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::Balance:: Steps and Tutorial by Deus-Nocte ::Balance:: Steps and Tutorial by Deus-Nocte
...Man, I really need to stop finishing things at like, midnight. >>

Anyway!

Put this together per request of a friend of mine, of one of my recent bigger pieces, seen here:



Obviously, this really only applies to my process with cell shading, though some elements are for painted pieces as well.

It's a Step-by-step/Walkthrough/Tutorial that explains the stages of how I work and gives some tips.

Of course, not every piece will be as complicated at this one, but I felt that using such a big one would be good be more useful than a small piece.

Enjoy, and I hope that some of you get some use out of it, even if it's not technique based! And if there are any typos I missed... just tell me and I'll fix them. <3


Also, just to give you an idea on the scale of this image... at full res, it is 4250x2375. So if that ink job doesn't look "that bad", I assure you... it was.

It was. ._.
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:iconreeno-alchemist:
Reeno-Alchemist Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is actually pretty helpful. I may try some of these techniques with my armor since they always come out looking.... XD like a 2 year old drew them haha. I am always bad at highlights so I'll try using the way you did it as a reference.
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Great! I'm glad it'll help you. I'd love to see the results if you try it~ :3
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:iconreeno-alchemist:
Reeno-Alchemist Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I Think I am going to try it, I like how you did ID's for your characters so I think i might try it, I've done some sketches, haven't decided if I want them in armor or just their plain clothes. Armor would probably make the pictures more flashy or completely ruin it XD I must decide!
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Depends what you're going for, I guess. :P In these poster images I've been doing, I wanted to show off their weapons and badassery. |D So it's really up to you what kind of feeling you want your pieces to give off.
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:iconreeno-alchemist:
Reeno-Alchemist Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I Decided to go with armor XD Doesn't look bad yet |D
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:iconchockito13:
chockito13 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you for sharing this,respect
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
No problem! I hope it helps~ :3
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:iconlaserbot:
Laserbot Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist Filmographer
this was incredibly helpful thank you! Im going to take this knowledge into acount next time I color one of my illustrations! :D
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Not a problem! I hope you get some use out of it then, good luck! And thanks for the favs, I really appreciate them~
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:iconlaserbot:
Laserbot Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Filmographer
your welcome! your arts really superb and reading that shows me why!

I also like your idea for Primus there! I've always been fascinated by the mythological lore behind Transformers. my brain baby "Lutrex" kinda reflects that. Ironicaly i kinda just did a light and dark peice as well and posted it up wich to me just blows my mind how coincadental this is! XD

Awesome work! Love to read one of your rpgs too if you make it into fanfic from or post it somewhere to read, it sounds intriguing.

If you like im up for RPG too sometime, just send me a note if your interested! :D
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Aw, thanks a lot!

I've always been interested in the lore, too... especially Primus. A lot of TF fans seem to think the Primus/Unicron thing is overused, but honestly? I've only seen Primus once in a Japanese production... and maybe mentioned briefly in the comics. So to me, he's always been far more interesting than even Unicron. |3 I couldn't help but design my own version~ So I'm glad you like him!

Haha, that's awesome. I love coincidences like that. :3

My partner actually doesn't want to release the RP as a fanfic, so... while I pushed for it a lot in the past, it's been decided we won't, unfortunately. :/ Still wish we would, but eh, can't force it.

I wouldn't mind, but right now I'm actually writing an original story with another friend, and it's taking up a lot of my time. ^^ It's something we're planning on publishing, so we're putting a ton of work in it. But I appreciate the offer!
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:iconlaserbot:
Laserbot Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist Filmographer
hey its all cool! i do the same thing with a friend of mine too! we dont release all the stories we dream up either. most are just for our own entertainment! XP I gotta ask tho becasue my curiosity is itching me, would your friend care if i could read it just as is possibly in a note/Email form? Like you said Primus stories are far and few between and i realy like the concept of him. but if not its all well and good i understand 100% compleetely. XP

and good for you!! thats aweosme! when you get it Published ill be sure to read it just let me know! :D

but yea the offer remains open, whenever you have time just drop me a line i have skype i use alot to RPG but a couple diff methods of IM as well. I tend to do live RPG's keeps ya on yer toes and sometimes makes for more interesting plot twists.

