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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Fritz Nilsen, Aug 27, 2011.
Wow, those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles covers are amazing! Incredible work, Fritz!
Quoting myself to say I have added 2001 & 2010 two-pack, and Romancing the Stone & The Jewel of the Nile two-pack.
Since all this effort is put into making new covers, does anyone hang then up like we did with our LDs?
Blu-ray and DVD art can't compete with the sheer awesomeness of the LD jackets' size. No contest!
The Amityville trilogy custom Blu-ray covers, vintage VHS style as requested by my client. This is just to let everyone know that I am allowed to share these.
Requests by PM.
I especially like the "Not in 3D" disclaimer on the 3rd nonsequel.
As promised, my client has generously allowed me to share the Avengers Phase one set. PM me for download links.
Please note these covers are all sized for the UK 14mm spine Blu-ray cases per the client's request.
Captain America: The first Avenger
Iron Man 2
The Incredible Hulk
Awesome work, Fritz!
The only covers I display are the ones I have signed. Martin Landau on North by Northwest and Vilmos Zsigmond on Close Encounters. Both very gracious gentlemen I had the privilege to meet.
Yeah, mine are Paul Mantee in Robinson Crusoe of Mars and Anne Robinson in War of the Worlds, both from the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. They do look great hanging up!
Fritz, any chance of using your artistic expertise in coming up with a nice cover for THE GREAT ESCAPE using its original, fantastic poster art?
Sorry, no, not from me, but I have seen other customs using the original poster.
Can you point me in their direction? Thanks!
I was asked by a member how I got the "inked" look to my Reel Heroes covers, so I decided to describe the long, tedious process here. It's been a while since I did a long-winded write-up on one of my covers, so I think you'll forgive one now.
So here goes:
Ideally, the drawn effect would be created by manually tracing a photo and hand-colouring everything. This is very time-consuming, and frankly, requires an experienced illustrator's hand to look good. (The actual Reel Heroes covers are done by hand, with varying degrees of success.)
For my series of Avengers Phase One covers I couldn't afford the time to do every panel by hand, so I sought out a filter to do it for me. There are many good commercial filters that give a robust hand-drawn look, but I couldn't find one that matched specifically what I was after. (and some of those filters are plain out of my price-range.)
Bearing in mind that I had to apply the comic-book look to 7 or 8 images for each cover, both the main figure and the background panels, I wanted an automated approach. I first thought I could automate this entire process with a Photoshop Action, but no such luck. Each step in my process needed hand tinkering. I experimented quite a bit, and you can see some progress between my first Iron Man and the last Avengers cover.
In the end the procedure was mainly this:
Step 1: The linework.
(Make a copy of the original image first. You will need an untouched version for later stages.)
First I used the standard Poster Edges filter to do the heavy lifting. The settings all varied from image to image, but generally I went for a strong line. That filter also creates a lot of noise in darker areas, so it will have to be cleaned up by hand. You sometimes get a better result if you "clean up" the image before applying the Poster Edges filter, using the Surface Blur tool at various settings. Experimentation is the key.
I then used the Color Range selection tool (Under "Select") to make a selection of only the black in the image. I copied that selection to a separate layer so I would have an isolated version of the black outlines created by the Poster Edges filter. Then I went in and manually erased (with a layer mask in my case) all the noisy bits. I also cleaned up some of the rougher edges at this point. Here is where a pen tablet comes in handy.
Cleaning up the Poster Edges outlines got me only so far, so I drew additional outlines by hand, usually the mouth, tracing the jawline and creases in clothes and other areas I felt needed some enhancements.
I then used the Stroke function to add a slightly thicker outline to the contours of the figure. This only works if you've isolated the figure on a transparent layer or you can easily select it against a simple background. Otherwise you'll have to draw that outline by hand as well.
That takes care of the linework.
Step 2: The hashes, or crosshatches.
I did two things here. First I made a copy of the black only layer I isolated from the "Poster Edges" process. I then applied a Motion Blur filter to it at about a 30-40 degree angle. I then used the Sharpen or Sharpen More filters repeatedly to make the motion blur look like tiny lines. Then I masked the entire layer and went in with the eraser to bring out these small hatches in shadow areas, creases in the clothes and face, and I also used it to feather the edges of large black areas.
Second, I found an image of speed lines from a Manga tutorial and overlaid that on my image, set it to multiply and again masked off the entire layer. Again I could go in with my eraser and bring out these speedlines where I wanted them. Please note I rotated the speed lines to match the angle of the "Motion Blur Lines" I created in the previous step. You could also angle this layer perpendicular to the other hashes and get a crosshatch effect, or apply this same Speed Line layer twice at different angles.
Step 3: The colours.
Here you go back to the copy of the original image and apply any filters you think will give the painted or drawn look. I used a combination of the Dry Brush filter (good for hair and facial details) and the Cutout filter at different settings. I applied the filters on separate copies of the main image, stacked them on top of each other and used the Opacity slider to find a good combination. Sometimes I just used the Dry Brush filter because the Cutout filter is too recognisable.
Most times the colours benefitted from a strong saturation increase to give them that comic book pop. I applied that as a separate Adjustment Layer so I could control it better.
Step 4. Season to taste.
Note that I don't apply any colour halftone or raster effects which every tutorial out there emphasises so heavily. Comics have been printed with excellent colours for the last fifty years so that dotty look is just a throwback to a slightly insulting stereotype of what the "Comic Book Look" is. Comic art is neither simplistic or coarse any more, so it's time the aesthetic prejudice caught up.
Here is a close-up of the Captain America linework:
Looking at that reminds me of the "Take on Me" video, I bet you could do that so much more automated today...
Fritz, I just read your outline of how you did the Reel Heroes, and I though I could use some of it. At Halloween, I carve pumpkins, usually from movie posters. The key to a good carving is the pattern.
I had never had much luck with the posterization feature before, but combined with the color range selection feature, it really is gangbusters. In about an hour, I have produced a pattern from the movie Tarantula (a 50's classic).
It's a complex image and the pattern I produced is 80-90 complete. It does need some manual massaging, mostly masking out and painting black in. But the manual effort is much less than I usually have to do.
Thanks for getting me to rethink my process.
Glad I could be of assistance, Johnny. Who knew I'd indirectly aid in the carving of pumpkins??!!
Anyway, I came on here to show you my last Reel Heroes cover, a Hellboy cover to match the officially released Hellboy II.
I don't know if I can share this or not, but I'll ask.
Very interesting being let in on the secrets of your artistic choices and processes, Fritz. This continues to be one of my favorite threads on HTF.
Incidentally, Fritz, based on your advice, I am picking up the Chaney PHANTOM OF THE OPERA during the sale at B&N today. Can't wait to use your cover for it! I wish you could do a cover for the KINO release of Chaney's THE PENALTY, which is awful looking.
Would also love to see a custom cover for THE MALTESE FALCON. The original poster art wasn't great, but it stood out much more than the dull black and white picture and cliche red background that WB used for the Blu.
I'm afraid none of the titles you mention are on the cards for the near future.
I believe the UK steelbook for Maltese Falcon uses the original poster art, or something close to it.
Check it out.
Good news. The client says okay to share, so shoot me a PM for the printable file.
Two recent commissions I'm allowed to share:
Troll 2 and The Warriors.
Please note: Troll 2 includes the "Best Worst Movie" documentary. The Warriors cover makes reference to the inclusion of the Theatrical cut. All per the client's request.
PM me for download links.