Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy
Illustration by John Hersey

Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy

with Bert Monroy

Video: Creating realistic scales for a dragon tattoo

Today we're going to look at one of my commercial Okay, click OK. That's it.
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  1. 7m 18s
    1. Using Photoshop's Displace filter to create a waving flag NEW
      7m 18s
  2. 29m 25s
    1. Making a piece of candy: Adding the jelly filling
      10m 51s
    2. Creating a Valentine's Day card
      10m 10s
    3. Turning a daytime scene into night
      8m 24s
  3. 45m 43s
    1. Using the Photoshop Flame Generator
      6m 53s
    2. Creating a mountain scene
      8m 24s
    3. Creating reflections in water
      6m 8s
    4. Making a diamond-encrusted type
      12m 11s
    5. Making a piece of candy: Creating the chocolate base
      12m 7s
  4. 27m 47s
    1. Mapping video onto a 3D object in Photoshop
      5m 50s
    2. Creating a wintery scene
      7m 36s
    3. Making a New Year's 2015 card
      14m 21s
  5. 33m 21s
    1. Three Dimensional type with extruded neon: Making the letter forms
      12m 29s
    2. 3D type with extruded neon: Adding the neon
      11m 48s
    3. Creating a Thanksgiving card
      9m 4s
  6. 47m 25s
    1. Creating a galaxy with Photoshop: Building the star field
      9m 23s
    2. Creating a galaxy with Photoshop: Adding color and effects
      10m 19s
    3. Creating a campfire scene: Adding the campfire
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a campfire scene: Adding trees and lighting
      8m 3s
    5. Creating a superhero type treatment
      7m 6s
  7. 46m 32s
    1. Making a desk nameplate
      12m 6s
    2. Illustrating a campfire from scratch
      9m 35s
    3. Creating realistic stains on bathroom tile
      9m 9s
    4. Creating a distressed windowsill from scratch
      15m 42s
  8. 45m 16s
    1. Increasing precipitation: How to make a rainy-day photo look rainier
      9m 34s
    2. Retouching techniques: Improving a picnic scene
      9m 28s
    3. Retouching techniques: Moving an object in a scene
      9m 29s
    4. Retouching techniques: Improving a real estate photo
      8m 53s
    5. Adding a billboard to a photo
      7m 52s
  9. 28m 56s
    1. Making a book: Perspective
      9m 53s
    2. Making a book: Adding pages
      9m 27s
    3. Using paths and layer styles to create logo text
      9m 36s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Theater curtain: Animating a rising curtain
      7m 23s
    2. Creating a chalkboard
      12m 48s
    3. Creating a manila envelope
      12m 50s
    4. Turning a regular donut into a jelly donut
      9m 41s
  11. 48m 47s
    1. Creating net fabric for a veil
      15m 39s
    2. Animating a spotlight against a brick wall
      7m 1s
    3. Damen Station: Using Blend in Illustrator to create intricate details
      4m 34s
    4. Theater curtain: Making a braid and tassels
      9m 53s
    5. Theater curtain: Creating the curtain
      11m 40s
  12. 34m 22s
    1. Oyster Bar: Creating a canvas texture
      7m 53s
    2. Creating realistic reflections and shadows
      11m 0s
    3. Creating water droplets on a surface
      7m 42s
    4. Wrapping a pattern around a 3D wine goblet
      7m 47s
  13. 29m 7s
    1. Damen Station: Creating realistic rust
      6m 56s
    2. Oyster Bar: Creating puddles
      6m 15s
    3. Oyster Bar: Creating asphalt and concrete textures
      5m 3s
    4. Oyster Bar: Creating a manhole cover
      10m 53s
  14. 38m 48s
    1. Magazine cover: Creating a lamp
      13m 57s
    2. Magazine cover: Creating a wood floor
      13m 29s
    3. Damen Station: Adding multiple train cars
      5m 26s
    4. Damen Station: Creating bolts
      5m 56s
  15. 36m 9s
    1. Red truck: Creating a headlight
      7m 17s
    2. Red truck: Creating chrome headlight trim
      7m 37s
    3. Red truck: Creating realistic metal perforations
      7m 5s
    4. Red truck: Creating wear on metal
      6m 18s
    5. Magazine cover: Using perspective to draw a room
      7m 52s
  16. 31m 44s
    1. Oakland Theater: Creating lightbulbs
      15m 33s
    2. Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers
      6m 36s
    3. Creating a metal grill
      9m 35s
  17. 47m 14s
    1. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: Adding details
      10m 49s
    2. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: Adding a third dimension
      10m 10s
    3. Oakland Theater: Creating stone walls
      14m 11s
    4. Oakland Theater: Creating neon
      12m 4s
  18. 40m 9s
    1. Animating a 3D starfield
      7m 6s
    2. Creating an antique pub sign using Photoshop
      13m 1s
    3. Creating a custom brush to draw hair
      7m 57s
    4. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: First steps
      12m 5s
  19. 21m 8s
    1. Using a Fibonacci spiral to create a tattoo
      4m 19s
    2. Body shaping with Puppet Warp
      4m 1s
    3. Type effects in Photoshop: Pillow
      6m 46s
    4. Type effects in Photoshop: Clouds
      6m 2s
  20. 42m 37s
    1. Recreating magazine clippings
      7m 31s
    2. Creating realistic scales for a dragon tattoo
      6m 27s
    3. Creating spikes for a dragon tattoo
      10m 35s
    4. Creating the belly for a dragon tattoo
      10m 55s
    5. Creating a flower tattoo
      7m 9s
  21. 29m 24s
    1. Creating a custom brush
      7m 28s
    2. Using displacement maps to create shadows
      7m 27s
    3. Enhancing a landscape by adding a lake
      6m 37s
    4. Creating a dog tag
      7m 52s
  22. 23m 36s
    1. Creating animated snowfall with Photoshop
      6m 39s
    2. Filling an empty glass with liquid
      2m 51s
    3. Using an alpha channel to create a 3D object
      6m 53s
    4. Creating a 3D coin
      7m 13s

