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Thread: Digital painting in PS
July 12th, 2005 #1
Digital painting in PS
For those of you who are curious, I started this thread for the benefit of Teigrob, who asked me to please explain how I paint in PS. (I borrowed this from her thread. ) Before I go any further, I like to say, I am not an expert and just trying to show Teigrob painting PS is really simple, as there really isn't any guide or rules. Just like any other medium, it's whatever works best for you.
The whole idea was for Teigrob and me to exchange bit of our experiences in different field, she's god with animals and I have an idea how painting works in PS. So while I am trying to show her some basics, I am also trying to learn but this will definitely be more into technicality of PS and some of my habits as well as other tips in PS.
It's all about colours and values as far as painting goes, I am cursed with both, so I will blab on about brushes in PS. For colours and other important fundamentals look at the stickies.
[EDIT] check Idiot Apathy's Thread for COLOURS!! here
It's have lots of important stuffs in there!
Just briefly, I did this for work but saved the steps for Teigrob. Now one thing you probably notice is there aren't any really thorough tutorial on painting PS, you see lot of steps but not the kind of tutorial most beginners have in mind. I did lot of researching on painting in PS like 2~3 years ago but could never find anything. The reason probably is because painting in is complex and there's no simple way of paiting. But you already knew that. So some steps, brushes and how to work around ps is best I can show. SO some painting steps, here's it is.
Now I did it all in one layer, a bad habit in a way as you might find you are stuffed when you want to change the background. I suggest using few layers is a good idea, like the initial black lines could be on a layer underneath, unlike me who just painted over the top. It's a bad habit! I start out by throwing the colours at 50~60% and go over it if it's shadows, I don't use 100% because then I can't see where the black lines are..pretty stupid huh? WORK big and start gettting into details. Tools to avoid! Smudge tool and Blur tool. I know it's tempting but if you want to smooth out something try using a BIG brush at like 10% and sample the colour (hold alt) and paint. also avoid dodge and burn tool, if you want to lighten, paint with lighter colour and so on. Painting is simple so think simple.
see? no need to smudge and you have more control. Or I am just crap with smudge tool. the bottom is with smudge tool.
So paint in the colours first and then work your way towards details.
Engouh ranting, I will edit this when I get home.. Going to paint an apple or something. I will go over the details with brushes..
Last edited by bumskee; April 4th, 2006 at 11:36 AM.
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July 12th, 2005 #2
I am new here and first of all HELLO
The tips on blending were really helpful
I am keen to improve my Photoshop skills especially drawing and painting with the tablet and pen
I will post some of my work shortly and would greatly appreciate comments and tips on bettering areas that seem less than what they should be.
July 12th, 2005 #3
Thanks so much bumskee, this'll be really helpful. You asked how familiar I was with PS - well, enough to know how to alter the opacity of the brush, and which tool is which. I know how to make layers too...and make them a multiply or whatnot. I'll post my first effort tomorrow - thanks again!
July 12th, 2005 #4
Just few things in PS, short cuts and so on I use frequently.
CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+N = new layer
CTRL+J = duplicate layer on top
"B" for brush
hold "alt" while in brush to turn the cursor into eye dropper (sampling) tool.
hold "space bar" to change into hand tool
hold "space bar" + "CTRL" to zoom in
hold "space bar" + "CTRL" + "ALT" to zoom out
"TAB" to hide all palettes
"F" flips through three different views, normal, full view with menus and FULL screen mode. very handy..
WHILE PAINTING with "B" brush tool
"]" increas brush size
"[" decrease brush size
Hold "SHIFT" + "]" to hard edge default round brush
Hold "SHIFT" + "[" to soften edge default round brush
you will know what I mean when you try it..but default brush goes like below..and this is the short key
0~9 to control your brush opacity setting.
so hit "55" and your brush is 55% and "0" is 100%, "3" is 30% and so on.
You will see the numbers change up at the top accordingly and so will the brush edges and size. handy stuff.. Most of these are also same with painter too.
I am on PS 7 but should be all same for all versions. Only shortcut I think it lacks is the one to bring the colour picker window.. could never figure that one out.
I mean after a while I used less and less filters and hardly any blending modes especially when I am painting.. Oh and "D" to reset your foreground and background colour to default, black and white and "X" to switch between the two. I think these are my most used frequent short keys.. There are hundreds of short keys in PS but let's stick to what we need.. I will add more if I remember them but these will help you speed things up.
ashemoto, go NUTS~
Teigrob, I will do a detailed one on something when I get home tonight.
