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Creating spikes for a dragon tattoo


Pixel Playground

with Bert Monroy

Video: Creating spikes for a dragon tattoo

Today, what we're going to do is, we're going to look at the, another technique for making our little dragon tattoo. We're going to look at these spikes back here. Now we, we saw in the previous movie, that all these spikes are made up of different paths. So, if we go in here, and we just look at the, let's just say we look at just the back here, so we can see our paths. There's the belly area. There's the details of the belly, the scales, the top edge, the main body, and the spikes are right there.
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Watch the Online Video Course Pixel Playground
16h 59m Intermediate Jun 07, 2013 Updated Aug 28, 2015

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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 spikes for a dragon tattoo

Today, what we're going to do is, we're going to look at the, another technique for making our little dragon tattoo. We're going to look at these spikes back here. Now we, we saw in the previous movie, that all these spikes are made up of different paths. So, if we go in here, and we just look at the, let's just say we look at just the back here, so we can see our paths. There's the belly area. There's the details of the belly, the scales, the top edge, the main body, and the spikes are right there.

The bottom ridge and the highlight. So, what we're going to do is, we're going to look at these little spikes. Now, we're going to create our own. We're going to start completely from scratch, in fact, in a whole different file. We're going to create a new file here. That's good. Alright, there. And, we're going to create some spikes. Now, they are created with my pen tool. So, lemme go in here and I'm just create a nice little shape, like so. Give it a nice little arc. And then, I want to go and make a hard point right there, so I'm going to hold down my option key, and pull out a new handle.

Which will allow me to go into this direction now, and we'll create a little spike going like that. There's one. And, then, we're going to kind of pull this out, all the way down to here, and then close it off. Now, this extra space here is so that, we can have some nice effects happening through there. Let's create a second spike. And, we'll put that spike right in here. And, this one will go like that. And, come in. And, this one will be a little wider. This one will be a little bit wider on the, on the body shape, right there. And, then, we'll just finish it off, like we did there.

Now, let's make believe that this represents the body. Okay? This will be the body of our little dragon here. And, let's close it off, right there. And, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to pick a color for the body, just so, that we have something to see. And, we'll say green. And, we'll take that particular path. because, you can select an individual path, and I'm just holding down my Cmd key, which temporarily gives me the pointer, so I can select it. And, we'll create a new layer here. And, we'll just call this one, body. Okay, and we'll go ahead and fill that path, with that color. Okay.

So, now, we have the body. So, these are now going to be. And, I'm going to select both, with the Shift and, and the Cmd key. I'm going to select em. They're going to be the spikes. And, they're going to be in another layer, behind the body. So, I could either click on background. So, that, the new layer will automatically be created above it and behind the body. Or, I can hold down my Cmd key, and. Click on this, and which will, automatically create it behind the currently selected layer. See? Cmd key and this will allow me to create a layer behind the currently selected layer.

So, this is where my scales, or my spikes are going to be. So, we'll call this Spikes. There we go. Alright. So, now, we're going to pick a color for our spikes. And, I want em to be a nice, kind of, a yellow tone. Say, a warm kind of a, a little warmer, about like that. There's the yellow. So, I got both spikes selected. So, in that layer, I'm going to go ahead and say, fill that path. There they are. We can now turn off the path, we no longer need them. So, now, those spikes are now going to be converted to get, give it that look that we see in the.

Dragon back here, which, lets turn on that whole dragon again, and we can see it. There it is. There's our spikes. Now, the reason for that black outline is, because this is supposed to be a tattoo. You can create a black outline if that's what you're trying to get. Or, you could just leave em the yellow and the colors inside. And, you don't need the black outline because, lets say, you're creating an illustration of a dragon. Dragon usually won't have a black outline around its edge. So, we're just going to go and leave it, as is. I'm going to go to full screen here.

So, we can see only the parts that we need. So now, let's start giving it this nice orange glow. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go in here and... Double click on the layer, to bring up the layer styles. And, I'm going to give a nice glow on the inside, a nice deep orange glow. So, that's going to be the inner glow, and I'm going to pick a nice strong orange, let's say about like, about like that. Nice color right there. Click OK.

Now, we're not seeing anything, and the reason we're not seeing anything is because, it's a glow. You'll notice, the Blend mode is set to Screen, which means colors that are lighter, than the ones we're covering, should show. But, our orange is darker than the yellow, so it doesn't show. So, if I change the blend mode to multiply, which is that of a shadow, there's our little orange shape there. So, I'm going to increase the size a bit. There we go, like that. And, if we want it to be a little harder, or a little hotter, we can go in there, and just go a little higher, there.

