(A.K.A. Schoolism Pictorial Composition Week 05)
Video 13: If you cannot see the embedded video: https://youtu.be/kcSZu9aUnyE
You can find out more about the Warriors of Virtue fantasy series by clicking on the link.
First of all an important reminder to save your work if you are working digitally. Today, I painted shadows for over an hour, and though I saved the Photoshop file, I did not stop my Camtasia recording in time. Therefore, the recording vanished and I had to begin again!
The good news is that the first attempt at painting shadows has taught me how to go about it, so the recorded video above of the second attempt involves less trial and error.
Since I do not want to paint outside of the characters, in this video I begin to pain shadows by selecting the characters. If you look at my Layers Panel you will notice that I have merge the three characters onto one layer. I did this by selecting the layers I wanted, right clicking, and choosing Merge Layers from the pop-up menu. I had to do this, because my computer could not handle the large size of the file. I have also gotten rid of some other layers, so that now I only have the essentials I need for the painting.
I selected the characters by using the Magic Wand Tool. With only my characters visible, I clicked on the background then chose Select>Inverse (Shift+Control+I) from the top menu. Then I removed additional unwanted bits by holding Alt key and clicking on the area with my magic wand.
Next I saved my selection by choosing Select>Save Selection. This way if for some reason my selection disappears, I can load it again. Note: by saving your selection, you also create a new channel in your Channels Panel.
With my characters selected, in the Layers Panel, I’ve created a new layer just above my characters. For simple shadows (shadows that are painted on 2D characters), I would paint the shadows in flat colour than change the opacity of the layer to a desired shadow effect. However, since this image is more three dimensional, I had to paint three dimensional shadows.
I chose a standard soft Photoshop brush, the softest brush I could find. Then I brought the opacity level of the brush (if you have the tool selected you can find these options in the bar underneath the top menu) to 10% and then I turned on the pen sensitivity for Opacity, Flow, and sometimes I would add the Airbrush to the combination as well.
The worst thing you can do when you are painting shadows is to have streaks. You create streaks by going over and over the painted layer. Instead, what you want to do is paint as large an area as possible, then only add more shadow to the layer where it is needed. The larger the brush the softer the effect. This gradual layering of paint reminds me of working traditionally with watercolour.
When I create unwanted lines, I try to remove them carefully with an Eraser Tool that has the same level of Opacity and Flow as the Brush Tool. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. There may be a better way of creating gradual shading with digital painting using Layers, but I have not yet made the discovery. My painting is also not movie quality smooth. I actually wanted more textures and a few lines showing (a more painterly effect), so a few lines here and there in the shadows do not take away from the entire work.
Here is the complete painting up to this point:
In the following video I will attempt to add light using the Adjustment Panel as N. F. suggest in his tutorial video. I have never done this before, so wish me luck!
If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments, or if you wish to keep your inquiry private, feel free to contact me.
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Mili Fay, a Toronto-based artist, classical animator, illustrator, writer, and singer, is an award winning graduate of Sheridan College and Art Instruction Schools. In November of 2011 she created Mili Fay Art determined to support the world one artwork at a time.
Her latest published work is Animals In My Hair; a story about a boy who goes for his first haircut only to find endangered animals falling out of his hair.
Currently, Mili is working on her first ever illustrated Fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, about a reluctant princess who must prevent a war with the dragon-people, while keeping her mission a secret from her over-protective mother.
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