Hi ho, art friends.

I’ve had a visual story in mind for quite some time: a Shadowrun-inspired cyber punk…something. I was a big fan of the novels (and their awesome covers) back in the day. The book covers and role playing game system heavily inspires the world of my story.

For a while, I thought it would be a graphic novel, but creating a consistent look for my characters would be a struggle. I considered making it photo collage art journal and created some character study pages in one of my art journals. But that wasn’t quite what I was going for.

Now that I’ve been in Awake and Kaizen for a while and really honing my digital photomanipulation skills, the reality of creating this world is at hand.

The models for my characters are my dolls; since they are in storage, I’ve been working with existing photos to develop some character studies.

First up, Kaneda Jones. Technomancer, which is a fancy way to say that Kaneda does not need plugs or wires to use computers. He uses his mind.

The model is my Elfdoll K, a secondhand purchase on the Den of Angels. He’s wearing clothes that came with him, so I have no idea the brand. The eyes that came with him, so they could be his original Elfdoll eyes. Also original Elfdoll faceup. Karma Kat fur wig.

Let me tell you, it take a long time to extract his fur wig from the background. One trick I use: take a bristle brush (mine came from Awake), lower the opacity and a small size then scratch out the background around the hair. Once done, take a fuzzy brush and very low opacity (around 10) and remove the background halo, working from the outside in toward the head. The result has enough back lighting to let Kaneda stand up from the background and blends nicely with the geometrics and vector graphics.

The images that are my own are the photo of an alley in Downtown Seattle, a section of wall from a building at South Lake Union with graffitti, bokeh I created from an old photo of the ceiling at the Rebar for a show I worked on, my model, Kaneda and a scan of a mixed media painting with quite a bit of orange neon paint.

I used one of Caroline Julia Moore’s models, Savra-2 for Kaneda’s attack avatar, which I took over to a website that converts any image in ASCI text. I colored the ASCI image CRT green. I used one of the vector images from Sebastian Michael’s Photoshop Artistry class content and Caroline Julia Moore’s Geometrics Texture 1.

“Kaneda Jones”

I continue to experiment with different techniques to achieve a painterly look, my go-to process for creating the basic look is to duplicate my image 2 times. I keep the original copy as a Normal Layer, I run a Gaussian blur and Oilify on the 2nd layer then add a white mask; I run Edge Detect on the 3rd layer and add a black mask. Using my chosen brush (and there is lots of room for experimentation here) mask or unmask the elements of the Oilify and Edge layers.

I create the background separately from my main figure, using the same process.

For this piece, I worked the background and the model files at the same time. Originally, I had more layers for Kaneda, but transferred some of the background over to my Alley scene. Once I get my model configured to my satisfaction, I create a Layer from Visible then drop that onto the background. Then add the finishing touches, a process that Effy Wild calls “tending.”

The story was plotted out 7 years ago. It lay dormant for quite a long time while I experimented with how to deliver it. Now that I’m pretty happy with how Kaneda turned out, I’m finally ready to get moving to telling the story.