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Adobe Photoshop Tutorials - Digital painting from photography

Advanced digital painting walkthrough tutorial on realistic digital painting from photo reference.

Author : maliDM View or add comments : (0)
Date : 2007-01-28 07:41 Average members rating : 0
This is just one way you can work it and requires a lot of background knowledge about painting and Photoshop. It is also strongly recommended to use some sort of stylus pen because painting with a mouse is like painting with a brick. I told you itís an advanced tutorial.

I did this painting for an exercise, to see if I can mach the colors from and photo reference without sampling the colors from a photo it self. It took me 5-6 hours and the end result is not perfect but I can say I am satisfied with it to a certain degree. But than again you will never hear an artist say he is entirely satisfied with any of his work.

If you never heard of a Terry Pratchet you should be ashamed of your self, and if you never saw the only move made by his book ďThe Hog fatherĒ I have nothing more to discuss with you. Until you finish these tasks you nay not continue with this tutorial.

For those with more wits, here is the image I found on the web site of the movie. Itís a TV movie so I found it on a TV station web site:

This is one of the characters from the movie, The Toymaker and itís played by Mr. Pratchet himself, one of the reasons I chose to paint it in the first place. Of course the image is copyrighted and all rights reserved for the true owners, I am only showing it for the reference here, thank you!

I start with observing the image for a while, to start noticing the details and get the feel fro the color used. Very soon you notice background is almost entirely blurred and not much details can be noticed. Next I find the main light source, it is coming from the right (the observers right) and a little from the back, giving it a partially backlit effect. It all takes about 15 min. for me and I am ready to paint.

I fire up the Photoshop and create a new document. Dimensions 768x1024 in 300 dpi. I am not working bit as you can notice, because this is only an exercise for me.

I fill the canvas with black and lay out the basic shapes I see on the photo:

I am choosing colors from my swatch palette and use only the basic Photoshop brushes with flow and opacity set to Pen pressure. In this step I am trying to get the basic blocks and correct proportions of the shapes. nothing to fancy, not much details and only a couple of random strokes to the background to achieve that blurry effect.

OK, now itís time to work on the face proportions and the light. I always start with shadows, some like to start with highlights first but I prefer the shadows. I also added a beard and some more details to the background. I am still just trying to make sure everything is where itís suppose to be and I work with fast strokes without much precision for the time being. You see, itís all trial and error, place the color, erase it and do it all over again until it feels right.

More shadows and more details. Now we have glasses on his nose, we have a nose, and eyes and lips are much more defined. I can already star feeling some depth in the image and I start to like it.

I started to work on the hat or whatever it is, and trying to get the face correct. You see, people are creating a mystery about art. Like its some divine gift to the few chosen ones out there, but itís just not like that. First of all, having talent is a good thing and can give you a lot of head start and a lot of more space for improvement, but everyone can draw and paint, you just have to get into it man, like a, like a painting machine 1-2-3-4!!!

I started to work on the rest of the clothes adding shadows and highlights and getting the proportions right.

Taking a small 10px hard round brush and I start working on the small details. I have already established my colors and now I only sample the color from the parts where I am painting, but when I looked at the image from further away I could see Mr. Pratchet was crying. Please donít cry Mr. Pratchet. I have no idea how do my images end like this in only few simple strokes of a brush.

Working on my details further I darkened some of the shadows and refined highlights. Mr. Pratchet was feeling better, still a little shaken from the previous episode but doing much better. I have almost finished piece here. I still needed to work a little bit on the mouths and other small details, but I was satisfied with what I made and here is the final version:

I added some Noise filter to the entire image to break the monotony and added a texture to the vest. I should have darkened the shadows more and add a thousands of other small details but this one is just mine and unique, and thatís all that matters. The most important thing is I have learned a lot from this exercise and I honestly hope you did too!