July 12th, 2005 #5
All those shortcuts were really helpful, thanks! I knew some of them, but a lot I didn't, so that was great as a time saver.
Here's my horrid first attempt... The blob on the right is supposed to be an apple...sans ref...very bad...ref next time! Thank goodness I have this thread to post my sucky painting attempts in instead of my sketchbook thread! I'd kill it in no time!
July 13th, 2005 #6
Do you have a wacom?? or are you painting with a mouse?
I think it's a good try, but here's a big rule. Always work big with colours with digital painting. Go bold and block out your colours first and then get into details. It's a simple process so think simple. It's good you are trying to mix colours, but unlike traditional photoshop quite isn't all that flexible with the end results. Painter on the other hand can handle mixing paints better and does better imitating the real thing. I am "cursed" with colours so I will not comment too much on it.
Now I think you are painting with too low opacity. It's tempting to make things pretty from start but go bold. Also having a reference is a good idea. maybe try painting a sphere? try to render it in just black and white. Just to get the feel of the brushes in PS. OK..my apple.. had a ref sitting on my tablet and done in about 20 mins.
line drawing.. just so I know what the hell I am paiting..
basic colours, I was on 60% hard edge brush at size 40 with wacom, this is the original size of the canvas.
going to add details.. brush 20~30% hard edge
more details but I zoomed in 200% so I can see the the brush strokes. Work on hard edges in details like the stripes on the surface. opacity varied.
added the highlights, little dots here and there, added that thing, forgot what it's called. :< I didn't use anyother brush except for the default and only hard edge. I zoomed in 400% to work on that thing..forgot what it's called.
remember to use the hard edge, there are other people, very talented people who use soft edges to paint, but I could never use that just like smudge tools. Instead I sample colours a lot and use low opacity to blend.
OK! hopefully I didn't talk about crap.. now I better go and draw some skeletons. cheers,
July 13th, 2005 #7
I do have a wacom tablet - thank goodness!
Okay, second attempt:
solid foundation colours...
So? Whatcha think? Much better this time around! More practice?
July 13th, 2005 #8
July 13th, 2005 #9
Much Much Much Much better, but more practice just for you to get the feel of the brushes in PS. Is my personal webspace down at the moment? none of my images are showing up, never happened before.. :< did you get to see my apple attempt? Better host it somewhere else. Ok back to your painting. Looks like you are getting along well with your PS, so that's good. We'll have another go at the apple again next, but this time let's try adding a tint of blue or green. Or should we limit out palette to two colours or something?
When I want to darken certain colours, I simply hit "d" to reset my foreground and background and hit "1" for low opacity and paint over the top. The black darken it, but I think it tends to lose saturation. If that's not the colour I wanted I will then go and pick the right colour from the colour picker window. Same goes for lighter colours too. I sample a lot as I said before by holding "alt" key to blend or switch colours. This does tend to desaurate colours a lot I think so once in a while when I think it's getting a bit dull I go and get my colour again or sample it off the original ones.
I also noted you scanned your lines in? try drawing them straight in PS, use like 5~7 size opacity 100% and just draw some lines. What size tablet do you have? it's always a bit wobbly but you get used to it.
I think you did very well this time and you must be pleased. I am!! Ok one more apple? or orange? I will do another one when I get home tonight. but like I said let's chuck in a tint or distort the colours slightly. So you get used to grabbing colours you want. Then we can sort of look at "brush" palette, make some custom brushes.
Fellah, hey yeah Tei's helping me with the animal.. and I am showing her how to use that brush in PS and working around in PS.
ok.. apples and oranges to come later..
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July 14th, 2005 #10
Ok... apple but flipped it.. thought we go apple once more.. how about we attempt to apint one of your drawings??
again lines..so we know what the hell we painting..
blocks and chunks.. lots darker than yesterday..maybe because I flipped it.
more details, zoomed 400% to blend the colours, big brush and low opacity. sample and stroke, sample and stroke....
The easy thing about reference painting is, you just paint what's infront of you. add some dots, high lights here and there. done. overall 30mins..
ok...really promise myself to go over the brushes this weekend.. ok skeletons skeletons..
