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2.1 Base Colors

In this lesson of the course, we will be adding our base color and the edges of our darkest color. We will then use the Gaussian Blur to help create a color transition. We will also begin to bring in additional color to ensure that our work isn’t flat.

2.1 Base Colors

In this part of the course, we're gonna cover adding a secondary color to our painting, and we're also gonna talk about using the Gaussian blur to help us make a smooth transition from one section to the next. Okay, so we start off with our original photo, the black and white. I usually want to start off with the black and white to build my base and to understand how I'm going to set up for the color later on. So in the last lesson, we just put the flat color down. That's where we're gonna start to build from. So you can see we have all of our colors laid out now. It's a little cleaner than what it was before, which is good. No problem there. Every now and then I'll go back and organize. But if I'm working really fast I'll leave it just like it was. All right, so we only have to focus on the skin. We're not gonna focus on the materials and the hat and things like that. So that makes it fairly easier to stay focused. So we'll make a new layer here. And I'm just gonna start to laying down a base edge color. I take my opacity down, I try to keep it between 20 and 40 at all times. But I'm also using the opacity controls within my Cintiq, which is my screen that I draw directly on. So even though you see 37 there, I'm probably using no more than 14 or 15% maybe even less than that. I would say I average somewhere around 7 to 14% as far as pressure. So even though you see my number's at 37, and my flow's at 100, I still have the control within my hand and my pen, and my Cintiq screen. So if you're not familiar with Wacom screens or Wacom screens, you should check that out, they're very helpful, but they're not a necessity. As long as you have something other than a mouse, you can pretty much create your own style and use it. So don't feel like you have to go out and spend a lot of money to get the hardware. Okay. So I'm using the dark colors to frame just the dark areas where the shadows would be. With those areas think about a skull and how it would receive a little less light, because it's further back. So essentially what we've done is created a mid tone which is the first layer. And then what I'll do is jump in between the middle and work my way back down toward the shadows. And then I'll work my way back up toward the highlights. And in between, we'll start to bring the color in. So the first thing I want to do is establish where the dark areas are, where my shadows are, where does the face fall out of focus. And I want to just start to lay that down just to build my way up. And think about it as anything else, like with Legos. You go piece by piece. If you ever had the privilege or pleasure of playing with Legos, if you're following the instructions in the book, it seems like a lot. But if you go piece by piece, color by color, it's a lot easier. We're doing the same thing here. We just want to lay down some foundation colors right here, just go ahead and make this a little darker. And I'll say this over and over again throughout the lessons. It's okay to start off light and then work your way darker as opposed to leaving everything at 100 and working my way back. So now you notice I just grabbed a Gaussian blur, turned it down a little bit right from the filter. And now I have a softer color. This allows me to keep nice, soft transitions in between the colors. So I use a Gaussian blur. So I may put some harsh colors down, but I won't go to 100%, all right? I try to stay within that soft range, and then I Gaussian blur it. Now if you just simply look at the picture, you can see we have a much softer transition and that's the goal. So that we don't have any gray areas or blotchy areas, but we have nice soft transitions. So I'm going to go through it again, and just think about how the face is made. Make sure that I darken those areas that I wanna keep light away, I wanna show creases, I wanna show depth, especially the eye sockets. The edges of the nose, the chin. Those are places where I wanna focus. Underneath the neck obviously, right? Because that's further away than the front chin. So it should be darker. And let's go ahead and touch this smile line a little bit. Here we go. And just reinforce that eye socket again and go over top. There we go, and notice how I'm not zoomed in. Now later on I'll zoom in and zoom out. But right now I'm not zoomed in. I want to get a generic macro idea of what my painting is looking like. So macro and micro, you heard me say that here and there. What I'm referring to, macro is the big picture. Micro is the smaller picture, the details. There's a saying the devil's in the details, right? But when we start off with a painting, we don't want to worry about the details. We wanna do generic broad strokes. We wanna give generic information. And we wanna work from there. So let's go back in and just, creating this eye socket and the depth. And so you see I have those chalky colors again, and I just hit Ctrl+F, which is the shortcut to the last filter that I used, and then I gave it a soft blur once again. So let's go ahead and dark colors again. And just go a little bit darker. So I wanted to make sure I'm in the same range, and I'm gonna go a little bit darker here. And you can see that we're just slowly but surely building up. Now as I pick my colors, notice how I don't go to the muddy colors, the dark, dark colors. I wanna stay with something has a little bit of red in it in this case because of the skin contrast. I wanna make sure that I'm keeping life in my painting, so I never want a flat, solid color. I just wanna say bring in a little red, bring in a little blue, colors that show vibrance. And so our subject matter never really gets boring, doesn't look as flat. And I would just keep working