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Watch the Online Video Course Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy
12h 57m Intermediate Jun 07, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Take a 10-minute recess every week and join Bert Monroy in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the playgrounds of digital artists. Every Friday Bert walks through a fun, self-contained project that tests your skills and challenges the imagination. These programs aren't just image editors; they are sandboxes for creativity and experimentation. Take a spin through a carousel of tools and get reinspired, each and every week.

Design Photography
Illustrator Photoshop
Bert Monroy

Creating realistic scales for a dragon tattoo

Today we're going to look at one of my commercial pieces, and see how I created some of the effects. In particular, we're going to look at this girl right here. Now you see that she's covered with tattoos. I created this for the Epson corporation who're makers of fine printers and scanners, which I use all the time. And right now we're going to look at these tattoos. Now we're getting close so we see that there many tattoos but I want to concentrate on the one right there at the base of her spine and we can see that it's this little part of a dragon there with spikes and scales. And that's what we're going to show today.

So, I'm going to go into the file of the dragon lower back itself. There it is. That is the basic art that was done for the manipulator once it got put onto the skin but this started out as an actual pencil drawing. I had my son Shawn go in there and create this little drawing for me. With the little scales and spikes of how it would be. And then I used that as a basis to create all my paths. So, we go look at the paths and let's turn on this white field here so we'll be able to see the paths. We have the belly area, the belly details.

The scales themselves, you see that they're all individual paths, the top edge, the main body, the spikes, and another highlight. And the bottom ridge there. So let's see how these guys were created. So what happens is, I'm going to go in there and take my scales, and let's just say that I want to create a series of scales out of, the reason they're all individual is that it gave me the ability to go in there and get every one to look different. So that it's slightly off rather than some kind of a pattern, because it really wouldn't be a total pattern; there'd be some nuance here and there.

