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About Deviant SulemaniaMale/Unknown Recent Activity
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I'm a fan of superheroes, fantasy and such. This logically led me to making stuff with Heromachine.

These are primarily character and costume designs. The first priority is the visuals fitting the character. If the design happens to have some aesthetic value, that's just a bonus. There are a bunch of people out there who are making incredible art with Heromachine, and I tip my hat to them, but that is not what I do.


Let's look at yet another Imperial Soldier. This isn't really a guide, per se, just a look behind the scenes.

Hm3-beta (1) by Sulemania

The shading is mostly similar to the previous one. What's a bit different are the highlights.

Hm3-beta (2) by Sulemania
I tried to find the long, narrow shapes in the helm. I then added a metallic gleam effect along those lines. This really helps set apart metal as a material in your design. If you actually bother to put highlights on other materials in your design, good for you! I'm lazy.
...I know that might sound a little weird coming from someone who's currently telling you how to spend an ungodly amount of time on stupid details in your Heromachine images, but it's true.

Let's look at her axe, now.
Axe Shading 2 by Sulemania

See how it shines?

Axe Shading 1 by Sulemania
I've got bad news for you: Sometimes you will mess up. See that hand gripping the handle? See how the shading on the handle overlaps the hand? I noticed that too late. It's an unfortunate side effect of how masking hand items works in Heromachine 3: Though the hand looks like it's on top of the axe, it's actually *below* the axe in the layers.
Also note how shading caused those weird white rings around the studs to appear. Masking in Heromachine 3 is WEIRD. This is why I told you to avoid it when you can.
This time the shadows serve an additional purpose: They can be used to further emphasize the highlights and gleam. The dark part of the blade contrasts the highlighted edges. The gleaming edge evokes sharpness, which is a good attribute for a blade!

Let's look at her shield, now!

Shield Shading 2 by Sulemania
See how it looks like one edge is closer to you?

Shield Shading 1 by Sulemania
The reason why it looks that way is because of the shading! That shadow really gives off a sense of depth. Use the shadows, love the shadows!
Those highlights looks a bit scary, but it's actually fairly quick to do. The central stud should shine, since it protrudes from the shield. The edges should gleam a bit, since they're the narrowest part of the shield. The strip of metal from the central stud to the edge is technically a long and narrow part of the shield, so it should be highlighted. It's just compressed because of the angle of the shield!
So how about some more detailed shading? Let’s look at this Imperial Soldier as an example.
Imperial Soldier spear shaded by Sulemania

Where do we want shadows? Let’s put in some ground rules.
1. Determine where the light is coming from. A direct forward light source might be the easiest.
2. Based on that, what would cast a shadow?
3. To give a sense of depth, parts that would be further away from the viewer should be darker. In this case, that generally means putting shadows fairly symmetrically around the center line of the design.
4. If possible, try to AVOID masking. It slows down Heromachine and is generally annoying and time-consuming. If you can, hide the unnecessary parts of the shading Pattern behind some other object.

Imperial Soldier Shaded by Sulemania

Look at those shadows now.
The headpiece curves away from the viewer, so put shadows on both sides of it. The back part of the headpiece is the opposite: Its sides are closer to the viewer. Also, the Soldier’s head casts a shadow on it. So, put a shadow in the middle of it and hide the rest behind the Soldier’s head. The face curves away from the viewer, so put shadows on both sides.
The headpiece casts a shadow on the helm. The helm casts shadows on the eyes. The nosepiece casts a shadow on the nose. The nose casts a shadow on the upper lip. The chin casts a shadow on the neck. The lower part of the headpiece casts a shadow on the very bottom part of the headpiece.
NOTE: Not all of those shadows are Masked on! They are mostly hidden behind other items. This really is an important trick to keep Heromachine running fast and for your sanity!

Imperial Soldier spear shaded 3 by Sulemania

Now look at these highlights. They are similar to shadows but use White instead of Black.
These are meant for a gleaming metal look. As a general look, highlights for metal should be long and narrow and placed on long, uniform parts of a metal item.
I don’t have any terribly specific rules for this, you’ll have to figure things out for yourself. Please, experiment and become better than me at it so you can teach me how to do this properly.
We'll be focusing on shadows/depth, for now!

What you want for just about all your shading needs is this particular item in Patterns:
Shading 1 by Sulemania

Set color1 to white, alpha 0
Set color 2 to black, alpha varies on darkness of shadow
Set linecolor to  e.g. red, so you can see where you've applied shading. This is important when you're playing with multiple layers! You don't want a character's body shading appear on top of their clothes! We'll remove those lines later.
Shading 2 by Sulemania

Place it on top of some object you want to add shading to and Mask it on.
Shading 3 by Sulemania

If you want more than one "shadow" on the object, you should:
Make a copy of the object, with the exact same location, rotation and size.
Put the copy on top of the original object in layers.
Make and place a second "shadow" pattern.
Mask the second "shadow" to the copy.
Put the copy to the bottom in layers.
Shading 4 by Sulemania

When you're about to finish, use the line colors etc to check that the shadows are on the right layers.
Shading 5 by Sulemania

Then erase the line colors by setting their alpha to 0.
Shading 6 by Sulemania

The question of when and where to apply shading is a different matter. This is where an understanding of light and shadow will come in handy.
I'm not a professional artist, but I try to think of a direction for where the light is coming from and apply shading appropriately. What I showed in the example pictures is an approximation for when the light is coming directly forward.
More complicated shading/highlights are similar but the Patterns will be a different color and placed differently. Experiment!

I hope this is at least marginally useful.

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Strength-of-The-Soul Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Writer
I've seen your posts in Terrific Templates many times and really admire your skills with Heromachine.  Watched. 
Sulemania Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Thanks, man. Be sure to check out other Heromachiners. too! We all have our different styles and quirks.
This group is probably your best source for Heromachine images.…
The-Last-Phantom Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much for the Watch!!

Lewis caming 4 u
Sulemania Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015
You're welcome, man. You do some great stuff, I especially dig how you do colors.
The-Last-Phantom Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you again!!!!

 bunneh icon14
Nugarius Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave, sule! Much appreciated.
Sulemania Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
You deserve it, man.
DeliriousAL Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the faves, my man!
Sulemania Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015
You deserve them, dog. Your style can't be imitated.
Mistgod Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Welcome to our group!  The Power of Imagination! 
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