What is your creative process?

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Sheesha
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What is your creative process?

Post by Sheesha » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:33 pm

Everyone has their own way of dolling, and it's always interesting to compare.

I'm, admittedly, a bit disorganized, and often I have to put many hours into a doll before it even resembles a human figure, haha.
Typically, I grab a base, and then on a new layer I sketch over it, changing pose as I see fit.
And then I do another sketch of the figure with a rough idea of the clothing I want to put on it. And a few more of those, refining things and focusing on areas I struggle with while pixelling so I have a decent reference sketch for those.
At which point I do my initial pixel outlining, fill in colours, articulate some details I'm excited to work on... and then get frustrated and close Photoshop. Over the course of the next few weeks or months, I will open Photoshop, tweak and add minor details, get frustrated, and close Photoshop. Again. And again.
Assuming it's for a contest, I eventually panic over deadline, pixel the mass of the piece, submit it, and then suddenly notice a bunch of minor details I needed to tweak.

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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by H|F » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:55 pm

I normally will either grab one of my bases and sketch the design on another layer or like most of the time I go baseless sketching the whole piece in one layer.

I then make another layer to pixel my outlines, I try to make them as good as I can manage before I move on (though I may edit later)

I will then normally make a "color" layer and place it behind/under the lines. I will use the want tool to select all areas nooks and crannies of "transparent" areas that aren't part of the piece on the outline layer. I will then invert the selection and go back to the color layer normally dumping one color just to get my area full.

I will then unselect and lock the "color" layer. This is normally when I pick my colors (though they may change) and start blocking off and filly sections until each is represented separately.

Then I start shading, normally I go clothes, hair, skin but that can vary.

Then once I have all my colors ready and shaded I will change my outline colors to match.

Oh and I tend to take one to two days on a doll/pixel but it depends, if I lose interests it may take longer but only because I need a break lol
Last edited by H|F on Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by Shixam » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:12 pm

My process ended up changing once I got my tablet. I figured out really quickly that pixeling outlines like I used to really wasn't as easy with the tablet, so I switch to not using outlines at all. I usually grab the base I want to use, sketch over it and then do blocks of color for the body and clothes and hair all at the same time. Although, on the current one I'm working on I decided to do the color for the body separately from the clothes. First time around, I'm not really worried about neatness or the exact color. It's kinda like a second sketch, but more filled in. Then I'll clean up the edges and start shading from the top. And I usually fix the colors to what I want as I shade. If I'm really into the doll I can do it all in about a day or two. If I'm busy or not as into dolling as I was hoping I'd be, it takes me longer.
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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by ElfMaiden » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:51 pm

Once I know what I'm doing, I search around and find a base. I proceed to copy it and paste it into a different file, eliminating any white space and such around it and ending up with it on a new layer. After that, I sketch in everything I want to have on one layer with lines of the colour I want them to be, and fill them all in with the right colours. Then I drop in a background of some dark and fairly neutral colour.

After that, I just make layer after layer for each item and work on the shading and highlighting and all. Sometimes shadows and highlights go on different layers, and sometimes the same. I do always have one layer right after the base where I modify it, reshade and tweak the face and all that stuff. That's the only really consistent thing about the finishing part. I also always do the base-tweaking first, to make sure I get the face and all down; I essentially always doll some character or other of mine, so if it's not turning out to look like them, I don't want to bother further.

Usually the whole thing takes me between an hour and two hours, but it has taken up to four for very large or very complicated things with backgrounds. I don't spend too much time on it or look up reference or anything, even though that would improve things, because I mostly do it when I'm feeling like doing something colourful but not feeling like doing a whole painting.

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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by Lilly » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:04 pm

My creative process is slapdash, unorthodox, messy...most of my dolls are baseless, which involve a lot of sketching. I can sit at my computer for several hours researching whatever it is I'm planning to doll, all while making a huge mess of my sketch. The sketch itself is full of squiggly lines, and I draw it huge at something like 3000x3000px in a new graphics program I found recently called Krita. It has lovely pencil brushes that are perfect for sketching, and I love how Krita feels when I'm drawing. When I'm done sketching, I export the drawing to Photoshop and clean up the lines, remove the mistakes and whatnot, then I resize it and make it small. Once that's done I start flooding it with color, I grab a round brush and just have at it. I don't use the 'bucket fill' or whatever it's called, I add the color by hand.

I duplicate the layers, and then I duplicate them again, (I'm always making copies of my layers) and merge them. I find that if you shade all on one layer that it produces a much cleaner, sharper doll. I start out using dark colors and then I lighten them up as I go. I usually start with the face, hair and then the rest of the doll follows. I add the light-sourcing, and the shadows last, these are also drawn by hand. No burn or dodge tools for me. I gave up the burn and dodge tools about a year ago, and think that they look tacky now. I much prefer hand drawing everything in, because the effects are that much better. I do use the smudge tool though, but only to soften certain details.

I can take more than 20+ hours to finish a doll, I used to be really fast and get a doll done in a few hours, but I'm so nitpicky when it comes to how a doll looks that I am NEVER happy with anything. Even after I post a doll when I think I'm done, a day or so will go by and I get the urge to want to go back into Photoshop to fix it. But I don't let myself do that anymore. When a doll is done, it's done. XD
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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by Helyn » Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:08 am

I don't have a set process. Sometimes I start with a base and then sketch over it until I have something that suits the base. Other times, I have an idea and search for a base that suits the idea. This is done in PSP7.

