Case Studies

Cast study: Fandom D&D overlay

By 1 August, 2016 No Comments

For those that have read previous case studies on the Fandom series I’ve often utilized a hand drawn style. Using reference images and textures to get the desired look. However this time I went back in time to lean on some of my older skills from the older RollPlay shows.

What’s Fandom D&D?

Fandom is a show put on by itmeJP where he invites guest around a certain topic. Previously we’ve put on shows for WarCraft, StarWars, Destiny, Dark Souls and now we have Dungeon & Dragons. Fort this episode JP invited Matt Mercer (Critical Roll) and Adam Koebel (RollPlay) to talk about their experiences with the game.

All I got in terms of information was Dungeon & Dragons and that there would be 3 people on the show. Since I’ve worked with Fandom for so long now it’s one of the shows that just clicks into place and there’s really no more need for guidance from JP.

Fandom logo edit

The original logo was created by Zooc so what I have to do since the very first episode of Fandom is to change the look and feel of the logo to fit the topic. What I did to create the version for this episode was to first take in reference images from the Dungeons & Dragons logo so I could start to figure out the techniques that I would work the best.

The first thing I saw was that it had this dark outline and thin golden/black rim around it. To create this I used a Bevel & Emboss to get some simple shading on it quickly and a bit of texture for the golden look, stroke to simulate the black rim and a golden Color Overlay to the the golden look just right. These techniques won’t sound like much but when you combine them and when you work at 300DPI that later is resized down to 72DPI what might look “bad” now will look a lot cleaner when sized down.

The Fandom letters got a simple treatment of Colorization and Bevel & Emboss (to add a bit more shine). What really gives it the right look is the added lava texture. This is what gives it that organic red and warm  marble look. Finally changing it to Vivid Light to really make some of the colors standout.

For the the D&D letters I simply combined all of the above techniques. Adding in a golden texture from a texture pack that I bought a year back or so. While it might all look at bit retro, that’s actually the look that I wanted to go for to get a more old school look to go with the rest of the old school look.

Fandom D&D overlay logo

Fandom logo

The old school look for the Fandom D&D overlay

I never played Dungeons & Dragons here in Sweden, not that we didn’t have it (but called it “Drakar och Demoner”), but I did play Mutant and the one thing that I remember the most from that was drawing the maps. For some reason I just loved setting the games up, drawing maps and creating NPC’s. I never really did any DM for it but I did love creating the world setting.

I also recently watched Stranger Things and I loved how they had drawn the map for their game and the 80’s setting. I wanted to take all of these elements and put them into the Fandom D&D overlay. Since I knew, from previous episodes of Fandom, that JP and guests often go back and look at the history of each topic this idea would fit perfectly.

Using the original character sheets as inspiration for the camera boxes, using hand drawn maps in the background and adding in different dices (I took that image myself last year) that I even did some color matching to fit better with the overall look.  Since there’s no need to really create a bunch of additional stuff I simple moved all the folders (with layers) into a new document and moved and resized things to fit with what was needed for each card.


Background image

For the profile one there’s only one character sheet and for the window one I’ve put the sheets above each other. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed to create a whole new look and feel for different card.

To get the paper to come through the hand drawn lines and the text I use two techniques. The first one is pretty well known and that’s to simply change the blending mode and that will make things blend together in different ways depending on what you pick. After testing a few different ones I landed on using Multiply. The second technique is one of those that is almost hidden from those that haven’t dug deep enough into Photoshop yet and that’s the Blend if.

“Blend if” is similar to blend modes, the names hints to it, but it has a few different controls so you can blend different colors. You get to the dialog box by right clicking on a layer and selecting “Blending options…”. At the bottom of this dialog box you’re going to see it. There’s going to be two sliders and I advice you to just start pulling on the four different sliders to see what happens. As you can see it start to effect the image by blending colors in different ways. It probably won’t look that good if all you’re doing is pulling any of the four sliders, and sometimes you might not even see any effect at all. Try holding down ALT before you start to pull on one of the little sliders. As you can see they split up into two. If you look at the image again you’re feathering or blurring the effect a bit and when you combine this technique with blend modes you can really blend things together on a new level.

Had a great weekend (as always) even if I spent it arguing with that number one person in my life we worked it out and we had a great day taking a bike trip the day after. Oh boy is the back of my knee acting up and my back is not in it’s best shape. Nonetheless I love every second of what I do right now both right here on this blog, my relations and what I work with. There’s big things coming and I’m going into negotiations this week so that’s interesting.

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