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Real-world effects

Everyone seems to be embracing photorealism and heightened reality these days, but if you're a vector character designer or illustrator without 3D modelling skills, how do you compete?

You could skip the techy bit and jump straight in with a real-life photograph. Back in issue 133, we showed you how to add some photographic realism to an illustration. Considering depth of field plays an important role in this exercise, too. The techniques are similar when you add illustrated elements to a photograph, but because the photograph is flat, you will need to create layers from the photo in which to place your own elements.

A photograph comes with its own mood and character already stamped on it, so you must react to this and pick up on the subtleties of the original photo when adding your characters to ensure they are integrated seamlessly. Shadows, highlights, reflections and composition all play an important role and should be considered and applied in the correct manner from planning right through to the final stages.

The obvious benefit of a technique like this is that it comes with a ready-made backdrop, saving you some of the time it takes to create it yourself. However, it does require a little more of your time in the finishing stages. Using some of the key Photoshop tools, you can add shadows, reflections and highlights to characters that will make them seem naturally integrated into the real surroundings.

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