Tutorial files available at:
The magazine for Adobe® Photoshop® professionals 116 MASTER BLEND 3D LAYER & PHOTOS MASKS How to create a sci-fi themed manipulation
Work with lighting and layers to build a vibrant image
ge a im r e v e t s e b r u ate yo e r c o t w o h n o s op tip t ir e h t e iv g s r e d Industry lea CREATE THIS COVER
PRO COMPOSITING ELEMENTS 12 Expert advice on blending We find out if this version of Photoshop photomanipulation, textures and stock has anything to offer our professionals
3D digital painting Now available on Mac
ISSUE 116 CONTENTS
WELCOME Welcome to the latest issue of Advanced Photoshop. This issue we delve into the world of expert tools and techniques and find out which are essential to a creative professional’s workflow ANNALISA SAYWELL Editor IN THIS ISSUE: PHOTOMANIPULATION PHOTO EDITING GRAPHICS DIGITAL PAINTING TYPOGRAPHY NEW MEDIA
COVER IMAGE YVAN FEUSI
Yvan Feusi is a 24-year-old professional graphic designer and illustrator from Geneva. We chose this as our cover because we believe his work with 3D and Photoshop is second to none
Industry leaders have given us their insight into the most valuable tools and techniques that they use on a daily basis when creating their work. This includes 15 top tips in our main cover feature, a look into layer masks in our surreal landscape tutorial, and how to use Photoshop as a post-production tool to blend 3D elements. Also inside, learn how to combine multiple assets to build a shatter-effect portrait in our pro compositing tutorial, or if digital painting is more your forte, set yourself a time limit and create a cityscape speed painting from scratch. Finally, turn to our Reviews section to discover what our thoughts are on Photoshop Elements 12 and whether it has anything to offer the expert community, and don’t forget about the free disc packed with pro resources and an exclusive video tutorial. See you next month!
48 PRO COMPOSITING EXPERT TUTORIAL:
Learn to build a complex photomanipulation using multiple assets in Photoshop
88 WOODBLOCK PRINTING RESOURCES PROJECT:
Discover how to create your own woodblocks and convert prints into digital resources
FOR BACK ISSUES, BOOKS AND MERCHANDISE VISIT:
CONTENTS EYE ON DESIGN
What’s hot, who’s in and the latest art & design happenings
06 08 14
THIS ISSUE’S PRO PANEL Our contributors share Photoshop secrets PORTFOLIO INTERVIEW Turning fantasy into reality PROJECT FOCUS Stronger sports advertising
14 SPORTS ADVERTISING
78 58 CITYSCAPE SPEED PAINTING
PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 12
ISSUE 116 CONTENTS
Professional artists reveal their high-end Photoshop skills in our easy-to-follow workshops
18 30 40 46 48 54
Photoshop and the 3D pipeline INDUSTRY FEATURE
The ultimate guide to tools & techniques WORKSHOP
Blend 3D and photos HOW I MADE
Pro compositing HOW I MADE
58 64 66 74 84 88
Cityscape speed painting HOW I MADE
Master layer masks
We put the latest creative kit, books and apps to the test
78 82 83
FEATURE: Photoshop Elements 12 REVIEW: Pentax Q7 REVIEW: Extensis Suitcase Fusion 5
HOW I MADE
Hide and seek READER INTERVIEW
Re-imagining Wonderland RESOURCE PROJECT
SEE PAGE 16, 45 OR 72 FOR THE LATEST OFFERS
ON YOUR DISC
Free with issue 116 of Advanced Photoshop
TAILORMADE CREATIVE CONTENT %XCLUSIVEďVIDEOďTUITIONďINCLUDINGďLEARNINGď how to re-create a shatter effect
46 HOW I MADE 08
TURNING FANTASY INTO REALITY
ď0HOTOSHOPďACTIONS ďAďSELECTIONďOFďTEXTURESď ANDďPREMIUMďSTOCKďPHOTOS
PLUS: eď4UTORIALďPROJECTďFILES eď%XCLUSIVEďWALLPAPERSďFORďMOBILEďANDďDESKTOP eď#USTOMďTYPEFACE
EYE ON DESIGN PRO PANEL
EYE ON DESIGN
MEET THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS AND FOLLOW THEIR EXPERT ADVICE TO CREATE EVEN BETTER PHOTOSHOP ARTWORK FLORIAN DE GESINCOURT
www.degesart.com Using photo stock to build a concept is an easy way to quickly render textures and shapes. Import your photo and set the blending mode to Lighten or Soft Light, adjust the Levels to fit with your painting and erase any parts you don’t want. However, it’s still important for you to know how to paint, otherwise you won’t be able to control the photo. ■ Turn to p58 to discover more digital painting tips from De Gesincourt
© Bram Vanhaeren
www.aiven.net Creating a highly detailed and high-resolution story-telling image can be complex, and your workflow may become a key factor. Using the right tools and shortcuts is essential. By doing this you will learn how to work dynamically to avoid any pixel destruction, using layer masks, clipping masks, dynamic objects, adjustments layers and more. ■ See how Feusi combined 3D assets and photography to create a sci-fi scene over on p40
The magazine for Adobe® Photoshop® professionals
VALP MACIEJ HAJNRICH
Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House, 33 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EZ +44 (0) 1202 586200 Web: www.imagine-publishing.co.uk www.advancedphotoshop.co.uk www.greatdigitalmags.com
With every single project I work on, either personal or commercial, I always want to learn something new. If there is anything I’ve done before, be it the concept or the colours, I always try to avoid that direction and create something fresh. This often leads me to an experimental vortex, which is time consuming, but being proud of the final artwork makes it worth it. ■ Follow Valp’s tutorial on pro compositing on p48
Using the right tools and shortcuts is essential. You will learn how to work dynamically to avoid any pixel destruction © Valp Maciej Hajnrich
YVAN FEUSI / WWW.AIVEN.NET
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© Jono Hislop
JON0 HISLOP AKA KIVEX
www.somethingfresh.co.nz I like to be as organic as possible – the less computerised the better, for me personally. Throw together natural elements and cut up bits of photos from the least expected places. Use animals and plants that few people can visually identify. In the piece above, I’ve used a sunflower for the eyes, the fins of tropical fish for the headdress and algae for the morphing texture. ■ Master layer masks to re-create Hislop’s surreal landscape on p66
The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. Photoshop is either a registered trademark or trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/ or other countries and is used with express permission. All $ prices are US Dollars unless otherwise stated. If you submit material to Imagine Publishing via post, email, social network or any other means, you automatically grant Imagine Publishing an irrevocable, perpetual, royaltyfree license to use the images across its entire portfolio, in print, online and digital, and to deliver the images to existing and future clients, including but not limited to international licensees for reproduction in international, licensed editions of Imagine products. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Imagine Publishing nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for the loss or damage.
© Imagine Publishing Ltd 2013 ISSN 1748-7277z
EYE ON DESIGN PORTFOLIO INTERVIEW
TURNING FANTASY INTO REALITY
WE TALK TO THE EVERIMAGINATIVE ERIK JOHANSSON ABOUT HIS UNIQUE AND SURREAL APPROACH TO THE WORLD OF RETOUCHING
he work of Swedish photographer and retouch artist Erik Johansson is a sight to behold. Not only does his work display a tremendous amount of technical ability – the seams with which he stitches together his assorted photography all but invisible – but creatively it’s the work of an artist with great imagination. From roads that peel upwards and outwards like the zip on a jacket to rowboats that tear through pastoral, sun-kissed fields, Johansson’s work is like pulling back the curtain on a dream, revealing worlds that twenty years ago could only have existed within the mind’s eye. “I’ve always liked photography, but somehow I wanted to do something different with it. I wanted to capture the ideas I had in my mind, just like I did when I did drawings,” says Johansson of his first
steps into the world of retouching. “In the past I would come up with an idea and use a pencil to create it, and somehow the process was the same when I discovered Photoshop. I could realise ideas and places that didn’t actually exist, creating them using my photography. I wanted my images to look like they had truly been captured in real life, despite their surrealist quality.” What started out as a hobby for Johansson – placing family members in strange situations and taking hundreds of photographs, and then shifting and changing these images in Photoshop – soon became something much more. “I simply wanted to do something more with the pictures. I wanted it to be a process just like drawing. I started working on more complex images like the ones I do today, and that’s how it all got started.”
HOW DID YOU START OUT IN THE WORLD OF RETOUCHING? I learned mostly by simply experimenting. I actually started in computer engineering, which I did for five years. I was doing photography and retouching as a hobby, but I never thought I could make a living from it. However, I found myself taking more and more pictures, so I decided to go into freelance full-time. Although I don’t really have any use of my computer engineering studies, the problem solving part has certainly been helpful for me. I always break my pictures down into their smaller parts and try and figure out how to use the different parts to create something much larger. Any time I don’t know something, I just look in magazines or at tutorials online to see how to achieve certain techniques. Learning is always a natural process.
Fishy Island: Whether his work is subtle and understated or outright bizarre, Johansson’s retouching work is never anything less than visually arresting
Deep Cuts: Johansson’s ideas tend to originate from something small and simple. He then allows the idea to develop and grow organically as he works on it
Go Your Own Road: Blending two images together in Photoshop can be difficult, but Johansson’s output proves that complete integration between two very different images is certainly possible
All images ÂŠ Erik Johansson
EYE ON DESIGN PORTFOLIO INTERVIEW
LAST YEAR YOU GAVE A TALK AT THE TED CONFERENCE. WHAT CONCEPTS DID YOU DISCUSS THERE? The conferences all have a specific theme, and when I did my talk the theme was ‘Travels Through Space, Time and Imagination’. They wanted a retoucher who could discuss creating a space that isn’t really there. They found me, asked if I wanted to contribute, and discuss how imagination plays a part in creating something. I thought it was a great opportunity. I had six minutes to talk, so I discussed my work and the processes I use to create images, and how the only limitation is your imagination. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CREATING ONE OF YOUR IMAGES? WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION COME FROM? It’s difficult to define. It always starts with something really simple; something I see, like an object or something in a magazine. I’ll then start to think about how I can make it different. I might try and combine two objects or two places somehow. So it always starts small and simple and then I just let the idea slowly grow and evolve. I usually try to work with several different ideas in parallel. I always have different ideas and I’m always looking for inspiration. It mostly boils down to looking at the world through different eyes and coming up with something new and fresh.
End Of Line: Johansson tends to find that the more personal work he creates, the more he can enjoy his professional work, as clients will tend to ask for more of the same
Arms Break, Vases Don’t: Johansson’s goal is to make surreal imagery that looks as if it could exist in real life. Even his most bizarre images have a photoreal element to them
Expecting Winter: Johansson remains a photographer at heart, using his camera to capture real-world images and then stitching the images together in an almost literal sense in Photoshop
DOES THE FINAL PRODUCT USUALLY MATCH UP TO THE IDEA THAT YOU HAD INITIALLY ENVISIONED OR DOES IT DIVERGE? It changes. The idea is still there but the look will be different from the initial sketch. The sketch is usually just a simple way to capture the idea. It’s when I take the first pictures that I know what the work is going to look like and how I want to define it. However, it’s tricky because you don’t always know what it will end up looking like. Although that said, the base idea tends to remain the same throughout. YOU’VE EMBARKED ON STREET ILLUSIONS AND PRANKS USING PHOTOSHOP. WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THESE PROJECTS? Most of the time I just sit in front of my computer, so I always try to find ways to get away from the desk and use the technology that I know for something else. I want to try and make something different with it. I’ve been doing perspective street illusions, because I wanted to see if I could create something in a real environment, and try and ‘trick’ reality. I wanted to see if I could create something that felt truly real, despite its strange appearance. There are a lot of artists doing perspective paintings on the streets and things like that, but I wanted to see if I could do it with Photoshop, to make the illusion appear even more realistic. The other thing was the bus stop Photoshop prank (tinyurl.com/APStreetRetouch). I was
Cut & Fold: For Johansson, Photoshop is almost as much of a toy as it is a serious work tool. Just check out his street pranks for evidence of that: tinyurl.com/ APStreetRetouch
EYE ON DESIGN PORTFOLIO INTERVIEW
I want my all images to look like they have truly been captured in real life, despite their surrealist quality
Drifting Away: It’s odd to hear an artist emphasise quantity over quality, but for Johansson, producing large amounts of work gives you the scope to experiment and improve
actually approached by an advertising agency in Stockholm that wanted to do something for an Adobe Creative Day, using Photoshop in a public space. We talked about how we could do it and we decided on live retouching. It was really fun to be a part of and it worked really well. It was really intense because I had to cut out people in just a couple of minutes before the next bus arrived! DO YOU BELIEVE SOME IDEAS OR CONCEPTS ARE UNATTAINABLE, OR IS ANYTHING POSSIBLE USING PHOTOSHOP? If you can imagine something, you can probably realise it in a piece of art, although there are some limitations. For instance, I have never learned how to use 3D software, so I have to shoot every element that I want to incorporate in my work. I can’t create something on the computer, so that’s one limitation in a way. That said, I think the more pictures you take and the more you create, the more you will start to think in a way that you know will work and you know will be possible to create.
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR PERSONAL WORK? Personal work has always been what I love to do; it’s my creative outlet. I just have so many ideas I want to bring to life! That’s what I started doing in the beginning and that’s how I started to get my commissioned work, because people saw my personal work and asked if I could do something for them. It’s still that way, really, because if I do personal work then people will tend to ask for more like it, so I get commissioned work that I also like. It’s a creative investment, in a way. If I could choose I would only do personal work, because it can be a challenge attempting to realise someone else’s idea. However, the commissioned work is necessary to make a living out of this. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? DO YOU HAVE ANY PROJECTS LINED UP? It’s hard to say. I would like to do a book at some point and I would like to do more behind the scenes stuff to showcase my process. I’d also like to do more big perspective illusions and installations.
Other than that I’m just trying to work as hard as I can on my personal work. I still have a lot of ideas that I want to realise.
FOR JOHANSSON IT’S ALL ABOUT EXPERIMENTING, WORKING HARD AND ACCEPTING CRITICISM
■ LEARN BY TRYING This might sound like a simple tip but I think it’s the best way to learn how the various tools work. Tutorials are great, but the only way to truly understand what a tool does to a picture is to try it out, a lot. ■ FIRST QUANTITY, THEN QUALITY In most cases, you will hear that quality is more important than quantity. However, I believe that you need quantity to achieve quality, otherwise there is a risk that you will just sit around waiting for the perfect idea. You should always try to realise as many ideas as possible. You will keep improving with every picture. ■ GET FEEDBACK Feedback is a great way of improving. When you work on something for a long time it can be really hard to decide what works and what doesn’t. Try to get feedback on online forums and communities, or ask friends. An honest opinion can be very hard to find.
EYE ON DESIGN STRONGER SPORTS ADVERTISING
STRONGER SPORTS ADVERTISING
WE SPEAK TO NIKOLAY KVARTNIKOV FROM FIERO ANIMALS ABOUT HOW HE CRAFTED THIS HIGHPOWERED, STRIKING SPORTSWEAR CAMPAIGN FOR ADIDAS
N ABOUT THE STUDIO NIKOLAY KVARTNIKOV www.fieroanimals.com @fieroanimals Nikolay Kvartnikov started working as a freelance illustrator and retoucher in 2006. In 2008 he founded creative retouching and CGI studio Fiero Animals, specialising in the production of commercial CG and photo-based imagery for the advertising and entertainment industries. Fiero Animals has built up an impressive client list, including well-known brands like Nissan, Audi, Pepsi, McDonald’s and Schwarzkopf.