Btw curious what do you think of the new TF: Prime series? like plot/characters thus far?

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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I suppose I wouldn't mind sending it.. but I wouldn't really have the time to edit much of it, so there might be plotholes/grammatical errors/etc. XD But... it's also really long, and Primus doesn't come into the story until our last two big arcs. So as long as you're cool with that. There are a ton a characters and a loooot of romance, but we also have actual plot and arcs we go through. The story kind of changes main characters as you go along. So as long as you don't mind that, I can start preparing chapters. The beginning will take more explaining, however, since our very first RP session didn't save D: If you're really only interested in Primus, I can skip to his arc and I can try to explain the basics of what happened thus far and the characters. It's up to you though.

Aw, well thanks! I plan to be posting more art on it and the actual first chapter soon, so I'd love any comments on it when I do. :) I actually used a few of my TF OCs in it, I just made them into their own characters, which I find I'm happier with anyway.

Unfortunately the idea of doing it over skype isn't appealing to me, simply because I have a speech impediment :/ I wouldn't be able to do much with actually talking... my main style is doing it in IM in story format. Like you type your post as you would a story. I can't really go back to something like the chat version anymore. XD

I actually really like Prime. I didn't think I'd warm up to it, but I really did. The prospect that it might be based on the movies turned me off, but I think the designs are actually a lot closer to Animated... only 3D. And the writing is really great too. I really loved TFA, but it didn't pick up until the end of first season; this one they caught my interest from the get go, so it's nice. How about you?
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:iconlaserbot:
Laserbot Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011  Hobbyist Filmographer
COOL! thanks so much i cant wait to read all of it! I am not a gramar nazi so it wont bug me one bit and i love to read for myself whats happening im never afraid of a long read if anything it helps me pass by the time when im not working. If you like to still give me the first parts summary that was not logged thats fine with me it probably help me understand the setting and all that too!

and hey dont worry about it i never talk out RPG's either i just like using Skypes IM and then sometimes ocasionaly what we could do on there is talk about other miscilaneious stuff or where to go next/ brainstorm while we RPG using the mikes but its all optional.

the other thing thats nice on skype is you can have multiple chat windows open with the same person/s so for example one chat room could be for all OOC talk and the other window could be for Incharacter RPG story and its verry easy to switch back and forth. and i so it exactly the same way we will post big chunks of story we may have our own characters we like to focus on but we are flexable with the otehr person playing eachothers characters for the sake of story development and plot because most of the time were on the same page of where the RPG is going or a general goal to reach.

I realy dig the Prime series the stories and overall plot of it all is quite well written and told from and animation standpoint. even the 3D animation this time aorund i like. the character design at first i had to get a little used to being certian characters lacking facial featurs that bugged me but over time i kinda like the idea of them looking the way they do being they are aliens so it makes sence. also they have realy paied mind to give the fans what they want with focus eps on spacific characters and even some without the human element entirely, as well as some focused on interactions between humanity and the TF's. I think what i like alot too is how they have taken concepts usualy only used in the comics and thrown them into the cartoon. like the idea of Mech. a human oposition thats more of a secret organization. this is realy similar to what IDW has done. and the kids for the most part are not anoying... even Miko i can tollerate as the comic releif. without her banter here and there i think the story probably be too serious.

but look at me rambling on and on haha you get the idea XD.
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Alright then, I'll try to get it to you soon! Probably through e-mail. I can't say it'll be super soon that you'll get the first part, probably in a week or two. Right now I'm kind of crammed for time, but hopefully that'll lessen up then.

Oh, Skype must've added that feature while I haven't been using it, haha! That does sound pretty useful. It's nice to have a separate window for OOC tangents and whatnot.

