WORKFLOW : A Guide to Character Art Production

Sonja McClung (ICE DRAGON ART) has often been asked about her workflow to generate her character art. There’s often a sense of “information overload” when faced with the amount of choices in character art production, both inside DAZ Studio and in the post-work. It’s like travelling through a labyrinth, where some artistic decisions just lead you to a dead end, spending extra energy and time in the journey.

Sonja presents her latest tutorial sharing her DAZ Studio WORKFLOW for other character artists helping them through a collection of choices when portraying a character.

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Software used in this tutorial : DAZ Studio and Photoshop

DAZ Studio initial set up

  • Choose character/main subject
  • Creating a main focus point
  • Select a secondary focus point
  • Selecting an outfit
  • Add jewellery and clothing accessories
  • Work on the eyes and make up
  • Consider skin and tattoos.
  • Hair selection
  • dforce or not dforce?
  • Posing the character
  • Craft an expression
  • Additional objects or background pieces
  • Lighting choices

Adjusting Modes

  • Screen soft light multiply in multiples then group
  • Why render an image darker

Dodge and Burn

  • How to be effective with highlighting and shadows


  • Add background – matching the lighting

Texture overlays

  • Blending on top of the main image

Background Blending

  • Look up tables and modes


  • Advantages using the Nik collection
  • Special effects

About the presenter : Sonja McClung

“I’ve loved fantasy for as long as I can remember. Fairies, elves, dwarves, centaurs, and of course, dragons. I love the possibility of the impossible that fantasy brings, the wide open opportunity to get lost in a world that is far different than ours, full of magic and wonder, feats of heroism that defy the odds and best of all, good always conquers evil. What’s not to love?

I’ve always loved to draw as well. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have a crayon (or a pencil, or a paintbrush) in my grubby little hands. I took a long hiatus from drawing when I was raising my kids (best art project ever!) and started to really get back into art in the last 6 years or so. I picked up photoshop and immediately fell in love with being able to draw and paint digitally. A couple of years later, I found Daz Studio, a 3D art application and was totally hooked!”

What’s Included and Features

  • WORKFLOW : A Guide to Character Art Production (.MPV)
  • Tutorial length : 1 hour and 55 minutes
    • DAZ Studio
      • 00:00 Introduction
      • 00:05 Pre-dforce outfits
      • 00:08 Using the Corvus Ensemble clothing by Arki and Shoe-Design
      • 00:15 Colors combinations – clothing and skin types
      • 00:20 Selecting the color set for the Corvus clothing
      • 00:25 Eye color choices – what works best?
      • 00:30 Eye make up cohesive decisions
      • 00:35 Selecting particular hair styles saves work later on
      • 00:40 Morphs in hair products
      • 00:42 A note on facial expressions
      • 00:44 Selecting a background object and lighting considerations
      • 00:48 Color of background vs subject
      • 00:50 How the background adds to the story of the character
      • 00:52 Lighting
      • 00:55 Balance of work in DAZ Studio vs in postwork
    • Photoshop
      • 01:00 In Photoshop -working with blend modes. Separating the character from the background.
      • 01:05 The Curves layer – bringing out highlights and shadows
      • 01:10 Selecting a background layer and transform it to fit
      • 01:15 Color lookup – providing a consistent color tone for the separate elements
      • 01:20 Selecting the most effective color lookup
      • 01:25 Pros and cons of color lookup and affect on the character’s skin
      • 01:30 Using a mask to negate any color lookup not required
      • 01:35 Adding atmospheric mist
      • 01:40 Nik collection : Color Efex Pro 4
      • 01:45 Checking how the filter affects the skin
      • 01:50 Afterword : two other character art renders
      • 01:55 Wrap up

Compatible Figures:


Compatible Software:

DAZ Studio 4.12

Install Types:

Daz Connect, Install Manager, Manual Install




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