NAME OF PROJECT ADIDAS. BECOME STRONGER
Another image from the series
ike, Adidas, Puma, Rebok, Umbro… these are all massive brands in a highly-saturated market, trying to compete with each other for prominence. Their ad campaigns play a big part in what makes them stand out from the crowd, so the importance of originality while maintaining brand values within them is paramount to their success. In the saturated sportswear sector, then, coming up with a creative and original idea for a massive client like Adidas is no mean feat, but it’s one that Nikolay Kvartnikov and his team managed to pull off with aplomb. The ‘Become Stronger’ series of print adverts was created by a wider team, with Kvartnikov’s retouching studio, Fiero Animals, in charge of art direction and the post-production side of things. A concept intending to show the sheer power proper sportswear can bring athletes, ‘Become Stronger’ consisted of three adverts – Dumbbells, Treadmill and Training Machine – with each one connected to each other by the same minimalist style and look. We caught up with Kvartnikov to find out more about how he created this series and what concepts brought it about. THE ‘BECOME STRONGER’ ADIDAS CAMPAIGN IS A VERY ORIGINAL CONCEPT. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE PROJECT? Adidas released a new sportswear collection and approached advertising agency TBWA\Moscow to create an ad campaign for it. They developed the ‘Become Stronger’ concept, the basic idea of which was that your sports and exercise equipment will not be able to sustain your power and force if you are wearing Adidas clothing. For the role of the main character of the campaign, the agency invited along the famous Russian football goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Ball-Park Production organised the work on TV commercials and photo shooting with photographer Vlad Loktev, and our studio
(Fiero Animals) were invited to do post-production and art direction for the prints. All the work we did took about three weeks. WAS THE MINIMALIST AND STRIKING LOOK OF THE SHOT SOMETHING THE CLIENT HAD SPECIFIC IDEAS ABOUT? The brief provided us with a lot of freedom in our work, as the agency had just described a basic idea – different sports equipment melts and breaks down under the pressure of the main character – and that’s it, so we had to find the interesting visual style and the main look by ourselves. We started with very rough sketches made in 3ds Max, in which we built a low-poly 3D model to understand the perspective and angles of the composition before shooting. At the shooting stage we tried many composition and light options and various sports equipment like weights, skipping ropes and an exercise bike. We tried putting them into two different environments – one with a white background and another with a black background. We had to figure out how we could put focus on the athlete, his sportswear and fitness equipment at the same time. In the end, it was decided to use a black, minimalist background with lighting accents on the athlete and equipment. DID YOU ONLY USE PHOTOSHOP IN THE POSTPRODUCTION STAGES? Photoshop is the main tool in our work; almost everything has been done in it. The prints Dumbbells and Treadmill were made entirely in Photoshop. For Training Machine we used 3ds Max for modelling and V-Ray for rendering, as it was clear from the beginning that this scene would not be easy to recreate just through photography, so we did all the objects and effects entirely in post-production. But a huge part of the work was done in Photoshop. We did a lot of retouching and colour correction work, as well as lots of compositing work on the photographed elements. WHAT PHOTOSHOP TOOLS AND OPTIONS DID YOU USE THE MOST WHEN CREATING THIS? The Clone Stamp was used to retouch and create the background. It was very useful to remove lighting equipment and different, unnecessary objects from
“I really like the created atmosphere and minimalism,” Kvartnikov says. “We could have enhanced all the effects of the destruction, we could have shown it bigger and more complexly, added sparks, smoke, debris and so on, but I like the balance that had been achieved here”
Along with lighting key areas in the photography, Kvartnikov used a brush and Brightness/Contrast to set accents in the image and to bring out the details in the athlete’s shirt
The heat of the dumbbells was created by using Photoshop brushes in different blending modes, as well as extra stock images of hot metal to help create the desired texture
All images © Nikolay Kvartnikov
the frame. We always used the Pen tool for keying and to create masks for compositing. Curves and Levels adjustment layers were applied for colour and atmosphere, and various brushes in blending modes like Overlay and Soft Light were used to create reflections, shadows and the overall atmosphere of the image. DID YOU FACE ANY CHALLENGES DURING THE ARTISTIC PROCESS? Considering the dark atmosphere of the images and despite our wish to put more accent on the sports equipment, we had to keep all the shapes and the details of the Adidas sportswear. Also, we had to correctly display relief and lights on the athlete’s body via retouching and brush painting. Another requirement was to perform an interesting colour correction, and we added cold and warm reflections in order to give more volume to the image. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO CREATE A PIECE LIKE THIS? The main idea is to make a plan of every stage of your work. You should know from the very beginning
which elements of your artwork you can take photographs of and what elements you have to create in post-production. Also, it’s important to research the theme of the project and spend time studying different references. In our Adidas project, even though we knew that the training machine would be done in 3D, we had a huge amount of photo reference of it, including its different parts in different perspectives. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN CREATING THIS KIND OF ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR A MAJOR BRAND? First of all, it’s teamwork that is essential to a major project like this. It consists of so many important components, beginning with a good idea from the creative agency, excellent organisation of the photo shoot by the post-production house, and finally the work of a photographer and the model. Luckily for us, we were given great material to work with. And for us as a post-production studio, it was important not to overdo the designs with effects and instead pay more attention to things like composition, lighting and colour correction.
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TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE WE TAKE AN INDEPTH LOOK AT HOW PHOTOSHOP FITS INTO THE 3D WORKFLOW, FROM ITS OWN TOOLS TO THOSE IT ENHANCES CONTRIBUTORS
DAVID MUNOZ VELAZQUEZ
WWW.THEFOUNDRY.CO.UK Joseph is The Foundry’s in-house designer and oversees the company’s trademark branding and visual design.
WWW.THEFOUNDRY.CO.UK Peebler has worked in software product management for 20 years and co-founded Luxology, part of The Foundry.
WWW.COLIEWERTZ.COM Wertz is a concept designer and 3D artist. He is currently working with 3D Systems, a 3D printing company.
WWW.MUNOZVELAZQUEZ.COM Velazquez studied graphic design in Barcelona. He is currently working in the videogame and animation industries.
Orsetti started his career in Italy. Two years ago he moved to MPC London, where he is a 3D modeller, texture artist and groom TD.
A NEW DIMENSION THE 3D CAPABILITIES OF PHOTOSHOP
CONTRIBUTORS RICHARD CURTIS
7772)#(!2$Ëś#524)3.%4 A principal solutions consultant at Adobe with a focus on digital imaging, Curtis is the UK contact for Photoshop.
WWW.SERGIOMERECES.COM MerĂŞces has been working in the 3D visualisation business for the past ten years, working on projects around the world.
WWW.SUPERHERO.CGSOCIETY.ORG Hasanian is a freelance CGI artist with a passion for art and science, and has worked for many major clients over the last five years. ÂŠ Sergio Mereces
ince its creation, Photoshop has made a household name for itself as the worldâ€™s premier graphics editing program. Renowned for its incredible 2D capabilities, itâ€™s capable of producing some of the worldâ€™s most impressive design and illustration projects, and has little in the way of competition. However, less well known or discussed are Photoshopâ€™s 3D asset creation capabilities. Introduced to Photoshop CS3 in the spring of 2007, users were initially able to create 3D layers, or import 3D models and manipulate, light and render them. â€œCS4 allowed for editing of these materials, and even some limited 3D painting applications,â€? begins Kirk Nelson, a graphics artist with over 15 years of experience in the industry. â€œFollowing that, CS5 introduced us to RepoussĂŠ, which was a method of extruding a 2D layer into 3D space. CS6 revamped the 3D system with tighter tools and on-screen editing widgets, and now CC has expanded all the 3D features to be more robust and reliable.â€? Richard Curtis is a principal solutions consultant at Adobe, and has a deep knowledge of Photoshopâ€™s 3D tools and capabilities. â€œCurrently, Photoshop CC provides users with the ability to create 3D text and objects, assemble them together with other 3D objects imported from external sources (Photoshop can read OBJ, KMZ, STL COLLADA and 3DS files) and then change the aesthetic of the assembled scene using all of the texturing tools within Photoshop CC,â€? he tells us. â€œThe 3D capabilities in Photoshop CC are most often used to produce 3D effects that are output in two-dimensional form for print or online consumption.â€? Although 3D can often seem like a difficult and challenging subject to tackle, the 3D capabilities within Photoshop CC have been designed to work in tandem with the rest of the application. â€œAny reasonably experienced Photoshop users should be able to quickly learn how to work with and design in 3D using Photoshop CC,â€? says Curtis. Nevertheless, both Curtis and Nelson assert that Photoshopâ€™s 3D tools are supplementary, rather than intended as any kind of competition to the thriving CGI market that has existed in some form since the late Seventies. â€œPhotoshop CC is not intended to be a complete or robust 3D modelling tool,â€? asserts Curtis. â€œThere are plenty of other tools on the market, each with unique capabilities depending on the type of content that needs to be produced.â€?
WWW.JAHIRULAMIN.COM Jahirul Amin is a generalist with a particular passion for 3D rigging and animation. He lectures in computer animation.
WWW.CHICKWALKER.COM Sandifer is a CGI character artist at Blue Studio. His work has been featured in films, games, toys, trade shows, books and magazines.
WWW.THEPIXELPRO.COM Adobe Certified Expert Kirk Nelson is an award-winning graphics artist with over 15 years experience, appearing in 200 publications.
WWW.MARTINMAYER.CA Mayer is a CGI generalist. His recent works include several documentaries for Discovery World, History US/Canada and the BBC.
WWW.MAURICIORUIZDESIGN.COM Specialising as a conceptual designer in the entertainment industry, Ruiz has worked for films including Star Trek and Robocop.
TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
© Colie Wertz
© Colie Wertz
AIDING 3D CREATION
TOP ARTISTS DISCUSS HOW PHOTOSHOP’S 2D ELEMENTS FIT INTO THEIR 3D WORKFLOW Although Photoshop offers many capable 3D tools in order to quickly and easily create three-dimensional imagery inside the software itself, it’s never going to quite match up to the utterly exhaustive feature sets offered by the likes of Maya, 3ds Max, CINEMA 4D, LightWave, ZBrush and the many other modelling products currently available. Nevertheless, as mentioned, Adobe doesn’t intend © Colie Wertz for Photoshop to be positioned as a competitor to
these products. In fact, it sits rather capably alongside them, Photoshop being an incredibly vital and complementary part of the 3D artist’s workflow. “I simply couldn’t work without it. The legs on Photoshop are unreal,” begins concept designer and 3D artist Colie Wertz. “I had the pleasure of working with co-creator John Knoll at ILM, and he’s nothing short of a genius. He doesn’t add a lot of frivolous stuff to anything I’ve ever seen him do, and that shows itself in Photoshop.” Wertz uses Photoshop for a number of processes in his workflow, from touching up his final 3D renders to compositing various render layers in 2D. “I
send out renders, composite them, and I’m well on my way,” he tells us. “Marrying all the stuff in your image together so it looks like one image instead of 20 different elements is so rewarding. I also use it for texture mapping. In my world of hard-surface modelling, it’s irreplaceable.” Texturing, and specifically texture mapping, plays a huge part in the 3D process, with many artists using Photoshop to create realistic ‘UV’ textures that can then be wrapped around a 3D object’s ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ planes. “Once a 3D asset has been created and is ready to be textured, it will first need to go through a stage of UV mapping,” says Jahirul Amin, computer
ENHANCING 3D IMAGERY IN PHOTOSHOP DAVID MUNOZ VELAZQUEZ REVEALS THE MAJOR STEPS FOR MIXING 3D RENDER LAYERS USING OVERPAINTING IN PHOTOSHOP
All images © David Munoz Velazquez ■ Render passes: In this example I have several passes that I wish to compose in Photoshop. One has some variety in the textures, one is the ambient occlusion map to enhance the soft shadows, and finally there’s a sort of fog map to add depth.
■ Compose, overpaint and adjust: Here I have started overpainting on the image, creating a vignette effect, adding dust and fog and painting in areas where the corners are too sharp or clean. I still need to add details, effects and so on.
■ Final image: Here is the final image. It is easy to see what Photoshop has brought to this 3D render. The details added by overpainting are quite visible and bring the image together, making it feel more cohesive.
animation lecturer at Bournemouth University. “This is the process of mapping coordinates for each vertex and laying them flat onto a 2D plane. If you imagine taking a cardboard cube and then unfolding all of the sides and laying it flat, you have a kind of cross. That’s UV mapping. The resulting UVs would be exported out as an image into a 2D package, such as Photoshop.” Photoshop’s excellent illustrative capabilities mean that any texture imaginable can be painted onto the UV of an asset. “You can paint the desired texture onto the UVs using all of the many glorious tools available,” continues Amin. “Once you are happy with the painted textures, you can then apply the image onto a shader in your 3D package and apply that shader to the 3D asset.” Another important feature in the 3D creation process is that of compositing render layers. Instead of affecting the entire image at once, as a 3D artist might do when retouching elements of their final image, they can work with specific components that
I use Photoshop for a number of things in my work. I finish all of my 2D concept work in it, and for compositing in 2D it is unparalleled Colie Wertz, www.coliewertz.com
make up the image. For example, an artist may want to reduce the amount of specularity on an object, or increase the amount of reflection. Having these passes rendered out separately will allow them to make these changes with ease. “Think of render layers as pieces of a puzzle. When they’re put together they result in a completed image,” explains freelance 3D artist Yasin Hasanian. “They are components of the render that, when added together, form the beauty (final) render. The advantage of them is that if you wanted to increase or decrease the reflection amount on the materials or shaders, you wouldn’t need to do so in a 3D program. You can do it directly in Photoshop by adjusting the levels of opacity. “The most common render passes are Diffuse and Reflection. To composite them, they are usually layered over each with different layer blend modes to combine the passes together.” Some common render passes include Diffuse, Specular, Reflection, Shadow, Ambient Occlusion and Z Depth. “For instance, you may want to multiply the Ambient Occlusion pass with the Diffuse pass and you can screen the Reflection and Specular pass over the Diffuse,” adds Amin. “It’s worth experimenting with the blend modes in Photoshop, as you can get some unexpectedly good results with trial and error.”
© Yasin Hasanian
IN THE 3D PIPELINE
© Mauricio Ruiz
3D DESIGNER MAURICIO RUIZ DISCUSSES THE USE OF PHOTOSHOP IN HIS DAILY WORKFLOW AS A 3D ARTIST, HOW DOES PHOTOSHOP USUALLY FIT INTO YOUR WORKFLOW? I rely on Photoshop for all of my final 3D composites, including texture touch-ups, creating the backgrounds and details like saliva for creatures. COULD YOU WORK WITHOUT PHOTOSHOP? Photoshop is the cornerstone of my design process. With over eighteen years of Photoshop experience, I find it critical in taking my 3D work to a level where it’s ready for presentation. I recommend exporting out renders from 3D software such as ZBrush and creating composites in Photoshop. With only a handful of layered render passes, a background image in proper perspective and some general atmosphere to unify the composition, you can convey a strong 2D-assisted 3D model within the speed of a production environment. WHAT KIND OF TASKS IS PHOTOSHOP BEST SUITED TO IN 3D WORK? Photoshop is very proficient in its ability to churn out colour variations and final layouts. All of my 3D concepts require background, colour/texture comprehensives and general touch-ups, which under the clock of a film production are best addressed in Photoshop.
TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
3D DIGITAL PAINTING © Adam Kuczek
WE TAKE A LOOK AT TWO ALTERNATIVES TO PHOTOSHOP’S 2D TEXTURING APPROACH
Although Photoshop continues to play a huge part in the 3D artist’s workflow, it’s not the only software available to get the job done. Indeed, there are a number of tools that allow artists to approach their texturing work without once needing to open Photoshop. For instance, there’s Pixologic’s sculpting tool ZBrush. Approaching 3D modelling as if the artist were working with digital clay, ZBrush enables users to push, pull, prod and play with pixels in order to find the desired look. Furthermore, it allows artists to paint directly onto the model’s surface without first needing to assign a texture map. ‘Polypainting’ may not be as precise an approach as the detail offered via Photoshop and UV maps, but it does allow for instantaneous feedback on textures. “I mostly use polypainting for quick stuff,” says Jesse Sandifer, character artist at Blur Studio. “Since I’m usually in a production setting where UVs are king, I use polypainting for blocking and conceptual painting of my characters, then I commit those strokes, colours and suggestions to the UV map later on and start building texture maps from there. The main benefit of this approach is to paint without worrying about connecting the seams of your textures, or getting into tough areas that would be difficult to line up just using Photoshop, such as the spaces between a character’s fingers.” There are other tools too, such as Autodesk’s Mudbox, which supports PSD layers and blend modes. However, the main player in the digital painting field is currently MARI, developed by The Foundry. “MARI was originally developed at Weta Digital in New Zealand during the feature film production of Avatar,” says The Foundry’s creative
© Jahirul Amin
■ ORIGINAL RENDER
■ WORK IN PROGRESS © Jahirul Amin
© Yasin Hasanian
TEXTURING IN MARI MARTIN MAYER SHOWS YOU HOW
■ Prepare the UV space : For an efficient workflow inside of MARI, you need to lay out your UVs in a specific way. MARI utilises a UDIM workflow where each UDIM patch can have independent texture resolution. In this case it’s 4k.
