In response to several questions I received asking how the Nikki Sprite artwork is created, I put together this mini tutorial.

First, the scene is composed and rendered in Poser. In most cases I render two versions of each panel. The first render includes the characters and the background. Then I remove the background and render only the characters. The images are saved as 32-bit PNG files:tutorial1

Both images are then loaded into Photoshop for post processing. I created my own custom Photoshop action to make the black lines. My script generates the outlines on a separate layer that I can later flatten back onto my image. Because I rendered the characters without any background, I am able to output much cleaner outlines around them:


Going back to original renders, I then run some image processing actions to improve the color and contrast. I use ShadowPlay Actions (available from Renderosity) followed by another custom script I created to tweak the brightness/contrast. I use different action sets for the background and character renders:


The outline layers are then added on top of the processed images:


The background and foreground images are then flattened into the final panel artwork. The image below shows before and after pictures:


Although this may sound like a lot of work, most of my time is spent composing and rendering the base images in Poser. It actually only takes a few minutes to process the renders because I’ve automated all of the post work as a few simple-to-run Photoshop actions.