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4.1 Painting Simple Details

In this lesson, you will learn that sometimes it's better to paint in your own details instead of using stock images. I'll also give you some tips and tricks on how to do that if you aren't a digital painter.

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4.1 Painting Simple Details

Welcome back to Introduction to Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. In this lesson we'll be looking at how to paint smaller details using Photoshop brushes, as opposed to trying to find stock images. See, I want to add some ribbons coming off of these rocks here, as well as some grassy seeds and debris floating in through the air. Both these details will give a sense of motion and breeze to our image. And while we could find pictures of ribbons and maybe dust, neither would be fun to extract or blend onto our image. Not to mention we would be restricted to whatever flow and shape the ribbons would already have, taking away our choice and maybe vision. So we are better off just painting them. So first, let's start with the seeds by creating a new layer above all other current layers, keeping it set to Normal. Let's grab the Brush tool and set it to 5 pixels and 100% hardness. Now go over to the Brush Settings panel. Let's start adjusting our settings to create our Photoshop brush. It'll be a bit similar to our stars brush we did earlier. First, let's set up our spacing to 1000%. Next, let's set up our size, angle, and roundness jitter all to max. Let's set scatter to max, count to 2, and count jitter to 75%. We can finish up by checking color dynamics, keeping the settings as default. This will give us a slight variation in the color of our debris. To save a Photoshop brush or any custom settings you might add to a pre-made brush, hit this button towards the bottom of the layer panel, name your brush, and hit OK. Now we are just going to paint a few quick lines of seeds going through the middle of the canvas using this pale light green color. I know this seems like such a small little minute detail, but small details like these are what gives an image a bit more style and just kind of interest. Once done, we can provide the seeds with a bit more depth by adding a bevel and emboss a layer style with the settings seen here. This will help them stand out just a bit more amongst their environment so they don't get lost too much. Though, again, we want this to be a very subtle effect as opposed to it looking like a bunch of sharp blades of metal are flying through the air. Or that might be an interesting story or plot line to add, now that I think of it, maybe next time. Next onto our ribbons. As I know, painting even the smallest of things can be intimidating to a non-digital painter, aka me. So I won't be using my pen tablet for this. All we will need is our mouse, a hard round brush, and the Eraser tool. Start by creating a fun loop with nice long ends, making sure your brush is at 100% opacity and flow. If you find your lines aren't smooth, you can bring your brush's smoothness up to 100%, or a little lower. Either way, this should help you out of bit. The size of your brush is up to you. I want thinner ribbons, so I'm using around a 8 pixel size brush, which will get smaller and smaller as we work on our smaller and smaller rocks in the future. With our loop painted, we're going to switch to a hard round eraser brush and start shaping the ribbon. The first things to go are the ends here. Again, you can bring in the smoothing up on your Eraser brush if you need to steady your strokes. Now we are going to give the effective that our ribbon is twisting by erasing the inner parts of the loop. Make multiple smaller passes using Ctrl+Z to undo if you don't think it looks quite right. You can do this over and over again into the perfect little thin edge here. Then you can finish up by adding a bit of twist to the tail ends as well, using the same exact technique. Now let's give our ribbon a few similarities to the ribbon the woman is wearing in her hair. Bring down the fill to 71 and then add an inner glow layer style with the settings you see here, giving the ribbon a slight border effect. Finish the ribbon up by adding some shadows with a layer set to multiply, at around 15% opacity or so. We want these to be very, very faint. Clipping the layer into the ribbon and painting with a dark blue. You'll want to paint ribbons for all the stones, as I mentioned, making sure they vary in shapes and sizes. Not all of them need to have loops, some of them can be straight, just imagine how ribbons might whip around in the wind. I also recommend you paint each strand of ribbon on to their own layer, this will make it way easier to adjust them later on if you ever need to. As the process is similar for painting each ribbon, I like to do each step one by one. Meaning I'll paint all of the loops and lines, then go in and copy paste of the layer style to all of the layers. Next, all of the erasing. And finally the shadows, doing it in a bit of a assembly line process. This ends up making the whole process much faster in my opinion. And once you are done, you can group all of your ribbons up and add some final shadows using a clipped layer if you wish, because now we are moving on to painting with adjustment layers. Next time on Introduction to Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop.

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