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Digital Painting: Architecture
Illustration by John Hersey

Using cloning layers


From:

Digital Painting: Architecture

with John Derry

Video: Using cloning layers

A Cloning Layer contains the secret sauce that enables painting with a photograph, or any image for that matter. Using Cloning Tool or Presets, source imagery is deposited on the Cloning Layer, utilizing the character of the brush and texture being employed. In this video, we will take a look at how Cloning Layers work as well as what you can and can't do with them. So, here's the basic schematic for how this works. And just to preface this, the reason it works at all, happens to do with the extreme sensitivity of the Mixer Brush to color that is on a layer.
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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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Digital Painting: Architecture
4h 46m Intermediate Jan 03, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Learn to think like a painter and render images 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 visual characteristics of a photograph with that of expressive painting, and also shares the custom brush sets and actions he uses to achieve these results in Adobe Photoshop. The course also covers working with filters, layers, effects, and more to add further detail and texture.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a Wacom tablet
  • Removing lens distortions
  • Correcting distracting image elements
  • Making shadow and highlight adjustments
  • Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
  • Modifying color
  • Cloning layers
  • Using a traditional paint color swatch set
  • Using custom actions
  • Working with canvas texture
  • Creating physical surface texture effects
  • Painting with custom brushes
Subjects:
Design Design Techniques Digital Painting
Software:
Photoshop Wacom
Author:
John Derry

Using cloning layers

A Cloning Layer contains the secret sauce that enables painting with a photograph, or any image for that matter. Using Cloning Tool or Presets, source imagery is deposited on the Cloning Layer, utilizing the character of the brush and texture being employed. In this video, we will take a look at how Cloning Layers work as well as what you can and can't do with them. So, here's the basic schematic for how this works. And just to preface this, the reason it works at all, happens to do with the extreme sensitivity of the Mixer Brush to color that is on a layer.

And you can have as little as one percent of a color on a layer and the Mixer Brush will see it and not only pick up that color, but just paint it with full intensity. This was almost considered a bug during the pre-release of CS5, but when I hit upon the way this works and found out how this technique would work, I implored the engineers, please do not remove this, this is like a Northwest Passage. And so, they did keep it in there and essentially what's happening is, the action is taking a copy of the actual color image and it's reducing it down on a layer to 1% Opacity, and that's such light Opacity that it essentially doesn't even look like there's anything on the layer.

Now, that layer by itself wouldn't work because in order to turn down the Opacity to zero, you essentially have to decrease the Alpha Channel's Opacity to zero for that to happen. So now, you've got this 1% of Opacity in the RGB component of the layer, but you now have no reserve of Alpha Channel left, because you've used it to lower down to that 1%. So, what has to happen is, a second layer that is just a normal layer that does have its 100% Alpha Channel intact has to be merged with that image layer.

And so, when you combine the two, you end up with a single layer that has a full 100% Alpha Channel available to be able to show and make visible any painting that you do on that layer. But it also has, in its RGB component, that 1% of image that is nearly invisible, you can see it, especially when you have three of these stacked up. If you really look, you can just see the slightest ghost of the image being created by those three overlapping versions of the image.

But it's so light, it is not useful for seeing where to make positional placements of your brush. And that's where the Reference Layer becomes useful, because that is adjustable and you can make it as opaque or transparent as you want. But it's just this vagary of the Mixer Brush that it's so sensitive to color in the RGB component of a layer, that it's able to paint. And by retaining or giving back to that 1% Image Layer, your are giving it the full Alpha Channel so that just touching that with one of these Mixer Brush set up to be a cloner will actually start painting with it.

So, that's the secret sauce behind how this works.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Digital Painting: Architecture.


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Q: I'm unable to install the custom Wacom settings included with the exercise files. Any advice on how to load them?
A: After the course was recorded, we discovered that the Wacom preference files are not cross-platform and are specific to the machine that created them, which limits their use. However, in the exercise files you'll find a PDF labeled Intuos4 Mapping_PS_CS5.pdf; using this document, you can manually enter the settings in the Wacom control panel. Also, please note that the settings are not necessary to complete the course.
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