(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.”
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.
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.)
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…
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!).
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.
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.
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). 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.
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.
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.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?