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July 14th, 2005 #11
wow. thats really cool Bumskee... glad to see your keeping your hands busy... i really need to learn how to paint in PS... Keep up the good work...
Mainloop- man i must be dyslexic.. cuz i thought you asked how many people are on lsd
July 14th, 2005 #12
grrr...okay, I don't think I'm quite getting how you blend so well. My efforts look more like hen scratching than anything else...
sketch (in PS!)
and finish with highlights...
See? gah, bah humbug...is it just repeated sampling or what? Yours looks almost like chalk pastels until you add the final details.
July 14th, 2005 #13
Teigrob, better! But yeah.. blending? hmm I use a big brush, and zoom in quite a lot like I said 400%. But usually I work with bigger canvas so would only need to zoom in 100~200% to do the details and paint normally at 25~50%. Low opacity and sample along. like the STRIP sample. Blending is easy, I think it's more important for you to observe where the soft blending happens and hard colour shift happens on the apple. Also use "[" "]" to change the brush size, I see you just used a smaller strokes, I used 40~50 to blend I think.size 4 to draw (100% opacity), 40~50 (40~60%)to paint areas and 80~110 (10~20%)to blend. I guess I am just used to changing brush size and opacity with keyboards.. It's lof sampling but if you zoom in and paint with big brush you can see the colours blending.. It's like sample and few strokes and then sample that and few more storkes but moving .... ok I will try and make a diagram of some sort.. I think we should try and do some blending exercise.. and more apples..
vigostar, yeah I sure am... my horses according to Teigrob is going to be a handful.. :X hehe Grab a tablet first though. I know you are meaning to buy one..
July 15th, 2005 #14
This should be a sticky. Since I'm just learning to digitally paint, this is exactly the information I need all in one compact thread.
I could find all kinds of step by steps, but no one really explains how to set up your brushes. I had to come up with my own process based on a many posts from half a dozen forums. It was a gathering of unorganized information, and that has probably made my learning take much longer than it should be taking.
There's some really great stuff here. I picked up a couple of things I hadn't thought up on my own. Otherwise I pretty much use the same techniques.
One additional thing I do, is I sometimes use the Flow setting as well. It works like the old Airbrush tool. For instance, if you set Opacity to 100% and Flow to 1%, you'll get transparent color that builds up without having to pick up the brush/stylus. Where if you keep Flow at 100% and Opacity at a low percent, like 15%, you have to pick up the brush and put it down again to build up the color. So, setting the flow and opacity low will give you more control and softer buildups of color. I still use the low opacity/100% Flow brushes though. They give a different texture.
I've also set up a series of brushes in the Tool Preset Palette so I don't have to keep changing the opacity and flow settings. And whenever I find a setting I like, I just save it as a new Tool Preset. In fact, I made up a new blender Preset because of this thread
Thanks for all this great info bumskee.
July 15th, 2005 #15
All right, my third attempt. Hey livtf - thanks for the suggestions!
My blending was better - but not by much, I think. ~sigh~ I'll get the hang of this eventually...
Sketch...probably don't need to post this anymore, but I guess it's habit...
solids...hehe, a little frustration...
and finish! Whatcha think?
Actually, I think it's not bad at all...hm. Think I'm actually getting the hang of this?
July 16th, 2005 #16
livtf, great information!. I was going to explain more brush, as PS 7 and up has better brush engine than previous versions. Not that it's limiting or anything but makes life lot more easier. Especially with all the brush options and so on. Thanks for the flow %. I usually don't bother with them, but seeing you have gotten better results it's good of you to share them.
Tei,!! Better and Better.. you are getting the hang of it. Love the colours, very vibrant, my room is so dark...damn...and I don't have an access to an apple at work. Is that a koala? hehe why didn't you colour him? maybe we can try and colour one of your drawings.
Blending seems very well done. I was going to suggest you soften your edges if hard edge blending is not giving you the result. If you hold "shift" + "[" you will soften edges, right downthe softest and use big brush, low opacity then blending goes real smooth. The only down fall is because it smooths a big area you have to watch it otherwise things start to lose the shape. I sort of put together little steps for soft edge bledning.
and if you are wondering where the hell that came from.. my frist capsicum.. smooth platic sort of surface so lots of blending, I think I got the colours wrong.
and here's little something, making a custom brush.. I mean there are so many options and ways, and again it's all upto you. I sometimes grab something off a photo, download them, or like below paint it. I didn't have anything in mind, but this usually is the process of creating a brush.. and just mucking around with options and then saving that brush. I guess painter has lot more options, I am not sure if painter is similar, but in PS, the brush head, the selection as shown below is simply duplicated along the stroke. The brush palette has some interesting options to customising your brush.
get friendly with your brush palette.
