Okay so i got a few notes on how i go about Environments/Landscapes…so i’ll share a method thats easy to work with….bare with me its been a little while since ive drawn them Lol
First thing you want to start of with in your gradient background…use what ever is your preference. Depends on the setting, ima do some type of desert/dusty place.
You’ll learn that the Lasso tool is gonna be your bae when it comes to environments…that and its pretty useful. Now your going to be working in three tones, 1.Dark 2.Mid 3.Light and it will always be the darkest at the front fading to light towards the back…make sense? So you will have three layers for each one to make your life easier and Lock those layers so you will only color within that area. Make sure the dark layer is on top.
Here is where the fun kicks in…we add our dets, try to stay with each tone and dont end up making it all muddy so you cant distinguish each one. Now you can go about this any way you please, you can paint it all in with one brush ( for some reason people get anal about shit like that, thinking there great for using one brush…i think if you got tools use em if you know how to do it right.) Or you can use custom brushes…since this is a tut ill mostly use custom brushes to slap stuff around. Its up to you really, also use the lasso tool like i said its your bae.
The lasso can help define things better for you, so i wanted to add a structure type on the third layer. If you want to give an effect that the selection ive made is in front of the background right click your selection and invert it, add some lighting around the edges…only a little though you dont want to over do it.
Also if you’ve done something on a layer you dont want to mess up or paint on what you can do is create a clipping mask on that layer. Its kinda like locking the layer to that one so you dont go outside of the layer or ruin what you worked on. Make a new layer above the one you wish to attach it to and right click the newlayer, a menu will pop up, your looking for clipping mask. Once you clicked it the layer should look like what ive circled.
Once your done working on each layer we are gonna put in some mist effect, this is something that helps separate each section. So make a new layer between each of your three as shown in the image. Like i said you can use what ever method you like, i just use a soft brush or cloud/mist brush to get what i want.
Now we are going to add some definition to the image a good one to use is Curves. You can find this where your layer menu is, at the bottom you’ll find it, ive circled what your looking for. On the third image is what will appear when you click curves, all you need to do is drag the little square and you’ll see some magic happen. So adjust it to your preference. If you want you can also mess with brightness/contrast too. ALSO i would recommend adding a person in the image, it gives you an idea of the scale your environment is.
I was going to end it there but hey, ill show one last thing…its pretty simple. and that is some water reflection, we are going to turn the middle into water instead cause its a little boring right now. I merged all layers but the first one, you then want to make a selection and copy/paste. Free transform in the shortcut is ctrl T and do a vertical flip on it then adjust so its mirroring the top.
Now make a clipping mask like i explained earlier on the reflected surface and use the radiant tool…i think its called that lol it gives it more of a water surface like you see. For the image below it i used a custom brush which creates a water effect, aaaaaaaaaand bam you got you water now covering the area…easy huh.
And so this concludes the Tutorial and you have the end result. Hopefully that gave some tips on how to approach landscapes…they can be confusing sometimes on where to start. Enjoy and let me know if it was useful or not :P
Art School consumption of graphic media:
Wow these proportions are so bad this artist is terrible how do they get work we should all redline these to show how much better we could do them if they hired people like us
Professional Life consumption of graphic media:
"Poor dude probably had to draw like eighty panels that day, I hope he didn’t have to spend his whole weekend doing weird revisions marketing came up with"
I think one of the most fundamental misapprehensions people have about the value of commissions is that no one really gets told how mass production defrays costs to the consumer. So, when they see the prices for custom artwork online, they expect the retail prices they see in stores, and it doesn’t work like that.
You go to the poster section at wal-mart. There’s an amazing poster there. It’s got dragons. It’s got wizards. It’s huge. It’s, what, 12 bucks? Awesome, good deal. You can afford that. It’s as much as three or four cheeseburgers, dang, that’s some serious amounts of art.
You go on the internet. Some asshole wants 12 bucks for a crappy sketch of one character sort of standing there. What the fuck? It looks like crap. It’s nothing compared to the poster you just bought from a store. If that dragon poster is worth 12 bucks, this dumbass sketch should be one buck. Maybe fifty cents. That’s if you’re being generous. You don’t even get a print, it’s just going to be a file on your computer, it’s not even actually real! What a rip off.
The thing is, that sketch took an hour, or two hours, or maybe even four hours. The artist drew it for a fraction of minimum wage. Drawing is hard. It took thousands of hours and a really special kind of dedicated self loathing to learn to do that. It might have taken thousands of bucks of tuition money, which means semesters, which means years of early mornings and late nights and maybe even some crying here and there.
Your dragon poster was not made by a guy who got paid 12 bucks. Your awesome dragon poster was made by a guy who got paid hundreds of bucks. Maybe thousands. Because a company paid him, and then turned around and made even more thousands of dollars off that artwork, by selling instances of it to multiple people, 12 bucks at a time. It’s called mass production, and it leaves the general public with no real clue as to the sheer amount of time and effort and skill that goes into every single thing they can buy for the price of a couple cheeseburgers.
Artists who work on commission don’t generally have the advantage of mass production. Every picture is made new and custom for each client. Instead of charging the hundreds of dollars an hour a professional artist could ask for from a company, we’re asking for just enough to get by, and sometimes a hell of a lot less than that. Because it’s what people will pay, because it’s what they think art is worth, because it’s what a lot of young, naive, desperate artists are willing to agree their art is worth, and because there’s always going to be some kid who thinks they’re being ripped off because they don’t really get what they’re being asked to pay for.