using that. So here I go again working those edges and defining shapes. Thinking about what pulls off of the face and how much shadow am I gonna leave. How am I gonna express that via a fold, a skinfold, via a smile line? Even right here as I work in a eye socket. The goal is how am I'm going to express that that's an eye socket properly. And if you've ever taken the time to draw a skull, you know that the fallback, the hollow part of the skull is much bigger than what it appears when we are alive, or when we have flesh on our skins, right? Or muscle. So I wanna keep that in mind as I begin to work the edges here. Let me go into here and make this a little bit stronger line, cuz I was starting to lose a little bit of the face shape with the Gaussian blurs, which is okay. Cuz we can always come back, you'll see. I'll come back and rework that corner of that chin, cuz that's an important part of the painting to me. There we go. And you can see just adding that depth secures that part of the face. And that's what we wanna do. We wanna bounce around and fix different parts at different times. We don't have to get it all done at once. We start to work this nasal passage right here. The nose, here we go, and then I'll start to work the smile line, the crease area, and come over here and do the same thing. And just rework this are, because we lost a lot in the blur, which is fine. It gives us a nice smooths transition right back to the nostril area, and I wanna whip around that corner. Give myself a nice, smooth edge, there we go. Bring in that cheek line. Bring a little more shadow to the cheek line a little with a darker color. And we're not gonna focus too much on the ears, cuz I really wanna spend time showing the technique to the face. And then you can apply that obviously to the ears. I'm gonna zoom back out again just making sure that I have a nice flat downs with the two colors that we're using primarily. And push that neck back even more. And we'll keep working the neck. We haven't made our final decision on that. So let's go back to the nose area. These are the areas that I think really helps solidify what it is we're doing. So let's come underneath here and just drop a little color. Here we go. I'm gonna have that wrap around into the nostrils eventually, we'll pull it in, the top of the lip. Right here just to get that shape in. There we go, and right underneath the smile line here and here. Just drop a little bit of color, then back out again. Let's see how we look. This is balanced, she's looking pretty good. Now, mentally, I'm preparing for the next level, which is to start to bring those highlights in. I probably need to put a little more red in first, because I feel like my browns are becoming mute and boring. So we already had a little bit of red in, but it's still. I just hit Ctrl+F again, I did another the blur. It's still a little bit not as exciting, and that's okay at this point. That's okay. That's not a big deal. Oftentimes when a young artist or someone who's not familiar with the certain piece or style, they'll run into this and they get frustrated and then quit. But I would advise if you happen to have that problem, stick with it. Make it all the way through. Make your mistakes and fight out of your mistakes. My idea is this, I believe in Photoshop, if I make a mistake, if I do something wrong, if you give me the airbrush tool and a couple other tools I'll clean it up. But it's okay to make those mistakes. It's okay to not get it right, or for your work to look a little wonky as if it's not exactly the way you want it to be. That's not a problem. There we go, got a little more red in here now. And I'm feeling better about it. And just that little adjustment, it's gonna make a big difference right off the bat. Just bring it in. Just bouncing it, passing it around. Right up here by the chin area and underneath the lip. And right on top of the lip. Just a little bit there so when I Gaussian blur it will get a nice transition. And I'll hit the smile line again and over here. And outside just a little bit on that fold. And this gets a lot more exciting once we start to lay in the lighter colors to give us that balance. So we have two out of three primary steps taken. We have the flat layer, which was the tan brown and the original we started off with. Now we're using the brown-red to solidify and get the shape of the face. There we go, right, bring some of that red down here in the neck area. Here we go. And just take a look at that. Work a little bit more underneath that cheek line. Mm-hm, just here's a nice curve that we can put that color in. And now you see as my brush gets a little thinner, that color becomes a lot more intense. So you can see, if you look at the opacity, I haven't turned it up much. It said twenty 25, and believe we started off at 32. So it's pretty low. But now we're adding a little pressure and we're going over again and again, because I'm ready for them, ready for the color now. I'm ready to bring the color in. Here we go. Now let's go right underneath the nose, bring the color in there and work the nostril again. And so you can see I'm just bouncing back and forth, bouncing back and forth, trying things out, trying to see what it looks like when I add a little bit of red. Does it work for me? Let's get this crease again in a. And that little color is making it more more alive, visually more appealing already. Now this may be too intense, but I wanna get some color laid down to see the direction that I'm going, experimenting a little bit. And we also have it on a layer, so in any moment, we can turn the opacity down on the layer, or we can turn that layer off and throw it away. So. Let's go ahead and just put some more color in really quick, and then we'll Gaussian blur it, of course. So in the next lesson, we'll come back and we'll start to add the highlights to our painting. Very simple, very easy. We'll start to put the third color in. See you in the next lesson.

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