Painting in Photoshop
By Elin Josefsson
I have seen many good and interesting articles about how to color pictures in Photoshop. My article, therefore, covers techniques for PAINTING directly in Photoshop.
I use mainly soft edged airbrushes in different sizes.I work at diferent layers, the brush set to low opacity and low pressure.
To do this picture I had a photo of a friend in the position and lightning I wanted to draw. I used this photo as a reference and a guide line making the picture.
After making these outlines I made a new layer, and I started blocking in the colors where they should be. I did this rough, just to show where I wanted my shadows and highlights to be.
I started by blocking in some color for a background, to have a ground to how the lightning would fall, and which nuance I would use. Then I painted the outlines of the face and the hair, using a light color, and a small brush, 5 pixels wide.
Then I started to merge the colors together, using a 35,45 pixels wide brush, with opacity set low, the colors merge themselves. I just scribble back and fort with my finger on the -alt button on my keyboard. When holding -alt the eyedropper tool is selected, and I chose a new color. I scribble a light color over the edge of a dark, then I select the dark color, near the light, and scribble over the edge again. I do this until I like the merging areas.
Here I have also mirrored the image, so I can see if there are any anatomical faults. I go to image>rotate canvas>flip horizontal. I noticed that the chin was too big, and the forehead was too small, so later I changed that.
I changed the anatomical problems, and played around with the shadows and highlights.
When I was happy with her skin, and face, I started working with her hair. I already had a base, to work from, so I created a new layer, and started painting smaller strands, and bunches of hair. To make them look more realistic, I made black lines to indicate where the different strands where. The hair was really difficult to make, with the frontal light I had chosen, all highlights must be vertical, instead of horizontal, as they usually are. It was also hard to define the hair on the back of her head, as it would be almost completely black with the light I had chosen, therefore I chose to have a small light source coming from her back.
I worked down her hair, creating bunches of hair, and making more details in them by choosing a smaller brush, and zooming in.
Here, the complete hair is finished. Later I changed it, but it was finished for now.
First, I worked a little more with her face, deepening the shadows, and trying to make it look more like my friend.
On a new layer, I started blocking in, and refine the colors of her arm. I made it look like she had a baggy sweater on.
After finishing with her arm, I painted in some lines, on a new layer, to indicate where I wanted the stones in the background to be. I also started to shadow them.
I continued to indicate where shadows would be falling, using my first background as a guide. I worked with a big brush, with low pressure.
I refined the shadows, and blocked in new colors, using the same technique I used with the face. I painted strong highlights coming from the upper right-hand corner, and shadows falling on the opposite side. I also wanted it to look like the light was falling trough a window, so I just painted highlights on a certain amount of stones.
Here is the girl, in front of the background.
However, as it was pointed out to me, the hair seemed to be floating in air, like she had used to much hair gel, so I repainted a large bit of it, making it follow her body more, I also trimmed away the lower part of the image.
It was also pointed out that the stonewall was too symmetrical, and that stones don't lie in rows like that, they are overlapping each other. The stones also were to smooth, and the gaps between them where to big, so I repainted a large part of the background. To make the stone more stone-like I scribbled back and forth with a dark color, and the pressure set to 7%. I also just scribbled the highlights loosely on the upper right-hand corner of the stones.
I signed the painting, thinking it was done.
But, I was wrong. I got the advice to longer the canvas, to the first length, so I did that. I also worked a little bit more with the hair. When I lengthed the canvas, I had to get rid of an ugly line going right troug it, where I had cut it earlier. I painted a longer arm, and continued on the hair.
So, here is the final painting:
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