Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Advice and hints on how to create the perfect character illustration.

Suleman’s Tutorials #2: Shading in Heromachine 3, part 2

Here is the second tutorial from community member Suleman which will appear after the jump.

Continue reading

Suleman’s Tutorials #1: How to get started with basic shading in HM3

One of our own community members Suleman has put together a series of tutorials for HeroMachine 3.0 and has graciously allowed me to post them here on the blog for your use and enjoyment. I will be posting one a week for the next several weeks on Saturday morning, and here is our first one below after the Jump!

Continue reading

Character Building with JR19759

Remember guys this is the last Character Building tutorial video I am planning to do, so if you have any ideas for replacement posts for the Tuesday blog slot in the new year, leave them in the comments below. Hope this series was helpful for some of you.

Character Building with JR19759

Sorry that the audio and video aren’t synched properly on this one guys. I think I might have cropped the audio clip a bit much, but it doesn’t make a huge difference, I’m still talking about all the right things in all the right places.

As I say in the video, next week is shading and it will also be the last video of the series. If you have any suggestions for future projects, if you want to see other video tutorials on stuff I haven’t covered in these videos, or if you want to see something different, leave you ideas down in the comments below.

Character Building With JR19759

Hey guys, sorry this is late. As I explained in the last post, I just haven’t had much time this week. At least I got it done. As requested, this week I’m tackling anime style faces and hair, along with Japanese honourifics and the custom colours. I apologise for the horrible loud sound right at the beginning, I got carried away and clapped during the intro, completely forgetting I wasn’t on camera.

Also, if you want a step-by-step guide for how to do anime style faces amongst other stuff, you can find one here-

Character Building With JR19759

As I say in the video, I will probably be going back to the costume and having a mess around with it, because I’m not entirely happy with it and the video would be an hour long if I recorded until I was happy with it. If I have any interesting ideas that I think could make good content for a video, I’ll include them at the start of next weeks video. Also, remember to say which you’d like me to do a tutorial of next week, anime style face and hair or normal face and hair.

Character Building with JR19759

As promised, part 1 of the new mini series of videos here on the Blog on Tuesdays, starting this week with posing. I did focus mainly on one pose, but I threw in a few other bits as well, and the principles I go over whilst making this pose can be applied elsewhere as well.

Hope y’all find it helpful. Oh, and sorry for my voice, the fan on my Mac was going crazy during the recording, so I had to filter and EQ the buzz out afterwards and it makes my voice sound a bit weird. Hopefully it won’t happen next week.

Remember to leave suggestions for costume ideas for next weeks video. If there are any things you’ve seen someone do on Heromachine that you’d like me to go over, feel free to say and I’ll see what I can do (it might be an idea to leave a link to the HM picture you reference if you do so).

Blank Bodies for Hand-Drawn Illustrations

In the process of cleaning up some hard drive space, I came across some body outlines I drew back in 2006. I cleaned them up a bit and provide them here for downloading and printing. These are not part of HeroMachine 3, they’re just for folks who want to hand-draw (or use the computer with something like Paint if you want) outfits but need a body to hang them on.

These are all transparent PNGs so if you do want to use them in a painting application, they’re easy to isolate from the background.

Character Ideas

Sometimes the wellspring of invention runs dry and you need some help coming up with a cool concept for a character to design. If that happens to you, or if you’re just looking for a challenge, experience what it’s like to take someone else’s vision and bring it to life. Head on over to Reddit’s “Character Drawing” subreddit and look for entries marked “[LFA]” (Looking For Art). People give descriptions of their characters and you can reply with your version.

If you do, please tell them you came from HeroMachine and give the link. Also, I’d love to hear about it as well.

Good luck and have fun creating!

How to use the Mask feature in HeroMachine3

Masking is the process of placing one item inside another, so that the masked item is only visible where it overlaps the masking item. Masking causes a lot of confusion, so let’s look at a few examples at what this subtle and powerful tool can do.

The basic process works like this:

  1. Load the first item, the one you want to be 100% visible. For instance, you might add a nice button-down shirt.
  2. Load the second item, the one you want to be masked into the first one such that only the parts of it that overlap are visible. For instance, you might add a lightning bolt from Insignia-Standard. Position, scale, rotate, and otherwise place the second item where you want it to appear on the first one.
  3. Click on the second item (in our example, the lightning bolt insignia) to make it the current, active item.
  4. Under the Transform tab, click the Mask button. Your cursor turns into a little mask icon because super-heroes. I blame Robin — be glad it’s not scaled hot-pants.
  5. Click on the original item (in our example, the shirt). You’re telling the program “Hey, I want to place the active item into this other item that I’m clicking on.”
  6. Voila! You have masked one item onto another one. Like this:
    Note that once it’s masked, you can drag, rotate, or otherwise transform the masked item (the lightning bolt) around and it stays masked, only being visible where it overlaps the masking item (the shirt):

Using this same basic approach — load the base item, load the second item, click mask, click the base item — you can place items in your character’s hands, apply a flag from Backgrounds to a banner or shirt, make a belt fit a non-Standard body, and much, much more. It opens up a staggering array of possibilities to take your portrait from a paper doll to a true illustration.