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- Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
- Understanding the subject
- Removing lens distortions
- Using the traditional paint color swatch set
- Making shadow and highlight adjustments
- Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
- Cloning layers
- Using custom actions
- Working with canvas texture
- Creating physical surface texture effects
Skill Level Intermediate
We talked about simplified indication earlier in Chapter 10, 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 our subject with the greatest degree of detail, we control where the viewer will focus his attention. Now, I am going to start by dealing with these trees and I don't have a specific brush in the collection that actually is going to create a splattery effect.
So we have to manufacture it. And what I am going to do is switch over to the regular Brush tool. I also want to go up here and I am just going to grab one of the hard edged brushes for now and we'll create a new layer. In fact, I've added it here. It's called Detail Strokes, and I want to just try this out and see what happens. Well, that's no good. So how do we adjust this to do what we want it to? I am going to open up the Brush menu and the first thing we are going to do is we are going to go to Scattering and you will notice down there, see what happens when I adjust Scattering? I am going to just really crank it up.
That's the first thing we are going to do. Next, we are going to go to Shape Dynamics and here is where I can play with what's called the Jitter Size. See how it's randomly changing sizes as I turn that up, and that's what I want. That is going to create a range of sizes as I spray this out. The third thing I want to do is go to Brush Tip Shape and let's try it out. Okay, that's getting good, but it's a bit too much. So how do we slow down the delivery of all these? We can do it with the Spacing slider.
So as I turn this up, see how we're getting less dense version of those. I'm going to keep turning it up here and trying it out till I get about the delivery I want. There, I think that's pretty good. It's a little large for the sights of the light, so I am going to turn this down a bit. That's better. I might even turn it down one degree more, maybe another, there. So I've now got the light. The other thing I may do here is play with the Hardness, because these lights are like twinkling a little bit and a little bit of soft edge won't hurt.
I think that looks pretty good. So I am on my Detail layer. I am going to go ahead and let's just give it a try. There we go. I am putting in these lights and you have to kind of imagine that there are little branch elements that we're not even seeing that those lights are going on to. So don't have a hard and fast rule that your sparkly little lights in right with the ends of the branches.
Implied branch is a little farther out and kind of going beyond the range we are going to imply that, which again is a sense of indication. Let's try it here, and I am going to go ahead-- and I am not pressing this hard. So I am getting smaller lights, which is, they're in the distance. Just add them in there and as we go back, now I can't worry about the color but we'll go back and mask this off with our Transparency Lock and I will lighten those up a bit.
Okay. I think there is some back in here, but they are almost nonexistent. So we've added our lights. Maybe a little bit more here, in the foreground. And I am also going to lightly go in here and just do some smaller ones overall, just to add to the density and to give it a feeling of kind of lights twinkling and glowing. Remember, this is an impression here we are doing. It's not photography. That's what we are trying to get away from. And I can clean this up in a little bit with an eraser.
So that looks pretty good. Now, let's go ahead and lock this off, and this is where I can take this color and just turn it down as well as its saturation, and now I'll go pick out just a normal brush that doesn't have all of those attributes about it and enlarge it here. Let's just try it. Yup, it's working. I can see I can take it down a little more though, so I'll go down there and now I am just kind of feathering from the lights being less bright in the background to brighter in the foreground. Same back here. And there it is.
That's how simple those lights were. Now, looking at them it's like they look great, but gee, maybe they are a little too overemphasized. So the other thing I can do here is I am going to use Command+U or Ctrl+U, which brings up the Hue/Saturation slider, and I am just going to, while I can see this, turn down the Lightness of it a bit. I didn't take it too much where these don't look right at all, but this gives me a way to play with this look without necessarily losing exactly all the work I've done already.
So I like the placement and everything. It's just the look of the light seemed a little off. So by having this, again, on a separate layer, I can play with this and get it right where I want it, and that's about it. Because once again, you don't want these elements to necessarily over attract attention. Yes, they are subject areas and the detail helps your eye go to it, but I don't want it to be overemphatic. In fact, this is the main actor on the stage. This is kind of supporting cast essentially, so there's no reason to have it as brilliant and as "look at me" as the actors on the stage are.
So by turning that down a little bit, I have created some interest in an otherwise rest area of the image, but I've also created some interest. So I'm balancing who are the primary actors and who are the supporting actors basically. Okay. The other thing we're going to do now is start to use a very small brush stroke. So if we go down here to my point and I go down to Round Opaque Fine, let's grab that.
And I want to be sure I disable my Transparency Lock and let's just try a little sample here. I want to just see the range of small to large I am getting. At the largest end it's a bit too big. So I am going to use my left bracket key here to turn it down a little bit. And what was it? It was a 7. I've taken it down to 5. Let's try that. Still a bit much. Let's take it down to 3. That's probably the range of largeness to smallness that I want in my strokes.
So we'll undo these and now I'm ready to start applying some fine detail to this and for this I do want to be up at 100%. This is where we can really start defining these elements, and you'll notice too we are spending less and less time using the referenced image. It's now becoming more and more of our painted image, and that's where we want to go with this. So one of the things I am going to do is kind of delineate the cars a bit more.
I am going to go down with a fairly dark brush to do this. I am just going to go into some of these spots and just detail, feather in small amounts of detail on some of this. You want to be careful because too much is going to be pretty noisy, but we just want to start adding some small areas. One thing I kind of like is the way it's almost like the rim here got lit up by the side lighting from looks like this vehicle. So I am going to grab that color and just throw a little right there.
See, that's very small but it helps define the roundness of the tire and the rim and that's where small amounts make a big difference. The other thing we can do is I am going to take it all the way up to white, and you want to reserve whites for highlights only. You can't start using white everywhere. None of this is white right now. These are all less than white. In fact, I'll draw an exit so you can see, the white is brighter than that, and that's why I reserve white only for my highest highlights.
And I am going to start putting it like on the very tops of the cars. And notice I am not necessarily being a slave to exactly keeping these perfectly straight lines that match the exact geometry of the car, so to speak. Just bits and pieces here are enough to help the eye connect the dots. Remember, that's the trick here. We're connecting the dots. There's going to be highlights back here, these other car elements, one back there, we've got there.
See, how I am also by being lighter and allowing a bit of the texture to work, I can simulate less brightness by allowing this thing to become reticulated and broken up. That's another way to kind of add to that. Also, on things like the tops of these signs, we are just going to assume there is a bit of a light coming from above, and so little areas like this are where just adding little highlights help define the illusion of three-dimensionality to the scene.
And it's amazing how just a few little strokes like that are enough to start to give the illusion of greater detail. I think these are little areas that are the tops of awnings that are in the scene. Now, let's back this out, and where this will really make a difference is when you turn this layer on and off now. It should really be like, wow, without that there's a lack of what I want to be a finished image. I mean, look at the difference. It looks okay there, but you turn that on and just those few lines that we have added to the cars, the detail in the trees, it's an amazing difference that's starting to happen to this image and it's through such small amounts of additional paint on the image and yet it really starts to make a difference.
So I am going to go ahead and finish detailing this and then I will catch you in the next video.