The sketch is messy and bold colours (usually blue). Then on a new layer(s) I do the proper design. Sometimes lineart, othertimes blocked in. Usually I have different colour elements on new layers, unless I know that the doll will be pixel-shaded. If I don't already know what type of shading I'm doing then this is the point where I make the decision. If pixel-shaded then I stick with PSP7. If tool-shaded then I open up PS Elements8. As I shade, I edit the design, adjust the colours, add extra details etc. With my tool-shading, I'll probably decide part-way through if I want to outline it.

I only doll on free weekends or days off so it usually takes me at least a month to finish something.
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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by Parker » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:03 pm

Long post ahead, I'm afraid. All images are thumbnails.

1) I'm pretty impulsive by nature so whenever I get inspired, either by a contest or by some random idea, I get these flashes of images I want to doll. I take dolling as a a way to do something creative without feeling intimidated by big canvases. Since I started treating dolling as a way to explore my creative side, as if I had one, I always start by opening a fairly small canvas (600x600 pixels) and doodling the main ideas on it. I used to do that with solid lines but as I get more acquainted with my tablet every time I pick it up, I take advantage of all the brush features, like pressure sensitivity, to make random blobs of black on white and get the gist of my idea down. Some examples of this:

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These are some sketches for Glam's redoll and Through the Ages. I was still learning back then and hence everything is done with lines, except for the skirt of the first doll. I wanted to make a modern goth flapper and I wanted to add one of those crazy skirts with lots of shiny loose strings to add that sense of movement that I always associate to the 20s and their crazy dances. The easiest way to make the skirt work was to add the volume and movement by using quick brush strokes at different sizes. Thicker ones to the main body and then much smaller ones to make it lighter.

2) When I have the basic sketch laid down, I block in the colours. I use the pen tool for that, since it allows me to trace my sketch and create proper shapes without any holes in them. Besides, I cannot deny that vexels have had a huge impact on my dolling. If the image has a background, something I haven't done too often, I start by laying down the background colours and add the rest on top of them, pretty similar to a painting process.

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These two were my sketches for October's birthday gift here. I went with the second and everything was done in just three layers. One for the background and colours, another one for the sketch-- the woman-- and a third one that I eventually merged with the background to add any details I was unsure of. It was a lot of fun but I have this awful tendency to leave things to the very last minute and although I had the sketches ready by the first weeks of September, I ended it on the 30th. God bless different time zones!

3) I've been toying with digital painting techniques because it's fun and you get to learn a lot of things that dollers, except those who dare to try something else, can't teach you. I've experimented with perspective, although I never applied it to humans, and also with random fashion design. I like the elongated bodies normal designs have but I must admit that I don't enjoy such degree of stylisation in my work. I've had attemtps of designing some gowns and a more modern outfit.

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The first is an attempt at a back view of a gown. I had to quit because the skirt refused to cooperate. As you can see there it's all very messy and rough; I was trying out the N Trig stylus that came with my laptop and it doesn't get along with Photoshop. The second was done with my trusty Wacom Bamboo Fun and I think shows my colouring process slightly better. The colours were taken from one of the palettes at The Limelight Cafe

I tend to be more active during the afternoon but for the past three years I've had all my classes in those hours which leaves me only the weekends to work on dolls. This would be perfect if it weren't for the two to three hours it takes me to get back home every single day, so when Saturday comes all I want to do is sleep. That's why I haven't been doing anything lately.

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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by 4br4 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 7:05 pm

To put it quickly, I pick a base and open up Paint.Net. I then make a new layer (sometimes I forget but shhhh) and scribble. More than usual I don't use my tablet b/c pen nibs are expensive. D: But when I do I usually make a more in depth one. But usually I just use the touchpad.

I then gather up my palettes & refs and expand the canvas to usually about 100 px wider than the doll. I do the outlines and fill it in, then go darkest to lightest. Sometimes I do the lightest color, then outline, and go from there. (Typically hair).

And I must always listen to something. I can't pixel without something in the background. I like to watch A Haunting in the background the most <3

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Re: What is your creative process?

Post by the black dahlia » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:18 am

I usually see a base and think "this would be perfect on this base" and just start laying on pixels in groups in one area until I get a perfect spot done, like a clump of hair or bit of clothes. For example, my Chi doll has 100+ hours in it and Freya has just as much if not more since I wanted accurate colors from the source image I used, in which I did not use the dropper tool at all. I'm pretty good at eyeballing colors now that I've been at this for nearly a decade. I'll be 23 in Jan whoohoo

Generally I open a file up, work 5-120 minutes and then close it. My work generally involves getting accurate color combos together and zooming in and out 100 times in 5 minutes to see if one pixel of color throws off the rest. It's like OCD. I use a mouse to doll so I use the line tool primarily. I won't return to the WIP for who knows how long. Maybe years. Then I come back once I know I can complete it to achieve the look I have imagined.

If something is too complex an item to remember its shape, I sketch it. Since there is ctrl+z I hardly sketch, but you can see from these:

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I tend to get unorganized and keep little bits around since I use MS Paint 2007. A lot, a lot, a lot of dolls are unfinished since I can't get the colors right or the lines smooth.

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