Speaking as a geek, I think that it's safe to say that we love Star Wars. And who doesn't love memes? With May the 4th almost upon us this provided me with the perfect excuse to make a Star Wars inspired meme.
I'm writing this post to share the tools and method I used to make the Clamped Walker meme. It won't be the most detailed as I didn't plan on writing a tutorial! Maybe a future project when I've improved my skills...
Star Wars is good at chronicling the major acts of the rebellion. But what about the minor acts that frustrate the Empire without actually breaking any rules? This meme is a tribute to that spirit 🙂 No rebellion could be successful without over-zealous petty officials.
I've Got A Bad Feeling About This
I'd better start with some legalities. I don't own the Intellectual Property in regards to Star Wars. Disney paid a lot of money for the rights and I'm not going to step on their toes! I sketched a character and a vehicle and turned it into this meme. Under Irish law I believe that it is acceptable as it is "significantly different" from the movies and associated media. Under US law I believe that it is exempt as it is a parody. I will not be selling the design and so will not be cashing in on Disney's IP rights. If I am wrong in any point I will gladly take down this post and stop sharing the image.
Cut the chatter, Red 2. Accelerate to attack speed.
The first step, as in most things, was to consult Google. I needed reference material for the Imperial Scout Trooper and the Imperial Walker. Once I found ones that I liked, I made a rough sketch of them, changing what I needed as I went.
Because I don't have a good scanner, I photographed the sketch. I have the Google Photos app on my phone which means that photographs automaticaly synch with my laptop. I downloaded the photo and opened it in GIMP. GIMP is an open-source package that is similar to Photoshop. It does not have the same range of features but it has the magnificent advantage of being totally free. I would like to think that some day I will be able to afford to pay for art packages but today is not that day!
In GIMP I tried to make the sketch more visible. I had to use the flash to cover up a large shadow in the bottom corner. But that left the middle brighter than the surrounding areas.
In GIMP I selected Colors->Desaturate->Lightness. I then played with the Curves tool in the Colors menu. This brightened the paper and enhanced the pencil lines. I also played around with the Threshold tool and the Brightness-Contrast settings until I got what I wanted.
The next step was to trace the outlines with the pen tool. I don't have a graphics tablet so I have to do it the laborious way with a mouse.
Unfortunately, I merged the layers at some point so I don't have an image of the finished trace. Always keep your layers! I messed up on that one! After outlining I coloured the figures in using the lasoo and the fill bucket tools in GIMP.
I played around with the outlines a bit, they don't match the sketch exactly, that's what post-production is for 🙂
Krita is a painting program and I used it to make the background. Again it is an open-source (and therefore free) application. I could have used it for the outlines and trace but I'm more familiar with GIMP at the moment.
I just played around with layers and brushes until I got to the point where I liked the result. It could be improved but hey, it's not destined for the Louvre! As a learning project it served its purpose.
Then I went back to GIMP for the black border and the text. I used the Star Jedi font which is free for personal and commercial use. Finally I resized the image.
I Have You Now
And, that's it! A whirlwind tour of the process and I hope you liked it. If anyone is interested I can do a more detailed post for future projects.
Get the tools:
- Krita. Available for Mac. Windows and Linux
- GIMP. Available for Mac, Windows and Linux
- Star Jedi font