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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
As we advance further into the intermediate layer of our translation it's time to start introducing some texture into the mix. Within the vocabulary of painting, the appearance of canvas texture is a way of reestablishing the high-frequency detailed destroyed in the underpainting step. We can effectively use this detail to control the viewer's eye and weigh the importance of the subject matter in a scene. So this is where texture is now going to start to play a greater role.
I can see a little bit in some of the cross-strokes that idea down here in the street area, but they're pretty subtle and we want to start to reintroduce that texture, to provide some visual activity that the eye is going to be attracted to. Remember in a photograph everything that's in clear sharp focus has the elements of high-frequency noise in it that attracts your eye. In a painting we can indicate it by using the canvas in a way that it provides some high frequency and we are totally in control of it through the application of our brush.
I will show you what I mean. Now this is another one where I definitely am going to want to do this on its own layer. So I'm going to probably put this one outside of this group, because I don't want the adjustment layer of Hue/Saturation to affect it. So I am going to go ahead, I am going to create a new layer, and what I want to do is just take this layer and put it up so it's above the grouping that includes the Hue/Saturation slider. That way it won't be affected by changes made there.
Now we are going to use our brushes on this and we are going to not use cloning, but we are going to use opaque brushes and we are going to have to look at a couple of things here to get this straight. Again, I'll probably just use my Round Opaque Fan Brush. Now if you look down here in the preview we are getting a really good representation of how the current Depth setting through light to full pressure will apply to our layer and I don't want a fully engaged paint occurring on this texture layer that I am making.
So I'm going to play with the Depth slider here and notice as I turn it down, see what's happening down in the preview. I'm able to reduce the influence of texture so that even with my hardest brushstrokes I am not going to get a canvas-clogging color. It's only going to skip along the highest parts of a grain, and that's what we want to do, because we can start to use this as a way to do optical mixing and I will show you what I mean in a moment. By being able to apply color but not as a fully coverage type color, but by only using the tops of the canvas weave we can establish a very interesting additional layer of information on our painting.
I am going to leave it open for a moment and just try a very wild color here on my layer. The other thing I am going to do is I am going to call this texture so that I know where that is in case I start building up so many layers. I am just going to try it here. That's still pretty tight in terms of how much texture is showing through this. So I am going to turn it down even more. That's better. I think it's even still at this point a bit too much. I am going to turn it down a bit more.
Maybe even down about 3%. Now let's see. That's in there where I want. So almost like you want the most coverage to be maybe 50% coverage and then through pressure be able to go from that 50% down to a much lighter amount and that's exactly what I'm looking for. So I'm going to delete all that and we can go ahead and close this up. Oddly enough, even while this has to do with the main subject, you can use it in some very interesting ways.
Remember, we talked in the last movie about warm colors advancing and cool colors retreating. I can do a little bit of interest on these buildings in the background without calling too much attention, but just providing some optical mixing and what I want to do here is actually go and get a blue. Now I could do this by the numbers here, but the other thing we don't want to forget, I did create all the swatches which represent traditional colors.
So I've actually got a whole set of colors here that provide me with the equivalent of what a commercial set of artists' colors would have. So if we stick more to these colors rather than just dialing in any color I want, it's going to be yet another element of painting that the colors applied this image are coming from a traditional model of what color should be like. So let's go ahead and do that. I'm just going to see a little bit here.
In fact, let's go to 100% for this. Now we are getting to the point where being able to see makes a great amount of difference. See how I am just putting a little bit of that in there. We will back out in a moment and look at that. Now this building is getting a little closer. I am going to provide a little warmth for it. So let's take this color. And again very, very light. You don't want to overdo this. I might do purple, and remember this is on a layer, so later on I could say, you know, that's a bit much.
I can play with, for example, the Opacity to adjust the strength of this. So while it looks good to my eye now, I often find after you have done something like this and you get away from it, you realize later oh, I overdid it. That's once again where I call my 50% rule into play. It may work out that it looks good, but it's calling attention to itself. Now let's get down here on the cars and I am going to work a little bit in these vehicles right in the front.
Another trick I'll show you, and this deviates a little bit from using the exact colors, but you don't always have to stay rigidly tied into these colors. I am going to go over here and I am going to sample a color off of there. I want to point something out, because I'm doing a little trick here that I haven't told you about. Normally, when you hold down the Option key when you're using the Mixer brush, you're going to see that cursor. What is that cursor? This cursor actually enables me to pick up a broad range of color.
I will just show you a sample here. I am going to pick right there and then let's just do a stroke. So normally when you're in the Mixer Brush, you will find if you hold down the Option key, which normally is what you do to get the eyedropper, instead you get this little cursor. What this cursor does in terms of the Mixer brush is it actually picks up a range of colors. So if I were to position it here and sample it, my brush would start painting with yellow on one side and kind of this brown on the other, which is a great technique.
It's called a loaded brush technique. I use it all the time. But for what I am doing right now, I don't want to actually get a range of colors. So I just want a single color. So what I have done and what you will be seeing we do while I am in the Mixer Brush is I have got a key assigned to my Wacom tablet so that when I press it, it just initiates the eye shortcut for the dropper. So I can sample and let it up and it goes away. So that's one little trick you can do so that you have the ability to grab both add mixtures of color for a loaded brush technique or in the cases like this where you just want to grab a single color you can do it with a simple push of a button on a device like your Wacom tablet.
Otherwise, you've got to go all way over here, click on this, sample it, go back and select. There is a lot of movement in the interface that is distracting. So that's my little trick. So we've sampled that color. Let's go ahead and jump back here and this is where I can play with its saturation. I might resample it again. It doesn't quite look great. There we go! So here is where I probably turn up Brightness a little bit and increase Saturation and now let's go in here and paint on this.
See there it is and I am going to reduce my brush size and just put a little bit on there. It looks like it could maybe be a little lighter, there. So now I am just going to put a little bit of that on there and I don't think there is really other areas. I need to do it there. Another thing that's happening is these windshields are reflecting the sky and while it's really gray and a windshield tends to have kind of this bluish green kind of color in it, it wouldn't hurt to highlight the fact that there's some reflection going on there.
So once again I am going to sample a single color and let's punch it up and lighten it up a little bit and then with a very light touch, I am just going to go in here and add little bits of that reflection from the sky to show up on here and anywhere where there's a windshield I will do some there, anywhere where that kind of curving towards the sky. It's just a little technique to indicate, there is that word, indicating kind of a reflection on glass.
I don't know that it really be here so much, but that's good. Same thing here. I am going to once again sample this color and if anything I am going to brighten it up a bit. So I will take it to brighter, and keep in mind I am always doing this with light touch. If I go all the way I am going to get that, which there may be occasions I want it, but for the most part I want it to be that or less, generally less. Maybe also little bit right along the top here.
Let's once again turn on our preview and we do have this bus here. So that's another area I think I am going to go ahead and sample there and lighten it up just a bit. Maybe just little bit along here. They are small moves, but each of these small moves are slowly but surely bringing this back into sharper focus and it's all through this indication.
I am going to shut that off. Let's back out a little bit here so we see. And what I like to do is just A/B it by turning the layer on and off. So you can see what we are doing is subtle, but we are going to be doing a lot of subtle things on our way to completion that are going to put this in a much more finished state. And I will be using more texture. This isn't the extent of texture I'm going to be using. This is just one usage of it, but there will be more texture used in the image as I move forward.
So I am going to keep working on this and I will see you over in the next chapter which is the detail chapter. This is where we are really going to start to lock in our subject matter. So I will see you on the other side.