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Learn to think like a painter and render images from photographs that look like they were created with oils or acrylics, using the latest digital artist's tools. Author and artist John Derry introduces the process of interpreting a photograph into a painted work of art. He begins by explaining his system of visual vocabularies, which describe how to replace the elements of an image with expressive painterly qualities, and also shares the custom brush sets and actions he uses to achieve these results in Photoshop. The course also covers working with filters, layers, effects, and more to add further detail and texture.
In this video, we'll take a look at what you can, and can't do with cloning layers. So I've run my action here, and I've got my Underpainting selected, which is one of the clone layers. The others would be the Intermediate Strokes cloning layer, and the Detail Strokes cloning layer. So when you take a brush, and we'll grab Flat Cloner here, and I'm going to jump up to 100% too just so we see a little more clearly. When I start painting with this brush, where is that color actually coming from? We certainly see the reference image, but I can turn it off and I can still paint.
So it's not coming from the reference image; it's actually embedded in each of the cloning layers. So the Underpainting layer, the Intermediate Strokes layer, and the Detail Strokes layer each have a copy of the reference image embedded in it. It's the nature of the way the cloning brushes work that they pick up that color and paint with it. Now, each of these layers are almost 100% transparent, but there is 1% of the image that is visible and when you stack three of them up like we've done here, [00:01:4.02] in some spots you may just barely be able to see a little bit of a ghost of the image.
But it's not enough to really paint with, and that's why we use the reference image. This just gives us a way to have a very clear indication of what's there and yet it's not part of the image at all. So we can turn it on or turn it off and in either case we're going to be painting with the embedded version of the same image in the cloning layer. So that's first and foremost what's going on with cloning layers. Secondly, I want to talk about a limitation. The way this works, it just so happens that if you would take something, I'm just putting some color on here, so we can see this.
There is not a lot of color going on in the background of this part of the image, so it's rather monotonic. But let's go get the Eraser. Let's say oh! I want to fix this right here. Well, when you do that, unfortunately the nature of cloning layers is that you are erasing the image from it. So using an Eraser, or doing a Select All, Delete, or even using my Clear Layer command, none of those are something you want to do on a cloning layer itself.
Now let's go back and get the Cloning Brush, and okay, I can paint here, but in this area I erased when I try to paint, nothing happens. You can see what happens. Wherever I've erased, as soon as it hits the edge of the erased area, then it starts painting again, because there is imagery there. If I paint into that area yet, well, yes, I can paint with color into that area, but I can no longer get back to the imagery that was there. So how do you get around this problem, because there may be times where you do want to erase an area and do something with it? Well, you wouldn't necessarily need to erase it, but what you can do in these circumstances is go into the Actions and create a new cloning layer group.
There is multiple ways to use this. In this case we're kind of using this as a band aid. I'm going to put it right above the Underpainting layer and now I'm going to go in here, and because this layer now has the full information in it, well I can paint in here. So if you find you need to locally edit something that you did on a layer and for some reason you've erased it and there is no more imagery actually embedded in the layer, then making a new cloning layer group is a way to give you imagery in that area to be able to paint with. And as I've said before, you can create as many of these layer groups as you want.
So you can stack up many different cloning layers and do different kinds of things on each of those layers. In a little while, we'll get into how the Intermediate and Detail Strokes layers work and we're going to be using smaller and smaller brushes on each of these layers which reveals more and more detail. So even though the layers are the same, what the brush does on the layer is really the key to how these work. In fact, I will go down here to a very different brush like a Fan - Flat Cloner.
Now we can see this brush has a very different character. I'm rotating the barrel of the pen in my hand to do this. But this brush has a very different look than this brush did over here. It's also because we're in a different area of the image, but you can see the character of how I've designed the hairs on this brush and the spacing, all of these things come together to give this brush a different character. Let's go to a different one. Let's go to a Fan - Round Cloner right here. Another very different character.
So it's the shape of the brush and the way the bristles are designed on them that are going to alter the character of what happens when it interacts with the imagery embedded in the layer. So you have quite a range of expression possible with all of the different cloning brushes that are in this list. I'll get into some more specifics about the brushes a little later, but one of the things you'll see is for each type of brush, there is a Round Cloner, but then I also do a opaque version of it, what we can call a smeary version of it, and each of these brushes has a different character. Some are going to apply color, some are going to smear color, some as cloners do in this case use the color within the imagery.
But the whole brush set is designed to give you a very wide latitude of expression based on your hand input. So what have we learned in this chapter? Well, using cloning layers you can break up a painting into as many layers as you want. Each layer then access its own safety net, enabling you to fearlessly advance your painting without ever losing the original source. By segregating your painting into discrete layers, you further widen your safety net as well as provide greater latitude for editing the painting later on.
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