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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved the near-final version of my painting as Hair and shoulders.psd. At this point you can go one of two ways. You could decide you're going to paint in the background, which is entirely acceptable. I've got my Background layer turned off so that we can see the painting independently. But if you turn on the Background and leave the painting layer active, or if you want the background to be on a separate layer, you can go that route as well. Then paint in the background using the Mixer Brush. You'll probably want to use a bigger brush, because there is not a lot of information to retain here. I would suggest something in the neighborhood of 15 pixels, if you want to try that out, because I've done it before a few times now.
If you go back to my Photo paint variations.psd file, you'll see that each and every one of these variations here from early attempt, all the way up to second painting have the background painted in, which is one reason this time not to do it, to try something different. But there is another reason as well. In the meantime, as a little bit of a sidebar, I want you to note just how different these various treatments are. Ignoring for the fact that we have more elevated color values going on inside of this Photo paint variations.psd file, we will end up rendering out these colors in our final painting as well.
However, right now we have less elevated colors as you can see inside the Hair and shoulders.psd file. But there is a lot more differences than that going on. Starting with, check out the eyes in the last painting that I had created, the one called 2nd painting. Notice that they have this sort of Egyptian quality to them. They look heavily made up, in fact. Then if you switch to the one that I'm working on now, the eyes have an almost childlike quality to them. So, in as much as someone might frown on what we're doing here, they might say, All you're ultimately doing is tracing a photograph, I'm not even sure you're bringing that much in the way of artistic sensibilities to bear on this process.
I would argue quite the contrary. I would argue that not only is there sensibility and artistic expression involved, but also, I'll go ahead and turn off that Background layer here. This is a heck of a manual technique. This is by no means something that you pull off in 15-20 minutes. It involves an awful lot of work. In fact, I've kind of gone nuts this time around. I was telling you at the outset that you really don't need to paint brushstrokes over every single bit of the photograph. You can leave the photograph showing through in the background all over the place if you want to.
And that is what I did in all my previous treatments. So I had big gaps between my brushstrokes. Here, I have a fully realized painting. I've gone ahead and closed up just about every single gap there is. What that means is that I have managed to separate the painted Colleen away from any background whatsoever. Meaning, that I could place her against any background whatsoever as well, which I will do. But first, I need to complete the painting. What I'm missing, other than the background, which I'm not going to fill in. What I'm missing here, if I turn on that Background layer, and turn off the painting layer for a moment.
You can see that Colleen has these slight very fragile hairs next to her ear. I would like to go and fill those in, because I think it's a nice detail that we're currently missing. So let's go ahead and paint those as opposed to mixing them in. Let's just go ahead and paint those items in on an independent layer. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac. I'll call this new layer fine hairs, like so. Then I'll click OK. There is my new layer. The painting layer should be turned off by the way, Background on, so that we can trace it.
Then I'm going to zoom in a click here, so that I'm seeing the image at a 100% view size. I'm going to switchover to my standard Brush tool this time around. I suggest, especially, if you have a stylus, I suggest that you work with that exact same brush. That same Bristle Brush we were using to mix the painting. That is, Round Blunt. So go ahead and select that guy with one change. Reduce the Size value. Again, those of you who're working with a tablet, reduce the Size value to 1 pixel. That's it. If you're working with a mouse, try your values; see what ends up working for you.
Something in the neighborhood of three pixels will probably be a little better. I really want to be able to see that Bristle Brush preview. So I'll bring back up to the Brush panel. Click on that eyeball next to the paintbrush icon, in order to turn that preview on. Now the icon is appearing highlighted, which means it's some place, but I'm not seeing it. Go ahead and close the Brush panel and I bet it's right behind and it most certainly is, there it is. I'll go ahead and move it to the upper left corner of the image window, so I can keep track of it a little better. Then I'll move my cursor into the painting here and I will begin painting in these hairs.
Notice even though this is just a one pixel brush that I have a pretty thick line going on, and I'm not pressing very hard at all. I'm not very happy with that hair either. I'm going to go ahead and undo it and try it again. I think if I avoid touching the tablet I'll get smoother results. That works out pretty nicely actually. Now all of these paint strokes that I'm applying are black. That's not really actually going to work out very well for me. But I'll come back to that in just a moment. We'll recolor them before we get down here. I'm just painting in what appears to be some halfway descent hairs.
I'm not sure that that they're the most exacting hairs on the face of the planet. But that's okay. It would probably be a little smoother than this, if they were organic hairs. But this is about the best I think I am going to do at the moment. I think I'll try just a couple more. Let's drop one down here like this. I know you're thinking these are horrible hairs, Deke. These look like big, sort of droopy noodles once again. That is true, of course, I'm not going to deny that. However, we are going to address that issue right now, in fact. So first thing, let's go ahead and fill these hairs with a better color.
I'll do that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, so that I get my Eyedropper tool. Let's lift a sample color from the existing hair, or if you prefer, we could lift it from the hair painting. That might even be a better match. So I went ahead and turned the painting layer on. We've got all these purples inside of the hair now. I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click right about there and that ends up getting us pretty light color. But I think it's going to work out pretty nicely for us, at least it'll be a match with the existing hairs.
Once I've done that, if I want to fill these fine hairs with the foreground color, and respect that layer's transparency, so that I keep the transparent stuff transparent, and I make the opaque stuff the other color, then I'll press Shift+Alt+Backspace or Shift+Option+ Delete on the Mac and we get this effect. All right, so the hairs are matching the other hairs. Fantastic! I'll go ahead and change the blend mode, let's say to Multiply. See how that ends up looking. It looks pretty horrible. Well, the biggest problem is that my hairs are so noodlely.
I need to reduce their width. That's something I can do by at this stage in the game, introducing a filter. So I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Other. And remember how I was demonstrating in the Smart Filter chapter. We're not going to apply this command as a Smart Filter by the way, no need to. But remember how I was demonstrating that you can reduce the thickness of type by applying the Maximum command. You can expand the thickness of your type of live type by applying the Minimum command. Well, the same is true for hairs. If we wanted to make the hairs thicker, I would choose the Minimum command.
Minimum, because we're actually choking back the transparency mask, which makes the hairs thicker. Maximum, because we're expanding the transparency mask, which makes the hairs thinner. Anyway, I'll choose Maximum. That's way too much, that just made the hairs go way. Let's try a value of 1. That's as low as we can go and it actually ends up giving us some very nice interesting fragile hairs, that looks like hairs. They actually kind of look like hairs that I accidentally dropped on the painting. However, they do look like hairs. Anyway, I'm going to click OK to accept those hairs.
I'm not so sure that I want to go with - I'll zoom back in here. I'm not so sure that I want to go with the Multiply mode. Let's see what Normal looks like, if we just go ahead and apply Normal. I think that looks better. All right, so there's the hairs. Feel free to paint more if you want to. Again, just make sure you get all the hairs painted into place before you apply Maximum. In the next exercise we are going to take Colleen, painted Colleen that is, and her hairs, and we're going to posit them against a new background.
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