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NDLP: A creative safety net

From: Digital Painting: Street Scene

Video: NDLP: A creative safety net

If you were a high-wire tightrope artist, you'd prefer a safety net, wouldn't you? I know I would. Likewise, when interpreting a photograph into a painting, a safety net can provide the ability to back out of undesirable results, as well as embolden you to experiment and try out ideas you'd otherwise avoid. In this video, we will take a look at my solution for a creative safety net while interpreting photos into painting. I call it non-destructive layer painting. The holiday scene that we are using for this project could have been painted directly on the digital canvas using only the trusty undue, or alternatively, regular file saving to provide any means of backing out of an undesirable result.

NDLP: A creative safety net

If you were a high-wire tightrope artist, you'd prefer a safety net, wouldn't you? I know I would. Likewise, when interpreting a photograph into a painting, a safety net can provide the ability to back out of undesirable results, as well as embolden you to experiment and try out ideas you'd otherwise avoid. In this video, we will take a look at my solution for a creative safety net while interpreting photos into painting. I call it non-destructive layer painting. The holiday scene that we are using for this project could have been painted directly on the digital canvas using only the trusty undue, or alternatively, regular file saving to provide any means of backing out of an undesirable result.

Instead, I employed non-destructive layer painting which enables me to build up a painting in layers. This technique not only acts as a safety net, it lets you build up a painting in organized layers. If you need to make a correction later on, for example, you can go to the layer that isolates the desired change, and edit only the specific area requiring modification. Here is a look at how I isolated the various stages of this painting. Now I am going to go through these and just show you the buildup and remember that each one of these I am going to show you is an individual layer where the activity took place on.

So I have the original source photograph. That's always available to me, and we'll see in more detail in the next video exactly how this works. The first layer I work with is the underpainting layer. So now I'm creating the simplified underpainting upon which more detail is going to be added at a later stage, and you'll notice that I actually took out some elements. The trees, for example, would have been very difficult to try to keep in the scene.

So I literally edited them out in the underpainting scene and then used an additional layer to bring back that detail, and by keeping those on those separate layers, it lets me experiment, for example, with the look of the trees because I'm not painting right on the same base that the underpainting exists on. Next, I did the tree lighting. I wanted to experiment with it. So once again, an additional layer gave me the wherewithal to try that out two or three different ways until I recognized the one that that's how I want it to look, and then that became the layer that stayed part of the painting.

Next and this is a big part of the interpretation process, and that is adding all the indication, indicating detail within the painting. So a lot of time was spent here and this is where you are starting to bring up the individual character of the image, starting to isolate the subject matter and add to it in a way that the observer's eye wants to go in and look at that detail. Next I started adding elements that weren't even in the photo. I added passersby, pedestrians crossing the street, that weren't even in the original photograph. So in this case, I'm adding a storytelling element that wasn't present in the original image.

Then I get into the final refinements. This is where it's just a final layer that adds a little bit of extra character to the image. Now if I turn it on and off, you can see for the most part it's the look of snow in the sky coming down, as well as I added some highlights on the windshields of the cars, played a little bit with the signage on the lamp posts, but these are just the small things that you start to notice towards the end that are going to help enhance the image. So we really are kind of narrowing down into the end of the image process to where it's almost finished.

Then finally, I add a physical texture layer. It's the appearance of what it would look like if this was a photograph painting, and we are not seen it too much here, and once again we are going to go out in more detail about this in a later video, but that is yet another step that ends up giving me the entire painting. So if we looked on the left, you can see there is a stack of several individual layers that make up this entire painting. And as long as those layers are isolated the way they are, I can always go back and change things.

Just a simple example would be the tree lighting. I might want to go back to that layer and play around with its intensity or the hue of the color, to mix those up. There's kind of a warm glow to those white lights in the trees. I may decide I want to change that, or I can even go back and mask that layer and go in and paint individual colored lights. So having all these elements in these layers is a great way to build up a very complex scene and yet have a very diverse editing environment where you can go back and play with these isolated layers to adjust them the way you want.

In the next couple of movies, we will take a look at the individual components in my suite of cloning layer actions.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Street Scene
Digital Painting: Street Scene

45 video lessons · 15509 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Installing custom brushes
      7m 0s
  2. 22m 3s
    1. Understanding the visual vocabulary
      4m 46s
    2. Using the vocabulary of photography
      6m 41s
    3. Using the vocabulary of painting
      7m 1s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      3m 35s
  3. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
      3m 6s
    2. Understanding the subject
      7m 16s
  4. 16m 1s
    1. Removing lens distortions
      2m 33s
    2. Using the Free Transform tool
      4m 42s
    3. Using the Lens Correction filter
      4m 36s
    4. Understanding the ACR lens correction profiles
      4m 10s
  5. 12m 23s
    1. Working with Vibrance
      3m 14s
    2. Using the Match Color command
      2m 59s
    3. Understanding the traditional paint color swatch set
      6m 10s
  6. 16m 6s
    1. The eye has a bettor sensor than a camera
      3m 16s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight filter
      3m 17s
    3. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding how RAW files provide malleability
      4m 10s
  7. 14m 42s
    1. Working with the Reduce Noise filter
      2m 50s
    2. Working with the Surface Blur filter
      3m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur for simplification
      2m 51s
    4. Working with the Topaz Simplify plug-in
      5m 55s
  8. 31m 10s
    1. NDLP: A creative safety net
      5m 1s
    2. Using custom actions
      9m 41s
    3. Using the reference layer
      5m 29s
    4. Cloning layers
      6m 5s
    5. Working with the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 28s
    1. Brush categorization
      10m 1s
    2. Working with canvas texture
      3m 41s
    3. Using Sample All Layers
      3m 46s
  10. 12m 48s
    1. Being willing to destroy detail
      7m 21s
    2. Establishing the painting style
      5m 27s
  11. 25m 1s
    1. Simplified indication
      9m 3s
    2. Understanding color
      4m 10s
    3. Introducing texture
      11m 48s
  12. 17m 36s
    1. Providing rest areas for the eye
      6m 55s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      10m 41s
  13. 24m 20s
    1. Being willing to depart from the original
      6m 48s
    2. Creating detail to enhance the artwork
      8m 36s
    3. Creating physical surface texture effects
      8m 56s
  14. 10m 33s
    1. Waiting a day
      4m 14s
    2. Examining your importance hierarchy
      6m 19s
  15. 57s
    1. Goodbye
      57s

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