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Lessons:15Length:1.5 hours

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Free Preview: Digital Portrait Painting in Adobe Photoshop


  • Overview
  • Transcript

Have you ever wanted to paint yourself or a friend, but struggled with making your paintings look like them? Well, Digital Portrait Painting in Adobe Photoshop tackles the often intimidating topic of digital portraiture head on. In this course, Melody Nieves will take you along this creative journey in painting two beautiful digital portraits, with one in color and the other in black and white. Learn how to conquer common struggles by utilizing simple techniques for improving your overall workflow with Adobe Photoshop's versatile tools. Not only will you learn to trust yourself, but also you'll gain more confidence and take away a better sense of likeness, general workflow, and the ability to correct any mistakes.

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Hello everyone, and welcome to digital portrait painting in Adobe Photoshop. My Name is Melanie Nieves, and I am a freelance digital artist and instructor specializing in all things digital painting. When I first discovered digital painting almost ten years ago I was absolutely hooked. For the first time, I felt like I could actually make all that beautiful art that was trapped in my head, and I was able to turn ideas into real life paintings because of Photoshop's limitless versatility. That feeling alone has always propelled me to continue painting so that I could get better and better. And like many artists, one of my biggest passions is painting portraits. Whether you're painting a reference, your best friend, or even the Mona Lisa, we always connect to art that's about ourselves or other people. In this course, we'll tackle any insecurities head on by showing you the many simple ways you can instantly make your portraits better in Photoshop. You'll learn some quick cheats for achieving a better likeness, how to set up your layer so that it's actually easier to paint, and the importance of starting with a solid base to work from. All in all, I really hope you walk away with a better understanding of digital art and the confidence to tackle your next portrait painting. So if you're as ready as I am to get started, let's move on to the next lesson.

2. Setup

2.1 Your Workspace

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to Digital Portrait Painting in Adobe Photoshop. My name is Melody Nieves and in this lesson, we'll cover everything you need as well as how to set up a simple workspace perfect for digital portraits. Because we'll be tackling two portraits that are more suited for intermediate level users, they do require a definitive understanding of at least the basics to drawing an illustration, from anatomy to core principles like balance and proportion. You should already have a grasp of these fundamentals and how they apply using a digital medium. For this course I'll be working in Adobe PhotoShop CS6 Extended using a pen tablet, specifically the Wacom Intuos 3. And don't worry, most of the topics I cover here can be easily applied to earlier versions of Photoshop with little to no modification at all. I've also downloaded two beautiful references as the subjects for our portraits, which you can find the links to within the course files. Both references can be purchased from PhotoDune, but if you do decide to go elsewhere, just make sure to obtain the proper permissions prior to selling your work. Now for our workspace, let's start off with a blank slate. If you normally work under the essentials workspace in Adobe Photoshop CS6, you may notice that it stays exactly how you left it the next time you load. So to reset it, simply go to Window, Workspace, and select Reset Essentials. Personally, I like to only keep panels I use most, like layers and adjustment layers. And by closing some of these other ones out, I can really keep my workspace nice and tidy. Let's load our PhotoDune reference. Go to File, Open, and select our first reference. Now create a new document with the following dimensions. Set the width and height to 8.5 by 11 inches, with a 300 dpi for high quality painting. With both loaded up, I can now separate the two and make sure that my reference is perfectly positioned right next to my document. This setup is essential because I can easily look over without all the fuss of switching windows. Last but not least I'll go to Window and add the navigator panel to my workspace. Knowing what your painting looks like as a thumbnail is incredibly helpful. You can save a lot of time by viewing your work through the navigator to catch any issues. And that's it for the simple, yet effective digital painting workspace. Join me in our next lesson, where I'll show you exactly which brushes we'll use.