With Hans Zimmer excellent soundtrack i´ll tell you the story behind this project and the things i learned.
First, i want to share with you the importance and motivation that this project has for me.
The Last Samurai is one of my favorite films ever. It teaches me another point of view full of values that fades with my everyday. There is a phrase that says the protagonist: “(…) From the moment they wake up are delivered to perfection whatever the purpose pursued. I have never seen such discipline. (…). ”
This project taught me that.
I start diving into the Internet for pictures of the protagonist in the armor that will guide me copying them on the figure.
It is very useful to have this in front as a reference when painting. The key is to copy reality as closely as possible.
Here you can see the features of Tom Cruise. The sculpture is great (I could not find the sculptor). At that moment I think perhaps it has a to much thin jaw but i could hide it sculpting with paint.
I sketch quickly the face with black and white on a base skin color and then glaze all with the same base filter to unify. I continue working with glazes and adding tones. Once I have worked the general parts I focus on the particular features of the face of Tom Cruise.
The first thing I realize is the inclined position of his eyes and big eyebrows. It will be looking left, waiting the enemy. I want him angry so I emphasize wrinkles between the eyebrows. I don´t forget the eye bags. It is important the angle of them. I paint them several times because they didn´t fit the actors.
His nose is pretty special too. It has a rounded tip and it´s wide.
Now comes the part I didn´t like at all. The jaw was too narrow. I tried to place lights more smooth and position them to avoid to much shade. Sculpting with paint. I wasn´t totally satisfied with the result.
Thanks to the help of several painting colleagues (trolls) he looked less like Tom every time i saw him. Now he looked more like the bad guy of the latest Star Wars movie ..
A disaster!. I spent the night trying to rectify it with paint, factions here and there but nothing gave me what I wanted.
At 3:30 I decided to stop and thought the crazy idea of modeling the whole jaw. C´mon!
I began sculpting and see that totally changes. I let the putty dry. ¡Want to paint it now!
It’s time to paint. I add beard pointing it. I cut his mustache letting the upper lip show up. I sculpt and paint it. Much Better.
I paint teeth and add blood effects and other tones. Textures make it come alive.
Here I see a small failure on Tom´s features. Lights of the corners of the mouth are to long and he is cross-eyed. I fix it. Trying to reach a perfect face.
I compare this pic with the beginning one.
We continue with the armor.
Watching the reference pic you can see that´s going on two light sources with different temperatures on the armor. One warm and the other cold.
I wanted this on the figure so first is making a rough approach and place more or less the lights were i want.
In this stage I spend a lot of time changing the lights cause I wanted a “photographic” looking.
I studied and tried how warm light was on determined areas and then the cold one. On more than one area I invented the light searching for a cool looking. You can see it´s still to rough. On the next stage I unify giving diluted glazes of red.
Here you can see it´s all integrated together and smooth. This double light sources going on gives the armor a cool and realistic looking. Lately, i´m complicating myself with this things to not just giving an aerial light and thats it.
The Photographic effect is done by projecting lights at both sides of the armor. See the chest. On the left a cold outline and on the middle a warm one.
Another thing to point out are the boots. Also have double illumination. All this silly things gives the figure another looking when you pay attention at small details.
Something you can’t see at pics is the kimono freehand.
I hope you had fun, learnt some new things and you freak out looking for double illuminations on your next figures.