So I create a layer right on top of this, and I'm going to take that one little scale right there, say, say this one right here. And we're going to turn that into a selection So I go into my paths and say, make that a selection. And then, what happens, is, I'm going to go into my gradient tool. And my gradient tool, right now, is set to black to white. So I'm going to click in that area to bring up the Gradient Editor. And right here is where I'm going to control and create my new gradient. So I'm going to start from the beginning here. And I'm going to click on that. I'm going to say, instead of a black, I want it to be a nice strong yellow.

Really kind of a warmish yellow like that. Click OK, now it's yellow. And then the ending color here, I want that to be a green. A nice deep green, about like that. And there we see the gradient. Now I want to introduce an orange, right about here. So what I do is I just click right there. And it introduces a color field. Which I can now change that color to the orange that I want. So I'll get a nice strong orange like that, click OK, and there we see our gradient. Now I want the transition from the yellow to the orange to be fairly strong.

From the orange to the green I want it to be a little softer. I want more green so I'm going to move this, this area right here, move this over. So now I have a stronger area of, of orange that's a little more concentrated down in this area near the yellow giving me more of a green. I click OK, and I have my new gradient. So, I get my gradient tool, and set to radio gradient. Then I can start right here at the beginning, and I create a little gradient just like that. And there, you can see what we've done. So now, we'll go in, and let's get our layers, and create another layer right on top of that.

And we go to our paths, and we'll take two of the paths that are next to it. So we'll grab this path and this path, right those two. But we're going to handle them individually, so again we're going grab this one and turn that into a selection and in that new layer we're going to throw that same gradient into it. Right in there like that. And then we're going to, in that same layer, we're going to take our path again, scales and select this one, turn that one into a selection. And fill it with our gradient again.

So there we see that we have all our little scales. Now the last thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to give that layer a little layer style of a simple stroke. And there's my stroke. Maybe make it a little bit thicker, like that, and we'll give it a little drop shadow as well. Drop shadow. So we'll give those, those two scales the drop shadow. We'll fade the lights coming from this direction here. And, we'll increase that distance a bit. There we go, so we have a little bit of a shadow and we'll soften it up. Just a little soft shadow, just like that.

Click OK. Now that we've done all that, and remember it is a lot of scales, what we'll do is simply hold down my Option key and drag that effects right there over to the original layer. And, there you can see that it applied all those effects to that one as well. Second part I want to deal with this is this little rib across here. This little rib right across this area here. So, what happened there is I created a brush. So right here we'll look at a brush, and all I did was create four little squares. Each one is different. That'll add the variety there that we want.

So I'm going to select it and turn it into a brush. So I Define Brush Preset, and we can call it scale. Okay, click OK. That's it. Now we go back to our art, here we are, and I have that one layer right there. Here's that layer, here's the top edge, there it is right there. That's where those little scales are going to go. So in a new layer to house all those scales I'm going to get my Paint Brush. Get my Paint Brush right there, and I'm going to select that brush I just created which should appear at the bottom of our brushes.

Right there, there it is, there's our little brush which right now is going to do this. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go into my brush engine. So I open up my brushes. And I'm going to give it a separation, so that there's individual shapes just like that happening like that. And then I wanted to follow, because right now what they do is they just gave us some space. I'm going to go into my Shape Dynamics here. And I'm going to turn this off. I don't want any size jitter at all. But I am going to play with the angle, and I'm not going to mess with this angle.

I want it to stay straight but I want the action to actually follow direction. And see what has happened. See how they're now following the direction of my stroke. So there's my path. So what I'm going to do is I got the path. I go to my Path tool. I'm in that path and I'm going to say, stroke it but I'm in the brush. With the settings that I had, and I got black, so when I say stroke it, it's going to go ahead and stroke it with that effect right there. And there you see that now we have the little scales going across the top.

And that's, some of the basic steps that went into that. In future episodes I'll cover some of the other parts of this little dragon.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy .

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Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
Q: Why are some of the 3D menu items grayed out when I try to follow along?
A: The 3D features in Photoshop CC require a computer with at least 512MB VRAM. If your computer doesn't meet this criterion, the 3D menu features will be greyed out.
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