Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

An apple a day!

GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Artist's Corner
So i'm a complete Luddite when it comes to technology. I need to learn how to digitally paint if I want to survive as an artist, so I decided to man up and do a simple daily still life study in Photoshop to simply get better.

I'm just going to paint an apple (or other fruit) every day until I get bored. Here's my very first digital painting:

hsKHV.jpg


And that's about it I guess. Any advice on how to get better at painting would be great!

Godfather on
0WBv0.png

Posts

  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I'll be watching this thread so I can learn too (:

    Otherwise I have no advice because I'm bad at digital painting. Just keep it up, mister!

    0210-1-1.jpg
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I'll be watching too.
    Digital is what I suck the most at right now.

  • PierceNeckPierceNeck Simi Valley, CARegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    That's really good for a first digital painting. I'm still trying to figure out how to make clean lines, let alone painting digitally.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    you're apple is missing some of that underside light reflection. But... since there is no defined surface maybe that's acceptable? Other than that it looks pretty good

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Your shadow there appears to be cast against the surface the apple is sitting on and another, secondary surface just behind it. Also the highlight is on this side of the apple (roughly), but your shadow is also spilling into the area on this side of the apple. It's creeping forward just slightly.

    I also think I read somewhere that most shadows contain violet in some capacity. Maybe experiment with that.

  • nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Echoing what others have said, the main problems are the lack of reflected light and the cast shadow. Here's a pic to help me explain:

    godfatherapplepaintover.jpg

    When creating a cast shadow, keep in mind where the base of the object begins. I circled the (assumed) base of the apple in green. Your shadow should begin at the base, then bulge to follow the contour of the apple.

    A reflected light source will help define the shape of your subject even more, keeping it from fading into the darkness. Sample the color of the surface the subject is nearest to. In this case that would be the gray backdrop, then lightly add that color to the edge of the core shadow.

    Also, unless you're painting in a film studio, your cast shadow will be affected by reflected light from walls or other nearby objects off frame. Make the cast shadow lighter as it travels away from the apple.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Hey that's neat, it was the shadow that was giving me the most trouble. I had it propped up against a wall, so I was trying to define the corner angle, but it didn't work too well!

    Also I think I used mostly black for that, which is kind of a bad move. My friend told me to use more cools and warms, which is traditional painting knowledge. He also talked about separating the painting in layers, but all I did was paint everything on just three (grey background, lines, colors). He talked about making one for flat colors, another for rendering, one for highlights (?)

    That part was confusing.

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Alright, so yesterday I was pretty swamped with extra activities and didn't get home till late. As a result no apple was drawn that day, but I did start working on my second one today. I have to work on a tattoo design for a client so I had to hold off on finishing the apple until later this evening.

    Here's what i've got so far:
    Spoiler:


    I did what nakirush suggested with structuring the base and core of the apple, which is giving me a better sense of depth so far. Right now i'm trying to figure out how to implement warms and cools into photoshop, the way I could normally do with regular paint.

    I'm also (partially) using McGibs two-value color blending method, but the brush is leaving behind a dotty trail instead of a steady stream like in his video. Can anyone help with these issues before I return to work on it later tonight?


    EDIT: I think i'm going to alternate between color/black and white studies. The latter would apply more of what I learned from the Academy of Realist Art, and I wouldn't have to worry about color, so that's another bonus.

    0WBv0.png
  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    If you're using photoshop, press Window>Brush to open the brush editor. Then click "Brush Tip Shape" on the left side of the window, and pull down the "Spacing" slider to the desired amount.

    Now open your brush selector, and click the arrow on the right side. Press "New Brush Preset", name it, and press okay. Now you have a brush that doesn't have funky spacing!



    EDIT: Can I get a link to McGibs' video?

  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Thanks!

    Did it resolve your issue, by the way?

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I have to leave to meet with someone, so I can't try it until later tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Well unfortunately I didn't get much farther on this one, but I spent another hour on the thing.

    0ID06.jpg


    It doesn't look much different, but the good news is that I didn't use any black in this one at all. The background was the same grey one as the first painting, but I decided to try using a blue one instead. I also spent too much time picking the right colors before switching to harder brushes, so everything looks muddy.

    CapnMango's brush advice did fix the problem, so that's definitely great news! I think my next one will be a black and white study so I can simplify light and shade better. I'm going to review over the notes I got from the Academy to help with this, and hopefully start another one tonight.


    Also, I'm trying to find the easiest/quickest way to throw flat colors over linework. This isn't for a still life, it's just for a personal project. Can anyone help?

