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FREELessons: 15Length: 2.6 hours

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1.2 Pre-Production Tools and Techniques

In this lesson we’ll set up for the upcoming lessons, and cover how we can set up our project to understand light. We will be briefly covering how to create depth in color, the Blur Tool, Smart Objects and the noise tools. We will also cover setting up our brushes for our workflow, how to adjust the tools to create texture, and how to blend them to achieve a blended look. So there’s plenty to do in this lesson!

1.2 Pre-Production Tools and Techniques

Our transition into the lesson. I wanna cover a few basic steps that will help make the course a lot easier for you. I'm gonna cover quickly how my setup works in Photoshop and some of the tricks, tools, and terms that I will use throughout the course. So take a moment, run through if you're not deeply familiar with Photoshop. Make sure you have a generic understanding and and a more in-depth understanding of some of the things I'll be using and discussing as far as terms throughout the course. So let me briefly break down what we're gonna do in a nutshell. We're really gonna use a couple of tools to help enhance our colors. So we're gonna play with lights, we're gonna play with darks, we're gonna play with mid-tones. And we're gonna blend them and help them seamlessly work together. We're gonna use the noise tool, we're gonna use the Gaussian Blur tool. And we're gonna combine them to help us out as we paint. Let me show you. Here's an example of how we're gonna do that. Well let's cover a couple things that'll help us transition throughout this course. The first thing I wanna do is give you a basic idea of the technique that we're doing. So I'll start off with a sphere and just a generic color. I'm gonna copy that layer, and I'm just gonna go and adjust the hue, the saturation, and the lightness. And I wanna Ctrl+T to scale it. And what we're doing is we're creating a sphere, and that sphere is gonna show dimension, it's gonna show color. And it's gonna show how light affects everything that we do when we paint. This is just a step, or pretty much the steps that we will be using. But we'll be using them to paint a character or to paint a person or picture. So I'm simply just gonna build. And I go from the darkest to the lightest just by selecting those circles, copying the layers. Now I could do it within the layer, but normally it don't work that way. Just in case I wanna make changes. So let's go ahead and draw a light cone here. And this is showing the direction of the light. And here's my cone. It's a little off, but I think you get the picture. And we'll say, LIGHT here. All right, and let's go ahead and add a shadow at the bottom, just so we understand. And this is pretty much the premise that we work on when we paint. What direction is the light coming from, we figure that out. Then we figure out how the light's gonna affect the subject matter. And then we go from there. So I'm gonna go ahead and turn that layer off. And I see that I have these four layers here. So I'm gonna grab those four layers, and I'll do this throughout the course throughout the lessons. And I'm gonna convert it to a Smart Object. Now I'll also have a shortcut, so I'll just say it many times but you won't actually see me do the steps because I have it hot shortcut keyed. And now I'm going to rasterize the layer. So I made a copy of the Smart Object layer, and then I rasterized the other. All right, and so I wanna lock that layer, and I wanna go to Gaussian Blur. I selected Lens Blur, that's not the one I want. Lets go to a Gaussian Blur, there we go. And so, now you can see. Make a little bit of an adjustment and get a smooth transition. Now we can see where the high point is, so turn the light back on, and the part that receives the most light. And we can see the part that receives the least amount of light. And that's how we think about light in color when we paint. All right. So I'm gonna go ahead and add a little bit more shadow to it. Let's switch to basic airbrush and take my flow down and enhance it a little bit to make it a little more realistic. There we go, darker shadows. And that's pretty much a solid way of understanding these techniques. So I'll tell you before you get deeper into the lesson, try that a couple times just to get comfortable with that idea. So now I've just added a noise to it. So let's go ahead and move this. So I'm gonna turn the noise down. And what we use the noise force to break up the monotony of the artwork that we have. So, the texture breaks it up and makes it more palatable visually. So I'm gonna go ahead and Gaussian Blur it again so my edges aren't so crisp. And I think this is okay. I click OK. And we're ready to go. One of the things you'll hear me say quite a bit as we're working is macro to micro. All right, now that principle, that idea is simply this. We go from macro which is really big, to micro, which is really small. So if you hear me say the term macro, this is what it looks like. Boom. And when we go micro, we go here. We zoom in. We get into the details. And so I'll keep saying it to remind you as we work through. I'll keep saying over and over again, macro to micro. Reminding you to pull out of your work, and zoom back in. Pull out of your work, and zoom back in. Now the point of that is to create balance, and to make sure that your work is flawless, that it's balanced, that it's even on both ends. That you don't go too far in one area and leave the other area empty. Okay, so when you hear that, this is the example of that. So let's just talk about the basic set up and tools that you're going to be using in Photoshop. We're gonna be using our brush tool, so that's F5 for the shortcut. And it should look like this. Make sure that you have your pen pressure set up, shape dynamics checked. And that gives you a tilted edge, a thin edge on both ends. And it's a more natural stroke, so that's how I wanna work. See how those edges are pointed? The middle is a little thicker. That's what you're looking for while you work, okay? Shape dynamics, and scattering, and you wanna make sure that your spacing is adjusted properly. We use the bracket sheets for a larger brush and a smaller brush. And here's our spacing. If we wanna create a texture like that, or the illusion of a texture like that, we simply adjust the spacing. So you'll see me throughout the lesson, I'll continuously adjust my spacing. And this is what happens as we adjust it. So if we take the spacing to the right we get a broken stroke. If we take it to the left, we get a very well and tight stroke. I'll go back to my scattering. And I'm gonna make an adjustment here. And now our strokes gonna be broken up. So it's gonna help us to create an illusion of texture. Now, this is a really big brush, so you saw it moved very slowly. So the bigger your scatter is, the slower it'll move at times, depending on your hardware. And here's another example, scattering. There we go. And this is just with the basic brush. I call it the flat brush, but it has many different names. It depends on how you use it. Let's see. Oh, we're gonna use the chalk brush also, and the oil pastel brush. And I'll go through each brush in a moment. We're gonna make an adjustment here and I use this to change the direction of my brush. All right, so if we adjust that direction, it changes the way that our strokes flow. And so we have the scattering, the shape dynamics, and we have the anchor which changes the direction. So for the most part that's what we're gonna use. This is a scatter brush too. This works really well for texturing, so we'll use that quite a bit also. And you can see it works in the exact same way. Change the opacity, turn it down a little bit. And we get a softer version that we can build. So obviously that's gonna be helpful if we're painting in textures or we're painting in false skin. And we don't have to bring in so many additional tools, we can just use the brushes that are there. Also, let's take a look at the actual brushes. Okay, so let's go over some of the brushes I'll be using. The Soft Round- Airbrush. The Hard Round- Flat Brush. The Chalk- 60 and the Hard Pastel brush. And also the Spatter brush. For the most part, those will be the only brushes that I use barring some exception. And I'll vary the sizes. I'll do that automatically with my bracket, either smaller or bigger throughout. So that's really it. If you wanna use those brushes to follow along, or comparable brushes, that's fine too. Okay, one last thing before we get into the lessons. We won't be covering the uniform. This course is only about painting skin and adding texture and adding detail. So we're gonna avoid that so we can spend more time talking about the skin, and bringing in color and how to paint. All right? So let's go ahead and get into the lessons.

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