■ Start a MARI project : Once you’re in MARI, go to File>New. You will be presented with a New Project window where you can import your models and create the initial channels you would like to paint. Additional channels can be added later.
■ Apply base image layers : Open up the colour channel and use MARI’s triplanar texture to quickly cover the model with a base paint texture. Once done, repeat the process and bring in a rust tileable texture into another layer inside the colour channel.
© Jahirul Amin
specialist Martin Mayer. “The software simplifies the process of painting textures for digital assets by allowing artists to paint directly onto their 3D models. From the artist’s point of view, texturing in 3D simply makes more sense, as there is no visual disconnect between the model and the texture work. This allows you to develop the perfect texture much faster, more accurately and decrease the number of required iterations.” MARI 2.0 was recently released, boasting a new and much requested layers system. “The functionality should be immediately familiar to anyone who has used Photoshop, with options to create masks, adjustment layers and set blending modes. MARI also integrates with Photoshop itself. “MARI can actually work well with PSD files,” explains Mayer. “You can even input your Photoshop brushes right into MARI. It makes the production of large resolution image data quite a
pleasant experience, since it is fully GPU optimised and supports bigger, faster brushes comparatively to Photoshop.” MPC artist Daniele Orsetti believes that a workflow that incorporates both MARI and Photoshop is the best way forward. “MARI has become my main software for texturing props and characters, particularly when I have to deal with multiple UV tiles per channel,” he begins. “It lets me work directly on the 3D model, and as such has replaced Photoshop for most of my everyday texturing tasks. However, Photoshop is quicker in performing filtering operations such as Gaussian Blur or High Pass,” he continues. “MARI doesn’t have a vector path creation tool at the moment, so I have to use Photoshop every time I want to use Bezier curves to trace my strokes. As such, I generally still use Photoshop when I need to do very detailed artwork in my textures.”
■ Paint the rust in : Now, you can go ahead and add a simple mask to your rust layer. Since the mask contains black colour, the image will disappear. Use the brush tools with a white colour to reveal rusty areas.
■ Quickly create the bump : Thanks to MARI’s layers, you can share data between multiple channels, layers and stacks. Link the colour channels into the bump channel to use all possible combinations of layers and stacks and create a unique texture.
TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
IMAGE COMPOSITING A WORLD BEYOND PHOTOSHOP
It’s not only in the digital painting domain that there exist Photoshop alternatives. When it comes to image composition, both NUKE and Adobe’s After Effects offer viable alternatives. Although more commonly used for the creation of 2D animation, After Effects can also be utilised for visual effects compositing, image adjustment, colour correction and more. “Photoshop represents an important and indispensable tool in my workflow, and I use it for 60 per cent of my post-production work,” says architectural visualisation artist Sérgio Merêces. “However, After Effects stands as a nice complement to Photoshop. It’s a powerful program for post-production for still images. I will do all initial post-production tasks in Photoshop, such as texture fixes and adding 2D elements, and then finally I take the image into After Effects where I do the colour correction, lighting effects and filters. I tend to use both programs, although for me After Effects is more powerful when it comes to colour grading and effects.” Another powerful compositing program – and more or less the industry standard when it comes to visual effects – is NUKE, also maintained and sold by MARI owners The Foundry. “NUKE was developed by VFX studio Digital Domain in the Nineties, originally for use on their feature films
© Sérgio Merêces 2013
ROTOPAINT IN NUKE ASH JOSEPH REVEALS HOW TO COMPOSITE TWO IMAGES IN NUKE USING THE ROTOPAINT NODE
■ Create the basic shape: For an efficient workflow inside of MARI, you need to lay out your UVs in a specific way. MARI utilises a UDIM workflow where each UDIM patch can have independent texture resolution. In this case it’s 4k.
■ Create layers and groups: You can do this inside the Rotopaint panel, so if you want to use multiple paths, you can add as many layers as you like. You can use blending modes on every path or feather each path individually, like masks in Photoshop.
■ Per point feathering: Once you have completed your path, you can use per point feathering to clean up the mask, which can be manipulated separately. The feather path initially follows the same curve as our bezier. It’s a really intuitive way to work.
© Kirk Nelson
at the time,” says Ash Joseph, in-house designer at The Foundry. “It became very popular in a niche circle, and was bought by The Foundry in 2007, after which it was made available to the general public. It’s the most popular node-based compositing tool in the world by a very large margin, and it’s found uses far beyond its original design and intention. Its flexibility is unparalleled.” NUKE is predominantly used by rotoscope artists, who paste visual effects elements into a scene and seamlessly integrate it into the surroundings. However, it can also be used for set extension, or to relight and re-UV geometry, or to composite render layers. “On a broad level, NUKE’s workflow is based on progressive improvement, in that it’s all about operations on images rather than applying paint to images,” says Joseph. “Everything you do in NUKE is inherently non-destructive, whereas Photoshop’s workflow is inherently destructive, and you have to use a lot of workarounds to evade the way in which the program wants to do things. “A good example of a workflow superior to Photoshop is rotoscoping, which is cutting things out to be composited on top of something else,” continues Joseph. “In Photoshop, you have to bring an image in and create a mask for your layer to rotoscope the shape out, but performing
© Daniele Orsetti
any adjustments on that requires extra layers of paint onto masks. In NUKE it’s a one-shot, in that you can simply grab one vector-based roto layer, feather it per point, use it once and duplicate it onto multiple channels.” However, despite the prevalence of systems like NUKE, MARI and ZBrush, Photoshop remains
For me the use of After Effects in conjunction with Photoshop is indispensable, giving me the complete freedom to achieve the exact look Sérgio Merêces, www.sergiomereces.com
a vital tool in any artist’s arsenal with a space tailored to its capabilities. Yes, alternative software exists, and if you’re looking to create a complex 3D image then Photoshop really isn’t the place to do it. Nevertheless, Photoshop is still the strongest piece of kit for the applications it is built to perform, and while it’s no longer the core tool in the 3D artist’s workflow, it remains a vital and integral one. Photoshop has its place in the CGI world, and it’s not disappearing from the pipeline any time soon.
NUCLEAR POWERED ASH JOSEPH EXPLAINS THE BENEFITS NUKE OFFERS WHEN IT COMES TO COMPOSITING RENDER LAYERS The key is the way NUKE treats multiple channels in an image, which is that channels can be shuffled out, modified and combined at any point non-destructively. For example, with a single reflection pass in your image, you could use it multiple times with different masks, and have fine control over the reflectivity of many areas of your image. Then, if you decided to change the lighting in your render, you only need to update the incoming image at the top of the tree. It’s 32-bit native, which means that you get a lot more out of your images from the off, and it works in linear colour space, which makes it very useful for identifying the detail inside images.
TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
© Colie Wertz
THE FOUNDRY’S BRAD PEEBLER DISCUSSES 3D SOFTWARE PACKAGE MODO
WHEN IT COMES TO TEXTURING, WHAT TOOLS DOES MODO 701 OFFER ARTISTS? Being an end-to-end 3D content creation package, MODO allows an artist to paint directly onto 3D models. The paint system, like the rest of MODO’s architecture, is extremely flexible. In the example of painting, MODO allows users to utilise a combination of tools, brushes and inks to achieve many different paint effects and styles. Good examples of the paint tools in MODO are Airbrush, Clone, Smudge and Blur. These tools are paired with your choice of brush, such as soft or hard edge, or procedural. You can also, for example, add an image link where you paint an existing image onto a 3D model. The results of painting are also stored in a bitmap, and that map can be driving anything in MODO’s shader tree. Thus, you can paint into a map that is acting as a bump map and see the bumps in real-time in the viewport.
© Yasin Hasanian
HOW DOES PHOTOSHOP COMPLEMENT MODO? Photoshop and MODO work very nicely side by side. While an artist could choose to make a fully realised image inside of MODO from start to finish, Photoshop’s filters and effects can greatly enhance the process whether during the production or to composite and colour correct the final image.
KIRK NELSON SAYS WHAT’S LACKING FROM THE PHOTOSHOP CC 3D TOOLS The modelling aspect is the most apparent shortcoming. There are clever tricks you can perform with the Extrude function, but those only go so far. The same goes for the simple shapes – how many situations do you really need a soda can model for? However, to try and build a full modelling system would really be biting off more than Photoshop could chew. I think adding simple Boolean operations to models would be a great compromise. Being able to carve out shapes by intersecting simple geometric shapes would open up huge possibilities for the modelling generation.
© Kirk Nelson
© Sérgio Merêces 2013
© Sérgio Merêces 2013
© Colie Wertz
© Colie Wertz
TECHNIQUES PHOTOSHOP AND THE 3D PIPELINE
© Sérgio Merêces 2013
EASY 3D TEXT IN PHOTOSHOP CC CREATING AND EDITING TEXT AS ACTUAL 3D LETTER BLOCKS HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER OR FASTER, REVEALS KIRK NELSON ■ Regular text: Add in some regular text using the Type tool. Choose a font face that is big and bold. Letters that are too thin or intricate do not translate well into 3D objects. In this example we used Bauhaus 93. ■ Instant 3D: Go to 3D> New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer. Photoshop switches to the 3D workspace. Change the appearance of the letters by selecting a different Shape Preset. The preset for Bevel Frame is shown here. Click on the Current View in the 3D panel and use the Move tool to adjust the camera angle and position.
■ Render it out: The letters can be split into separate 3D objects by 3D>Split Extrusion. Then each letter can be positioned using the 3D Move tools. The Materials tab lets you assign materials to the letters. We used ‘Ruby’. After positioning the light, you can render the image.
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■ Lighting on the chin “I used an 8px hard brush with Pen Pressure turned on to paint the rim light on the edge of the bottom of her chin. I then used a large soft brush at around 30px with Pen Pressure activated, and lightly painted in blue tones”
■ Exhaust smoke “This effect can be achieved with a soft brush. Choose different grey tones and lightly start brushing in a base for the smoke. Apply a Scatter setting in the Brush Settings and play around until you get an effect that looks like smoke. Be sure to lower the opacity when working on this, as it can be very delicate”
■ Spark effects “Paint the spark using one shade of orange, then pick a brighter colour and paint a smaller highlight in the middle. You can set these sparks to Linear Dodge, Screen or Color Dodge for extra intensity”
USE SOFT AND HARD BRUSHES RICHARD ROBERTS
■ Oil leak “I used a hard brush to paint the base of the oil dripping down from the broken pipe. I then lightly painted in different shades of black and grey to give the leak more dimension. Finally, I brought in a light grey-white and added in the highlights”
© Richard Roberts 2013
www.richardbroberts.com Richard Roberts built this piece using brushes of differing hardnesses: “The hard brush was used to add rim lighting to different parts of the illustration; the soft brush was used to add light gradients coming from different light sources. A combination of the soft and hard brush is key to blending a rim light into the edge of an object. Using the hard brush on the edge of an object to add a coloured glow works great, but for the lighting to be correct, it needs to be softly blended into the rest of the object.”
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO
TOOLS AND PROFESSIONAL PHOTOSHOP ARTISTS SHARE WITH US THEIR FAVOURITE TOOLS, HOW THEY USE THEM IN THEIR OWN WORK AND THEIR TOP TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THEM GET TO GRIPS WITH CUSTOM BRUSHES BENJAMIN MOUNSEY
www.benjaminmounsey.com Mounsey has been working as a freelance illustrator for two years. He is a fan of using custom brushes to create his designs, thanks to their versatility and adaptability, and believes that they are “critical to creating a convincing level of detail”. He has this advice for other artists: “The quickest way to create custom brushes is to sample a section of a stock texture. Anything like rock or metal with a really visible texture will work perfectly. Use the Levels menu to ramp up the contrast until it’s just a black and white pattern. These brushes are very versatile, and can be tailored to many different purposes easily with the Brush Presets.” In this particular piece, Mounsey used a variety of brushes to create the different effects, such as the steam, mist and grime on the surfaces of the structures.
© Philip Dunne 2013
MASTER THE LASSO TOOL TO BUILD UP DEPTH PHILIP DUNNE
© Benjamin Mounsey 2012
www.lovetherobot.com For the past six years, Philip Dunne has been working on a variety of commercial, published and personal art projects. He finds the Lasso tool essential for all his work: “It helps to single out sections of an illustration and to build up depth and detail within a particular area and on a particular layer. I used the Lasso tool in this piece to create the background around the robot. I highlighted sections of the clouds and, by using the Shift key, I then created multiple areas for which to draw on using the Brush tool. I also placed scans of acrylic and watercolour paintings and used the Lasso tool to cut around them. Then I combined each layer to create the cloud/energy effect.”
TECHNIQUES THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
MASTER PUPPET WARP ANTHONY GIACOMINO
www.agiaco.net The Puppet Warp tool was introduced in Photoshop CS5, yet many of us are still unsure of its uses. One artist who makes the most of the feature is Anthony Giacomino, who explains: “Puppet Warp allows for versatile manipulation of an image to execute something in a way many other tools, such as Warp or Liquify, cannot do.” He tells us how he created this particular image with the Puppet Warp: “The base was from a stock photo of braided hair, but it was straight and I wanted it to be curving and appear to be swirling toward the viewer. Once I had extracted the hair from the background, I had a piece that could be puppet warped. After placing a few to start, I scaled the next one up slightly and played with rotations and warping to match the part before it. I generally used about five points on the Puppet Warp mesh. Turn the mesh on and off regularly so you can see what is being warped without the mesh blocking your view.”
■ “This shows the rough plan without any depth of field blurring or blending between each plait.”
■ “This image shows the second piece of the braid being warped using a number of points. Don’t force it too much or it will generate polygonal edges.”
■ “This image shows the completed swirling with additional colours, blending and blurring. This is not the final piece, but the technique worked out.”
All images © Anthony Giacomino
■ “Similar to the previous image, you can see that the scale of this piece of hair has enlarged and also taken on a new shape as a result of puppet warping.”
© Dean Falsify Cook
MAKE MORE VIBRANT GLOWS DEAN FALSIFY COOK
behance.net/Falsify Cook explains the best way to add glows to your art: “If you create your glow shape on a ‘normal’ layer, then group that layer and change its blending mode to Color Dodge, you will notice that the glow acts kind of like a digital torch. I often start out by drawing a white alpha radial and use the Warp/Liquify tool to bend the radial into the shape I need. This is usually made to fit the image and hug the contours of the elements I wish to give a little glow to.”
■ Use layer masks “I used this technique combined with a layer mask to paint on coloured highlights to the outer edges of the alien, which help to balance the image”
■ Add depth “This technique was applied onto the arms of the alien to help give the structure form”
■ Neon glow “Coloured radial gradients were used to create the glows on the fluorescent light bulbs”
■ Create texture “Several differently warped glow shapes were used to help give the blue pyramid a shiny, futuristic look”
■ History Brush tool “I applied the Minimum filter to the mask, but I wanted to use it on just some parts. Go to the History panel and click on the icon to the left of the filter. Then go back and press Y for the History Brush tool and paint in areas to bring that filter back” ■ Eraser tool “I use the Eraser in a similar way to the Brush tool by changing opacity and brush size with the same shortcuts. It helped to give the roots more custom and random shapes. In some cases, it’s better to fill a layer with one colour and paint and erase on the layer mask”
■ Standard Brush tool “Change the brush size by holding Cmd/ Ctrl+Opt/Alt, and click and hold the mouse/pen, sliding it from left to right. The same shortcut but sliding up and down changes the hardness of the brush. I use it constantly when painting roots like this”
■ Smudge tool “This works great with bristle brushes. Change the Strength (tap 1-0 keys for quick access) to make it change your layer more or less. It’s great to mix up the colour palette or just smudge textures on your creature’s face, for example”
FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS WITH BRUSHES
VALP MACIEJ HAJNRICH
www.valpnow.com Here, Valp (Maciej Hajnrich) talks us through his top tips for making the most of the key brushes used in this artwork.
