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Photoshop piece recreated completely in Affinity Designer


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Hi Kathrin, thanks. :-)  Here's loosely a combination of techniques in a sort of start to finish workflow: (sorry for the long post)


- the first and most important step is to have a finished (client approved) pencil sketch to work from, I work out the design, composition and overall direction of the piece first in pencil so that when I get to the mac I'm just concentrating on bringing it to life, very rarely do I make big sweeping concept changes after starting to build it. - unless a client requests it  ;-) 


- once approved, I put the sketch on the top layer, lock it and set it to multiply and usually 35-50% opacity for reference. This way as I draw the paths (on layers below) I can still see the sketch and I can hide it at any time.


- I think about each element "group" and create their own named layers (eyes, ears, background etc...) for easier hiding, locking and selecting (see screenshot of layer stack above) also this is how I place groups of elements easily in front or behind of one another...


- I draw each shape by using the pen tool or combination of tools/shapes from Designer's tool set, depending on what's needed. No fill yet, just line only to start until it's all drawn out and I'm happy with it.


- I figure out a colour scheme and create a custom palette of starter colours (this can be added to later).


- I fill in each grouping with colour, at this point everything is flat, no shading. I make any overall colour adjustments now before shading starts.


- using gradients, effects or pixel painting inside of shapes I set about shading to bring out the dimensional qualities of the piece, adding highlights, shadows, blurs etc... as I go forward until I get to a pleasing finish.


- finally, usually I will add a layer on top of everything and make any colour correction and/or contrast adjustments needed to the whole piece globally and present a proof to the client. If approved I will export it out to the desired format.




This is generally how I create my illustration work. By basically following each step I'm able to concentrate on one aspect at a time. It may seem like a very rigid and not so spontaneous way to create but it actually frees me up to not worry about everything as I work. Of course with any creative process, you're going to bend or break the rules once in a while to achieve your goals, but this basic process has worked for me consistently over the years.


For some further exploration, open up Designer, go to the help > welcome screen and open up the two files under the "KC" button. I created these for the Serif team for everyone to explore and dissect... both of these pieces were made using the above process.


Let me know if you have any questions.

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  • 1 month later...

Amazing job! I really like the subtle softness to the bunny.

I'm truly amazed about this capability with AD in vector mode. I know it's possible in Photoshop also using vector layers, but AD is so much easier to handle with a simple workflow.

Thanks for sharing!

I really enjoy going through these forums, to see what people have been doing with AD. :)

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Cheers pmeinertz, your Lambo is nuts! The range with this app is pretty crazy.


Yes my workflow in PS was pretty nice and straight forward but accumulated quite a few layers, bloated quite a bit in size (above PS file was twice the size in mbs to the AD file) and many of the steps were destructive. So yes you can do it but the non-destructive process in AD just feels better and stays flexible and more comfortable for experimentation and playing. Playing = Fun.  :D

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