Recolor of the Canon Giraffe to steampunk

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by outersketcher, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    I was intrigued by the idea of recoloring a previously designed model. It's a way to recognize and glorify a favorite design.... in my case, the Giraffe model that Canon has on their free papercraft section of their website.

    I'm going to recolor the model so that it looks like it were made of riveted sheet copper. A steampunk Giraffe if you will.

    Once I received the go-ahead from Canon, I downloaded and built the model.

    Went together real nice. In fact, it was a pleasure to assemble. Nice work. I thought that their solution for eliminating the potential frustration of the legs not being level was fantastic. The hooves are designed to allow the builder to slide them up or down the foreleg slightly till the giraffe stands firmly on all four hooves. A simple, yet effective solution.

    Before I glued on the giraffe's bum and rear legs, I measured the inside shape of the belly area and cut out the two sides of what will be a viewable access area to the steampunk giraffes inner workings.

    Using the built model as reference, I laid out another set of printed parts sheets and drew all over them. Basically laying out where the rivets will go and planning the access hatch.

    The copper...

    As you all well know, it's very difficult to create the illusion of metal through the medium of printed paper. I've got photographs of patinated copper, I've made scans of actual sheets of copper and I've tried my hand at creating copper textures in photoshop. It's interesting to note that the scanned images of actual copper sheet look the worst. In fact, I've determined that I will be better off painting fake copper than using an actual photograph of the stuff.

    Next, is the photoshop work. Building rivets, adding shadows and streaks to the copper...etc.

    Attached Files:

  2. Nothing

    Nothing Longtime Member

    relly nice looking girafe there. An interesting idea. will be watching to see how it turns out.

    think you could show us how you painted copper in ps?
  3. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Okay Nothing... the following is what I did to create the illusion of riveted copper plate.

    I'm using Adobe Photoshop on an Apple imac. If you don't have Photoshop, I hear the free program Gimp is relatively similar to Photoshop in function. Also, the methods I'm using are fairly universal in concept which means most of you out there will be able to find a way to duplicate this using your own favorite editing program.

    Although Cannon gave me permission to make a recolor of their giraffe, I found that their pdf files are all locked up. You can't alter them or even export them in any way without a password. So, I simply printed out the parts sheets, scanned them, and saved them as Photoshop psd files.

    Print quality is not an issue here, as I'm only using the scans as templates for the recolor project.

    Okay... here we go...

    (Photo 1)
    Using the pen tool set to create shapes, select the working areas. I had the color preset to a ridiculous color to make it easier to differentiate between the shape and the background. Then rastorize each shape layer so that the shapes can be easily selected later.

    (Photo 2)
    Select the shape layer I want by clicking on the image within the layers pallete while holding down the COMMAND key. This automatically selects all of the pixels within that layer. Now every action I make will be confined to the selected area only. In this case I fill the selected area with a nuetral, copper color. (A nice short-cut to fill in a selected shape with color in Photoshop is to press OPTION-DELETE.)

    (Photo 3)
    I keep the selection active and click onto the little "fx" button at the bottom left hand corner of the layer pallete. This is the "Layer Effects" shortcut button. What I want to do is apply a texture to the copper color to help give it some life. Right now, the straight color is flat. Fiddle with the desired texture till it looks random and natural. Hint, make the texture as large as possible within the shape. I now MULTIPLY the texture and knock back the opacity to around 40% or so. Multiply forces the texture to take on the characteristics of the color underneath the texture... giving us a colored texture! Click "OK" and check out the shape.

    Cool man.

    (Photo 4)
    I keep that shape selected!.. Now I have a fairly decent looking coppery color with a random variance in color value and texture intensity... looks okay. Now I want to add the patination. The green stuff! So, I create a new, blank layer call it the "dark patination" layer. I grab the brush tool and select a wonky brush. (Any kind of messy brush pattern will do really.) You can see the brush pattern I'm using in this case in black and white above the shape. Being careful to vary the opacity of the brush here and there, apply the streaked patina-green that copper takes on when exposed to weather. Note that I am careful to apply the streaks in the direction of gravity once the part is folded. And because this part glues together at the top, I have to keep in mind that each "end" of the shape will eventually be either side of the "top" once the part is assembled. I also make sure to add some random corrosion spots throughout the body of the part. Multiply this layer and knock back the value a bit. Now I create another layer and name that one "light patination". Repeat the brush manipulations over the darker layer so that now there is a "depth" to the patination. Trust me, you need the darker layer to add punch to the lighter patination layer. Without it, the patination isn't as realistic. Everything has depth in real life... even crud.