© Valp Maciej Hajnrich
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES TECHNIQUES
PAINT LIGHT WITH THE BRUSH TOOL NIKLAS LUNDBERG
www.diftype.com Lundberg breaks down the stages of this self-portrait in his own style for &Reach, ‘a boutique artist management and creative services curatorium’. He says: “[Here we will be] focusing on the Brush tool, and how you can use it to paint highlights and shadows.” Lundberg uses a Wacom graphics tablet with the Brush tool to create these effects.
■ “I start off with putting all the original, unedited 3D elements and stock images in place. It’s now a matter of making all these elements work together, both colour and lighting-wise.”
© All works © Niklas Lundberg 2006-2013
■ “I created a backlight using the same techniques as before, and also by painting with a white brush on top of the most lit areas. I usually go over my pieces multiple times and polish the lighting.”
GRID & RULER EMERIC ‘TAKESHI’ TRAHAND
© 2013 Emeric Trahand
■ “Apply different adjustment layers, such as Brightness/Contrast, Curves and Selective Color. Set these as clipping masks and play around with the settings, painting on the masks using the Brush.”
Takeshi (Emeric Trahand) designed this cover for Fore’s debut album, Going Back Is Not The Same As Staying. He explains how grids and rulers help out: “When it comes to geometrical work involving a large amount of elements and a focus on symmetry, I use rulers and the grid to help align, size and position the objects precisely. It also keeps from creating gaps between objects; these small imperfections very often remain invisible when working on the file at 25 per cent or less of the high-resolution size, but get revealed once the work is flattened for export or print.”
TECHNIQUES THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
GET MORE FROM BASIC BRUSHES LIRAN SZEIMAN
www.liransz.com The basic round brush is one of Photoshop’s staple tools, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful. Szeiman does almost 95 per cent of her work with this essential tool. She walks us through how she used the brush in this painting: “I start by making a sketch in greyscale, then paint the forms of all elements before starting to add volume to each part. Once it is almost ready, I start to add colour using layer blending modes and finally I add the detail. “The brushes that I use most are the basic round brush with pressure for detailing, and without pressure and I use a soft tip for the volume. When it comes to Brush settings, I use the following: In terms of Brush Tip Shape, you can choose between the brushes you have loaded and change the size, hardness or spacing. I activate Shape Dynamics and set it to Pen Pressure with a Minimum Diameter of 0% to activate Wacom’s points of pressure. I also activate Transfer, with Pen Pressure set to Control to manage the flow of paint from the pen pressure.” Szeiman also has some practical advice on using the brushes alongside a graphics tablet. She tells us: “Use the buttons on the Wacom pen; one of them has a predefined letter X, in order to switch between the background and front colour; the other acts as a Ctrl/right-click equivalent, which opens the mini brush control panel to quickly change the size and hardness. You can also configure the tablet buttons to alter the opacity, among other parameters.”
Work to a huge magnification to ensure that the vector shapes are in the right position
© Pawel Nolbert 2013
CREATE WITH THE PEN TOOL PAWEL NOLBERT
© Liran Szeiman - OC by Jonathan Forrest
www.nolbert.com Pawel Nolbert explains how he used the Pen tool in this self-portrait: “I first sketched everything roughly with a brush (I based the shape of my head on a photo reference), then used the Pen tool to draw more detailed shapes of pretty much all the objects within the scene, so every object has its own Shape layer. After that, I started to apply textures to the vector elements. I used different types of textures, from a set of colourful abstract smears that I generated in Photoshop, to stock textures like leaves and paint textures that imitated tree bark and ground. Then I added brushing and adjustment layers to every element to get the right lighting and colours. Layer blending modes played an important role, too. “I use a huge magnification when working on details, and use the keyboard arrow keys to nudge the points of the vector shapes. The amount of nudge is different according to the zoom level you set. If you zoom to 100%, it will nudge by 1px, then with 200% it will be 0.5px, and so on, so the more zoomed the view, the smaller and more detailed the nudge is.”
© Susanne Radermacher
USE BRUSHES TO EXPERIMENT SUSANNE RADERMACHER
ENHANCE BRUSHWORK WITH LAYER STYLES
Susanne Radermacher, aka Surama, is a self-taught digital art hobbyist who creates fantasy wonderlands with her painting skills. Her work is always rich in colour and detail and very well thought out. The main character in this image was created in 3D modelling software Poser, and the rest was painted in Photoshop using the Brush tool. She explains the key way in which she uses this basic tool and why: “I mostly use the Brush tool to refine the many layer masks that I use when I want to merge in stock images. That happens very often, because there are so many ideas in my mind. As I change my mind, I need to go back and change the image to suit, so layer masks – being non-destructive – are incredibly helpful with this.”
© Mike Corriero 2013
www.mikecorriero.com Concept artist and illustrator Mike Corriero uses layer styles to help enhance his brushwork in digital paintings. He regularly uses the Outer Glow and Inner Glow styles, which help when painting floating embers, stars and other elements or objects that would give off any form of light or energy. His top tip for using styles in this way is: “If you duplicate the same layer, lower the opacity and add a Motion Blur to it, you can give glows a more dynamic and unique effect. In addition, if you erase any portions or enlarge any of the areas on that specific layer, it will help to push the glowing embers, particles or stars closer or further back in space.”
TECHNIQUES THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
ADD PRECISE DETAIL TO YOUR ARTWORK JOSH THOMAS
www.ainsoph.net Josh Thomas is an illustrator, and another of our artists with a passion for the Brush tool. He uses it to add extra detail to his work: “I like to use a lot of thin lines in my works to imply speed and motion. With complete control over line strength and density, the Brush tool makes creating depth much more natural. A great way to add extra detail to a piece is to paint in some subtle dust or specks. Playing around with Scattering, Opacity Jitter and Size Jitter, you can control how sparkly or dusty you want your image to look in the end. This also adds some sharpness to your final image when zoomed out. Applying this technique with a pressure-sensitive tablet will allow for even more control and accuracy.”
© Ain Soph 2013
Use the Mixer Brush tool on ‘Very Wet, Heavy Mix’ at 50% Load to blend colours JEFF HUANG / THEFIFTHORDER.NET
© Jeff Huang @ The Fifth Order
SMOOTH WITH A MIXER BRUSH JEFF HUANG
www.theﬁhorder.net Jeff Huang is a huge fan of the different brush tools within Photoshop, including some of the more recent additions, such as the Mixer Brush tool. He combined this tool with the basic brush tool for this digital painting, but he also uses it for his photo retouching and illustration projects. “This piece was done strictly with a brush tool as a digital painting experiment that I wanted to challenge myself with. I used a small pencil brush preset to draw the initial line art, then used a hard round brush to block in the initial colours. Afterwards, the shading and painting was done with a combination of brushes: I used a painterly bristled brush, as well as the Mixer Brush tool to smooth certain parts out. “When painting with the default brush tools, it can be hard sometimes to achieve a smooth, blended look. Try using the Mixer Brush tool on ‘Very Wet, Heavy Mix’ at 50% Load. Those are the settings that I use with my Mixer Brush tool when I want to blend certain colours together. It creates an almost smooth gradient effect when used, and it will allow you to achieve the evenly blended look instead of harsh brush strokes.”
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© Adam Spizak
USE OIL PAINT FOR DIGITAL PAINTINGS ADAM SPIZAK
www.spizak.com The Oil Paint option “provides a great base for both digital painting and 3D postproduction for unifying colours and textures,” says artist Adam Spizak. He shares this top tip for making the most of it: “The Oil Paint filter’s use is not just limited to reproducing a paint effect; on a relatively low setting, the Oil Paint filter can behave as a Smooth filter and effectively remove noise and imperfections. On high settings, with Stylization and Cleanliness set to 7 and 7 respectively, the filter works as a Smudge tool, impacting the contact between the lines.”
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TECHNIQUES BLEND 3D AND PHOTOS
BLEND 3D AND PHOTOS
BUILD A COMPLEX SCIFI PHOTOMANIPULATION BY WORKING ACROSS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS
reating a piece of art that is as detailed and complex as this one may seem like a mammoth task, but with the right stock imagery and software, photomanipulation can be a breeze! In this tutorial, we show you how to go about building a futuristic museum scene, starting with 3D modelling in CINEMA 4D and creating vectors in Illustrator, which you will then learn to piece together in Photoshop. Details are important, so have fun rendering less obvious elements like the floating holographic displays and dust particles in the space
OUR EXPERT YVAN FEUSI http://aiven.net
Yvan Feusi is a 24-year-old professional graphic designer and illustrator from Geneva, Switzerland. After working at an agency for a couple years, he left to work as a freelancer. He is part of the digital art collective Slashthree.
scene. A big focus has been put on how to handle large Photoshop files within a dynamic workflow, so we give you some top tips for dealing even with hundreds of layers. If you can, take your own stock photographs in order to get the most convincing results, but many of the textures and images for elements like the holograms can be found through a simple web search. Not every step is explained in detail here, so you will have to use your own initiative and imagination for some aspects of the image. But remember; the more unique the better!
TECHNIQUES BLEND 3D AND PHOTOS
WORK IN PROGRESS COMBINING ASSETS
Progress 1: 3D sketch
Progress 2: 3D render
01 Progress 3: Fix in Photoshop
Unless your aim is to create something completely random, never start a project like this if you don’t know exactly what you are looking to achieve. Going out without a plan can often lead to problems later down the line. Set aside some preparation time to search for creative and technical inspiration, develop an original idea, draw some sketches on paper for the composition and set yourself a quick task list. Don’t block yourself with technical limits during the creative stage. Every challenge surpassed is knowledge for later.
Don’t block yourself with technical limits during the creative stage. Every challenge surpassed is knowledge for later
CINEMA 4D software was used to create the base of the scene. You only need basic knowledge of any 3D program to create something similar. However, you could also work your scene from a photo of a room, street, landscape or whatever fits your concept. Use imagery from stock websites or take your own photos to fit your ideas. It’s just about having a base for the perspective. You will be able to modify everything during the process in Photoshop anyway.
As you are going to work mainly in Photoshop, you don’t want a flat render of the whole scene. It is more interesting to render each important element individually with their alpha masks and recompose the whole scene in Photoshop. You will then be able to work on each element in a separate layer. You can also render in multi-passes if you want to adjust the lighting, shadows and reflections later. You can render the scene with various shaders, and alter their opacity in Photoshop.
PREPARE YOUR PSD
Create your main Photoshop document in high resolution (A3 at 300dpi) and set the Colorimetric Profile to RGB – this helps to make it universally accessible. Now import your renders into Photoshop and keep the document clean, create groups and name layers. When you import external files into your main PSD, import them in HD and convert the layer to a Smart Object. This way, you can always double-click on that layer and change its content without any loss.
Now using Illustrator, prepare a few sci-fi themed vector forms that will be incorporated into the main file later to create holograms or textures. For example, you can use the font Bank Gothic to make lines of the digits 010101 and some technical circles and lines. You don’t need to worry too much about texture and colour here, as you can apply them later in Photoshop. You will also need to import the vectors as Smart Objects, so you can modify your forms further down the line if needed.
TEXTURE THE SCENE
Import your vector patterns into Photoshop and adjust their perspective to fit on the wall. Apply a soft Inner and Outer Glow layer style so they look a bit like a hologram. You can also apply Filter> Render>Clouds with black and white on the layer mask. It will make the texture look less vector-like but more transparent in some parts. Remember to work the reflections, lighting and shadows but don’t spend too much time on the colours, as you will re-work them in the final step.
CREATE A SPACE SCENE
DESIGN AND INTEGRATE THE DOOR
In a separate PSD, import image 9115887 from Dreamstime.com and duplicate it to create a bigger texture, then rasterise it. Once you have your texture on a single layer, make a round selection and use Filter>Distort>Spherize to create the planet’s volume. Then add lighting and shadows using clipping masks or layer styles. Use the same method to add more details like lava, clouds and lakes. For the nebula, you can paint it or use pictures of smoke. Mix them using layer styles and play with colours.
QUICK TIP Learn as many Photoshop shortcuts as possible and later you can create your own by going to Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts. Using the menus and searching for an option slows down your workflow massively. You have to become a shortcut pianist to be able to work fast enough and do more. It makes a lot of difference.
INTEGRATE THE WINDOW
Once you have finished creating the space scene, Select All (Cmd/Ctrl+A), Copy Merged (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+C) and paste it (Cmd/Ctrl+V) into your main PSD file. Convert the layer to a Smart Object before modification and then adapt the perspective. Add some layers on a clipping mask where you will import the vector sci-fi textures to bring some more details to the window. Then use layer styles to add an orange Inner Glow to the window.
Create a new PSD file again (square size) and start to design a futuristic-looking door. You can do this in Illustrator or directly in Photoshop using vector shapes. Add some volume via Layer Styles>Bevel & Emboss. You are not looking to add textures or complexity here, as you can do that in the main file with clipping masks later. When you are happy with the design, import it into the main file as a Smart Object, then adjust the perspective and finish the integration.
TECHNIQUES BLEND 3D AND PHOTOS
PHOTOGRAPHY AND ISOLATION
You don’t need a professional camera or to work in a studio to take these kind of photos. The goal is just to have a base. There are various methods that you can use to isolate the models from their backgrounds; it all depends on the original image you use. Quickly cut out the model using the Polygonal Lasso tool or the Pen, but not the head. Apply your selection on a layer mask. Then it’s best to use a tablet to re-paint the hair of the model, unless with a flat background, when it’s better to use Select>Color Range.
Creating a hologram in Photoshop is simple. Here is one method you can use if you are starting from a photograph; create an 85% Opacity layer with Inner and Outer Diffuse Glow. Then add your photograph on a clipping mask and apply Filter>Render>Clouds (grey and white) on a layer mask. Change the layer’s blending mode to Linear Dodge (Add). Add a layer of black horizontal lines with an Overlay blending mode at 50%.
At the centre of the scene, you can see a storm of floating data. You can use the textures you made in Step 5, including the series of digits, to make your own. Flip the texture vertically and colourise it in yellow/orange. Change the blending mode to Linear Dodge (Add), set the Opacity to 80% and add a layer mask, then paint the edge with a smooth black brush. You can then duplicate the layer any time you want. Resize it so that it’s small enough to not be readable.
QUICK 3D LOGO
If you want to create a quick logo in 3D, use Illustrator to make a type logo and vectorise it. Modify the font to look futuristic and import it into CINEMA 4D to generate a render with a transparent and reflective shader. Import the result into Photoshop with an alpha mask and complete the integration by changing the layer styles and blending mode to Screen, for example. Bring in more details around the logo, like the holograms made in the previous step.
INTEGRATE AND ADAPT THE MODELS
Import the isolated models into your main file as Smart Objects, then resize them and fix their perspective. Directly add a Dynamic Smart Sharpen filter with Amount at 100% and Radius at 0.6px. Superpose adjustment layers on a clipping mask to fix colours. On a new layer, you can paint the shadows. On a second layer, paint the lighting. When you are done with the integration, improve the models by painting in some more details like floating holograms as well as reflections and shadows on the ground. QUICK TIP Using Smart Objects, dynamic filters, adjustment layers, clipping masks and layer masks all help you to avoid having to directly manipulate the original layer. In huge photomanipulation projects with 100+ layers, you can always edit what you have done even days after without any loss.
FINAL LIGHTING FIX
When you are done with everything, it’s time to fix the global ambiance of the scene with a group of adjustment layers on the top of your document. Remember that you can add a layer mask to adjustment layers, and benefit from more control by painting directly in black and white on the mask with a smooth round brush at 50% Opacity. Make sure that you bring enough contrast into the highlights – this is especially important due to the holograms. Your scene is now complete!
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TECHNIQUES HOW I MADE DODGE & BURN I modified the whole scene by giving it a vintage effect using the Gradient Map, a Levels adjustment layer and the Dodge and Burn tool to create the strong contrast. I also used the Clone tool to paint over the pavement.
