View Full Version : Digital Painting Tutorial.

Digital Portraits
12-17-2005, 05:49 PM
By request, I decided to go ahead and put a tutorial on Wet Canvas. I have had this one for a long time, inititially this is how I used to do this. Until I started saving time by duplicating the layer and working with a direct reference to save time since orders came faster and it looked better due the perfect proportions and perfect color match already there. But this would be the real way to do so, as I used to do. I hope this serves a purpose in your work and helps you out if you are having troubles in some areas

[quote]Digital Painting Expalained
Author: Pratik Naik
Website: www.picstopaintings.com (http://www.picstopaintings.com)
Everyone wonders how we digitally paint and the exact work in progress which comes along with each painting. Here we have written a tutorial so you can see our painting, how it unfolds, and how we do it. Keep in mind, this tutorial is for advanced to experienced users with a painting or imaging program.
We begin by opening any version of Photoshop, or any painting program. For our tutorial we will use Adobe Photoshop CS2. The types of brushes we used are soft brushes (ones with excess feathering), hard brushes (no feather, pencil like), and the sharpen brush (to bring out the detail to our painting in certain areas). Open up the original image which you will be working with, for our example we will use this beautiful yet simple portrait.

Step 1:
Begin by going to view>show>grid on the reference image. Now open up a new white canvas of any size. Open the grid for this and you will notice that you can use this as a reference point. For the sake of this tutorial we did not include the grid on the images during the tutorial so we can see the pictures clearer though we always keep it on, on our screens. Keep them on and refer to the dimensions of the original to ensure proper proportion in each step listed. Go back to the original image and set the swatches of the majority of the colors visible, especially the shadows. Paint the hair area with the black color to outline the area as well as the ear and blue background. Generally shade the shadow regions of the face and near the eyes. We will not paint the ear ring as it is not necessary for the purpose of the tutorial.
Also, experiment and try to paint thin bristles of the hair to the side to get the feel of the thinner detailed brushes. The detail will make or break your painting. So begin lightly stroking small fine hairs to the right edge of the painting. If you have a Wacom of any graphics tablet, it will be useful for this. As you can see I have already done some lines. Also, generally make the edges of hair over the ear so we have a sense of reality even though most of it is still a blob.

Step 2:
We want to get the general shape of the eyes using our reference grid. Be sure and use the correct swatch for the eye color. Fill in the general eye and give it depth on the eyelid region.

Step 3:
Make the eye color solid and darken the eyebrow region to give it more depth.

Step 4:
It is time to generally shade the other regions. Take the swatches from the lower and upper lip and lightly go around the area of where it would be using the grids as reference fading them as a gradient. Now lightly shade in the shadows of the nose area so it starts to form. Darken the ear so that the lines start to become rigid. Use the harder brushes to get the rigid lines; do not worry about sharpening just yet. Shade in the general area of the eyebrows as well. Also, begin touching up the skin so it becomes more precise. Define the chin area and start giving the right lighting against it for depth.

Step 5:
Darken all the regions which we added to emphasize them once they appear right in terms of proportion. And clarify the cheek area by making the gradient less noticeable.

Step 6:
Start making the separation between the lips and darken the dark brown area near the eyes and adding light brown hues between them to give the area elevated depth. Begin outlining the eye area and filling it in with a lighter color first. Also begin shading the nose to give it correct proportion and a nostril. Apply the line on the right side of the nose to show height and depth. Also add the streaks in the area by applying the general blotches of the region.

Step 7:
Now darken all the areas we enhanced previously in the last step. Define the lip area more by giving it a distinct upper and lower lip. Shade around the nostril and fill it with its exact swatch. Darken the highlights to ensure the areas are defined.

Step 8:
Start defining the eyes by adding the black area in the middle. Lightly shade the eyelash area and begin defining the lip with the small rigid brushes without much feathering. Add even more depth to the nose by shading it with its exact swatch. Start detailing the hairline slowly by adding strokes of thin hair with smaller hard brushes working at 300% opacity.