    0WBv0.png
  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Make a new layer, and set it to Multiply. Now it's almost like you have a layer underneath the lines. The only downside is that if the lines aren't solid black, it will darken them when you draw underneath them.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Holy shit, it's Godfather.

    Nice work so far, nice clean edges. Keep it up, make sure you flip your canvas and try to feel the fruit in 3d. Are you using the hotkeys to change the hardness of your brush? That helped me a lot, also make sure you have transfer on when you need it.

    As for throwing color over linework, I do this: scan in the linework, new "multiply" layer above the linework for the color.

  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Another tip for lineart: use the Magic Wand Tool to select the area you want a flat color in, expand the area (Select > Modify > Expand), then use the paint bucket to fill in the area on a separate layer. This will let you fill in flats very quickly while making sure there is color underneath your line art, helping to avoid registration issues.

    signature-sir.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Okay, so tried a black and white study tonight. Mango's brush adjustments made everything run crazy smooth, it handles completely different now. Here's where I am so far:
    Spoiler:


    I'm trying to punch up those values a bit more so it gives out more volume. I have a habit of making things too soft and lumpy, so i'll work on it some more when I finish tomorrow.

    0WBv0.png
  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    if you think this is smooth, try the brush Mcgibs uses in his tutorial. He explains it more in the thread he started about the tut. It really helped me bring digital work closer to actual painting. (having a square brush that rotates along with the direction you're drawing your line at did the trick for me...)

    sig2.gif
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    These are good! You're improving really quickly.

    I think the edges of the shadows being cast by the apple may a little bit too solid at the moment, they seem like they should have some areas of less distinct shadow. Although I guess they would make sense if they're close to a hard light, I'm not really sure. I'm not a great one for shading. :P

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    if you think this is smooth, try the brush Mcgibs uses in his tutorial. He explains it more in the thread he started about the tut. It really helped me bring digital work closer to actual painting. (having a square brush that rotates along with the direction you're drawing your line at did the trick for me...)

    I actually couldn't find that brush in my version of Photoshop (it's standard CS). Either it's in a later version of the program or you have to download it. There's also not an option of getting the brush to rotate like McGibs did that I know of in CS, which is a bummer.

    Gonna power through the rest of this apple today. I already worked on it yesterday for a bit, all I need to do is finish it off.


    EDIT: K, i'm calling it done right now


    7kMQA.jpg

    0WBv0.png
  • MoorkusMoorkus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Really nice job, do keep it up. I'll keep an eye on this thread and try to learn from it.

  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    If you're using CS, you can get the brush to rotate based on the direction you're painting in.

    Brush Options >> Shape Dynamics >> Angle Jitter (set to 0%, and under the drop-down menu Control, beneath that, you select Direction).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Your cast shadows are waaay too dark. To be honest, your first green apple actually had a much better value for the cast shadow.

    Something to remember is that the sharper the angle of the lightsource to the object (and, therefore, the longer the shadow - if cast on a flat surface) ...the more the very top of the object will cast a soft shadow. The farther the shadow has to travel before it reaches the surface it's going to land on, the softer it will be. This is why in the space right below a sphere/apple, the cast shadow will be very sharp. You seem to hint at this in your renderings, but largely miss the point. It's not just the apex of the shadow that softens. The apex softens the most, but it's not the only part that does.

    Light bouncing off of multiple surfaces will cast shadows that are generally softer. Think of a portrait studio, with the reflective umbrellas over the lights. The light is reflected off of the entire surface of the umbrella, so it comes from multiple angles, and makes the cast shadows softer. A bare bulb, on the other hand, will have much more direct path of light in comparison, and will cast sharper shadows.

    Don't forget the reflected light, or the "crevice shadow", as illustrated below. That should be the darkest point of your cast shadow.

    You're also making the "light part" of the apples and the "dark part" of the apples almost completely flat. There's still a change of value within those shapes, even though it's incredibly subtle. Try going over those areas with a large, soft, very low-opacity brush, to give those areas more dimension.

    The location of your sharp highlight should reflect the location of your light source. On an apple it may not be 100% accurate because they're not perfect spheres, obviously...but the angle of your cast shadows, and the placement of your highlights, are kind of off. In the last example, it seems that the cast shadow would be more behind the apple. In your first example, it seems like the cast shadow would end much closer to the apple, as the highlight suggests the lightsource is coming more from above.

