Furthering the trend of Art blogs...

Sister Kinetics – Walkthrough

This is a short reconstruction of the different steps I went through to create the Sister Kinetics picture using Photoshop CS2. The player behind Sis Kin had just dinged 50 (the level cap) on the MMORPG City of Heroes and is such a nice and sweet person that a commemorative image was in order

  • Medium: Pencil
  • CG: Photoshop CS2
  • Time: 2 hours

First, I’ll arm myself with the handy reference screenshot.

2006-07-03 23:22:08


Then, I’ll sketch the character out, the way she appears to me. Quite Playful

Sister Kinetics - sketch
Sister Kinetics – sketch

The sketch is, shamefully, done on lined paper using a regular pencil or ball pen, using construction lines to build the skeleton, flesh and clothing..

  • To get ride of these lines and to have stronger line art, I will, in order:
  1. Desaturate: Removes Colors. (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate )
  2. Levels: Set highlights, shadows, and midtones (Image > Adjustments > Levels)
  3. Threshold: The Threshold command is useful for determining the lightest and darkest areas of an image. (Image > Adjustments > Threshold)

You can see the result of messing around with the aforementioned options. Darker lines, stronger contrast…

Zoom out:

Full view


I will be using a separate layer for the body colour. I know already where my light is coming from, so I can start by “carving” the shadows on her body which will give her depth.

Base coloured
  • Next, I’ll be creating the light source on a new layer.
  • This character uses (duh) Kinetics powers so I’ll want to use a light and swirly FX. All the power will concentrate in her left hand therefor this will be the light source.
FX 1
  • A little outer glow on the powers…
  • A few Hue/Saturation alterations to give it that pink/beige tint…
FX 2

Now I’ll dress her with her bikini and colour in her hair.

Colouring elements

I won’t to happy with the skin tone. Too flat. Lifeless. So I’ll make a simple line of pink on a new layer, right on top of the brown background/skin layer.


Changing the pink’s layer attribute to Linear Burn for it to blend in on the brown. You can see a much more fleshy colour and look now.

City of Heroes/Villains characters can obtain auras to embellish themselves and make them stand out even more. You can see that in the first screenshot, Sis Kin’s aura is a simple pink, body glow. Let’s do this now.
Once again, a pink outline, a layer property change and outer glow should do the trick.

Now to compile all of the above (without the FX)


Happy with the way things are going, let’s check this with the FX layer added


Finished Piece

A few details to be added like the shadow and the lettering … And voilà! \o/

I’m quite happy with this simple piece. There are no added backgrounds or details. I just want to keep the focus on the character.

Final render

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