And click okay. And, there, we can see that, now, we have the kind of glow that we want, right inside there, like that. Click OK. And now, you see that they are bleeding off, because the rest of it is way down here. So, it looks like it's ending, right at the body. It's just following the shape right there. Okay, so now, we want to add some additional highlights. So, I'm going in there, and pick up a nice reddish color. Let's go into a nice deep red, like this. In fact, let's go right about there. Nice deep red.

And, I want to add some tones, inside of here. So, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to get my paintbrush. And, I have a nice big brush right now, with a soft edge. See? Hardness is brought down to zero. Got my opacity set to 20, let's increase that to about 50. I don't want 100%, I want to slowly build up the color, as we paint. And, I'm going to create another layer on top. And, the reason I'm going to do it in a separate layer is because, I always want to have the ability to change my mind, and change things a little bit. So, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to throw in a nice little tone, right in here, like this.

Okay? Now, it's all over the place, so what I'm going to do is, I'm going to clip it. I'm going to hold down my Option key, and click between these two layers. Which is going to trap the contents of what I just painted, into the shape of the layer below. Which in this case is the spikes. Then, I could throw in some more reds, and a little red right in here. And, maybe some red right into this little edge, right in there. And, you notice how I'm slowly... Hitting it a couple of times, to start building it up. Now, the fact that it's a separate layer, allows me to than, go in there and modify it. So, let's just say I get my eraser here, and we'll make the eraser nice and big, and we'll make it really soft.

Really soft. So, I can slowly start to erase, from here to red. Now, it's making it a hard edge. So, I'm going to bring down the opacity. Bring down the opacity. I tried to work with things that lower the opacities, pretty much. So, that gives me a lot more control over how something is going to be erased. I can go in there and slowly start to erase this. Into this area here. Let's bring it down to about 20%. And there, now you can see that, I'm slowly lessening how this effect is happening. And, I can even move it around. That's the beauty of it. I can even move em around.

Because, they are on a separate layer, but being trapped inside. So now, I'm going to add one more little effect, and that's some, little tones coming into this area here. So, what I'm going to do, is with that same paint brush. I'm going to make the paint brush much smaller. And, now, I'm going to bring my opacity all the way up to 100%. And, just going to throw a little streak right in there like that, and another one right in here, and a second one right there. Makes it a little thicker. And, these are going to, now, be shaped to form that nice little tone in there, and I'm going to use my smudge tool to do that.

I'm going to make the smudge tool much larger. So, I can now, right here from this edge, I'm going to, kind of, pull this out. See? And then, slowly, start to just push it, and back and forth, until I start getting the shape that I want. I can, slowly, start to reshape this, until I have that nice little point, that I want. And I can, it's in a separate little layer right there, right there so, I could just... Easily transform this, and I'm going to start to do the same thing on this side... And, slowly, start to move this guy, punch it in a little bit, bring this one up, bring it out, from down here.

So, I'm just kind of pushing these colors around, making the brush a little smaller. And, then, just, kind of, pull these out, so I get a little sharper points. And, there we go. There we're getting these little, kind of a flame, kind of a look, in there. And, we're just getting these nice little tones, and this one we'll reshape a little bit. It's a little too high up, so let's just, kind of, push it back down and reshape it, so we get this nice little point right in there. And, you see that, it's very forgiving, because, we're just kind of smoothing it out, and pushing it around, til we have the exact tones that we want.

And, there, we see that we have the basic shapes that we want, with the colorization. Now, if you want to add that little black line, well, what I would do is simply do it as a layers style, because it allows you to then modify it. There is a stroke here. There's our stroke, there's our black line. Which, we can make thicker, if we want. Or thinner. Or even change its color. So, let's just say we want it to be a blue. And, there, you can see that we can easily go in there, and make any changes that we want. And, it's just a question of just kind of feeling, what it is that you want, and how you want the tones. And, they are in layers.

So once you're done with this. You can always go back in there and say, I don't want that much of this red in here. Well, I can just go in there with my smudge tool and, kind of, push it out a little bit. So, that it starts to go and get a little smaller, right into that area, there. And, pushing it out, I'm not erasing, I'm simply smudging it around. To get this nice little feeling. I want this to be like a blade in there. So I'm just going to push this down. Push this up and there, and there, we can see that we added this extra little tone in there.

Which, we might want to do the same thing here. And, it's just a question of pushing this guy down. Push that down, into that area there, then, push this up a little bit. Bring this down, and there, we can see we have these nice little flame type things happening in there. So, it's just a question of knowing how to use your tools. In this case, we're finger painting. And, finger painting is very forgiving, because you can go back and forth to get the effect that you want. If you want a little more red in there, well, we can add a little red in there. And then, go back to that smudge tool, and start moving it around, until we have it exactly the shape that we want.

So, that's just playing with some colors and some shapes. No real illustration skills required there. Just the knowledge of how things work.

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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.
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