Epic Selfies: Star Wars, part 2

buck thruster title

If these selfies were ever made into a TV series, this would be the title flashed up during ad breaks. And yes, I’m enjoying ‘Rebels’ very much.

09 escape

Sticker albums were a great way to quickly and efficiently tell stories using pictures. It’s just a shame I could never find all the damn stickers.

(Continued from part 1…) So, once I got started on doing these Star Wars Epic Selfies, it was like Photoshop crack. Where the hell would it stop? I had a rough idea of the protagonist’s story from my improv days, and I could add a few details since Revenge Of The Sith and Clone Wars had come out. I also decided to take advantage of the (then) upcoming Rebels series, and see if there were any characters or locations I might be able to add. I knew how the story would end – a crap Jedi being clobbered by Darth Vader could only end one way – so I sketched out a few extra intermediate steps. As Mark Twain pointed out, “The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.”

Star Wars is all about exploring strange new worlds... um, wait...

Star Wars is all about exploring strange new worlds… um, wait…

If ‘Buck Thruster’ was a crap Jedi, it would make sense that he never finished training – and an obvious interruption would be ‘Order 66’, in which the Jedi were exterminated.

12 investigate

This whole corridor was made from basic rectangles and rounded rectangles in Photoshop. The scorch marks were sketched in with a Wacom tablet.

It's very hard not to make lightsabery sounds, even when you're just Photoshopping one...

It’s very hard not to make lightsabery sounds, even when you’re just Photoshopping one…

I figured he’d survived, but not unscathed – maybe he’d forgotten what he was (which would also help him escape detection)… So the next thing was to reunite him with his  lightsaber. This gave me a chance to try different effects and sketch with my Wacom tablet (seriously, those graphics tablets are awesome, and if Wacom would like to acknowledge my endorsement with gifts and goodies, I’ll happily accept them…)   I also figured Buck might want to find out more about his past, which gave me an excuse to try some cityscapes (using a load of photos of London at night I’d taken from the London Eye superimposed on top of each other, with a Jedi Temple sketched in the background.)

01-landingpad 02-coruscant streets copy

I  wanted to try out some weather effects and go to town (pun semi-intentional) with lighting effects. And maybe subtly move the background details from the prequels to the original trilogy while I was at it…

Making these pictures involved figuring out what I wanted to show, and then striking a silly pose or expression and hoping I'd be able to make it fit into a scene.

The trouble with holograms is that they look a little too similar to ghosts. I added the hologram projector at the top in the hope nobody would mistake what was being shown.

I had very little to use as props in each picture – a rolled up tube of wrapping paper for a lightsaber, a toy gun I’d have to replace, and a hoodie that would have to be turned into something resembling a robe (which was a complete sod and I never want to do that again!).

03 05 toons

Cartoon effects can help to hide a multitude of minor screw-ups.

It was all very well having Buck find out who he was again, but there had to be some kind of action. I decided to have him surrounded by enemies, and got my patient and obliging girlfriend to stand on a chair and take a photo of me from a high angle.

If your protagonist is trapped, let them be trapped somewhere high up. Tyhen you have an excuse to have them jump out of the window.

If your protagonist is trapped, let them be trapped somewhere high up. Then you have an excuse to have them jump out of the window.

I found a load of adverts for toy stormtroopers in various poses, and used some of them to populate the image. The blurry foreground characters could be painted in. If I were to do this series properly, I wouldn’t rely on screenshots (or images of objects, characters and scenery) made by other people so much – sure, it saves time, but I can’t honestly present the bulk of these as entirely my own work.

Three-point-landings are cliche-awesome. All action heroes do them, which means you need to make them happen under increasingly outrageous circumstances.

Three-point-landings are cliche-awesome. All action heroes do them, which means you need to make them happen under increasingly outrageous circumstances.

I also had a bash at using different artistic effects to help create weather. I copied an image several times and applied watercolour, fresco and sketch filters to the new layers. I then set the layers to different blend modes and transparencies, to each effect would interact with the other layers to create an interesting visual effect (like rain on a lightsaber blade). 01-rebels copy 02-cockpitv2 Eventually, I got to the part of the backstory I’d originally conceived for Buck: a crap Jedi (he’s run away from every fight he’s been in) who joins the Rebels.

Stock photos of fireworks have their uses, you know...

Stock photos of fireworks have their uses, you know…

Taking selfies from a low angle looks more impressive. Being lit from below can help make things look epic. Squatting on the dining table might be going a bit far, though, but I did it anyway.

Taking selfies from a low angle looks more impressive. Squatting on the dining table might be going a bit far, though.

Making these pictures involved figuring out what I wanted to show, and then striking a silly pose or expression and hoping I’d be able to make it fit into a scene.

So, finally I got to the scene I’d been building up to: a lightsaber fight with Darth Vader which Buck wouldn’t be able to run away from.

I just had to grit my teeth and hope I ould find suitable pictures of Darth Vader and the carbonite chamber...

I just had to grit my teeth and hope I ould find suitable pictures of Darth Vader and the carbonite chamber…

“Buck Thruster will no longer be of any concern to the Empire… >gasp, wheeze<” […or anyone else.]

Of course, with The Force Awakens being made (at time of writing), there’s an opportunity to make a little addendum to the series. Until then, I’ll carry on doing epic selfies inspired by other things. I’m in the process of setting up a portfolio/ graphics blog, and aim to add a whole load of tutorials for turning selfies into avatar pics and Facebook timeline headers. To be continued?

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One response to “Epic Selfies: Star Wars, part 2

  1. Pingback: Epic Selfies: Star Wars, part 1 | Observaterry·

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