Step 9:
We start to add the details slowly. Begin with the lips and eye region as they are prominent with fine thin brushes with no feathering involved. Give more depth to the ear if you have not already and separate the colors so the ear is in its place. Shade the lower region of the nose for shadows.

Step 10:
The detail of the hair should start to fall in place as more detail is being added on the strands. Now the lips also have shadow and now it’s time to start shading in the ridges. The nose area also needs a bit more shadow on its tip to give the sense of location on the painting. The eyelid also needs defining to show depth of the eye. Start detailing the eyelashes as you did the hair strands as well with fine brushes. We also now begin to add the reflection on the eye once the eye is complete. Add detail to the eyebrows to show its single strands of hair.

Step 11:
Sharpen some areas where you have finished detailing in strokes of 5% opacity to prevent over sharpening and you will see your strokes start to show its fine lines. Now add more clarity and depth to the cheek area by darkening your strokes. Finalize the reflection on the eyes by adding more white with hard brushes and sharpening them. Add more detail to the eyebrows and it should almost be ready. Start to add hair on the outside regions near the eye where it starts falling from the top and the top region where its wavy.

Step 12:
Add detail to the eyes and the fine lines in the lips as well as the eyebrows. Finish adding the detail to the eyes and sharpen the area. Add more depth to the eyelids as well. Stroke the hair around the head area to enhance the hair strands and detail.

Step 13:
Finally we are almost done, now we have to practically repeat the last couple of steps and add as much detail as you want through every feature of the face and sharpen them a little more to bring them out. This step is optional but this is what I got in the end upon enhancing it as far as possible by painting in smaller details and darkening the shading.

12-17-2005, 06:10 PM
interesting. ;)

12-17-2005, 08:03 PM
Thank you DP this is very informative! ;o)

Digital Portraits
12-17-2005, 08:15 PM
thanks guys :) I hope it helps! at least somewhat hehe

12-17-2005, 09:52 PM
I just wanted to comment on your amazing talent and accuracy. I couldn't help but take the reference photo and you final paiece and line them up just to admire the amazing accuracy. Not only did the details of eyelashes, lips, hair, and facial feature line up perfectly, but you even managed to paint the small crators in the skin too in just the right spot and shape, although so subtly that you need to adjust the levels in the peice to even see them! Impressive:clap: .


I thought I might add my own tutorial for those of us who dont have your level of accuracy. Here is a technique I use to achieve this.

Step 1: Take reference image and add a layer ontop of it.


Step 2: Paint in some colors in the layer above.


Step 3: Reduce the top layer's opacity enough to draw in aditional colors and shapes. Just draw in what you can see and use the reference photo to sample the colors.


Step 4: Here you take the reference photo, and place it over your painting. You want to use blending modes to experiment with different effect or looks but this will include the detail to the image. I personally used the blending mode : Magic combine blending mode found in Painter IX.


Step 5: Here you want to blend out or smudge out alot of the detail so it does not look so much like a photograph.


Step 6: Finally, here is where you get to go off and really let you creativity shine as you want to freehand in as much or as little detail back into the drawing.


Well, thats how I get this type of look. Its a great way to do some VERY creative work when you are still working on raw drawing talent like myself. Hope you enjoy :D

12-17-2005, 11:36 PM
DP, Hi!!

As Smokin has accurately stated above, there is a step missing, describing the details about the superimposing of images in the final stages.

I don't want to get into judging your motives for doing so, but I need to say you were doing great before pasting the original.
Although it looked like a paint-over, it had a great deal of your own style embedded in the initial stages...

So, I won't delve further on that issue; but I sure hope we can get some more accurate, assertive and constructive criticism from our fellow members...
On the artistic side.- I have an observation, and a respectful suggestion:
In some cultures, a cropped head is not taken as good will, or well intentioned kind of image.
Therefore , we , as artists are expected to re-do that image to make it look more natural, either by reconstructing the missing facial features, or by "hiding" them under leaves, flowers, or something that gives the impression of a "whole" head in the final piece...
I just did a quick example to illustrate my words in a better way...


Hope I make sense ..

Kind Regards