Creating a Character From Scratch in Photoshop
In creating a character in Photoshop, I really like to stop and think of what type of character I want to create. I feel that with Photoshop, you can create any type of character and creature with no problem whatsoever, due to the amount of different tools, and options offered in the program itself. I want to create an alien like character that has somewhat of a human like anatomy. So now that I have down what I really want to accomplish with this "concept", I will go into Photoshop and try to work out this character. Keep in mind, this is a CONCEPT, it does not have to be finished and you don't have to make it perfect! Try to get something going that you like and try to be as creative as possible.
In order to get my form of my character, I will use a standard brush with about 85% hardness, and a very low opacity while flushing out the line work of this character.
Right now I am going to draw this concept from a straight on view, for a couple of different reasons. First, it is one of the easiest views to draw from, and it is a concept. I want to build from this concept later in 3ds Max and I can flip the line work over and get the same results on the left side of the character as well as the right. Some people will tell you that people and or creatures are never going to be symmetrical; well this is a concept. Draw one side of the character and use the marquee tool to cut it down the center. Erase the pixels that are down the middle and your ready to flip them over to the other side. To flip the pixels over, hit the "V" key on the keyboard which is a shortcut for move, or go up to it on the tool palette. Hold Alt and Left click and drag it over to create a duplicate of the line work that you made. You can do this step in a number of different ways, but I find this to be the best and fastest way for me. Then go up to Edit, Transform, and Flip Horizontally. Line up the pixels so that they are even, and there you go.
Once I feel like I have the line work where I want it, I usually move on and gradient in my character. This is a fast and easy way to create depth in your drawing. When doing so, you want to place your gradient lawyer BELOW the line work. You do not want to cover up you line work that you just worked on for no reason. Use the pen tool to select pixels that you want to gradient in. During this step you also have to decide where you light source is coming from. I chose to light my character somewhat from the front, and top. I will use the gradient tool to darken up the areas that I have selected with the pen tool to create shadows, as well as highlights. Once I am finished, I will use the same technique of flipping the gradients over from the left side to the right. I erase out the pixels down the center of the line art, and then flip them over to the right as I explained in Step 1.
Once I have both the line work and the gradient down, I will go on and chose a color for this character. I feel that aliens usually are green, so I will use a green that works for this character. Place your color lawyer above both the line art, and the gradient lawyer. I will paint the color I have chosen at 100% percent opacity and then change the type of lawyer it is. I will change it from a normal lawyer, to a color burn lawyer. After that, bring down the opacity of the lawyer to 50%. If the color doesn't look right, go back and chose another color and start over again.
Highlights are added next to give the character some "pop". Place your highlights lawyer below the characters color lawyer in order to get a minimal tint of the characters skin. There is no real technique, but your personal preference on where you place them. Repeat the flipping technique in Step 1 with your highlights.
Add some low lights, and a glow to the character if needed
Add in some finishing details to the character to give it a little more substance
Here are some close ups of the finished character
I hope that this tutorial helps people in their process of character design in Photoshop.