HOW I MADE
GIANFRANCO GALLO DISCOVER HOW DODGE AND BURN WERE
USED IN THIS STEAMPUNKINSPIRED IMAGE
igital artist Gianfranco Gallo has been working with Photoshop for a relatively short time, starting with painting techniques and moving on to work with digital devices including tablets to create the strong visual impact in his images that you see today. Gallo’s work often ends up far away from his original “well-defined idea”. He tells us: “I believe it is best to look at the world surrounding me and find my inspiration in it. I look for everything that can be interesting to me and I try to collect a variety of images in my mind.” When asked about techniques and tools, Gallo states: “I didn’t use any specific techniques, instead playing with the fusion methods, the gradient map for special colour changes, to emphasise the details, and I used a lot of dodge and burn.” In addition to this, the Pen tool was used to produce the best possible result, as every image is different. Take a look at Gallo’s other work at www.behance.net/Gg1082.
BACKDROP I used a stock image of an airport yard with an aeroplane in the limelight and others in the background. This formed the backdrop of my Steampunk artwork.
ÂŠ Gianfranco Gallo
I isolated the model and integrated her into the scene seamlessly using the Pen and Refine Edge tools. I then added to her hair using custom brushes.
PRO COMPOSITING TECHNIQUES
PRO COMPOSITING USE ESSENTIAL PHOTOSHOP TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES TO BRING MAGIC TO STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY
hotomanipulation often involves working with multiple images from different sources, composited together to create otherwise impossible scenes and characters. However, with a good enough stock image, just one can be enough to create an outstanding piece of art. In fact, some of the most interesting artwork is based on quite simple ideas that are brilliantly executed. And that’s how the magic happens. In this tutorial, our ‘magic’ will be a mix of photomanipulation and compositing. While there are many diverse and complex techniques you can use to create a professional-
looking photomanipulation, this time you will just be using well-known and simple Photoshop tools in a creative way. No other apps or plug-ins are necessary. You don’t even need to use brushes, but if you feel like adding in some more effects, feel free to experiment. Save some space for unexpected results, as these can be really interesting! A tablet is not a must-have accessory, but as you will be using the Brush tool a lot in this tutorial, you may find that it is a helpful addition. Don’t throw your mouse away, though – it’s necessary when using the Polygonal Lasso tool and a few others. Let’s get started!
SET UP YOUR PLAYGROUND FROM CLIPPING TO RETOUCHING
OUR EXPERT VALP MACIEJ HAJNRICH www.valpnow.com
Maciej Hajnrich aka Valp is a digital artist. In the last few years, his success has gathered pace, and his best-known works include artwork for the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert and the stunning visuals for Pendulum’s Immersion album.
SOURCE FILES On the disc you will find the model image that you can use to follow this tutorial step-by-step.
ADJUST BASE IMAGE
While you’re in Bridge, open your image in Camera Raw. Note that you can adjust JPEGs with Camera Raw as well – these files have no more details than the real RAW would have, but this tool allows for base adjustments. Bring more detail into the dark areas by boosting the Shadows slider to +37 and the Blacks to +44, then click Open Image to send it to Photoshop.
WORK IN PROGRESS FROM STUDIO TO WONDERLAND
Progress 1: Studio image
Progress 2: Digital make-up
SET UP ARTWORK SIZE
Create a new document and make it at least 23.5cm wide and 30cm tall. It’s good practice to use a larger canvas than you think you’ll need at first sight, but the more you add, the bigger the PSD file will be and the more memory it needs from your machine. To preserve some space, feel free to reduce the resolution from 300 to 220 dpi.
WORK WITH SMART OBJECTS
Place the model image in a new document and convert it to a Smart Object by Ctrl/right-clicking on Layer 1 and going to ‘Convert to Smart Object’, or go to Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object. Now you can adjust the size and position without losing image quality. It will also help when adjusting the layer once the shatter effects are added later on.
Progress 3: Fine-tune details
TECHNIQUES PRO COMPOSITING
QUICK TIP While working on a detail, don’t forget to think of the whole image. Go to Window>Arrange>New Window to turn on another view of your current file. You can create painting effects without having to zoom in and out constantly, especially when you’re working with an additional or large display.
Double-click your Smart Object layer so that the New File window appears. Go to Channels and duplicate the Blue channel using Ctrl/right-click. Now adjust the new channel with Curves so that it’s over-contrasted. Finally, paint over her face with a black colour to get a similar effect. You should now have a silhouette. Press Cmd/Ctrl+I on the ‘Blue copy’ channel and load the selection by holding down Cmd/Ctrl and left-clicking. Go back to the Layers panel, select the model layer and add a new mask.
ADJUST THE SILHOUETTES
Feel free to erase most of the stray hairs to make the silhouette more solid. Now create a new layer and use the Brush tool to paint in some more hair in the background. Pick a normal round brush and make sure the Opacity and Flow are set to 100%, with the brush size around 1-5px and the colour black. Now draw some random hairs – it’s easier and more fun than clipping all the flowing hair. Use a red background (#d62f2f, or any other) to preview the new silhouette.
It’s time to make whole skin look soft but not over-painted. Select the Smudge tool and choose some of the bristle brushes, like this fancy one named Flat Fan Thick Stiff Wet Edge. Now you can simply mix the texture on the model’s face without adding any additional colour to it. Use a low strength, between 10 and 30, by tapping the corresponding keys on your keyboard (1-3). This technique requires practice and intuition. Take your time and use the Rotate View tool (H) if necessary.
KEEP AN EYE ON… EYES
Duplicate the model layer and change the blending mode to Soft Light. This will give the skin a warmer colour tone. Create another layer (Normal mode) and select the Spot Healing Brush. Make sure Mode is set to ‘Sample All Layers’ and click on all the small skin imperfections. Make another layer and go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask so it is ‘clipped’ to the model image. Press B for the Brush tool, pick a black colour and paint the hair silhouette with a soft brush. Once you’re done, merge all the layers.
The eyes and lips are the most important elements of the human face, so keep them sharp. Instead of Smudge, use the Sharp tool with a soft round brush. Set the Strength to 50% and paint over the eyes and lips. Focus on painting the body and neckline in same way you did the face. You can then turn off the temporary red background layer and save it. Quit Smart Object and it will be updated in your main artwork file.
ADD DYNAMIC LIGHTNING
Turn on the Adjustments panel and select the Exposure layer with the Exposure set to -3.4 and Gamma Correction to 0.78 to bring the lights down. Change the Opacity to Hard Light and use the Brush tool to bring some light back in. Next, add a Curves adjustment layer and paint the lighting ‘sign’ on the model. 001
CHANGE THE BACKGROUND IMAGE
START ADDING DEPTH OF FIELD
Open the Color Picker, type in #f60000 for red and click OK. Now select the Background layer (or create a new one below the model image) and press Opt/Alt+Backspace (the same effect as using the Paint Bucket tool) to fill it with the new colour. Create a new Curves adjustment layer using the Adjustments panel or Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves and bring down the Brights to ¼. Use a soft tip round brush to paint a vignette. The goal is to create glowing moonlight behind the model.
001 ADD LIGHT
You can do this on the Exposure layer, but having it on a separate layer gives better control over adjustments
002 ADD SHADOW
Darkening the skin with Exposure allows you to ‘sculpt’ the model’s face to make her even more attractive
CLEAN UP THE BODY
Make a selection of the model’s body by holding Cmd/Ctrl and clicking on the layer thumbnail. Make a new layer, fill it with black and complement to the bottom of the canvas. Doubleclick the model’s Smart Object layer and get rid of the jumper. Create a layer mask on a model layer and simply paint with black to hide the jumper. Don’t change the neckline as it’s crucial for composition, but don’t worry about precise clipping.
003 BODY & BACKGROUND
From now on the body and background will change dramatically, so don’t worry about any light or shadow on her jumper
BREAK IT UP
Select the black body layer, create a layer mask and select it. Press ‘E’ for the Eraser tool, make sure its Hardness is set to 100% and start erasing away areas for a shattered effect. You can quickly adjust the Hardness of all brush-based tools by holding Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt, left-clicking and sliding up and down. Try to make the lines as random as possible. Feel free to experiment, and when you’re done, just create a Smart Object from this layer.
At this point you have two key layers – the model and the body. As these are Smart Objects, you can apply filters to them and adjust those effects later on. Select the body layer and go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur, set it to 20 and hit OK. Repeat this step for the model layer and select Filter Mask (appears below Smart Object). Press Cmd/Ctrl+I to mask the blurring and bring it back just around the silhouette. Use a soft brush with 80% Opacity.
TECHNIQUES PRO COMPOSITING
CREATE THE SHATTERED PORCELAIN EFFECT MAKE THE ARTWORK DYNAMIC BY BREAKING IT INTO PIECES
CHANGE EYE COLOUR AND ENHANCE
Create a new layer above the model and change its blending mode to Color. Pick a turquoise (#00d8ff) for the eyes and red (#ff0000) for the lips and gently paint over these parts. While the eyes can change dramatically, lips are very fragile, so don’t change the colour too much. Create another layer with a Normal blending mode to paint subtle reflections on the right cheek and neck. Use a soft brush with a round tip, low opacity and the colour set to #d6b4a7.
ADD COLOUR TO THE HAIR
Create a new layer, change the blending mode to Hard Light and use the same brush to paint the hair. Change the colour to #ff0000 and paint in red highlights around the face. Use beige (#d2cccc) to bring more hair detail into dark areas. Vary your moves and brush size so the hair looks natural. Repeat this on another new layer with Normal mode and use a very small brush for single hairs here and there. Use dirty pink (#c17783) and bright pink (#ff8181) to paint reflections in the hair.
CREATE THE PORCELAIN LAYER
Use the Polygonal Lasso tool to make a selection from the model’s body and create a layer mask out of it. The shape should look like a broken piece of plate or cup. Next, duplicate the model layer, create an Exposure layer and set it to -2.0 and Gamma Correction to 0.6. Again, with the Polygonal Lasso (L), draw shapes on the face and create a layer mask on the model layer. Go back to the Exposure layer, click on its mask and use a soft brush to paint in subtle shadows.
QUICK TIP Once in a while, check the composition by flattening all layers (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E) and flipping it horizontally (Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal). When painting, you can often miss disproportions. This technique allows you to look at it with fresh eyes and correct any pieces that look out of place.
CREATE BROKEN PIECES
Duplicate the model layer, enlarge it (115%) and rotate. Use the same method with the Polygonal Lasso tool to draw broken shapes and make masks from the new selection. Use the Eraser or Brush tool to add some roughness. Create a new layer and send it under the broken pieces, call it ‘Edge’ and use a hard round brush (100% Opacity) to draw the edges of the pieces. This will add depth. Use beige (#e5c1ad) and dark red (#a90b08) to paint reflections.
MORE BROKEN PORCELAIN
Continue adding broken porcelain pieces all around the model. Use three or four sets in total with a skin layer and 3D edges. Use the same beige colour to paint light onto broken pieces, and use a dark red (like #3d1313) to paint shadows. Make the pieces simple, but don’t forget to add roughness to each shape. Vary the size of each element – from tiny to medium – and avoid large pieces, as they will be distracting.
PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS Creating artwork like this needs both artistic and designing skills; first to give it an effortless feel and second to keep everything in the right place. It’s good practice to sketch some parts quickly, but paying attention to details will make every artwork better. Spend a while drawing small elements, like triangles or thin pins, that will go all over the place. This will add more depth to the image and will enhance the overall mood. Search the web for brushes to add some randomness, but keep control of every shape you use.
QUICK TIP Once you’re done, revise your artwork by previewing all channels. Go to the Channels panel or press Cmd/Ctrl+4,5,6 for quick access. If you see any awkward spots of colour or clipping leftovers, just fix them out before the final save, especially in dark and black parts of the artwork.
Use the Brush tool to paint random shapes on a new layer. Vary the colour from white to black and the size from small to large and keep them all transparent. Make sure spots are placed all around the image while keeping the face area clean. Go to Filter>Blur>Radial Blur and a new window will pop up. Pick the Blur Method ‘Zoom’, set the Amount to 20 and click OK. All shapes will blur into the centre of the artwork, which also adds more depth of field.
Make sure the image is filled with smaller pieces. Use the Lasso tool to draw smaller elements or use a small round brush to spot on turquoise, red and beige particles. Draw some random pins to add more motion elements to the foreground. Keep the image balanced – parts with shattered elements should be compensated with clean areas, such as the face, body and some of the background. Ensure that the model is always the focal point.
DEPTH OF FIELD
Select the model layer and use the Polygonal Lasso tool to make a selection. Add a new layer and convert it to a Smart Object. Go to Filter> Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Radius between 60 and 80. Create several layers (new and duplicated) like this and place them on the sides of the artwork. Vary their size and rotate with Free Transform. Double-click on Gaussian Blur in Smart Filters to edit the blurring effect.
Duplicate the red background layer and move it between the model and shattered pieces layer sets. The new ‘red atmosphere’ layer needs the blending mode set to Normal with Opacity at 30%. Again, use the same large round brush with 0% Hardness to paint subtle haze around the head. Paint on the mask so that you can easily adjust the effect. Add more spots below the shattered pieces to make them glow or stand out from the background.
ENHANCE BACKGROUND GLOW
...AND BOOST THE ARTWORK!
Go back to the background layers and bring in more light behind the model. Create a new layer quickly with Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+N, pick a large (size above 3000px) round brush with Hardness set to 0% and Opacity set to 5-10%. Use the mouse to gently place spots of white colour. Create another layer, set the blending mode to Overlay and repeat the painting steps. This will add more vibrancy and a glowing effect to the background.
Create new layers with a Pin Light blending mode and use #a3743f to paint over black areas. Make a Gradient Map with metallic colours and set the blending mode to Soft Light. Create a Color Balance adjustment layer on top of your image. Focus on the Midtones by moving the sliders to the left. The values for each should be -5, -30 and -25. All those layers will make your image more soft and natural. Use Curves to brighten up black areas.
TECHNIQUES HOW I MADE
The key words for me when creating a piece like this were harmony, subtlety and balance
Â© Publicis Conseil
HOW I MADE
DAVID DELIN COLOUR ADJUSTMENTS AND BLEND MODES ADD BALANCE TO THIS TYPOGRAPHIC DESIGN
rench digital artist David Delin (http:// cargocollective.com/28162) created this image to promote ‘Hello bank’ by BNP Paribas, a new-generation mobile bank. Delin was given free reign to envisage his image how he wanted to, and the project came with minimal constraints.
It didn’t take long for the artist to fashion a concept for the image, as creativity took hold. “The key words for me when creating this piece were harmony, subtlety and balance,” explains Delin. “I had a lot of time to keep these factors in mind, and I was determined that I would not get distracted from my ultimate goal.”
The whole composition that you see here was fashioned inside of Photoshop. Only a few patterns were drawn by hand, which were then scanned and vectorised inside of Illustrator. The Pen tool, colour adjustments and layer effects prevailed and allowed Delin to create this vibrant, high-impact piece of promotional typography.
The Pen tool was then used to create various forms. I used a soft-edged brush at a low opacity to paint the lights and shadows to these shapes, giving them a little relief.
IMPLEMENTING A COLOUR CODE
Although I will normally mock up my original designs by sketching them, this time around I didn’t. Instead, I decided to follow my instinct and start straight away in Photoshop. I began by choosing a colour palette, which helped me to visualise the whole project.
Flowers and petals were directly drawn from my own stock photos of flowers. I ended up integrating these directly into the image, as I wanted a more personal treatment.
TECHNIQUES HOW I MADE
I applied patterns to create various forms and give my composition more diversity. The focal point of my scene was central, as this allowed me to develop shape and movement even further.
I placed the different elements to achieve a harmonious composition. I duplicated and merged many of these with the background by applying an Overlay blending mode to the above layers.
I added a little sparkle to some of my elements by painting to them with a white brush, set with a soft edge. I painted to new layers also set to an Overlay blending mode.
USE ADJUSTMENTS DELIN DISCUSSES HIS FAVOURITES FOR CORRECTING IMAGES The Black & White and Curves adjustment layers are valuable tools in my creative process. Black & White helps me to balance the scene to its optimal level and apply colours in a way that ultimately makes them work together. Curves offers maximum flexibility when colour correcting and adding contrast to my images.
I added particles to my forms like the paint splashes and bubbles using custom brushes. Butterflies were also composited into the design using purchased stock photos. These added more energy, colour and excitement.
I finished the image by applying adjustment layers, such as Brightness/Contrast, Levels and Curves. I then duplicated all of my layers and merged them together, and then applied the High Pass filter with a 1px radius.
