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Focusing on the subject through detail

From: Digital Painting: Architecture

Video: Focusing on the subject through detail

We talked about simplified indication earlier in chapter eight, and to a degree, this video is a continuation, but on a smaller scale. Now that we are working on the detail layer, it is time to focus on the subject and utilize small brush size in order to provide the greatest amount of detail. As we know, the eye seeks out detail, so by imbuing the subject with this greatest degree of detail, we can control where the viewer will focus his attention. But to focus on the subject at hand here, probably one of the things that deserves a great deal of attention at this point is right here, this is our actors right here in the front.

Focusing on the subject through detail

We talked about simplified indication earlier in chapter eight, and to a degree, this video is a continuation, but on a smaller scale. Now that we are working on the detail layer, it is time to focus on the subject and utilize small brush size in order to provide the greatest amount of detail. As we know, the eye seeks out detail, so by imbuing the subject with this greatest degree of detail, we can control where the viewer will focus his attention. But to focus on the subject at hand here, probably one of the things that deserves a great deal of attention at this point is right here, this is our actors right here in the front.

We want to make sure that we're on the detail layer. I'm also going to want to be sure I have my cloning brush here, so I'm going to once again use my Flat Fan. And I'm going to make this pretty small. I'm looking at, you know, the size of things here, and I'm going to want to not be much larger, if at all than this is so that I won't be picking up extraneous colors on the outside. But, let's go ahead and see what happens here. I'm going to go ahead and start painting in here.

As I was doing earlier, especially on rounded things, this is where rotating to get the best angle is a really good idea. Because we're now at the detail level, you really want to take pains to do this carefully, and not inadvertently start picking up colors outside the edge. That's why a small brush size really is helpful. Also, you can paint this, and think you've touched every area of it. And then, when you turn off your reference layer, you'll see, oh, I didn't even, I missed this whole area here.

Once you've sketched in enough of this and it's basically kind of a fill in operation, you can almost work without the reference layer on, because everything's delineated. You're just seeing little spots in the image that aren't being painted and you can just go touch them up, so you don't always have to have the reference layer on. But, when needed, it's a valuable helper in this. I will probably go back with a separate layer, and I may do this as a very final pass. One of the things that really helps to lock an image into looking finished, is highlights.

And I've always said that you only want to paint with white for your highlights. Yes, there are some areas in this image that probably do have whites in them, but when I get into painting little highlights in certain areas of shiny objects in a scene, I try to never use white until that point in the painting. Because once again, white is going to be the highest contrast element in this whole image, and wherever I place white, even if it's just a tiny little sparkly highlight dot in the image, the eye, amazingly, will go after that and seek it out.

And its not like you're going to stop thinking about the image and wonder what's that white dot. You'll just notice it and assimilate it as a highlight in the image. A really good artist knows how to exactly direct your eye, and you may think you're just looking at the image on your own. But a well-done composition and painting, actually, you're being directed where to go with the way that the imagery has been done. Let's turn this off and see what. This can be off now and I can actually kind of paint in here and I don't necessarily need the reference layer on, because I've got enough information here to see, you know, just where touch up needs to go, to make sure that things aren't just incongruously hanging out in space.

See how that item, for one thing, it's very saturated in that otherwise non-saturated field. But it's also got lots of little detail in it. So, take your eye and kind of look at this image, and you'll find that it naturally wants to go down to that area of saturation and detail. More than anywhere else in the image right now, that's where the most detail is, so it just becomes a focal point of the image. The idea behind the detail layer, and it's a tinted additive paint layer, are where you can make or break a painting.

Detail strokes are like font characters, they are meant to be read and understood. This is your opportunity to really make your subject stand out. Sloppy detailing results in an inferior image, so take your time during this phase of painting.

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This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Architecture
Digital Painting: Architecture

49 video lessons · 12180 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 26m 4s
    1. Introduction
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
    3. Installing custom content
      2m 46s
    4. Setting up Wacom express keys
      13m 32s
    5. Setting Wacom touch ring preferences
      2m 14s
    6. Setting Wacom stylus preferences
      3m 24s
    7. Division of labor: Image prep and painting
      2m 33s
  2. 19m 9s
    1. Visual vocabularies
      3m 49s
    2. The vocabulary of photography
      7m 38s
    3. The vocabulary of painting
      4m 59s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      2m 43s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Removing lens distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      6m 47s
    2. Removing distractions
      8m 7s
    3. Don't be a slave to the original photograph
      10m 51s
    4. Correcting image adjustments
      2m 58s
    5. Telling a story with added image elements
      10m 14s
  4. 25m 2s
    1. The eye has a better sensor than a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Adding natural shadows with Field Blur
      8m 47s
    3. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment filter
      7m 48s
    4. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 25s
  5. 39m 56s
    1. Resolution is in the brushstrokes
      3m 26s
    2. Using the Surface Blur filter
      6m 17s
    3. Using the Displacement filter to add imperfections
      6m 22s
    4. Using the Oil Paint filter
      11m 51s
    5. Making tonal and color corrections
      12m 0s
  6. 22m 40s
    1. Nondestructive layer painting (NDLP): Your creative safety net
      5m 54s
    2. Setting up the Mixer Brush cloning action
      7m 29s
    3. Using cloning layers
      2m 58s
    4. Working with adjustment layers
      6m 19s
  7. 20m 7s
    1. Using tool presets and not brushes
      3m 41s
    2. Categorizing and organizing brushes
      6m 14s
    3. Adding canvas texture
      4m 51s
    4. Using Sample All Layers
      5m 21s
  8. 14m 48s
    1. You must destroy detail
      2m 9s
    2. Establishing compositional structure
      3m 46s
    3. Determining a style and sticking to it
      7m 30s
    4. Painting in progress: Finishing the underpainting layer
      1m 23s
  9. 26m 40s
    1. Understanding simplified indication
      9m 9s
    2. Understanding color: Warm advances, cool retreats
      4m 9s
    3. Painting in progress: Introducing texture to the intermediate layer
      13m 22s
  10. 40m 19s
    1. The play's the thing
      5m 18s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      4m 40s
    3. Using a traditional paint color swatch set
      4m 37s
    4. Painting in progress: Completing the detail layer
      16m 25s
    5. Adding surface texture effects
      9m 19s
  11. 12m 47s
    1. It pays to wait a day
      1m 55s
    2. Adjusting your importance hierarchy
      4m 49s
    3. You'll never paint the same thing twice
      2m 7s
    4. Helpful resources and inspiration
      3m 56s

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