I went ahead and played with some setting, the first is nothing on using above selection. the second is with shape dynamic, size zitter and angle on. The third I just tried this and that, would make a nice impressionist brush. And the fourth, I threw in a layer style, bevel and it's sort of giving off that real paint look.. And then bottom right, I painted a strip and then made a selection off that and created another brush. and some other results mucking around with other brush options.
I don't really use much texture/custom brushes, I am also trying to use them more now, the results are interesting from time to time. and sometimes just so much easier to get to the end result too. I still use the default round most of the time. You just can't beat the default. So try making some custom brush, I might try an apple with a custom brush see how it looks.
I have a big screen so the sizes of the screen grabs might be different.
Last edited by bumskee; July 16th, 2005 at 01:28 AM.
July 16th, 2005 #17
these are great tips, and the brush you made here works really well..
i really really love photoshop's brush engine. for a while i went through all my old acrylic and watercolor paintings, scanning obscure little corners of them to turn into custom photoshop brushes.
then i downloaded images the surface of the moon, or mars, and made brushes out of those. then i did it with microscopic cell-biology photos..
in any case, i became totally addicted to making custom brushes.
i'm starting to get back into digital painting, and this thread has re-inspired me to go make some cool-ass brushes.
July 18th, 2005 #18
daspetey, share some tips and stuff while you are at it. experience is valuable. Yeah brushes, I made a few myself but don't really use it unless I made it for a specific use. I just like the default round. yeah share some ideas, reckon we can link some custom brushes for people to download?
Tei, I was browsing through cgtalk.com today and stumbled upon a discussion on painting in PS.
it's a good read, covers lots of technical ground. Lot of things we already covered but also some new things too. I guess once you get more comfortable with PS it's all about getting used to this medium.
July 18th, 2005 #19
Okay, I can follow most of what you said about messing around with the brush settings, but how do you select a texture from a picture or painting and save that as a brush?
I decided to try more of a still life this time instead of an apple, and I think I bit off more than I could chew. I didn't finish it, you'll notice - the leaf...sigh. I was tired of the whole thing by the time I got to the leaf. Anyways...
more details...I did try using a textured brush on the peach.
and more details on the rocks...
and caput - I couldn't do anymore!!! Aaugh! I think I'll stick with single items for now...maybe an interesting rock tomorrow - or a leaf.
Sure - I had my brush on a very soft edge, then turned on 'scattering' and 'texture'. Pretty easy actually...
Last edited by Teigrob; July 18th, 2005 at 07:41 PM.
July 18th, 2005 #20
Tei.... my my.. you are breezing through this. in no time you are going to be pumping out coloured doodlings. Love the peach, I really like the way you have used the texture brush on it. Gives that painterly look + soft surface of the peach. The colours as always very vibrant. Well, if you have more than on subject, you have more stuff to worry about. so gets a little hectic. I think you did an awsome job. Mind if you throw in what texture brush you used?
Well, I sort of breifly went over making custom brush, when I get home I will go over picking out the bits you like from a photo and turning that into a brush. Basically it's just a selection and then saving that as brush. Yeah.. I guess people use texture brush for two reasons, one as you have used, to really generate that texture feel and another is, it gives a random look. I will look for some examples or something.
also, try to keep your palette simple for now and your subject simple. and maybe the peach could use a bit more contrast? especially on the top bit. Awsome effort nonetheless.
July 18th, 2005 #21
July 19th, 2005 #22
My first drawrring
Here is my first ever sit down attempt in Photoshop with a Wacom. I just followed what you did Bumskee know I suck but.. I tried
July 19th, 2005 #23
July 19th, 2005 #24
Evilhead: that does -not- suck, -especially- for your first attempt; in fact, it's quite impressive!
Tei: the amount of improvement you've shown from one piece to the next in this Thread is nothing short of amazing. Wonderful job.
I've never really become too familiar with PS, so I read this and thought I'd do a quick speed-painting.
"But what, oh what, could possibly top an apple and a pepper?" I asked myself. Attempting to transend the classic apple and pepper is indeed a mighty aspiration.
