by Robaato

First off, before I explain this process I want to say a few things.

It seems almost everyone has an opinion of what they feel I should change about this image. Please don't forget, that this is MY piece. It's my interpretation of the X-Men. I have that right as an artist. Not that I'm against "critique" or such, but know that there's a time and place for those things. I'm not an artist who's just starting out "learning" how to do this.

I do this for a living, which I guess means "professionally". I get paid to do work like this. This was not an attempt to learn how to do something, I do that in my off/spare time enough (much of which I don't even show on dA). So in that case, I didn't ask for "help" on this image. I know exactly what I'm doing in this case.

Also, this piece took over the course of 3-4 days to complete. Those who are expressing their "concern" haven't even probably attempted something of this scale themselves. Considering that I'm pretty confident now with layouts like these, I can make that statement.

I'm still learning however, but I really don't need my hand held by a group of people right now. I've did all that hard work myself when NO ONE was interested in my art, before I got a bit of play. Only reasonable help from close friends/artists pushed me along the way when I was stuck. I am not "stuck" here.

To the process. As you remember the screenshot updates, it was not done necessarily in this order. But this is the typical order of a piece of mine:

1. Rough Sketch- Very blurry and such, it was kinda hard for most to make out. This is how I start out 95% of my work. XD

2. Lineart- I draw the lines right off that rough sketch with a fine brush on Sketchbook Pro on a separate layer.

3. Base Flats- In Photoshop, Amanda helped on the guys, and I baseflatted the girls.

4. Color Flats- I flatted each individual article of clothing and such on top of the Base Flats.

5. Shadows- Added shaded cels/tones to the characters. This was done with a dark bluish-purple color on the layer setting Hard Light.

6. Powers- I added the powers. I painted these in with various brushes. I played around with the Layer Style settings to achieve the desired effect.

7. Highlights/Lighting- I added certain lighting elements using Layer Style, and the highlights to the suits. They're superheroes, which involves latex and such. So things had to reflect and light has to bounce of them. That takes consistent study to pull off feasibly. With the skin, I painted it to contrast against the reflective light of the suits.

8. Final Touches- Added Storm's scarf thingy and halftone and tint on the enemy section, and put a light Gradient Map over the whole image to mesh the whole image together visually.

And that's it!
Add a Comment:
thestefan Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013
i dont know what peeps is bitching about its clear that its in your own style. it wouldn't have been as cool if it was in anyone elses. i love it. this is going to be my computer b.g.
Knightice765 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
One of my favorite piece!!!
lightdark0123 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Wow. Thats master piece. xD I wish I can done that, but that require much patience... I have a tamper... :(
Bozzak1 Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
Great work, and the fact that you show your process is very giving.

Love you Jube too.
rdatzko Featured By Owner May 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Sincerely love this!!!
L-word Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Student Filmographer
Very cool, and helpful. I'm completely pants at coloring on the computer. This is a stupid question, but what's the point of base flats?
HiAgain69 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Super cool
BarbyVale Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2011
AlexLuvsArt Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
To me this piece is very well balanced and this is coming from someone who has done graphic design for several years (Although not much of the comic artist). Layout is what I do everyday and dealing with color as well. I love your use of color, you definitely know how to put them together. Thanx for taking the time to show us the process, it definitely helps. Ten thumbs up.
nibcrom Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011
Thanks for sharing your process.
SparkletteMachina Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
This is great!
Are you thinking of drawing out the whole marvel universe?
I think they'd all look great in your style! :)
585 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011
this is all types of kick-ass, i just have a few questions if you don't mind me asking

1) when you do the shading and set it to hard light what opacity you set it to

2) when you do the lighting/ highlights effect what exactly do you do in layer style

