Using a traditional paint color swatch set
Video: Using a traditional paint color swatch setA technique I use, especially in the final stages of an interpreted photograph, is to apply additional non-photograph-based color to the painting. To add authenticity to our strokes, we'll utilize colors associated with the traditional artist's palette. Now, what I'm talking about here is all the color we've derived from this image up till now has been funneled through our brush from the photograph, and it's true that we have done a lot of enhancement work to that photograph, especially in the area of some of the colors and the dynamic range of it.
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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.
- 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
Using a traditional paint color swatch set
A technique I use, especially in the final stages of an interpreted photograph, is to apply additional non-photograph-based color to the painting. To add authenticity to our strokes, we'll utilize colors associated with the traditional artist's palette. Now, what I'm talking about here is all the color we've derived from this image up till now has been funneled through our brush from the photograph, and it's true that we have done a lot of enhancement work to that photograph, especially in the area of some of the colors and the dynamic range of it.
But even so, it's still nice to be able to possibly have colors that would be the same kind of colors that you got out of a regular tube of, say, oil paint, and I've basically done that by creating a swatch set that has an entire set of colors associated with an artist's oil colors. The way I did this is I basically went to an online art store and on these websites, they have pages that will show you for ordering different tubes of paint, the colors associated with each of these oil colors in the complete set.
And so, what I did is I basically just used a screen capture utility to capture this entire set of all of these colors. Then, I brought that into Photoshop and I simply used the facility within Photoshop to capture these colors and put them in a swatch set. See, if I just hold this over one of the colors, you'll see that not only did I capture the colors themselves, but I also input the names of the colors. So, for people who are used to working with tube paint and are comfortable working with the colors by name, for example, they're all here.
My goal really wasn't so much to paint by picking colors by their names, but just to have this whole set of colors. In the translation of this, it's not probably a 100% visually accurate, they may be slightly different, but what is retained is the relative difference between all of these colors. So, these colors altogether will act pretty much like the variations in color that you're going to find in a traditional painting set, in this case, oils. So, by utilizing these colors on the image, we're going beyond simply employing the colors found in the underlying reference image, and we're starting to apply some of our own colors.
But rather than just use the Color sliders here to just pick out colors, I'm restricting it to colors that are associated with an actual color set, and that's really the goal of this. Now, I'm going to go ahead and grab this color. I'm going to make a new layer. I'm not going to be painting from the source colors, so I don't need to use or want to use the cloning layer. I've got this separate layer here now nested in the Details Strokes folder and I'm going to use an opaque brush. I'm going to use my Opaque Flat Fan here.
What I'll show you just kind of in a simple mode here is, right along here is where the sunlight is coming across from the left and it's starting to hit some of these components of the architecture. And part of the reason I liked this image when I shot it, was the time of day and the way that the shallow light angle striking the surface of this building, it really illuminated on one side, and on the other side, it darkened it. So, that really gives it kind of a nice 3-dimensional effect and I'm just going to go through during the final rendering of this painting and be doing a lot of that, just enhancing those areas by bringing out probably a little stronger lighting than was actually in the scene.
So for this, I'd probably use something like that color but maybe a little bit brighter, and it looks like this is a good sample of that. So, I'll just go in here, and remember now, I'm not on my cloning layer, you don't want to paint on the cloning layer if you can avoid it. So that's why we've made this secondary detail layer. But you can see how just putting some of this on there, and I'll turn it on and off, see how that just all of a sudden, it just pops. We're expanding the dynamic range of this image by adding a brighter color than was actually in the original scene.
So, the use of the color from the swatch set is yet another way to bring in another element of the vocabulary of painting, in this case, the relationship between all of these colors as evidenced in a traditional painting.
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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