    (Photo 5)
    In this shot you can see the motion blur effect that I apply to the patination layer only. This helps to give the patination that "settled in" look. :) Go to the top menu, and select FILTERS-BLUR-MOTION BLUR. Be careful here... too much will look silly.

    Now, I can release the selection of the shape.

    (Photo 6)
    The rivets. I create a new layer and call it "RIVET-right". Make a circle selection shape on that layer and fill it with the copper color. Select that cute little "fx" button at the bottom of the layers pallete to get the LAYER EFFECTS window and select the DROP SHADOW area to make... well.. a drop shadow. I'm careful to turn OFF the "Use global light" button. This is a really neat button that forces the shadow to observe a single light source know matter where you put the shape. However, in this case, I need to be able to change the direction of the light source depending on where I place the rivets. Once I have the shadow how I like it, I select the "BEVEL AND EMBOSS" area and adjust the depth of the selected circle so that it takes the light how I want. This is sheerly a matter of messing with the sliders to arrive at a pleasing combination. Once that's done, I copy the rivet twice. Name the two new rivet layers "RIVET-left" and "RIVET-middle". Open up the "fx" button for each of those layers and change the light source direction for both the bevel and the shadow so that the light source is correct for each rivet. If you look at the photo, you can see that the rivets on the right look as tho the lightsource is from the right... where as the rivets on the left look as tho the light source is from the.. you got it!.. the left. And the middle rivets are diffused in highlight. This is because the middle rivets will, in actuality end up being the BOTTOM rivets. Thereby receiving only whatever light is reflected back up from the ground. Once the part is cut out and assembled, the rivets will all agree as to the light source.

    So that's it. I still think I might like to add some scratches and small dents.. we'll see. But for now, I want to get the effect applied to all of the parts sheets.

    Attached Files:

  4. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Done with the Neck parts sheet.... onto the head.


    Attached Files:

  5. Nothing

    Nothing Longtime Member

    fantastic job on the copper!! i really like how it looks.
  6. Toddlea

    Toddlea Member

    Looking very cool David. Always liked this idea. I did an armor plated elephant once.
  7. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Your textures look great, very nice Photoshopping! I can't wait to see how this takes shape!
  8. mauther

    mauther Active Member

    What brilliant idea!
    With pleasure I will folow your progress.

    SEBRET Member

    Looking really good. this is the first I have seen of something like this so i look forward to watching your progress.
  10. DHL

    DHL Member

    great idea!
  11. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Thanks for the encouragement! And Toddlea.... an elephant?...really... an elephant? Oh, I'd love to see that.

  12. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

    Great job David, I really like the riviets!!
  13. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Nothing to show yet.. just the ongoing tedium of altering the individual parts to copper and rivets... lots of rivets...I've got copper rivets swimming in my mind now. They... won't... leave me be! Aaaaauuugh!!

    I suppose I could post updates of the digital process....rivet by rivet... however I doubt that anyone would find such posts... well... "riveting"! HA HA!... see, I am going stark riveting mad.

  14. outersketcher

    outersketcher Illustrator, Tinker

    Okay, I've been shamed into finishing this up. I spent all last weekend laying in rivets and textureing on the parts sheets. Now all the copper is down. What I need to do now is add a few of those final, touches that will give the copper giraffe some real character. By that I mean metal mesh for the inner ears, a crank for a tail and eyes that have a more mechanical look to them. Will post picts when I start the test build.
  15. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Very glad to see you are working on this worthy subject again! :thumb:
  16. cjwalas

    cjwalas Member

    I'm also glad to see you're back at this! CAn't wait to see what you come up with.
  17. DHL

    DHL Member

    oh yes!

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