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I am still working inside Colleen in Amsterdam.jpg. All I have done so far is to create a new layer and establish a few Mixer Brush settings that are most conducive to transforming a photograph into a painting. I've also selected the default Round Blunt Bristle brush and reduced the size my cursor to 3 pixels. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on Colleen's face here, and when transforming a photograph into a painting, I advise that you start by tracing the most recognizable elements first. That might sound common sense but you don't want to just be scrubbing over obvious edges inside the image.
So I am going to take it pretty slow and easy around, for example, the nose here in order to see if I can get this exactly right. Notice by the way, remember that is, that you have the option of rotating your canvas as you work here. So I'll go ahead and press the R key and drag the canvas, like so, in order to rotate it onscreen and that's going to work out better for me. Now I think I've mentioned this a few times, I'm left-handed so it may be that everything I do is the opposite of the approach you want to take. Feel free to, of course, go your own way and come up with an approach that's comfortable for you.
All right I am going to go ahead and trace around this portion of the nose, as well. And you'll probably find, by the way, that you need to go ahead and rotate the canvas several times as you work on it or at least that's probably going to be the most comfortable approach. Now I have gotten these highlights worked out pretty well on the nose, you've got to take it easy in this area in order to keep things from falling apart, because after all you are smearing colors and you don't want to have to smear things back and forth too often. Once you get into the larger regions of the flesh, then you can be a little more expressive, I would gather.
However right now I am, as I say, I am going to take it easy and take it pretty slow all around these details. All right, so I am going to trace down into whatever this thing is called at the front of the mouth right below the nose. And I've traced into the nostril too, you may notice, and I am trying to, once again, keep this very careful in this area. Now I am going to trace down into the lips. Now, it really depends on what kind of effect you're going for whether you want this to be a very carefully rendered painting or, again, whether you want it to be more expressive. And it kind of depends.
In the case of a portrait shot like this here, I would say that we're better off being careful. Let's imagine that this is something that I am doing for client and they are going to want it to look good by the time I get done. So they are not going to be too impressed by, necessarily, my expressiveness or my creativity, they are going to be more impressed by them looking very good. So that's sort of the tack I am taking where this guy is concerned. And when I say guy of course I mean the painting, not the model, who is obviously not a guy. All right, so anyway I am just blathering as I paint away here.
Something else you want to keep an eye on, and those of you who are pen tablet users, you want to make sure that you are seeing the Bristle Brush Preview, I think that's really a good idea because we have got from the work here. And you want to make sure that the stylus inside the preview is tilting along with your stylus, the angle of the stylus, as it's hitting the tablet that is, because that ensures that you are going to get halfway decent brushstrokes. By the way, keep an eye on that Bristle Brush Preview. If you are seeing the brush sink in to that dotted line, which is the canvas, then you've got some sort of driver issues and you may need to go ahead and restart Photoshop and you're definitely not going to get the same results, your results won't look nearly as nice.
All right, so long as I am sitting here mechanically tracing the contours of Colleen's face, and we won't keep that up forever there, I am just trying to make sure that I have the contours scouted out. The other thing I should probably work on, while I am in meticulous mode here, are the eyes. So I'll ahead and scroll my way up to the eyes, I am also going to press the Escape Key, because I want to see the eyes upright as I paint them, and I'm going to start right there at the rear of the eye that is on the left-hand side and move my way forward; that way I can lift as I am creating the lash, because this area has probably got mascara on it, I would imagine, and I don't want to smear that mascara on other portions of the eye.
I'll also trace along the contour of this wrinkle at the top of the eye. I'll trace very carefully over that highlight there. Scrub back and forth in the middle region and over on the rear side as well of that eyelid, and notice that I'm taking it pretty easy. Now my progress here may seem pretty glacial but these are the eyes after all, and if we make the eyes work then the painting is going to work. If the eyes don't work, the painting is going to fail. All right, so I am going to go ahead and zoom in, I figure, so we can see the eyes even more closely, and I am just going to paint very delicately around the irises here.
And paint a swath down the highlight, as well. Paint in some of these eyelashes, but the more important thing is that I paint along this bottom highlight and that I end up retaining that. Then I'll go ahead and take some of the eyelashes back down so that we have a decent transition in this area. I am also noticing while I am zoomed in here that I'm missing a few spots. Now one of the very forgiving things about painting on an independent layer on top of the original photograph is that, throughout, we will keep the original photograph. It's almost a cheat, quite frankly.
If I turn off the background layer, notice, I don't have that much paint on his painting layer yet, but it is enough to convey the sense of a painting. We'll keep the original photograph in the background at all times even in the case of the final piece in order to basically support the weight of the paint. So the paint is really just the icing on the cake, the original photograph is the real thing. Now, if you feel comfortable with going for it and just doing the painting by itself and letting the painting stand on its own, more power to you, but that's not what we're going to be doing in this case.
All right, so this gives a sense of what I am trying to accomplish. Now I am painting a little more freely across this area of the nose. So what I am going to do is I am going to establish a few more of these little details off-line, including, for example, this little eyelash right there, that's very important, and then I'll come back and I'll show you how to fill in some of the larger regions of skin.
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