3) and last do you recomend buying Sketchbook Pro
KatMaz Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011
BRILLIANT!!!! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!! 8D LOVE IT SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!! ^^ Its so amazinh how you did this step by step, very sophisticated and clean! LOVE IT LOTS!!!!!!!! 8D
StreetKnights901 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011   General Artist
And thanks for shwing the process! Really tight stuff
StreetKnights901 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011   General Artist
Who would have a problem with this?! That's F'd up man! This is top notch work. We need more of this if anything. Keep it up!
RavenAspen Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011
Fuck, that is just.... Wow, this is amazing.
RC1 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011
Spectacular! Or should I say Astonishing?
Love it! :headbang:
NyahKitty Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I always appreciate it when an artist provides a step by step progress image of how they made the final product.
However, you've gone the extra mile and explained what you did in each step.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Also, you're work is very good!
q-bii Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
watching/seeing this come together was almost as awesome as seeing the final product! awesome work!
sbxjap Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
on a side note.... for those who wanted Deadpool (he doesn't even belong on this image!!) on here, you should do a sketch of him... a chibi one... so they can tack it on the side of the print they buy lol... I would attach a spring so he can bobble...
sbxjap Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
like whoa
RyeGon Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
this is awesome! :D
The-Enigma-Machine Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the idea of artistic license, because even characters decades old can still be very eye-catching to look at, like here. Excellent job!
Radiant-Grey Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I for one definitely appreciate these glimpses into your work flow! REAL damn informative =D Thanks muchly! (and yeah, I noticed more than a few people poking and prodding you--it's not their piece, it's yours. It's not a group effort here!)
Radiant-Grey Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
also, is that a soft light layer effect you're using on the line art layer?
KidD0n Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011   Traditional Artist
your style is soo different not saying that i want to draw like you but i look up to that so respect to you man and this is definatley a nice pic, keep em coming. Aight.
S-hell-Z Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
ooooh I see what you did there lol. I want this piece. I finna send a note asap.
IronLion82 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
haven't said this about any deviations in a while...STRAIGHT BEAST MODE!
WhiteWolffie Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
AzizSupremeArt Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome job. I love how you show the progression.
Oh-BLEEP Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
How do you go about with using base flats?
Is the color you use based on what the dominant color on the character is, or is just some random color you choose (or both xD)?
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah the first one. :)

The color i pick is usually based on the most dominant color of the character/subject. :nod:
fumeista23 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
I wanna meet these haters and beat em' in der faces?... Ya I think I could...

sweet pick it was fun watchin ya do it on da live stream!
JollyLink Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i love those guys! >: ( this,is,amazziinngg:heart:
Heatheru Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
Geez, people had problems with this? Seriously? Thanks for sharing the process! I loved watched it show up in my devwatch one by one, but seeing it altogether is even better! Your summary for each step helps a lot, too. I'll keep them all in mind the next time I work on a picture.
Therhi Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Student Digital Artist
It is very hard to find any fault in your pieces! I fail to understand why people were trying to give you advice given the reason you were making this piece.

You have your won style, your own flavor, and that's what makes your work so great.
I like the final touches you gave this one, and seeing the process as a whole makes it all the more interesting.
Instead of critique, people should do their best to learn from you; like I'm doing ;) and see where it takes their art!

Don't stop being awesome! :painter:
Aralepus Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Student General Artist
Awesome to see how you can turn such a messy sketch into a masterpiece. =)
ataramos Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yesterday as I looked at one of the WIP's, I was thinking about how glad I was that you were showing us the process instead of just the finished product. I really enjoyed watching along, and I'm glad to see you put this together to share. My favorite bit of the finished image is the lighting from Jubilee's fireworks, I just love how that worked. Thank you for sharking, hopefully it can help someone who's learning, too.
Pertheseus Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
bad ass rob -
AnimeFreak40K Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
My only 'negative' critique (if it could be considered this) would be the effects of Dazzler's powers - I personally think that they are a bit too bright and end up taking too much away from the image as a whole. The eye is drawn there because they are bright and the glowy effects muddle some of the detail. Something to take away from this as a possible learning experience would be to tone down the brightness just a little. But this is my personal opinion on the matter, and I understand perfectly if you do not see a problem with this, or if that was precisely what you were intending.