Yeah, definitely agree with you there. The faces kinda bugged me at first too, but like you, I've grown used to it. I also like how they make every bot's optics different... makes them more individual than just having the same ones for each faction. :) The humans I can pretty much stand, too. At first I didn't like Miko, but yeah, her presence is needed in a situation like this~

Haha, it's okay! The convo's winding down anyway :)
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:iconarceeenergon:
arceeenergon Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Student Digital Artist
DIABLOSSS si que esta exelente tu dibujo y colores :D
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!! :3
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:iconkissingdolls:
kissingdolls Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
OAO so much layers and details, mah eyes hurts!
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hahaha, well thanks, I think XD
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:iconkissingdolls:
kissingdolls Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
<3 I love it~ <3 <3 <3 That's what I meant to say!
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well thank you very much then <33
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:iconkissingdolls:
kissingdolls Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011
yer welcome!
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:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
It was interesting for me to see how we approach drawing the same way... except I'm not nearly as patient and detailed as you are. XD Then again, I work slow, so a piece like this would have taken me over a month to do if I worked in my free time. I probably would have stopped after 10 layers, but it definitely shows in the quality of work. I never quite liked Photoshop, but then it might be because I don't know how to use it properly. I'm more simple-minded and old school, so I end up doing a lot of things manually until someone else teaches me a better method. i.e. I dabble in the layer options, but you certainly know more about when to use a Multiply vs. Overlay. 8D

Now that I know how your process goes, does it ever frustrate you when you can't get something to look the way you want? Do you just call it a day on that or do you somehow manage by it and move along? You said it took you a week or so on this piece, but I also know you have a tight schedule (with other commissions and what-not), so I'm imaging you're really accurate/fast on drawing.
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It does frustrate me sometimes, but in order to curb it I do one of two things: stop messing with it and leave it alone, either permanently or until later when I can look at it with fresh eyes, or... just redo it completely. Usually I find I get better results redoing it. There have been times when I'm just not happy with something, and I'm forced to redo it, either by Photoshop randomly crashing or by a stupid power outage; but in the end I'm happier with it, so I've come to see those things as happening for a reason. XD

You know, I used to think I was really fast, but I've come to realize that I'm not as fast as I thought I was... seems like between sketching, inking, and coloring, it takes a lot more time than I thought. Many more hours. :| But oh well, still something to improve upon, like everything.

I'm the same way with learning Photoshop though, I tend to do things the hard way until I stumble onto some feature or am told a shortcut. XD

Maybe you'd like a program more similar to SAI? It's tiny compared to Photoshop, and simple... and can get you awesome painty brush strokes. 8D
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:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
I think the difference between you and me in that regard is that even if I redo it, I'm not happy with the outcome of it no matter how many times I start over. And it's usually something I can't leave alone. So I usually just give up for the day and do something else. XD;

I don't know. I feel sometimes my muse will help me draw. Other days I draw as though I have jellyfish hands... and they don't have hands. o_O THAT'S HOW BAD I GET.

Yeah. I do have SAI. It's the lines I can't ink though. At least, I haven't found a way to do it in that program that's not the vector. o_O
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Aw D: Just keep trying...? Or try to analyze it, see what's bugging you in particular. Sometimes what's wrong with it isn't so obvious, either. It could be a completely different part that's making that look off.

Oh dear XD But they have tentacles... those have to be useful for something. >>

Ehh? Just use the pen tool, silly! Set it to like 8 or 10 (depending on how big you work; my pieces are usually well into the thousands range, so the lines look thinner shrunk), make sure it's a solid line, and there you go. SAI inks like a dreeeeam~ I don't ink with anything else!

