Layer Breakdown: The Final Push
By Neil Blevins
Created On: June 29th 2022

As many of you know, I've been playing a lot recently with AI generated artwork, especially creating robot designs. However, one thing I've been unable to achieve in midjourney (the AI I've been currently using) is a 3/4 view of the robot designs. All of them end up being frontal view only. This is likely because the images the AI trained on either haven't been 3/4 view, or maybe they have but that particular attribute hasn't been labeled, and so the AI hasn't learned what a 3/4 perspective is. While I'm sure this will be fixed in the future, I've been playing with giving the robots depth by projecting the artwork onto simple 3d geometry. So this tutorial discusses this technique which I used to make my painting "The Final Push".

You have two choices with this lesson, watch me discuss the issue in the video below, or read the full text.

The Problem And Solution

As discussed above, all of the robots made by midjourney appear from the front view.

What I would like is to be able to also make robots from a 3/4 perspective, see below for the difference.

So in short, here's my workflow: Personal Painting -> AI variations -> Simple 3D Geometry -> Project Texture -> Pose & Render -> Paint Over top

Workflow Details

I start with a painting of a robot I made 6 years ago.

I then feed it to the midjourney AI along with the prompt "Battle Droid". So it will take my image and take my words and produce its own paintings as a result. Here's one of those paintings that I really liked...

I then took this painting, brought it into photoshop, added more details, and made the legs longer, and set it up as a texture map.

Next I applied this texture map on a flat plane inside 3dsmax, and traced the image with simple 3d geometry.

So here's the 3d geometry, mostly boxes and cylinders...

And then I projected my texture map onto the geometry using a simple planar UV map from the front. Here's the mesh from the front view...

I then set up a simple skeleton, and posed the figure, and rendered it from a 3/4 perspective...

Notice you have texture stretching on the side. This is due to the uvs being planar from the front. If this was going to be a full 3d model for an animation, I'd fix this with say a BlendedBoxMap inside of 3dsmax, but since this model was only for a still image, it made more sense to fix it bu painting later in 2d inside photoshop.

So now the background, I wanted a painterly background of a battlefield, so I supplied midjourney with a prompt: "painterly WW1 trench warfare, brown tones, explosion". I didn't provide it was a starting image like I did with the robot, so it made the paintings up all on its own.

I then took elements of those painting, mixed them, and enlarged the result and cropped. Here's the result of that painting behind my render of the robot.

Then I went ahead and painted ontop of the image in photoshop.

I added an explosion on the front, also added a bunch of details to the robot, including fixing all that texture stretching on the sides.

Finally, I did a few final filters, adding some glow, some contrast, and a slight lens distortion


So that's the workflow in a nutshell. Again, in the future I'm sure AIs will be able to deal with this automatically, but until then, this may help you use the AI results and present them in a more dynamic view.

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