Ok, as requested, here is a really quick tutorial as to how I make these things in Hexels. I tend to work in Trixels, but the principles will apply to all shape based art. Just layer things up a bit at a time. I’ll be making Slayer Of The Lifeless, an iconic WoW weapon made famous in a South Park episode.
First up: reference reference reference. I’ve used an in-game render up there for authenticity, but if you aren’t making something specific then you can’t have enough reference! http://art-of-swords.tumblr.com/ is a great place to start for weaponry reference.
1. Silhouette. Rough out the shape. Make two or three (or five or ten, or more) silhouettes until you’re really happy with it. Trixels can be quite tricky to get your head around the shapes you can make at first, so aim to EVOKE the shape you’re looking for, rather than copy it. This bit is fun! If you get the shape right, the rest will follow. Make sure glow is “off”.
2. Block in the colours. I usually use this stage to build up the silhouette and define the different parts of the thing I’m making, rather than actually working on the colour.
3. More blocking in, starting to define more details and provide a strong base.
4. Using the magic wand tool, select specific areas to work on. (In this case the handle, the skull, the inner blade, outer blade, etc). Then, with the brush tool set to a very low opacity, start to work into the solids, creating visual interest and some shading. Work loosely, the magic wand selections will stop you making a mess. Some people like very precise trixel placements, but I prefer to just go a bit mad. Use a graphics tablet if you’ve got one. You’ll notice I also changed the shape of the skull a bit - don’t feel bad about that.
5. Set the document to transparent, and then go into the menu and “flatten to canvas image”. This will give you a flat canvas with your image as a background, allowing you to start layering fresh trixels on top. This is when I turn on the Glow option, set it to low, and choose some vibrant colours with a low opacity. I work into the areas of the image I want to have a general glow about them. (inner blade, eyes of the skull, hilt crystal).
6. Set the document to Image + Transparency, and flatten it down again. I then set Hexels to “halftone mode” - this changes the size of the trixel depending on its opacity. I use this to paint in the runes on the blade and skull and the sparkle on the crystal. I then mess with its glow a bit, giving it a powerful glow but a small radius.
7. As before, Image + Transparency and flatten. In this stage I do final touch ups. I added a few glowing trixels to certain parts of the blade edge, and clean up the whole thing. I then set to Image and Transparency and export as a PNG to photoshop!
8. Once in photoshop, you can do what you like. Add lense flare (nothing to be ashamed of), backgrounds, text, whatever. I used the lasso tool to make a copy of the blade and crystal and added an extra glow to it with layer blending options. (I love glowy stuff, if you can’t tell.)
Share! Create more stuff! I’d like to see it if you made something for sure. Hexels is free, but I really recommend buying the pro version. Its like, 15 dollars (plus a couple tax) but if you’re into stuff like this its just awesome. There are a ton of tools I don’t use, and its good for all kinds of stuff. - my girlfriend uses Hexels to make cross stich patterns, for example!
If you liked this, then check out the tutorials made by etall: http://etall.tumblr.com/tagged/hexels
That’s where I learned most stuff I do!