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TECHNIQUES CITYSCAPE SPEED PAINTING
CITYSCAPE SPEED PAINTING PAINT TO A TIME LIMIT TO CREATE A MOODY CYBERPUNK ENVIRONMENT
reating concept art doesn’t have to be a slow process. By setting yourself a short time limit, you are forced to make quick decisions, which can often lead to some of the most engaging compositions. If an idea isn’t working out, a time limit will encourage you to move on from it quickly rather than wasting time trying to realise it. The design itself can be quite loose; it is more about creating a mood. This technique is known as speed painting, and you will see that it is as much a frame of mind as it is a way to work.
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a quick cityscape painting using brushes and stock images. Although the focus is on fast art, lighting and texture shouldn’t be overlooked. Beginning a design in black and white is really important, as it can help you to understand how the lighting and values work without being distracted by any colours. Set some time aside at the end for the detail work, as you will need to slow down to make your image realistic. We recommend that you use a tablet to do this.
OUR EXPERT FLORIAN DE GESINCOURT www.degesart.com
Florian de Gesincourt is a French concept artist. His primary focus is concept design, illustrations and environment design for films, videogames, card games and other entertainment media.
SOURCE FILES On the disc, you will find the brush used for this tutorial and some stock images. If you are looking for more photos to use as textures, go to www.cgtextures.com. Textures are free to use.
TECHNIQUES CITYSCAPE SPEED PAINTING
It’s important to bear the values in mind. The foreground should be darker and the background lighter
CREATE A NEW DOCUMENT
The first step is to open a new document set to 3000 x 1400px; this resolution is close to the cinema format (2.35 ratio). You will increase the size of the document later to work in a better resolution. Also keep the document at 72 dpi; you don’t need any more because the painting is for screen and not to be printed out.
PAINT IN VALUES
First of all, fill the document with a dark grey, which will help you to paint in the values. Then pick a soft brush (you have it by default in the Brush panel), choose a white colour and start painting very softly onto your document with a large brush size (around 1000px). This will create the light source of the painting. Do the same with a black colour on the bottom of the document to add contrast. Switch between black and white while painting to adjust the first values.
PICK A BRUSH
Pick a brush to paint the base of your cityscape with (you can use the basic brush you have by default in Photoshop). The brush doesn’t matter for a painting, but can help you to create some interesting shapes and nice textures. Remember – when painting with a brush, use the Color Picker (hit Opt/Alt to bring it up) to switch between different colour shades. On the free disc provided with this issue you can find the brush set that we used to create this painting.
WORK IN PROGRESS SKETCH TO PAINTSCAPE
Progress 1: Value painting
Progress 2: Colour and texture
04 Progress 3: Final details
WORK ON VALUES
This step is really important because the initial sketch will guide you when it comes to lighting your scene. Paint the composition quickly with a single brush. Keep working in black and white and also add some grey to play with the contrast. It’s important to bear the values in mind. The foreground should be darker and the background lighter. The entire painting could be done on one layer because it’s speed painting, so you don’t have to worry too much about the cleanliness of your painting, especially at the start.
FIND A SHAPE
This step is similar to the previous one but you will go into more detail. You don’t have to zoom in or be precise. Work slowly and try to refine the basic shapes. Continue to work with the Color Picker; it will help you to work faster. The light source is behind the buildings, so when you want to add volume to a shape, think about where the light is coming from and where the light will hit. For instance, the bottom of the buildings will be darker and the top brighter.
BE AWARE OF THE COMPOSITION
When you paint, think about your composition. Consider the areas that you want viewers to be drawn to and how you will guide the eye through the painting. There are many rules of composition, and here you can see three of them: the foreground is darker and background brighter, the two tall buildings in the midground follow the rule of thirds, and finally, the balance between white and black – only the sky is white, the rest of the picture is completely dark.
ADD LIGHT TO THE BUILDINGS
Your painting may appear slightly too dark now. You should highlight the important parts of your painting, where the light hits and where you want people to look. You can highlight with the Curves or Levels adjustment, but as you are only working on one layer, you can also use the Dodge tool (O). Select a soft brush, be sure that the range is set to ‘Highlights’ and start painting softly onto the brightest part of your painting. See how it can affect the light and how easily you can control it.
QUICK TIP Using stock photos to create a painting is great, as it’s a quick and easy way to add textures and lighting. Try to add different elements from photos you like, pick a part, distort it, and try a different blending mode. However, remember that photos don’t make a painting; it’s your own work that will make it unique and ensure that the design suits your purpose.
COLOUR THE SCENE
Now the scene is well balanced, it’s time to add colour. This doesn’t have to be definitive; you just need to get an idea. Start by creating a new layer set to a Color blending mode. Fill this entire layer with a cool bluish-green, very desaturated. Then create another layer set to a Soft Light blending mode, select a blue azure colour and add colour to the sky. Finally, adjust the contrast with a Curves adjustment layer to reduce the brightness of the scene slightly.
Import a photo of a night-time cityscape into your document. You will only keep the lights from this photo and add them to the painting. To do this, set the photo layer’s blending mode to Lighten. The dark part of your painting will retain the lighting from the photo. This is a quick way to fill your buildings with windows and lights. Cut out parts of the photo and move them on top of your buildings. Use the Transform selection to adjust the lights to fit the perspective.
TECHNIQUES CITYSCAPE SPEED PAINTING
ANALYSE YOUR WORK
When you are happy with your composition and the basic lighting, you can begin to add even more details. You will start working on the main street by adding photos, painting over, adding shops and streetlights, and painting in people to make the scene believable. Finally, you will add rain to the painting to complete the mood and learn how bring the foreground into focus. 001
ADD MORE TEXTURE
Continue adding more texture with other photos. This time, use them to give an idea of what is in the foreground. Select a photo of a street view from the stock images on the disc or from your own library. Choose a Soft Light blending mode and erase any parts you don’t want. You can copy and paste this texture many times and distort it as you wish. Just be aware of the perspective.
Use the rules of composition such as balance of colour and the rule of thirds to create an engaging scene
The bottom part of the painting is now too desaturated and is lacking colour. Let’s add some blue on the lower part. There’s an easy way to do this; create a new layer set to Soft Light blending mode, pick a soft brush and paint in a very saturated blue from the lower centre of the painting to the right. If you paint in too much, you can use the eraser to remove some of the blue.
To make it easier for you to paint in the details, it’s important to increase the size of the scene. You can try this technique for every painting you do, starting in low resolution for a sketch, and getting bigger and bigger as you add in details. To do this, go to Image>Image Size. This technique is especially useful if you don’t have a powerful computer. Also, if your painting is for print, don’t forget to change the resolution from 72 to 300 dpi.
Use a Color blending mode to change the look of the entire scene and give it a blue, moody hue
Use stock photos with their layer set to a Lighten blending mode for a quick way to light up your buildings
Add in details like coloured lights and add texture to the buildings using stock photos from the disc or your library
QUICK TIP In a street at night, people are silhouettes. It’s easy to reproduce that by drawing lots of silhouettes all around, but think about their story. What are they doing in this street? Are they here to shop or to take a walk? Project yourself into the street and the painting will be more believable.
GOING INTO DETAIL
The background is not clear enough, and the buildings still have a sketchy design. Create realism by adding in details. Always think about your composition; if elements are far away, you won’t be able to see their details – only large elements are visible. With a backlight like this, the silhouette is very important, so try to only paint where the light would hit. Also, use the knowledge gained from previous steps to add more lights to the buildings.
Now for the fun part; adding streetlights, shops and even more lights. Choose photos of streets by night that have a similar perspective to the painting, then paste them in on a new layer set to a Lighten blending mode like before. Adjust the levels if you need to. Paint in adverts, add glow around them, paint small lights and duplicate them to create more. Add a few light reflections on the ground as well to give a wet look to the street.
PAINTING THE CROWD
To add people to the street, you don’t need to use photos or to be good at drawing characters because you won’t be adding details. It’s only silhouette work. With one dark colour on one layer, paint some silhouettes of varying sizes onto the street. Think about the depth – some people are far, so they are a lot smaller. Paint silhouettes that are further away with a brighter blue colour. After that, duplicate your crowd layer, flip it and you have even more people. You can repeat the process.
MAKE IT RAINY
To create the rain, fill the document with black, add noise (Filter>Noise>Add noise), check the monochromatic box, set the Amount to 150%, blur it (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur), set the angle at 60, distance at 115 and crush the contrast using Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L) with the values at 100, 1 and 160. You will notice that the border of the document is white. Free transform the layer (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and make it bigger so you can’t see the border anymore. Finish by changing the blending mode to Screen.
Push a bit more contrast into the painting using Curves. The foreground is dark enough but the background could do with a boost. Create an adjustment layer and choose Curves. Adjust the curve, and as you do so, look at the background. When it’s contrasted enough, erase the effect of the curve on your foreground. To do that, click on the curve’s mask, pick a big soft brush and paint on the bottom of your painting with black. This will act as an eraser to remove the effect.
Add a few light reflections on the ground as well to give a wet look to the street
FOCUS THE FOREGROUND
For a better composition and story, paint in the outline of a girl with an umbrella in the foreground. It’s also a silhouette, so don’t worry about making her too detailed. Just add a tiny blue stroke on the top of her umbrella to create a reflection from the bright city lights. Also, on the layer beneath, paint very softly with an almost white colour just above the umbrella to reproduce the effect of the rain hitting it. Add another advert to the top-right of the picture.
To finalise, it’s nice to sharpen up the painting a bit. There are many ways to do this, but here it was done using the High Pass filter. First, merge all your layers into a new one (Merge Visible, or shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt/Alt+E). Duplicate this layer and apply the High Pass effect (Filter> Other>High Pass), with a radius of 6px. Change the layer mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 65%. Your cityscape should now be much sharper and clearer.
TECHNIQUES HOW I MADE
HOW I MADE
PEDRO GOMES AKA PEDRAW PEDRAW EXPLORES THE HUMAN ANATOMY WITH SOME OF PHOTOSHOP’S PRINCIPAL TOOLS
his artwork proved to be a lesson in painting facial features for digital artist Pedro Gomes, aka Pedraw. “I started this image by sketching a face using the Brush tool to get the right proportions, then I drew the facial features and the crown using the Pen tool,” he explains. But what is Nuntius all about? “Nuntius is a fictional entity that travelled from another realm to Earth to teach ancient Africans about the world, universe and the creator.” In Photoshop CS6, Pedraw not only called upon the Pen tool for making his mystical portrait, but also explored the use of layer styles and blur filters to blend and stylise the vectors into one complete piece. Check out the rest of his portfolio at www.pedraw.com.
I started by sketching a face in Photoshop using the Brush tool in order to get the right proportions, then I drew the facial features
MASK SHADOWS Create a vector version of the face and its shadows and highlights areas. In addition, add a layer mask to the vectors created and paint with a soft round brush on the unwanted area, leaving the shadow and highlights visible.
DRAW FACIAL PROPORTIONS To create a grid using Guides and Rulers, press Cmd/Ctrl+R, then click on the ruler and drag the guidelines into place. This will help you achieve realistic facial proportions (use a photograph as reference if needed).
Create a new Solid Color layer, and use the Add Noise filter to create a texture. Place this above the layer you want to texturise and use a clipping mask, adjusting the opacity and blending modes to achieve a better looking texture.
Â© Pedro Gomes
TECHNIQUES MASTER LAYER MASKS
OUR EXPERT JONO HISLOP AKA KIVEX www.somethingfresh.co.nz
Kivex is a New Zealand-born illustrator living in London. Most of his work is created for colleagues in the music industry and their associate record labels, including Atlantic, Warner, Sony and Tikidub.
SOURCE FILES On the disc you will find a model image that you can use to duplicate this tutorial (‘Heroine_stock.jpg’).
MASTER LAYER MASKS USE BRUSHES, LAYER MASKS AND LIGHTING TECHNIQUES TO CREATE SURREAL LANDSCAPES WITH PHOTOGRAPHY
reat art is rarely the product of a complex chain of elaborate techniques. In truth, it is a destination most often reached through a sound understanding and patient use of your basic tools. Trust that a great eye for detail develops with perseverance. The following tutorial will teach you how to use simple Photoshop tools in advanced ways, and in doing so perhaps you will come to see them in a new light. In particular, this tutorial focuses on painting with layer masks and developing a colour scheme with adjustment layers and gradient maps.
Perspective and the idea that ‘less is more’ will guide you through the tutorial as a base idea that will be continually re-visited. You should walk away not just with a new art piece, but a set of skills that will stick with you throughout your career, assisting you in getting ideas onto your Photoshop canvas with less technical frustration. This particular photomanipulation was inspired by a piece of music that has a spacious, ‘lost at sea’ feel. Music that stimulates your imagination and creates a sense of location can help your creative flow and encourage originality.
TECHNIQUES MASTER LAYER MASKS
It’s good to get in the habit of non-destructive editing. I never touch the Eraser tool
SET UP THE CANVAS
Open a new document with dimensions 2560 x 1440 and a black background. Press Cmd/ Ctrl+K to open Preferences. Click on Guides, Grid & Slices from the list on the left and change the settings for Grid Section to Gridline every 100 per cent, Subdivisions 3. Pressing Cmd/Ctrl+’ will bring up your new rule of thirds grid, which sets the guide for the sun and the boat. Vertically pull down a ruler (Cmd/Ctrl+R), locking in the middle of the canvas. This is where the sea and the sky will meet.
Now you need the sunray perspective, which is essential in establishing focal direction. Make a new layer and draw a white line across the canvas, starting from the sun. Cmd/right-click the layer and select Duplicate Layer. With the new line, press Cmd/Ctrl+T and move the anchor point to the centre position of the sun. Rotate 15 degrees by holding Shift and repeat the process of duplicating and rotating the line until you have a rising sun type perspective grid.
WORK IN PROGRESS COLLAGE TO PAINTING
Progress 1: Build a backdrop
Progress 2: Add focal elements
03 Progress 3: Lighting effects
BRING IN PHOTOS
You’re going to build the top half of the canvas first. Drag and drop in photos of skylines that you like the look and feel of. Try to keep the colours similar by choosing photos that were taken around the same time of day. There’s no need to be exact, though, as you can make adjustments later. For every image you bring into your piece, add a layer mask. With the layer selected, at the bottom-right of your screen click on the rectangle with the circle inside it. Layer masks allow us to paint in and out parts of the photo without being destructive.
See that white square that has appeared next to your layer? With it selected, your colour palette resets to black and white. Painting with a black brush will act as an eraser, while painting in white will do the opposite. It’s good to get in the habit of non-destructive editing. I never touch the Eraser tool. Bring in another layer of the sky. Using a soft brush, set the Opacity to 25% and remove parts of the photo until you have a seamless merge with other images on the canvas.
When using the Brush tool, there are two shortcuts that greatly speed up your workflow: X on your keyboard switches between black and white. The square brackets vary the size of your brush. With each new image you drop onto the canvas, experiment with merging them by playing with layer styles. Use Screen and Lighten next. These are good for merging bright elements, while Multiply and Overlay/Soft Light are useful for creating vibrancy and intensity.
USE ADJUSTMENT LAYERS
MIRROR THE IMAGE
When you bring in colours that don’t fit, use an adjustment layer! This is another non-destructive technique. With the layer selected, click on the half circle next to the layer mask and choose Curves. Change RGB to your choice of red/green/blue to play with individual colour spectrums, and click to create a point. Boost up or down to add intensity or pull out the required colours. In this case, some of the clouds are too blue, so I have boosted the red spectrum to match the warmth of the sunset.
QUICK TIP Establish your focal points early on when imagining your art. In the case of this image, the sun’s brightness captures the viewer’s attention first, leading you to the heroine and finally to the islands, sweeping your eyes from left to right across the canvas. Try to avoid cluttered backdrops that can dismantle the flow of the piece.
CREATE THE SUNSET
Bring in an image of the sun. Using a layer mask and soft brush, paint out the sky around it. Leave a light glow around the outer circumference with a 25% opaque brush. Align with the rule of thirds grid, and using the marquee tool (M), cut off the bottom of the sun and align with the horizon. Make a new layer and using a 200px or larger brush, paint on some blues and pinks with a 10% opaque brush and set the layer to Overlay to bring in some beautiful hues.
