November 30, 2013

Pixel Orcs #2

The Making of Helm’s Deep Pixel Art Part #2

Drawing People

I start off with a blank document and immediately colour it blue, which will form the main background, and help set the tone for the other colours in the picture.  I then draw a rough humanoid shape which will be my template for every other character and everything else. Really, everything is based off the size of this character. The wall, the steps, the weapons, everything.

Basic humanoid figure

Basic humanoid figure

And then place him into my scene.

I'm so lonely...

He looks a little lonely.

Isometric drawings use an isometric visual projection. This is a fancy way of saying that things don’t get smaller the further they are away. So a figure at the top of the picture would be exactly as tall as a figure at the bottom of the picture (dwarfs not included).

Firstly, we need a wall. Using an isometric perspective, isometric lines which are two pixels horizontally for every 1 pixel vertically.  

Doesn't look much like a wall to me.

Doesn’t look much like a wall to me.

In order to draw the wall, we need to have a look at the film stills, and see how the wall is built.  We also need to work out where the light is coming from.

Turns out it’s mostly moonlight, with a few torches casting a bit of yellow, but generally it’s all blue.  Let’s draw the wall with the ramparts in.  The tops of the wall are lighter than the sides.

Now, we need someone to climb the ladder.  We need some Uruk-Hai.

Oh hai, Uruk-Hai

Using our basic humanoid shape, I created an Uruk-Hai with a spear and a shadow. Note the massive cheat here – he’s facing away from the camera, so I don’t need to draw his face. Using him as a template, I make a few more friends.

Our basic Uruk-Hai

I’ll get by with a little help …


… from my friends.

There we go, now we have some basic Uruk-Hai soldiers, including one with a flaming torch, another with Saruman’s White Hand flag, and even a lazy one lying on his back.  Let’s put them in the scene and do a little bit of cloning work.

Okay, the wall is done, and we have a drainage hole for a bomb.  However, it still looks like a peaceful protest.  It needs some action!

The assault on the wall

The Uruk-Hai army is a bit dull at the moment.  Let’s add some unique elements to it them more interesting.  In the film the Uruk-Hai army has two notable members; a crazy Uruk-Hai with a burning torch who runs at the drainage hole bomb to set it off, and there’s a Uruk-Hai leader who stands on a rock giving presumably motivational advice to his fellow Uruk-Hai.

The Torch carrier

The Torch carrier

Motivational Uruk-Hai

Motivational Uruk-Hai

The Leader Uruk-Hai is actually facing us, giving us our first face to draw. I sorta make him look like a blue monkey.

That’s a pretty large army.  The Uruk-Hai are going to win at this rate.  We need a few more nameless defenders to help hold them off, whilst we wait for the heroes to arrive.  We’ll also add the grill in the drainage hole to stop anyone trying to run through it.

Read on for part 3.

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