Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Focusing on the subject through detail, part of Digital Painting in Photoshop: Architecture.
We talked about simplified indication earlier in chapter eight, and to a degree, this video is a continuation, but on a smaller scale. Now that we are working on the detail layer, it is time to focus on the subject and utilize small brush size in order to provide the greatest amount of detail. As we know, the eye seeks out detail, so by imbuing the subject with this greatest degree of detail, we can control where the viewer will focus his attention. But to focus on the subject at hand here, probably one of the things that deserves a great deal of attention at this point is right here, this is our actors right here in the front.
We want to make sure that we're on the detail layer. I'm also going to want to be sure I have my cloning brush here, so I'm going to once again use my Flat Fan. And I'm going to make this pretty small. I'm looking at, you know, the size of things here, and I'm going to want to not be much larger, if at all than this is so that I won't be picking up extraneous colors on the outside. But, let's go ahead and see what happens here. I'm going to go ahead and start painting in here.
As I was doing earlier, especially on rounded things, this is where rotating to get the best angle is a really good idea. Because we're now at the detail level, you really want to take pains to do this carefully, and not inadvertently start picking up colors outside the edge. That's why a small brush size really is helpful. Also, you can paint this, and think you've touched every area of it. And then, when you turn off your reference layer, you'll see, oh, I didn't even, I missed this whole area here.
Once you've sketched in enough of this and it's basically kind of a fill in operation, you can almost work without the reference layer on, because everything's delineated. You're just seeing little spots in the image that aren't being painted and you can just go touch them up, so you don't always have to have the reference layer on. But, when needed, it's a valuable helper in this. I will probably go back with a separate layer, and I may do this as a very final pass. One of the things that really helps to lock an image into looking finished, is highlights.
And I've always said that you only want to paint with white for your highlights. Yes, there are some areas in this image that probably do have whites in them, but when I get into painting little highlights in certain areas of shiny objects in a scene, I try to never use white until that point in the painting. Because once again, white is going to be the highest contrast element in this whole image, and wherever I place white, even if it's just a tiny little sparkly highlight dot in the image, the eye, amazingly, will go after that and seek it out.
And its not like you're going to stop thinking about the image and wonder what's that white dot. You'll just notice it and assimilate it as a highlight in the image. A really good artist knows how to exactly direct your eye, and you may think you're just looking at the image on your own. But a well-done composition and painting, actually, you're being directed where to go with the way that the imagery has been done. Let's turn this off and see what. This can be off now and I can actually kind of paint in here and I don't necessarily need the reference layer on, because I've got enough information here to see, you know, just where touch up needs to go, to make sure that things aren't just incongruously hanging out in space.
See how that item, for one thing, it's very saturated in that otherwise non-saturated field. But it's also got lots of little detail in it. So, take your eye and kind of look at this image, and you'll find that it naturally wants to go down to that area of saturation and detail. More than anywhere else in the image right now, that's where the most detail is, so it just becomes a focal point of the image. The idea behind the detail layer, and it's a tinted additive paint layer, are where you can make or break a painting.
Detail strokes are like font characters, they are meant to be read and understood. This is your opportunity to really make your subject stand out. Sloppy detailing results in an inferior image, so take your time during this phase of painting.
- 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