The play's the thing
Video: The play's the thingWhile I have been stressing the importance of using detail to direct the viewer's interest, it is equally important to utilize areas of contrasting non-interest. An image with no rest areas becomes fatiguing to look at, and confuses the viewer's eye as to what is important within the scene. In this video, we'll take a cue from the world of stage and theater to clarify things. When the play opens up, the whole stage is lit up and you've got all the actors on the stage. You're allowed to see whatever the backdrop and scenery is on the stage at the outset, so it gives you a sense of place and environment that the actors are in. But once the play starts, the lights will dim down, and the spotlight will be solely on the actor and all of that other background is in darkness.
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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
The play's the thing
While I have been stressing the importance of using detail to direct the viewer's interest, it is equally important to utilize areas of contrasting non-interest. An image with no rest areas becomes fatiguing to look at, and confuses the viewer's eye as to what is important within the scene. In this video, we'll take a cue from the world of stage and theater to clarify things. When the play opens up, the whole stage is lit up and you've got all the actors on the stage. You're allowed to see whatever the backdrop and scenery is on the stage at the outset, so it gives you a sense of place and environment that the actors are in. But once the play starts, the lights will dim down, and the spotlight will be solely on the actor and all of that other background is in darkness.
Your concentration, by virtue of the fact that the actor is lit and everything is dark, puts full attention on that item. What I do, when I am working on an image, whenever I find myself kind of spending time working on something, I have to stop and ask myself, is this the actor or is this the stage? And if it's the stage, I should stop working on it right away because I'm fussing over an area that is not important. We need to look at this image, and determine, you know, who are the actors on the stage.
And I've just temporarily turned on the reference, so we can kind of see the overall image. For sure, the building being the largest element, that's kind of our backdrop for this whole thing. And then, in a less general way, we have the full outdoors that is in the distance. And then, even beyond the building, the true actors on this stage, I would say, are the ball, the tricycle, and the little girl up in the window. That's ultimately the most important elements in the scene. While we're here, quite the opposite, but a similar kind of problem, is that you don't want distractions.
And we've talked about this before. If you have to say, what's that? That's a problem. And right now, for me, are these smeary things that happened where the trike and the ball are. They're colors that don't make any sense there. And once we paint those objects there, what it's going to look like is there's a bunch of smeariness of the colors that the actual actors possess that are somehow smeared around them, and we don't want that. So I need to come up with a little trick here to figure out, how do I get rid of that? Here's how I figure is the best way to do it.
I'm in the Intermediate layer, lets also zoom up on it, so we have full access to what we've got to fix, right there and over here. I'm going to go ahead and create a new layer. We've got now a new latent layer sitting there that I can paint on. It's not a Cloning Layer, but what we're going to do is pick up some color adjacent to these colors that we want to get rid of, and then we'll paint with them. But we can take advantage of all of the color that's already there to essentially do a patch job. So what I need to do is grab a regular brush.
I'm going to get an Opaque Flat Fan, and that's the same brush I was using as cloner, remember. So rather than get lots of different brushes, I'm pretty much staying consistent. I'm just now using a brush that's actually going to apply its own color. As opposed to the Cloning brush, which literally has the colors of the image coming through it. So you may remember from an earlier video that I've assigned a key on the Wacom tablet that lets me toggle on and off, Sample All Layers. You can see it up here at the top. I'm clicking on that to turn it on and off.
So what I want to do is temporarily sample all layers. So I am going to enable it, and then, the other thing I've done that's part of the optional material you're getting with this tile is the front button of my Wacom pen. When I click on it, it allows me to sample all colors when I am in the mixture brush. So I'm just going to grab a color right here, and I'm going to disable Sample All Colors. And now I can paint on this layer, which is resting immediately above this, and start to paint out these colors.
And so I'll, a few times here, need to enable Sample All Colors. Sample an area, like right here. And then just paint into it. And so it takes a few samples to start to stroke this out and make sure that we don't have this oddball color combination. So it'll just take a few of these samples to get adjacent color picked up. And, I can use it then to paint with on the cleanup Layer. See that, I didn't turn off Sample All Layers.
You see how slow my brush was? That's why you'd want to disable Sample All Layers. Here I'll do it again. Now watch this. That's because Sample All Layers is on. Now I'll turn it off and disable Sample All Layers, and there, it's painting fine. That's the importance right there of having Sample All Layers off when you're painting in this layered environment. I'll get this all cleaned up, and then in the next video, we'll continue talking about the Detail Layer.
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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