Episode 4: Painting A Darth Maul Face in Photoshop

For my son’s birthday invitation a few years back, I wanted to turn him into Darth Maul from Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (you remember – that movie with Jar Jar. The horrible writing. The corny jokes. But mostly, Jar Jar). Despite all of its shortcomings, it did have a great bad guy in the form of Darth Maul. That character has such a unique look, and the face painting work was amazing!

I was determined to bring that look to my son’s invite. He was going to have the coolest invitation in the neighborhood ever. But, I had to remember that I was dealing with a 6 year old. Patience for face painting was going to be hard to come by. So, I decided to create the effect using just lighting and Photoshop! I photographed him in the garage in about 2 minutes (on average, that’s the longest continual attention span I could get before a break).  It was a ton of fun to create the image, and it went over really well! I thought I would share how I created it, so that’s the topic for this video.

At the beginning of the video I talk about the lighting. For a character like this, it’s all about the drama, and you can get so much drama with just your lighting technique! Try to get this part of the image nailed down before you even get into Photoshop.

After that, I talk about how to use channels to get the skin texture to show up over your paint layers. Finally, I discuss some noise/color techniques to bring it all together at the very end.

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I did the retouching on a Wacom 27QHD, which is great for this type of work:

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