Merge the image with Layer>Merge Visible. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+A and copy the merged canvas. Track back with Edit>Step backwards until your layers return. Paste in the image, and using Transform, flip the layer vertically. Align the image with the centre of the canvas and erase anything that cuts into the top half of the canvas. Use a Motion Blur at 0 degrees and a Distance of 25%. Follow it up with Filter> Distort>Ripple (66%, medium size) on your newly created ocean to add a touch of realism.
TECHNIQUES MASTER LAYER MASKS
QUICK TIP If your finished piece is too dark, put a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer at the top of the layer chain with +15 Brightness at +5 Contrast. Is the image lacking depth? Use a Levels adjustment, slightly moving the middle slider (midtones) to affect the colours inside the vignette and around the sun.
VIGNETTES AND OBJECTS
Creat a new layer, paint black around the edges of the canvas and set it to Multiply. Create another new layer and paint with a dark-blue brush (#00192a) on the edges of the vignette towards the centre and set to Color Burn. Mix this layer in at 40-50% Opacity to accentuate the outer colours. Drop in a photo of a boat from Dreamstime.com and align and transform it to match your perspective grid. Drop in the female adventurer (available on the disc) and use a layer mask to paint out the background.
FIT THE BOAT
Repeat Step 10 with the front and back of the boat, shading at 50% Opacity. With Curves, pull down the reds and greens and boost the blues. Using a Levels adjustment layer, boost the contrast by inserting the following numbers into the three boxes: 57, 0.63, 250. On a new layer with 40% Opacity, paint the girl’s casting shadow inside the boat, following the perspective grid. Paint some ripples into the water around and behind the boat. For realism, add Filter>Distort>ZigZag, with Settings at 2 and 14 and Pond Ripples selected.
FIT THE HEROINE
For the highlights, make a new layer and Opt/Alt-drag over the heroine’s layer mask to make a copy. With the layer selected, set it to Overlay and paint white highlights on areas of the heroine facing the horizon. For the shading, use a black brush and paint parts facing away from the sun. Leave the layer style on Normal. Mix in her shading layer at 80% Opacity. Using Curves, boost the reds and blues.
With a new layer set to either Overlay or Soft Light, paint white streaks from the sun going outwards, following the perspective grid to create sunrays. Add a soft glow by creating a layer set to Lighten at 80% Opacity. Paint a mix of yellows and oranges around the sun with a large soft brush. Now create a Soft Light layer at 17% Opacity. Fill the canvas with blue #0319f0. Using a layer mask, erase out the centre so you’re only affecting the outer rims of the horizon and the vignette.
Find a free NASA photo of a star-filled sky and drop it in. Set the blending mode to Screen to remove the black backdrop. It will almost certainly leave light artefacts, so use Levels (Cmd/Ctrl+L), bringing the far-left slider up a few numbers until black is at #000000, thus becoming 100 per cent transparent. With a layer mask, paint out the stars that have landed in awkward places. Use the Marquee tool (M) to move stars around if needed.
TYING THE IMAGE TOGETHER
THE FINISHING TOUCH
Add a Curves adjustment layer. Select blue and raise the ‘output’ +2, to tie the black vignette into the ocean with a subtle dark-blue hue. Add a gradient map with these settings from left to right: #ffe89a, #c38f7b, #324a59 and #060c14. At 100% Opacity, the gradient map desaturates and ties the colour scheme together. Bring the opacity down if you want to retain some of the original vibrancy, but don’t oversaturate your work.
To add polish to any finished piece, duplicate a merged version of all your layers and use Filter>Other>High Pass with a low setting (1-2px). This exaggerates the edges. Set the layer to Overlay to sharpen the quality of your art. Areas that don’t require focal attention or sharpness such as the sun and the ocean can be painted out with a layer mask, making the heroine and the stars around her crisper.
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HOW I MADE TECHNIQUES
HOW I MADE
HIDE AND SEEK
KINGA BRITSCHGI HERE’S HOW KINGA BRITSCHGI BLENDED SHAPE AND COLOUR USING STOCK IMAGERY TO CREATE THIS SURREAL COMPOSITE
inga Britschgi specialises in creating harmonious visuals using contrasting opposites. It’s the careful mix of the abstract with elegant, curvaceous lines in which she manages to create a sense of tension. “I also like to create images that have strong contrasts of opposites; light and shadow, soft and hard, feminine and masculine,” explains Britschgi, a digital artist from Hungary who now resides in the United States.
Inspired by the work of Dutch artist M. C. Escher, for Hide And Seek she took similar principles of creating depth with repeating patterns, using stock imagery to form the foundations. “We can’t but wonder how these identical and playful female figures have got there and what exactly the goal of their game is.” Read on to find out how Britschgi created this artwork using stock photos. If you’re inspired by her work, then head to her gallery at http://kingabrit. deviantart.com/gallery.
I like to create images that have strong contrasts; light and shadow, soft and hard, feminine and masculine
MULTIPLYING THE FIGURES
MASKING THE FIGURES
I placed the figures onto their final places and started to resize them. The trick was to follow the background’s weird perspective, but at the same time make the ladies’ hide-and-seek game visually plausible.
ASSEMBLING THE ELEMENTS
When it comes to isolating complicated shapes, the Pen tool is essential. I also made a rough digital sketch to make sure the composition had a strong focal point and the image was balanced.
The next step was to create a layer mask for every figure and fill the areas that are naturally hidden with black paint. I zoomed in on the image closely so that I could define the masks as precisely as I could.
TECHNIQUES HOW I MADE
USING PUPPET WARP
This was my favourite part. I used the Puppet Warp tool and manipulated the figures. I changed the angles of the hat, made the figures bend backwards and raised their arms.
CORRECTING COLOUR AND TONE
DODGE AND BURN
GRADIENT MAP AND FILL
I linked a Color Balance adjustment layer to the background, changing the yellow and red amount to get a bit of a warmer tone. This helped to unify the whole image in the end.
PAINTING THE SHADOWS
I painted the shadows manually from scratch using a soft brush with a very low opacity (5-8%) and set the layer’s blend mode to Multiply. This helped to make the image believable.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL If you create an image that can be described as ‘surrealist reality’, it is very important to establish plausibility by realistic details. With a simple picture like this, it is imperative to achieve correct and precise lighting and shadows, and pull the composition together by establishing a unifying colour scheme.
The Dodge and Burn tools don’t always work well to give an image more depth, but this time they were perfect. I lightly dodged the areas where light hit and burned the opposite sides.
HIDE AND SEEK In this image, the highly realistic details contradict the seemingly simple, absurd and impossible setup. This creates a very entertaining, enigmatic and surrealist impression in the viewer.
When I was satisfied with the overall image, I applied two adjustment layers in Multiply blend mode; a Gradient Map (50% Opacity) and a Gradient Fill (30% Opacity) to pull everything together colour-wise.
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PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 12 REVIEWS
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 12 WITH THIS LATEST VERSION, PHOTOSHOP’S ‘LITTLE BROTHER’ IS SHOWING SIGNS OF GROWING UP www.adobe.com OPERATING SYSTEM: mÍ5GLBMUQÍMPÍ+?A
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lements has been described in many ways: Photoshop’s ‘little brother’, discount Photoshop and consumer-level Photoshop are just a few. The commonality between each of these monikers is that the program is always
compared to its more well-known predecessor, Photoshop. The conventional wisdom holds that Elements is offered at a fraction of the price of Photoshop and offers a fraction of the features. In the strictest sense of speaking, this is still true. But in much the same way a younger sibling eventually grows up and steps out of the shadow of their older brother, Elements is emerging to stand on its own two feet as dependable photo-editing software. Sure, it still carries the family name, but at this point it should be considered and evaluated by its own abilities. Long-time Photoshop users have been known to scoff at this ‘kid’s version’ of their favourite pixel-pusher, only to launch the application and find themselves in completely unfamiliar territory. This is not Photoshop Jr. This is Elements, and it is glad to meet you. After
Content Aware Fill: The Straighten tool includes the Content Aware Fill technology, so that when an image is rotated, the blank corners are automatically filled in
Photo Puzzle: Photoshop Elements 12 now includes more than 25 Guided Edits designed to lead you through a variety of fun and interesting effects, like the Puzzle Photo effect
Content Aware Move: Make use of Photoshop’s celebrated Content Aware technology by using the Content Aware Move tool to either relocate an element or extend it
REVIEWS PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 12
ZOOM BURST SEE HOW TO USE ONE OF THE NEW GUIDED EDITS FOUND IN PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 12 Guided Edits is one of the popular editing modes that are unique to Photoshop Elements. The idea is that the tools and techniques are set up in order to accomplish a particular effect. It’s like having your own personal instructor teaching you as you go! Here we work though the new Zoom Burst Guided Edit.
!PMNÍ!?PCDSJJW Open an action shot in Photoshop Elements 12. Switch to the Guided editing module and look near the bottom of the list of Guided Edits for the Zoom Burst effect. The first step is to crop the image so that the primary subject is in the centre.
Adobe has shown that they understand their target user-base for Photoshop Elements. It is not intended to serve as a professional-level image manipulator for the graphic artist designing a billboard ad, or the high-end photographer shooting covers for a magazine. Rather, the features are more suited to the travelling student who loves to share their snapshots on social media, or the photography hobbyist who just wants to make better images with their new DSLR, or the busy parent who wants to share all the photos from the family holiday. In one way, you could say that it’s the image editor ‘for the rest of us’! One of the most impressive new features of Photoshop Elements 12 is the addition of Mobile Albums. This feature leverages cloud storage of your photos so that the photo sets can be easily synchronised between several devices. This includes your laptop, phone and tablet. In a practical sense, it simplifies the common process of taking snapshots with a phone, downloading them onto your laptop for editing, and then transferring them to your tablet to show off to your friends. With Elements Mobile Albums, the transferring and synchronising work is done for you. A variation of the Mobile Album is the Private Shared Album, in which several accounts can see and contribute to a common album but still keep it private from public access. This works well for situations like family members sharing event photos, or teams of people working collectively on a single project.
One of the most impressive new features of Photoshop Elements 12 is the addition of Mobile Albums....so photo sets can be easily synchronised
Social Media Integration: Tight integration with social media sites like Twitter and Facebook lets you share your photos with friends and followers right from Photoshop Elements
8MMKÍ SPQR Click the Zoom Burst button found in the second step of the guide. The zoom effect can be increased by clicking the button multiple times. Then hit the Add Focus Area button. Click and drag out a radial area to add a sharp focus to the image.
4GELCRRCÍ2GKCÍThe final step is to apply an optional vignette to the image. This technique of darkening the corners adds extra emphasis to the zoom effect. The button can be pressed multiple times, increasing the strength of the vignette. When finished, click the Done button.
Organizer: Elements’ popular Organizer is even easier to use, plus it now supports Mobile Albums, so you never have to bother with cable connections for your devices again
We have put a lot of emphasis on how Photoshop Elements 12 stands on its own laurels. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a branch of the Photoshop family tree. That lineage includes the remarkable technology being celebrated in the heavy lifting features of Photoshop proper. Technologies like the Content Aware Move tool are now available in Photoshop Elements 12. This feature allows you to easily relocate items within an image without having to worry about painting in the seams or the holes in the background. Further evidence of Adobe being in touch with the user-base is the inclusion of the Pet Eye tool. This is
a tool that isn’t even available in the regular Photoshop program. It’s similar to the Red Eye tool, but created just for the glowing reflections found in animal eyes. Users who take a lot of photos of their pets – photos that tend to suffer from the eye glow (which is a result of the flash being on-camera or on-device as the case may be) – are often the very same people who are in the target user-base for Photoshop Elements. In the final consensus, Adobe’s aim to provide powerful image editing in an inexpensive package that is user-friendly and aimed at hobbyists and photography enthusiasts strikes very near the mark.
VERDICT Features: 9/10 Ease of use: 10/10 Value for money: 9/10 Quality of results: 9/10
AUTO SMART TONE DISCOVER HOW YOU CAN USE THIS NEW FEATURE TO MODIFY THE TONAL VALUE OF AN IMAGE One of the most impressive new features of Photoshop Elements 12 is the Auto Smart Tone feature. The feature is found under the Enhance menu in the Quick and Expert editing modules. The feature’s dialog box is one of the most intuitive and clever interface ideas we’ve seen in any version of Photoshop. The base image is presented with a thumbnail in each corner. These thumbnails each represent an extreme Auto Tone setting. A control handle appears in the centre of the screen. Dragging the handle towards one of the thumbnails gradually applies the settings for that
particular effect. The closer the control handle is moved towards the corners, the more intense the settings that are applied. Dragging the handle to an area between two of the thumbnails blends those two settings together. This idea makes for a very quick way to visually apply touch-ups without getting lost in a list of confusing sliders. The tool also earns its ‘Smart’ moniker by learning your particular tastes in image editing. The more you use the tool, the more data it has to present solutions that you are likely to select, so the more accurate and useful it becomes.
THE LATEST COMPACT SYSTEM CAMERA IN WHAT WAS THE WORLDâ€™S SMALLEST RANGE, BUT HAS THIS ALL CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
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t all began for the Q series just over two years ago, with the release of the smallest ever CSC model. Although this camera has put on a few pounds (so to speak) since then, the latest Q7 version still sits neatly in the palm of your hand. Pentax has upgraded the sensor size from 1/2.3-inch to 1/1.7-inch, which aims to improve image quality and reduce noise in low lighting. But has this actually made a significant improvement to photos? Unfortunately, this doesnâ€™t seem to be the case. But thatâ€™s not to say this isnâ€™t a very creative CSC model. The Q7â€™s 21 scene modes gave us enough scope to record all kinds of situations to the best degree. If these werenâ€™t enough, then by pressing its Info button we were able to tweak images with even more adjustments and effects. These include a range of digital filters, options to turn on
an ND filter, HDR effects, distortion correction and shadow and highlight corrections, to name just a few. With all of these put together, we have what is a very creative tool, rather than just a simple point-and-click. Unfortunately, the cameraâ€™s sensor-shift image stabilisation worked only some of the time to reduce blurriness. But with this said, there are numerous ways to control the exposure manually to reduce blurring. Such methods as altering shutter speed and boosting up the ISO sensitivity helped to achieve better overall results. One feature that may attract the more discerning photographer is the manual focus ring on the lens. We tested the Q7 with the 5-15mm O2 Standard Zoom lens, and even though its range was quite limited, the lens itself felt swift and responsive.
Good results arenâ€™t always a sure thing with the new Q7, so making the most out of its additional features and modes is vital.
By pressing its Info button, we were able to tweak images with even more adjustments VERDICT:Äƒ
What this camera lacks in image quality it makes up for in creativity. Size and style may be its most adorable traits, but for bolstering your stock library it just doesnâ€™t cut the mustard.
A CLOSER LOOK THE STANDOUT FEATURES OF THE PENTAX Q7 â– LENS CHOICE The Q-mount lens system encompasses a range of seven lenses to expand focal lengths. These include a prime lens, a fixed focal length lens, a wide-angle lens, fish-eye and the new mount-shield lens for pinhole-style effects
â– LCD TECHNOLOGY â– 15)#+ÉŽ3%,%#4Äˆ$)!, A key feature of this camera is its quick-select dial found next to the lens, leading to pre-defined effects and shoot modes for easy access â€“ if you find yourself in a hurry, that is
The Q7â€™s three-inch screen is specially coated to reduce reflections getting in the way. Its 170-degree viewing angle spans vertically as well as horizontally
â– RETRO DESIGN We adore the Q7â€™s traditional design, which is meant to be reminiscent of the seminal 35mm cameras
EXTENSIS SUITCASE FUSION 5 REVIEWS
EXTENSIS SUITCASE FUSION 5
THE NEXTGEN FONT MANAGER BY EXTENSIS TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF MATCHING AND ORGANISING YOUR TYPEFACES
t was Adobeâ€™s bold move to the Creative Cloud that prompted Extensis to upgrade Suitcase Fusion to version 5. This organises the hundreds (if not thousands) of fonts on your computer, and makes them readily available in Photoshop. This also means that fonts can be managed in the Creative Cloud and synced to additional devices, too. Suitcase Fusion 5 can work across InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop (from CS4). The integrated Extensis palette for Photoshop made it easier for us to select and match fonts inside Photoshop. This was helped by its QuickMatch feature, in which the software automatically finds suitable and matching fonts for better visual appeal. New to version 5, and perhaps its most desirable feature, is QuickComp, which lets us compare and preview fonts inside a set template. Exported as PDFs or in sets, we found the feature useful for
previewing how a font in a headline would look next to a font in the main body text, for example. The preset templates provide a good starting place and cater for a number of layouts and template ideas. A new and improved interface makes it easier to search for the things we need, and a link to online font service WebINK opens the gateway to a huge font database. What came in handy was Suitcaseâ€™s automatic font activator, which meant we could carry on working while new fonts were dealt with in the background. For those who have settled into the Creative Cloud, this upgrade will be beneficial.
