Ursus - Brief Process Examination by Justin Maller

We love case studies especially because we can see how designers and digital artists come up with a ideas and make them come true. So in this post we are very pleased to share another great case study or a brief process examination sent by one of our most admired digital artists out there, Justin Maller in which he shows to us how he created the Ursus artwork.

Poking around my folders, I realized I had all of these WIP images of this piece lying around, so I thought I'd share the evolution of this piece I created for The Depthcore Collective's new chapter 'Mythic'. It was a fun piece to work on; I started it whilst hanging with Chris Knight in Miami, and finished it up in late June after I returned to NYC. Hope you enjoy!

First version

So here's the first version. Pretty rough, basically I've just hit upon the idea I want to explore. I've found the stock, retouched it extensively and started fooling around with the concept. I'm more or less just using the masks of shapes I render as a layer mask for the animal. The effect is cool though, so I thought it was worth pursuing.

Ursus - A brief process examination

End of the second day

A fair bit of change between the first and second versions. Here I hit upon the bright idea of rendering something, and then using it as both the mask and the shape. I then tweak things a little so it doesn't look so flat. Taking shape, but a long way to go. This is the end of the second day, we're probably about 8 or 9 hours in. Experimenting takes time!

Ursus - A brief process examination

Working some photography details

Starting to look a little more like a finished piece of artwork. Working some photography details in and paying closer attention to shape, lines and composition. Using renders to fill out areas of the animals sillhouette and generally fleshing the piece out.

Ursus - A brief process examination

Fine details

Ah, there we go. That's more like it. Fine details are always fun. Added more depth, approaching completion now. Time to sleep on it and see where we end up. Put it up in the Depthcore panel to get some feedback from the lads and make sure we're on track.

Ursus - A brief process examination


The finished product! More fine details, a few compositional adjustments and better integration of stock etc. Tried to get a better sense of motion and depth in the piece, as well as improving the flow of elements. Density is good, composition is good, original experiment is nicely concluded. Good times!

Ursus - A brief process examination

About Justin Maller

I am a freelance Illustrator and art director from Melbourne, Australia, currently causing trouble in and around in Brooklyn, NYC. When not falling off my skateboard or concentrating on growing my hair, I produce artwork and digital illustration for a wide variety of clients, including Nike, ESPN, Verizon and many others. I aspire to some day be able to cook something more sophisticated than toast, and am inspired and influenced by people who can. I tweet and tumblr a lot, so keeping up with my various thoughts, musings and general procrastinations is an easy chore.

For more information about Justin Maller visit his Web site at http://www.justinmaller.com/ and blog at http://realheadsknow.tumblr.com/ or read his interview here on Abduzeedo. You can also find Justin on Twitter at @justinmaller.

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