    Shadows.jpg


    Lastly, try using softer brushes. It might help make your apples/spheres look less lumpy. I know you said you're pretty much done with that exercise, but I thought some of this info could help you out in future things. :)

    rotate.php BloggerLink.gifTumblrLink.gif
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Well I gotta draw another one anyways, so that's definitely going to come in handy.

    I bought something called a Grapple today. I was going to paint it but I ate it instead. Whoops!


    I have three more so i'm good.

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Quick question!


    I saw in a digital painting tutorial video where one guy made a smaller winder appear of the image you're working on, so that if you zoom in on your project you can use that other window as a guide to keep track of the overall picture when you're working on the details.

    Are you able to do this in Photoshop CS?

    0WBv0.png
  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    (I also use CS) ....I've seen people do that before...but can't you just use the Navigator? It does the exact same thing...that's what I use - I always have it up, because it's a fast way to zoom in and out, and it keeps track of what the entire picture looks like. You can even make it bigger or smaller.

    rotate.php BloggerLink.gifTumblrLink.gif
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited November 2010
    Godfather wrote: »
    Quick question!


    I saw in a digital painting tutorial video where one guy made a smaller winder appear of the image you're working on, so that if you zoom in on your project you can use that other window as a guide to keep track of the overall picture when you're working on the details.

    Are you able to do this in Photoshop CS?

    The non-navigator way to do this is to go to Window>Documents>New Window.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    What's the Navigator?


    Complete luddite here :P


    EDIT: There doesn't seem to be a Document option in the Windows column. Guess it was added in a newer version of Photoshop.

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Okay, so I am taking a different approach to this one!


    Before I would mainly use one layer to do all of the coloring, and alternate between the brush and smudge tool to give depth. After reading Nightdragon's notes, it sounded a lot like what I learned at the Academy of Realist Art. Even though I didn't finish much there, I did get a handout regarding light understanding, so I quickly read that and started using the same process I did at the Academy.

    So instead of one layer where I do all the rendering, I now have one layer with the flats/bedbug line:


    sbnWA.jpg


    And a layer on top where I do the actual rendering:


    nU0VN.jpg


    Obviously i'm not finished here, but i'd like some input before I move on later tonight.


    Since the flats and rendered parts are no longer on the same layer, the smudge tool doesn't work. I only use the brush and eraser tool now, adjusting the hardness, softness, opacity and flow of both the eraser and brush to get a similar effect.


    So basically i'm doing the same thing that I did in the Academy.

    Am I on the right track here?

    0WBv0.png
  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Godfather wrote: »
    What's the Navigator?


    Complete luddite here :P


    EDIT: There doesn't seem to be a Document option in the Windows column. Guess it was added in a newer version of Photoshop.

    Window >> Navigator.


    Bacon's option, in CS, is Window >> Arrange >> New Window For whateveryourfilename.psd

    rotate.php BloggerLink.gifTumblrLink.gif
  • VeromVerom Registered User
    edited November 2010
    window>arrange>new window for filename.file is what I use

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Hey thanks guys.


    So I just got back from meeting up with my teacher after showing him my stuff. He told me that the approach i'm using works, but it's not very productive for my time. He said that I could achieve similar/same results in a fraction of the time the more I learned about the ins and outs of the program. He also told me to stay away from the smudge tool, as it doesn't pay off in the long run, and will backfire tremendously whenever I need to make alterations with the PDF.

    So it looks like I have my work cut out for me!

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Ah sorry guys, i'm in the middle of applying to Seneca/buffing my portfolio this week, so I don't have a lot of time for still lifes. I'll jump back on it later this week!

    0WBv0.png
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Sorry about the necrobump, but I think I figured out a way to render better. Somebody give me an opinion if this is better or not!


    NIJIq.jpg

    0WBv0.png
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It's "better", but I'm wondering whether the texture was intentional or not. Usually these sorts of rendering exercises are done with perfect smooth orbs, but this reads as roughed up and tarnished. If that was not your intention, you need to practice with larger brushes.

    It's hard to get a sense for what you're doing with just orbs and apples.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Texture was intentional, don't worry. I made this up out of my head, so no reference was used.

    Just testing to see if my values are working better.

    0WBv0.png
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2011
    yeah, I was going to say - if you're going for the 'beaten copper' effect, then it's spot on. Values look good to me, too.

  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Why thank you, that means a lot to hear!

    Forgot to mention one important thing. This was actually done in black and white. I remember a while back when Scos only worked in black and white for a while, so that got me thinking to try the same thing. I am experimenting using cool and warm variations of gray to establish temperature without the aid of color, and it's making things much simpler for me to understand.

    0WBv0.png
Sign In or Register to comment.