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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.
Simplified indication is my term for representing visual elements with a minimum of detail. This relates to my "connect the dots" theory of engaging the user. Our brain delights and filling in detail and creates interest. A painter, for example, does not typically paint every leaf on a representation of a tree. Rather he creates an underpainting of light and dark areas, then applies a few well-placed brushstrokes to fool the eye into seeing greater detail. Simplified indication is yet another element of the vocabulary of painting.
Now, before we start, I want you to notice that with the exercise file from Chapter 10, instead of gridlines we have a set of guides and the reason they're there is I cannot do this whole painting. It would be prohibitively long to do that. So we're going to concentrate on the area right here. It has elements that are throughout the entire painting and that way I can work on this part of the painting without going to the extent of doing all of it.
But it also provides you with a whole set of unfinished areas that you can do on your own. So I'm going to work here and you will be able to work in the rest of the image to complete it following the various techniques that I am going to be showing you. So having said that, let's go ahead and take a look at simplified indication. I am going to zoom up and I don't typically work at 100% at this point, because you do want to get an overview. If I were to go to 100%, we'd be looking at this much detail.
And while there are times when we are going to work that close, right now is not the time. So I'm guessing about 50% is about the size I want to work at. It gives me a good overview of what I'm doing, but I'm not working so close that I am missing out on how the addition I'm putting into the image is affecting other areas. Let's start off and go to the Layers palette and I'm now going to go to the Intermediate Strokes. All of the underpainting we did earlier is on our Underpainting layer.
We are going to move up to Intermediate Strokes. One of the techniques that I use is as I start to refine detail in a painting, I use the brush size almost like the aperture on a camera. The smaller the aperture, the greater the detail I am going to be bringing into the image. So smaller brush sizes provide more detail. That's the way this works. Let's go up and look at our tools and I can go in here. I am going to probably at this point, I am big fan of the Round Fan, so I am going to take the Round Fan Cloner.
You can see there's its default size, but I'm going to use my left and right bracket keys to be controlling how small or large this is. And remember, we've now got another copy of the original image in our Intermediate layer. So as soon as I start painting with the clone brush, I'm going to be bringing out color based on the original image. But now we are working with a smaller brush. So at this point I am going to go up and turn on my Reference layer, so I can see the true detail that's in the image, and now I start to go to work to color in some of these detail areas.
So I am going to bring in the area of the car and you can see I'm painting it pretty precisely so that the shapes of the car are going to become much more rendered and visible in the painting. I am not going to necessarily paint every element of the car, but I am going to start to delineate much more precisely elements of the car. So in the case of this taxicab, you can see how I am following the shape of the windshield a bit more and this little advertising sign on the top.
This is where this indication now starts to really come into play. Now, you don't have to sit here and render every tread on that tire. You just want to have a stroke or two that gives the intent of a tire. You are indicating and by not taking time to slavishly render every single bit, we're going to end up with some nice lines that describe a car without being a precise rendering of a car. And we can turn this on and off at will, so we can see, see how now there is much more detail there.
Let me shut off the Intermediate layer, and you can see how just the addition of those strokes now is bringing much more detail in. I may have even done too much. But for this area of focus, that's where the greatest amount of detail is. As I move back here, we'll see in a moment, I'm going to use less detail, but still just kind of capturing the actual strokes that represent the shape of the car, and everybody's going to do this a little differently.
Every time I redo this painting, which I've done during this project, it comes out different every time. This is going to look different than the final painting I did in preparation for the course. It's just the way it works. Hit some of the street elements in here. This is an area where there is definitely reflection is happening on the pavement, and drawing my lines somewhat in the same direction of those is going to help portray the cement as if it is wet. There is also the notion of these crossing stripes here, so I want to make sure that I at least provide some of that detail.
And then once again enlarge my brush a little bit, because this is just less of a detailed area to worry about. But see how I am just painting downward here with very quick strokes. Now, here's where my brush size goes down a bit. I'm not going to touch the tree yet, because I am going to do that on a separate layer. Just because there's three layers presented here at the outset doesn't mean that you have to restrict yourself working with three layers. You use as many as you need. And in fact, the layer for the tree is not even going to be cloned.
I am going to actually paint it, because I want it on its own layer and you'll see in a little bit why I want to do that. So we've got a good indication of the light standard. Now, to get to the tree I am going to go ahead and create a new layer. And I'm not going to be cloning, so what I need to do here is get one of brushes and I think a Smeary Brush is going to work in this case. I don't want it to be Solid Opaque.
And I am going to reduce the size a bit and I am going to go and I'm just going to select that color and then what I may do over in my color palette is just darken it up a little bit. So if something is somewhat dark, you might want to make it a little bit darker. If something is somewhat light and you're going to paint in your own color, you might want to lighten it up a little bit. Because when you do that, you are in effect increasing the contrast in the image and you could see this tree is somewhat faded in the processes that we went through to get this into an underpainting state, and I probably want a little bit more darkness there, so that's the reason for selecting the darker color.
Now I can go in here and I'm just going to paint and I'm going to be doing this actually just on its own layer. And I'll show you in a moment why we want to do that. Now, I've already kind of used up the size of my brush here, so I am going to reduce the scale a bit. And you don't have to go through and exactly precisely render every branch on this, because once again, it's pretty much an impression and it's not going to be painterly if you try too precisely to follow what the photograph is.
What are you going to end up with? A photograph. So we don't want to do that. And then we've got some trees back here, so I am just going to vaguely use the shape of the lights as well as some of the branches I can see in those trees to just provide a skeletal outline. Look how I'm just indicating them. I am not even now following real tree limb structure. I'm just providing a few loose lines in those areas that will be close enough for the eye to read as the tree branches.
But they're going to be so far in the background we really don't need to worry about them. So I've shown you the basic techniques I am using here. I am going to go ahead and keep working and finishing this up and then when we start the next movie, you'll see the result of what I did and then we'll continue on.
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