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4.4 Painting Realistically: Using Texture Brushes

How do you paint details realistically? In this lesson, we'll tackle this subject by incorporating texture brushes into this painting for an instant realistic effect.

4.4 Painting Realistically: Using Texture Brushes

Hello, and welcome back to Surreal Digital Paintings. My name is Melody Nieves, and this is Lesson 4.4. Do you know how to make a painting realistic? Well, in this lesson, I'll show you how to create instant realism by taking advantage of the textural preset brushes available to you in Photoshop CC. For the most part, I can always tell when I'm looking at a digital painting. This is because not only have I spent so many years looking at them, but generally speaking, the appearance is always the same. Digital art is very smooth looking. It's almost similar to that unnatural smoothing effect used for photo retouching. And it seems like a simple round brush tends to be the favorite of all artists across the board. Now, I'm definitely not saying that that's a bad thing, because obviously there's so much beautiful work that comes from this digital medium. But if you want your paintings to look more realistic, you just have to add texture. Let's take a look at our painting so far. Nothing in nature is this smooth. Of course things like metal, and latex, and different weird textures have that consistently glossy effect. But what I mean is that even if you just look at your hand or a piece of fabric up close and personal, you'll see that everything is made up of texture. So how do we add some to this painting? Well, there are two great ways I'd like to show you. The first utilizes Texture Brushes. Select the Dry Brush that was introduced in chapter two and use it to apply texture to your painting. What you wanna do is pick up color from the surrounding area and just slightly paint some texture over it. I like to start off with the skin because it's one of the areas that benefit from this effect the most. The next area I'll add texture to is the back ground. In order to paint texture, sometimes you have to use either a darker or brighter color than the one that's in that area. For this particular scenario, I'll paint a light blue color all over the background area then I'll use the eraser tool to soften this effect. Move on to the sections around the blindfold and hair. You don't necessarily need texture everywhere. So that's when you allow the eraser to make the decision. So even if you drop a whole bunch of texture on one area, just slowly soften it with the eraser. In this sense, I'm trying to create a little happy mistake. Happy mistakes are when you unintentionally paint strokes that look so beautiful on the canvas. You don't know how it happened, but hey, who's complaining? What I like to do is kind of force a happy mistake out by making loose strokes across my pen tablet. And when I did this over the water with the same texture brush, it's almost like magic happened. With a couple of quick clicks, the water in the foreground area has that really cool sudsy effect that you see when waves crash into each other. Excited by this I added more texture to the water and fish bowls before moving onto painting some more. You don't have to go over board with texture. So eventually try to move on to add further details. The other way that you can add texture to a painting is by using a tapered, round brush with hard edges and making the brush size really small. Set a new layer to color dodge and use the same technique of picking up color to add tiny details. Color dodge will create a unique highlight that allows you to get a bright, warm look. Add crispness and shine to the glass necklace, and add thin highlights all over the painting. Let's see how this works for the fish and hair. By using a short tiny brush, I can add a different type of texture that contrasts the blurry smoothness of the painting. This works especially well when developing the fish since they have scales and thin details that require a little bit more crispness. And once you move onto the hair, all you have to do is add some curvy lines so that it looks more like strands of hair. Now that we have some good texture going on, let's kick things into gear and really hone in on these last details. So join me in Lesson 4.5 where I'll show you how to balance everything out.

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