Hell, I haven't even found out how to do vectors on that thing yet XD
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:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
Oh dear. We're not going there are we? XD *waiting for Dark Primus to show up to make some innuendo jokes*

Ohh, so the key is the size of the work! I've always made them small, so I never thought about having a large canvas to make the effects of the pen shrink. It's why the pen work always look so splotchy and fat I guess. Thanks for the heads-up. :D
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, yes we are going there. XD Though I think any comments he would make would be a little too awkward, so I'll keep it to myself XP

Haha, yeah! I generally make my stuff around 11x17 at 250dpi (2750x4250) in case I ever want to print it. If I was actually going by printing standards, though, it'd be at 300dpi... but even that's too big for me to work with right now. >>; One day I'll get comfortable with it though, I'm sure. It definitely lets you be looser with your strokes, though, and allows for a lot more mistakes!

Also, with inking, rather than making one slow continuous line... I try to make quick and fast strokes of the general shape, even if I have to erase the tail ends. It just looks a lot more fluid that way XD
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:iconj-cleo:
J-Cleo Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011
...I have to admit. I'm slightly disappointed he's not going to make his comments. XD

I'm with you on that. Quick, fast lines are how I tend to draw. I can't do long, continuous strokes, though I've been learning to do that with the Manga Studio Debut program I have. Of course, I can't really do much in terms of color, but then I suppose I can always export it to another program.
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:iconalbinosnowbunny:
albinosnowbunny Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
oh man! i really enjoyed reading through this and looking at the high res pics at the end.
I've been experimenting a lot after i got a tablet, right now i've been trying to do a more lose style, but i miss having my stuff look "tight". I'm definitely going to keep this tutorial in mind if i need help/advice.
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!! I'm glad you liked going through it <3 Hopefully it'll be some help for you.

Yeah, even I've been liking a more messy style recently... but I find going back and forth between that and clean is best for me. :3
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:iconseqartmark:
SeqArtMark Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
My word that was awesome. Now I have to just find a way to streamline it and make it less time-intensive (for everyday use). Still, it's good to know how to go all out (say for a cover or commission). Good work, K.
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you! Haha, well, the streamline version is basically the same thing, just cutting out some of the menial steps XP And just the... size of the damn thing killed me too. >>; Good luck finding your own process, though~
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:iconlianisobsessivemind:
LianisObsessiveMind Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
oh my god that looks like it toke forever and a day :iconohmygodplz: it looks great though! :la:
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
LOL Yeah that's about how long it took... XD But thanks~! <3
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:iconjkravensfield:
JKRavensfield Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
SHINY!!! XD I really enjoy seeing your process :)
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
SHINY INDEED! Haha, thanks, glad you like. :D
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:iconartoni:
artoni Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
...so how many hours was this?
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Oh geez. I know I spent the better part of a week on it, but I didn't much keep track... Though I wouldn't be surprised if it was a good 20 hours combined, or something similar.
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:iconartoni:
artoni Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
your patience, where does it come from TAT
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hmm, it's not so much patience as it is drive to get it done XD While I was doing it, it was one of those things I just couldn't wait to see completed... That's what lets me work the long hours XP
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:iconartoni:
artoni Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hee. If I want something completed, I just want to get rid of it, usually, after 4-5 hours! I get stuck in the "THIS IS UGLY/STUPID" phase. :<
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Aww! I don't really have that phase too often... but if I do, I just usually completely erase the section/part I don't like and start it over, do it differently. ^^ I know it's hard to keep motivated, though.
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:iconreaper-n-reaver:
reaper-n-reaver Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
This is great Thanks for the tips and steps you did on this ^^
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
And thank you, hopefully it'll be some help <3
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:iconreaper-n-reaver:
reaper-n-reaver Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011
definitely
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:iconahunmaster:
ahunmaster Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
Oh man...I wish I could draw as great as you can. But I can't draw for the life of me.

Love the details to everything. Thanks for explaining.

Now I'm gonna go cry in a corner somewhere...
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It really just takes time, hard work, and patience! Even so, don't get down on yourself, we all have our own talents. :3

Thank you though, I'm glad you like it anyway.

...Awwww, don't do that! I'd feel bad D:
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:iconcruxe:
cruxe Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011
woah, i may have to try this sort of method at some point. o:
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:icondeus-nocte:
Deus-Nocte Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Nothing wrong with trying it out XD

What are the differences?
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