Droids Custom Ackbar: We got Death Star!

by Bill Cable
on 2020-10-07, 07:35:43

I spent the last week blocking out the base colors for my Ackbar art. It's the tedious process of using Photoshop's Polygonal Lasso tool to trace around my black lines, then filling in the areas with something close to the color I intend for the final piece. Each color has its own layer, so my typical piece has dozens of them. Doing this allows me to select a color to work on by just going to the layer and clicking outside the color area, then selecting the inverse. That way brush strokes don't leak out into other areas. When I'm done, it looks something like this:

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This piece is a first-of-its-kind, though! Because for this one I needed to create a CGI Death Star Hologram. It's unlike anything I've done before. I started out by trying a screen grab of the scene from ROTJ, but half-way into drawing the thing I realized it was gonna turn out horrible. The Death Star graphic is either tiny or heavily cropped in the movie. Plus, the laser dish is on the wrong side from where I wanted it, so those images would need to be inverted and I'd need to extrapolate in my mind what's front and what's back. It was untenable. So I decided I had to take a different approach.

I found a CGI render of the Death Star on Google that was positioned like I wanted and used that as my basis for drawing. I traced around the edges with a white line very similar to how I block out things with the Lasso tool. It worked brilliantly!

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The yellow shafts I drew from scratch from looking at movie stills. Throw that and the white lines together along with semi-transparent front and back layers, and the Death Star was finished! And I gotta say, I think it looks awesome.

I still need to decide if I'm gonna make the force field. I definitely want to try it, but I'll probably need to find some sort of pixel art to work from or something. The force field is very geometric, so rendering it by hand would look awful. Stay tuned to see how I fare!

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