Well, I spent hours--no, -days- pondering that very question...
But I couldn't think of anything that surprassed the greatness that is the apple and pepper, so I drew a pear. :|
So here it is, in the same format you've all been using:
And ze pear is fini.
(Reference image from stock photo)
I. Despise. Stippling.
I hope you don't mind me joining in.
Last edited by Luthien Rogue; July 19th, 2005 at 05:22 AM.
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July 19th, 2005 #25
Gauge, it's quite simple..really.. you paint with low opacity over another colour right? and than you sample that bit and do keep doing it. And if you go and read over at the link I provided from cgtalk.com, there are lots of other people who has been using this method for sometime. Looks like it was already qutie popular.
evilhead, that's awsome.. you have to see my first attempt. POOp.. well ok.. love the top bit, with details and what not. I am not too sure about the shape though..
Tei, YOU ARE ALREADY GIVING ME THE RUN FOR MY MONEY. hehe.. bah I am cursed with colours so as soon as you get comfortable I am going to disappear to thin air. but all good.
I did a pear on Sunday... hehehe forgot to post it.. yours is elegant. And I see you are not cursed with colours.
As for my pear I did a slight different approach just to illustrate the use of texture brush, but TEI beat me to it, and Luthien already did an amazing pear.. but here goes.
I did a background first and then a quick sketch
then I used the texture brush, and messed around, I did think about the form and did have the pear in front of me. But yeah
Finally I threw in more "decorating" stuff, to give that random look. I still used the default brush the most.. it is by far the best brush in PS.
July 19th, 2005 #26
bah, I'm not giving you a run for your money...yet. Look at that pear! It's so rich it's disgusting.
Luthien - thanks! I got a long row to hoe yet, but I'm getting there...slowly but surely...
I decided to try something easy. Something that wouldn't give me headaches. So why did I pick a rose...? I tried your textured background bumskee, with the intent that the rose would just...come out of it? Appear from it? Whatever, I didn't succeed, but I tried!
and finish. Sheesh, this could be better...next time I don't think I'll get so fancy - just paint the dang thing!
Gah, that's bad...sorry. Flowers are WAY different than fruit.
July 20th, 2005 #27Registered User
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your too afraid to go way dark... i had that problem... right now the pedals look flat, you need some defined shadows to give them form
July 20th, 2005 #28
I never tried roses..
ok..just to go over the brush bit again.
I have chosen this image, I think i got it from this forum, someone posted for people to use.. ok so I chose this bit of the image to make brush out of. I used lasso tool.
After selecting it, copy and paste into another layer..or CTRL+J and put a layer filled with white behind it so you can see what you are doing.
CTRL+L to bring out level, and bring two outer bars towards the middle, you will note the contrast level rising and the ugly selection shape we had originally disappearing. You can always do it manually but level is easier and fast.
Now here's few thigns to note. After playing with the level, I turned it into greyscale, and that's pretty much what the brush is going to look like. Note the white is going to be transparent on the brush head within the selection. The yellow bit is going to be grey, it's semi transparent. to cut long story short, if you want to make that fully black just do another level and drag the left bar to the right till it's black. I am happy with this, and you can skip this stage, it's just to explain to you if it's not all black it's going to be semi transparent accordingly.
and then all you have to do is go to edit>define brush
go to brush palette,play with options.
So basically it's just selection and defining it as brush. White 100% transparent black 100% opaque..
There is another way to show texture in PS, that is using "texture" option in brush palette. In cgtalk.com there's a sticky with some brushes to download and you will find some black and white texture images, which you can load into as pattern first and then use it in "texture" option in the brush palette. I will get into this later.. Also there are hundreds of custom brushes on internet.. check cgtalk.com..they have some too.
July 20th, 2005 #29
July 20th, 2005 #30
I tried an apple too.. It's painted from life.
this is my second photoshop attempt (painted with mouse)
Forgot to save the black&white outlined sketch also so I'll skip that.
2. some blending
3. more details
4. I forgot the shadow at first but in the end I decided to make a shadow after all, and added some highlights.
I am actually quite content with the result, taking in mind that I'm a n00b at painting with photoshop.
@ Luthien; I think it's damn beautifull!
@ Bumskee; wow, I can imagine those shiny bits took some time. It looks very lifelike.
Last edited by NoŽ; July 20th, 2005 at 10:20 AM.
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