On a more positive note, I like the dynamic layout you have going on and the general composition as well as the consistent lighting. Your interpretations of the characters are well done in that you have made them readily identifiable as who they are and yet kept your own feel and flavor about them.

When it comes to critique, there are two things I try to keep in mind - first, is I try to treat it as an AAR (After Action Report), something I did a lot of while in the Army. After every training exercise we would have one. The goal would be to take all the participants and make a note of what went wrong, what went right and how things could be improved (usually we would have no less than 3 of each). The idea is that even if nothing went wrong, one could *always* improve.

The other thing I try to keep in mind is the fact that while my ability is (at best) third-rate, I also know what works or looks right. The reason why I keep this in mind is that a very good friend of mine works for a gaming company and he has had to look over a lot of great artwork for his company, tell the artist to make specific changes and then send the image back - the man is a writer, and by his own admission, could not draw his way out of a wet paper bag. But given the product lines that he is in charge of, he has the final say-so in what art will get put into his books and what won't.

I try to keep these two things in mind because while I sincerely doubt that I will ever pull something like this off, it helps give me a bit of ground to stand on when I make a critique as well as try to be helpful and not only give positive feedback, but offer suggestions as well.

On a completely related note, I am sure this one will do well at Otakon. Which reminds me, pre-registration and Dealer's Room applications have opened. No word yet on the Alley though...
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
See the thing with the fireworks, as I mentioned to someone else about it, is that Fireworks are supposed to be bright. If they were darker, then it would defeat the purpose of Jubilee needing those glasses in the first place. We are drawn to fireworks display naturally in life, if you're driving along the road on the 4th of July and you see fireworks set off, your eye will look towards that way. It's a natural thing. So I can't see how that's so much of a problem.

So it was well intended. I honestly think that if that distracts people from the piece, then that just means they weren't looking long enough. :| S'all good in the end.

For Otakon, I have an RSS Feeder on my phone working every 3 minutes as to when they'll post the AA Registration opening. :D
AnimeFreak40K Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I understand what you were going for, so don't get me wrong there. When I say the eye is drawn to the piece and can be distracting, is that as the natural movement of the eye crawls over a piece of work, it would be drawn back to that point. A possible way to mitigate this would be to have Jubilee at a different area than Gambit, as the eye would then start at one spot and as it traverses the image find itself drawn to Gambit's glowing cards, which in turn cause the eye to move over Wolverine, and along Cyclops' optic blast.

...though at this point, I think that I am getting more into the science and psychology of composition which may or may not be worthwhile.

Nice! Because I lack such up-to-the minute access, could you hit me up on Skype or drop me an email when you get the word?
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I most definitely will! :)
AnimeFreak40K Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist

You are a gentleman and a scholar...I don't care what your wife says about you!
billythebrain Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I couldn't believe how many people were trying to find fault with this piece. Even in the very early stages. The whole time I was thinking "really? Look at your work and look at what you're criticizing". I'm glad you said something.

The piece turned out great of course.
SuperCaterina Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
That is really cool!! Now I see how you make these masterpieces...I love it!!:star:
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yup! :) I'm glad you like my stuff.
SuperCaterina Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
I don't like it...

I LOVE it!! :heart:
devlin2010 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice job Rob it's good to see a different take on the characters,yet still have some of the original traits :) the jump from the blurry stage to the final stage is incredible and shows the dedication and time you put into the piece.For anyone not to understand that and to criticise your efforts shouldn't really be taken seriously, my opinion about criticism would be take it from those who are of the same standard or higher, other than that you can pick what is constructive/helpful criticism from others. As for those who tell you how it should be that cannot do it themselves are only basing their opinions on art of the characters that they have seen before (prior artists and the originals),not leaving it open to new style,opinions and interpritation. ^_^ Again good job dude
Robaato Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Exactly. Thanks a lot, Dev. :)
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Submitted on
March 8, 2011
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