Moon Princess Vanguard Custom Playmat Refresh

Final refresh for a while. I’m going to wrap this series up by taking a look at the moon princess mat.

When I made this mat originally I think what I was aiming for was an anime style flatness, bright colours, sharp shadows and highlights. Looking back at it now and it just feels like it could have done with greater sharpness, as if I didn’t quite commit to making certain areas as bold as they probably could have been.

The main focus of this refresh then was going to be increasing the level of detail and sharpening the edges I was going to keep the colours relatively intact. Then on a whim I decided to add a black shadow to the beads and things took a much darker turn.

And so, much like the other mats in this refresh series I ended up focusing on light and shadow. None of which were particularly consistent in the original, especially since there was a large round yellow light source behind her and it was having no effects on the lighting.

So I recoloured it orange.

That didn’t look quite right either and I realized that both versions were having a weird effect on the way the figure in front of them stood out. You see the darker areas were fine, they had nice solid edges that worked well against the yellow, but the light areas had a nasty tendency to blend in. The opposite was also true when things transitioned to the black background, it was all a bit frustrating.

So I coloured the moon black.

That sorted the problems with the light areas (brought them up quite nicely in fact) but still left me with the problem of sorting the feathers on the black background.

At about the same time I decided the main light source would be above the princess (It’s probably slightly in front of her too). this way I wouldn’t have to mess around too much with the light on her hair and it also meant I would have more solid understanding of where shadows and highlights would need fixing, don’t wing it is what I’m saying, figure out your lights first.

With this all sorted I could get on and finesse the wings, adding a white line to the lower edge and generally chopping them about until they looked a little more like they were all about the same size. I dyed her hair black which was interesting because then the outlines ended up being a light colour and that’s not something that’s really happened before and its an interesting effect that I might what to try elsewhere. I straightened the sword because even though the bulge in the original image is due to scanning it still want totally straight, changed the way the shield’s mirror works and then realized something was still missing.

So I coloured the moon white.

Not an especially easy task but luckily the underlying layers still remembered they had originally been yellow, if they had been black to start with it would have been much more difficult.

Final touches were to tighten up all the line-work and the edges  then smooth out the transitions between colours. Somehow I had gone from cartoon shading to gradients almost without realizing still I definitely think prefer it this new way especially the way the princess seems to stand out more.

The last thing I considered was adding card zones, but then I thought ‘for which game?’ It’s probably best to leave it as it is and let whoever may eventually want it decide if they want something specific.

moon princess custom playmat

Next time another moon, just a decidedly less friendly one.

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