For typographers and designers, having Suitcase Fusion 5 at the helm will be a worthwhile investment, especially with its new QuickComp feature.
QUICKLY COMPARE FONTS USING THE NEW QUICKCOMP IN SUITCASE FUSION 5
â– TEMPLATE SELECT Suitcase Fusion 5 has a lot of templates within its new QuickComp feature. These include Pasteboard and Print Media types, which in turn contain various spreads, columns and header placements.
â– FONT MATCH Once the template has been selected, you can place in font combinations to see which ones work with which. Fonts are located at the base of the interface.
â– OUTPUT FINAL COMP â– SUITCASE SENSE This may appear a basic piece of kit at first, but Suitcase Fusion 5 is much cleverer than it looks
When you are happy with a layout of fonts from your library, they can be customised and saved as PDF proofs designed for sharing, or as individual sets.
READER INTERVIEW REIMAGINING WONDERLAND
NINA Y. TALKS US THROUGH THE CREATION OF THE FANTASTICAL CHARACTERS AND DETAILED PHOTOMANIPULATIONS THAT GRACE HER PORTFOLIO
ina Y. is an artist of many talents. Her bold and breathtaking work shows off the skills that she’s refined from her traditional painting and photography background as well as those that she’s built up as a digital artist. For Nina, presenting a coherent and impressive body of work has been a vital part of getting her name out there. “It’s very important to create a strong artistic portfolio that shows a big part of your soul, every artwork for itself, and presents the viewer with a display of different uses of your digital skills.” Nina lets us in on the thought, process and inspiration she uses to re-imagine Wonderland.
YOUR PORTFOLIO IS FULL OF BEAUTIFUL PIECES. WHAT INSPIRES OR COMPELS YOU THE MOST TO CREATE YOUR ARTWORK? Everything. Most artists would probably say that, though. Everything can be an inspiration in one way or another. Life is an inspiration; the emotions we feel, our good and our bad days, a great song, autumn nights. Wonderful people in my life inspire me. Above all, my little daughter is my inspiration and my drive for everything, including art.
OUR READER NINA Y.
www.nina-y.deviantart.com www.facebook.com/ nina.y.nina.y.not
All article images © Nina Y.
YOU’VE WORKED ACROSS MANY MEDIUMS, BUT WHAT DREW YOU TO DIGITAL ART AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING IT? I’ve worked with everything from pencil to paintbrush
to Photoshop, eventually. My discovery of this wonderful tool was instant love. Well, almost instant actually. After I got through that ‘totally and utterly clueless’ phase, then it was love – this was back in 2005. Ever since then, working digitally has always been such a pleasure, sometimes a challenge, and above all, it is always rewarding.
Story Of Rapunzel: Nina shows off a twisted sense of humour as Rapunzel decides to get a haircut the same day Prince Charming shows up
Alice In Blunderland: In her ‘Twisted Fairytales’ series, Nina captures well-known and well-loved fairytale characters in places that you wouldn’t usually expect to see them
The ‘Twisted Fairytales’ series is simply my own ‘modern’ interpretation of all the well-known fairytales
Clockwise from top; Natassja And Her Many Demons: Nina’s female characters take centre stage of many of her works, always showing a graceful poise in a fantastical environment Darla’s Divine Horror Show: Inspired by the words of Anne Sexton, Nina conjures up an image of Darla; dark but beautiful, and according to the artist, “an expert in haute taxidermy” The Sweetheart: Sugary sweet, pink and girly – this stylised bust is one in a series of similar works that put a twist on traditional sculpture design
Define the hair: The Clone tool was used to paint over hair and add many loose strands in order to achieve a look that suited the overall feel of the work
Smooth the skin: The face was switched, liquified and the skin was painted over using a simple Photoshop brush set to a medium opacity, with some smudging where needed
Bringing it together: Gaussian blur was used throughout the image, to calm the tones and add the feeling of â€˜softnessâ€™ to the piece
REIMAGINING WONDERLAND READER INTERVIEW
NINA Yâ€™S DESIGN TIP MAKE SURE YOU BREAK IT UP Take regular breaks. If you are stuck on the presentation of an artwork and no matter what you do, it still seems â€˜offâ€™, you should simply walk away from your computer screen. After a while, come back, look at the picture again and you will most likely, notice straight away whatever it was that was bugging you before. I am not sure how well known this little method is, but it saves time and has always worked for me.
Rosalie Thirsted For Blood: Rosalie takes a dark turn
YOUR WORK FEATURES VERY STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS. CAN YOU TELL US SOME MORE ABOUT THEM? I try to create my own digital muses. Sometimes they are a bit like the bride of Frankensteinâ€™s monster digitally sewn together in Photoshop, sometimes they develop their character through the process, and sometimes their role is to just be ordinary. YOUR â€˜TWISTED FAIRYTALEâ€™ IMAGES ARE PARTICULARLY INTERESTING. WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND THEM? The â€˜Twisted Fairytalesâ€™ series is simply my own â€˜modernâ€™ interpretation of the well-known fairytales. So far I have a Red Riding Hood whose surprising revenge on the wolf is pictured in two different ways. Then thereâ€™s a Rapunzel who decides to get a haircut the same day the Prince comes to rescue her; and then there is an Alice who simply wandered a bit too far into Blunderland. Itâ€™s a fun series.
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The Screaming Sea: Developing her digital painting has allowed Nina to add more complexity to photomanipulations and solidify her Photoshop skills
CAN YOU BRIEFLY WALK US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS OF CREATING AN IMAGE? I look for the potential for fantasy and the elements of simplicity. Once I have the two main things â€“ the model and the background â€“ and they truly work together without anything else, then I have my new work, no matter how far I am from finishing it. The most important thing is that the two function well and complement each other. Everything else, then, is easy to add later on in the process. WHAT ROLE DOES PHOTOSHOP PLAY IN THE CREATION OF YOUR WORK? Photoshop plays a very important role. For example, my nature and forest photography is always inspired by fairytales. While I do try and capture the scene as best as I can, the fairytale-like mood is made whole by digital editing. To me, this is a beautiful sort of editing, completely free of stress, and consists mainly of toning down or accentuating the hues and
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achieving that fairytale look as best as is possible. The editing process for my digital art is a bit more erratic. I like to think of it as an organised chaos, as it is with most artists. WHAT OTHER TOOLS DO YOU USE TO COMPLEMENT YOUR USE OF PHOTOSHOP? For me, it is not so much the tools I use as it is the skills and the techniques I am trying to acquire. Lately, for example, I have enjoyed combining photomanipulations with digital painting. I can see that this makes for an easier, more original and more creative way of projecting myself artistically. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE MOVING INTO DIGITAL ART? Finding myself. Finding where I want to be, and where I should be in the art world. Iâ€™m still trying to work it out, but Iâ€™m much closer to knowing than when I first started.
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WOODBLOCK PRINTING ON THE DISC
ON THE DISC
LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN WOODBLOCKS AND CONVERT THE PRINTS INTO DIGITAL RESOURCES
oodblock printing is one of the most ancient forms of printing. The concept of using a block of wood to press ink onto parchment or fabric is so elegantly simple that the techniques are still used today. The idea is that the negative space is carved away from the surface of the woodblock, so that the ink is only carried by the original raised surface. The print reveals the character of the wood used for the carving, as often the grain and cut marks are still visible. This gives a very handcrafted
personality to the prints. Even though the same block can be used repeatedly, every print will be slightly different due to the fluid nature of the ink. These natural variables and imperfections are part of what makes the prints so visually interesting and gives the art its inherent beauty. In the digital realm, it is very difficult to reproduce the type of handcrafted look produced by woodblocks. Over the next few pages, we will show you how to make your own woodblock and convert the prints into Photoshop brushes, to add authentic handcrafted flavour to your art.
GETTING THE PROJECT READY THE PREP WORK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE ACTUAL PRODUCT
DRAFT DIGITAL ARTWORK
PREPARE THE SURFACE
Design the print digitally in a size matching the wood block. Remember to just use black and white â€“ no gradients or feathering! Also be sure to include a border to assist with aligning the wood piece. When finished, print the artwork onto paper.
GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
To start you will need a wood carving set, some black ink, a sponge brush, poster board and wood for carving. For your first carving project, we recommend using a soft wood like balsa until your technique and skill in wood handling matures.
The next step is to use a piece of fine grain sandpaper to sand the surface of the wooden block until smooth. This serves the dual purpose of providing a consistent printing surface and also helps to reduce splinters!
ON THE DISC WOODBLOCK PRINTING
ANCIENT TECHNIQUES, MODERN MEANS DESPITE OUR TECHNOLOGY, IT STILL ALL COMES DOWN TO HOW TO APPLY INK TO A PIECE OF PAPER
TRANSFER THE ARTWORK
INK THE WOOD
Now place the printed artwork face down on the wooden block. Use a smooth but hard cylindrical object, like the cap of a marker, to firmly rub the back of the paper, transferring the ink onto the wooden surface.
Use the sponge brush to apply ink generously to the relief surface. Soft wood, like the balsa, will absorb ink like a sponge. Work quickly to cover the positive areas with ink, but be cautious not to drop it into the negative carved areas.
DIGITAL ENHANCEMENT LEVERAGING THE DIGITAL ADVANTAGE TO CREATE A MORE INTERESTING EFFECT Perfecting the craft of woodcut printing can take years, but you can still produce almost flawless designs by using your digital advantage. Scan in every print and then digitally combine them to use the best parts of each one! Another helpful trick is to scan in the surface of the raw wood block. This can then be used to give more wood grain texture to prints that look too heavy on ink. Desaturate the block scan and use Levels to generate extreme contrast. Layer the scan over the print image and set the blending mode to Linear Dodge. Then reduce the opacity to taste.
TIME TO TRACE
Use a fine point ink pen or marker to trace out the contour lines of the ink transfer. This will make it easier to carve along the artwork lines. Consider inking in visual cues as to what surface area needs to be removed.
Place the wood, ink side down, onto the poster board. You will need considerable amounts of force to print the wood cut image onto the paper. If you do not have a book press handy, consider using weights or books.
STOP THE PRESSES!
Carefully use the blades of the wood carving set to extract the wood from the negative areas of the artwork. The carving does not need to be very deep; as long as it is deep enough to avoid contact with the paper.
After 20 minutes to an hour, remove the weight from the block and gently separate the block from the paper. If not everything transferred properly, you can repeat the process. It doesn’t need to be perfect – minor corrections can be made digitally.
BRINGING THE RESOURCE HOME HOW TO TRANSFORM THE INK DESIGN INTO PIXELS USING PHOTOSHOP
A flatbed scanner is the preferred method of digitising printed effects. Just be sure that the ink is completely dry before scanning the paper! Use a scanning resolution of a minimum of 600 dpi for the best quality. Then open the image in Photoshop.
While much of the random grunge aspect of the print should be retained, it is likely that there will be some areas that the ink strayed into where it shouldnâ€™t, or did not transfer in areas it should. Use some brushwork to clean up these anomalies.
Some areas require more than a few brush strokes to repair. This may be a result of carving mistakes or ink splashes. In either case, the Clone Stamp tool is effective for corrections. The Smudge tool is also great for getting cut lines into shape.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE WHICH WAY IS IN OR OUT, UP OR DOWN? HOW TO KEEP IT STRAIGHT You may have the idea that the design you print should be backwards because it will then be printed onto the paper. However, remember that you are doing a double transfer, once onto the wood, then again onto the paper, so that negates the need to flip the artwork before printing. Decide if you want to create the print image as a positive or negative. This can be determined by many factors, like wanting to reduce the amount of carved wood, or to make some of the finer details easier to handle. Deciding later to invert the scanned image in Photoshop doesnâ€™t work as well as you might think; you completely lose the wood grain and any ink texture with this approach.
ON THE DISC WOODBLOCK PRINTING
CREATING THE RESOURCE REFINING AND USING THE RESOURCE IN YOUR OWN PROJECTS
Use a Levels adjustment layer to create greater contrast within the print. Keep in mind that this will eventually define a brush. The darker the pixels are here, the more opaque that area will be with the brush.
ON THE DISC
Flatten the image and desaturate it to remove any stray colour definitions. Look over the print once more, touching up any stray ink spots as needed. Then go to Edit>Define Brush Preset to save this as a digital resource.
When using the brush in your own artwork, be aware that it’s really more of a stamp than a brush. It is intended to be used with a single click, not a stroke. This allows all the control of a regular brush along with the grunge qualities of a woodcut print.
ONE LARGE ASSET 53%ď!ď3%4ď/&ď7//$#54ď!,0(!"%4ď"253(%3ď4/ď!$$ď3/-%ď(!.$˶#!26%$ď#(!2!#4%2ď4/ď9/52ď&/.4ď,)34 We’ve meticulously carved out each letter of the alphabet, used the woodcut printing technique and converted them into brushes. All free for you to add hand-carved character to your designs!
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ON THE DISC DXO OPTICS PRO V9
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A QUICK GUIDE TO WHATâ€™S NEW AND IMPROVED IN DXOâ€™S LATEST OFFERING, OPTICS PRO 9
mage editing can take many forms â€“ from the dramatic and sublime, to the polished and refined. With DxOâ€™s Optics Pro 9 software, the word â€˜controlâ€™ is at the heart of every decision. Lens correction modules built into the software instantly and intuitively recognise the imageâ€™s originating camera and lens system profiles, auto correcting issues and aberrations attributed to the lens and body. These tweaks are great news for both the seasoned image editor and novice alike, as you can click the Auto Adjust option to get the software to correct your image for you, and can then also choose
to expand on these adjustments by moving the sliders manually to your own preferences. So far, so similar to past incarnations of the software. But what stands version 9 apart from the rest is the updates in compatibility with regards to the lens modules, incorporating newer camera systems, as well the fluidity of use. With past versions you would be prompted to choose a previous project on opening the software; here, you go straight to an intuitive, sleek dark-grey interface, similar to Adobeâ€™s CS6 and CC. But what else is new in the latest installment of Optics Pro? Well, since version 6, the list of additional
camera support has increased, as well as modifications to a few existing tools such as the colour and white balance adjusters, which have been refined into easy-to-use droplet pickers. Although many of the current options are grouped and laid out in much the same way as version 6, they are now more refined, allowing for more in-depth and detailed adjustments to the image, especially in the shadows, midtones and highlight detail. Other strikingly different alterations come courtesy of the Export options, allowing for greater control over size and format. Sadly, there is still no global DNG support upon ingestion â€“ only a limited portion.
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TIME TO EDIT
To begin, you need to open your image in Optics Pro 9. Not much has changed here, except that unlike version 6, you go straight to the software interface when you open it rather than being prompted to open past projects.
The quickest edit function to put into play here is a little brightness and contrast, and we can do this using the Tone Curve. In this instance, we have clicked the Tone Curve and added custom plot points to increase the contrast.
LAY OF THE LAND
Looking at the layout of DXO Optics Pro 9, It is a good idea to click on the top right hand’s preset editor. This will give you control over the initial first stages of your edit and allow you to adjust the preset recipe.
On the image, you can quickly add tonal adjustments by using the Selective Tones panel, and adjust the sliders to add depth and tone to the image’s colour palette. This method works great in tandem with the Tonal Curve.
One of the big players in the new DxO software family is the integration of the ridiculously powerful Smart Lighting tool. This will enable you to light up your image, as well as reduce noise, all the while being controlled by you. For this we have chosen the Custom mode and set our slider to 90 on the intensity front.
COMPARE AND PROCESS
When coming to process your image, click on the Before and After option just to make sure you are happy with the result. You can go back and make further edits if you wish. It’s also helpful to check that you have worked on all of the tabs available.
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