Mad skills at Photoshop: A Vader Tutorial


A couple weeks ago, I didn’t know a damn thing about photoshop. Now, I can do all sort of snazzy things and you can to. Don’t pay some scammer “artist” or “graphic designer” when you have it in you to make art yourself. I have the artistic talents of a 5 year old, but with some quick youtube tutorials, I can just about create whatever I want. The below graphic was drawn using the above picture as a guide. All of the coloring and tracing is pretty easy to do, but a little time consuming if you have OCD. If you want to make a bunch of Hope posters, you can create all sorts of variations using what I show you below.

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Now, this wasn’t easy nor was it fast. In total, I think I spent around 2.5 hours making this work. This is because even though I mastered the concept of layering, to do something of this detail, I had to do a ton of layers. How many?

52 fucking layers.

It was tedious as shit, but if you are making a unique book cover, or decorating your website you can pretty much do the same thing if you have the time and patience. After spending this much time, I will be retiring ol’ Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China for a while, and letting Lord Vader do my greetings on twitter. (If you haven’t followed me on twitter, I recommend you do so to catch in all the weird shit I say all day long).

STEP 1: Lasso Vader out of the pic. You have to then use the eraser tool, and set the size to small and zoom in to erase all the extra shit you got. This will take a little time if you want it to be perfect.

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Step 2: You then use the pen tool, and zoom in again, and trace an outline around the helmet and interior of the helmet, and then the neck. The three different depths should be separate so you can put closer parts of the helmet using a different color. This takes a little time to zoom in and ensure you get rounded edges. Then, I added a red background with a slight color gradient because I’m a baller like that. Be careful to recognize light colors on the edge that should be traced in another layer.

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Step 3: This is where the detail work comes in. Using a slightly lighter color, I traced interior shadows on his helmet to give it a little depth. Each area is a new layer to add and name. (By the way, name your layers otherwise it is confusing a shit to find which one you want to tinker with later). Adjust the colors and tones to get the color you want. I kept using a color overlay with an opacity adjustment in the 60% range to get it where I wanted.

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Step 4: Keep adding layers and adjusting the colors. I came to the conclusion that to get it perfect meant doing around 200 layers, which I didn’t have time for. This was merely a beginner practice session.

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Step 5: Boom, this is the easy final step. You add the lightest colors closest to your perspective (you know, the light gleaming off of Lord Vader’s helmet) and you color that in  on the highest layers with the lightest colors you can, all using the pen tool. A key thing to remember was to get the brim correct, and then to remove the basic picture underneath. I used the spray can and a light texture to match the underneath helmet shade in the picture. The final step is text, which is easy as shit. You just type the font and change it to what you want. I simply downloaded the Star Wars font (hopefully I didn’t get a damn virus).

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Make comments below on what you want me to try next. Ask your friends what they want to see.



Movie Reviews: The Empire Strikes Back


Just when you think it was safe to go back to Tatooine and live happily ever after, the Empire whips out one giant can of whoop ass on those rebel scum. Han, Luke, and Leia are freezing their asses off in the Hoth System. George Lucas made a great decision getting Lawrence Kasdan to write a great script and Irvin Kershner to direct more subtle character performances because there is no more whining about the next harvest here. The story itself is simple. Darth Vader now flies around on a bigger and badder Super Star Destroyer, a ship so large that if it opened A New Hope, it would have taken seventeen minutes to fly over. Why the rebels have not found an exhaust port on that sucker (I don’t know, perhaps Ackbar thinks simply crashing into the bridge will do the trick), it baffles me

After an action packed defense of the icy planet, showing off the lost art of stop motion by Paul Tippett, the rebels depart with relative ease. I mean, they had to fire those damn ion cannons to get the transports out, but the Falcon and Luke’s X-Wing fly out despite a bajillion Star Destroyers lurking. No Matter, Luke goes to Dagobah to seek Yoda while Han and Leia get chased down by the bajillion Star Destroyers (maybe they were lurking on the other side of the planet despite assaulting a small rebel base). Lucky for them, the Millennium Falcon evidently has the greatest rear deflector shield in the Galaxy. How the hell can the Empire look at itself in the eye and call their ships Star Destroyers? (Also, can a Star Destroyer actually destroy a star? If so, why even build a Death Star?

The training and evading and romance plotline continues to the score of the mighty John Williams soundtrack until we reach Bespin, and the greatest character in the trilogy finally arrives.

Yes, I said it.


Lando Calrissian is key component to the Empire Strikes back and goes through a faster character arc than any of the other characters. Luke in A New Hope is the same wamp rat shooting farm boy, except he uses the force one time to save the galaxy. Han Solo is a dirty smuggler who shoots first (before 1997), but goes back for a friend (The Falcon probably had the greatest forward deflector shield … and how he wasn’t tracked since that is how the Empire found Yavin … just eat your popcorn kids). Leia is Leia in all 3 films.

Lando, however, is the ex-Falcon owning, fast talking administrator of Bespin who betrays his old friend, executes a flawless carbonate freeze for his buddy, double crosses the Empire with an ambush, and escapes on his old ship with Leia without a wookie ripping his limbs off, then flies back to rescue Luke due to some weird “feeling” from Leia all while keeping his cool. The entire plot hinges on Lando’s calm and coolness under pressure. He is a man of redemption and his change happens in a span 40 minutes.  Just call him Chameleon Calrissian.

To top his exploits in saving every damn person (Han really owes him one) in The Empire Strikes Back, Lando returns like an Interstellar James Bond, and tops himself in Return of the Jedi, but that’s another blog.

The movie itself is a classic and in my list of top 10 movies of all time.

Movie Rating: 11/10 (off the damn charts)

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