I should have some pithy and clever thing to say here to wrap it up but all I can think to say is basically the whole situation is sad and scary and I hope eventually we’ll all have a better way to deal with each other, and everyone will be a lot clearer on what it takes to do art and to get art.
Disclaimer: I am a self-taught artist with obsessive compulsive tendencies and a psychotic need for absolute control. Some of the ‘tips’ or methods below may therefore be misleading, unhelpful, or downright bad. I apologise in advance.
[This write-up is based on the following painting I posted earlier: Light and Knuckle Dusters. I decided to go with this picture to illustrate this post because of all the different hair/fur textures available.]
EDIT: I just realised that Tumblr mysteriously downsized all my pictures. I’ve added links to bigger version of them. Just click on the images.
Where to start. Locks, thatches, bristles, beards, fur, manes… all manner of stuff that sprout from hair follicles, all with different textures and consistencies. And - unless you’re remarkably patient - probably the biggest annoyance you’ll face when painting an otherwise comfortably detailed portrait. (Especially when there’s as much of it as much of the damn stuff as there is in this painting!).
Some Basic Crap
For a start, here are the brushes and colours I used for the Dwalin portrait:
To be honest, that first hard round brush is the one I use most of all (although I will usually add some softness to it if I’m painting really soft, wispy locks of hair), whether it’s painting hair or skin or metal, with textured ones used only sparingly, usually to lay down a foundation for me to build upon. The reason is this: unless used carefully, strokes from custom brushes can look awfully stiff, especially if you’re laying down whole locks of hair. Sure, there are people who can pull it off. I’m not one of them - and besides, it takes control away from me, and I go berserk when that happens. LOL.
Here’s the thing about the colours I use: I don’t mix complete new palettes for each new painting I do! What I actually do have are several different palettes I made way back when, that I use as a base. If I need a new colour for something, I actually mix the colour manually on the painting with the colours that I have, until I get what I want. (Did I not mention something about bad advice???).
[And why all the strange colours popping up? Because hair’s never just shades of brown/red/yellow/whatever; it’ll always be influenced by the colour of the light hitting it, and the colour of things around it. Sticking to only browns for brown hair, for example, will only cause said hair/fur to look flat and boring.]
One thing I do when painting is: I lay on the colours in thin layers at very low opacity, rather than at medium to high and *then* use a brush to blend the colours. This is why:
The first example is what happens when I blend two colours by laying the second (lighter) one on top of the first in very thin layers. The second is what happens when I grab a blending brush and force the two colours to merge. You see that region of mysteriously hypersaturated orange that mysteriously appears in the second example? It annoys the hell out of me. Low-opacity painting is tedious as hell, but it gives me absolute control over what colours come out; the only time I’ll surrender and sparingly use the water blender is when two areas insist on maintaining a border.
(Again, I know there are people who can make blending work, and I salute you people because I can’t).
A Couple of General Rules About Painting Hair
(that you probably know about already but what the hey)
Whether you’re doing it painty or uber-realistic, the rule of thumb is basically the same: work your way up from the bottom. That means: from dark to light, and from the lowest locks to the topmost ones. It may not be so bad if you’re not going for serious detail, but if you try to detail locks from the top down, it will show. Unless you paint it on different layers and erase the errant bits. I prefer to do it in order. (Also, I always paint hair on a single layer, anyway).
Also, depending on the coarseness of hair/fur, you may or may not even see individual strands at all. (And again, this depends on your level of detail. Yes, you can see just about every last one in certain areas for *this* painting, but that’s because I’m doing it at 14” x 10”, at 300 dpi - which means that Dwalin’s head at full size is bigger than my own. Creepy). Soft hair falls in flowy locks, whereas oily hair tends to hang in strings, but unless you’re committing yourself to serious detail, the only strands you’ll actually have to paint are probably the errant ones, unless the hair is supposed to look really dry. Coarse hair - like in beards - on the other hand, are more readily distinguished as individual strands.
[You should probably always throw in some errant locks and flyaway hair anyway. Because no matter how you try to tame your hair, there’ll always be a small degree of disorder.]
One last note: highlights. When bringing out single strands of hair, you do *not* want to lay the highlight consistently down the entire stand. It just looks stiff and horrible. Instead, paint on the lighter colours as a gradient, with the area that’s closest to the light source being the brightest, and then scatter bits of light elsewhere on the strand. Also, two strands crossing one another tend to go PING at the intersection point.
Whether it’s human hair or animal fur, I treat short tufts the same way: first by laying on the darkest colour I’m prepared to go, then roughly laying the locks in lighter colours, before moving in for the detail. There’s quite a number of errant locks because this is supposed to be ruffled fur pulled out from under the straps. Remember: locks tend to taper off! (this is especially noticeable when said hair/fur is mussed up a little).
This is about the only time I’ll actually break out that speckly brush in generous doses, since the fur on the edges of Dwalin’s cape are short and coarse, and do actually lie more or less in parallel tufts (although detailing will still - always - be done with the hard round brush). The hard round brush is used to lay the base colours first, though. (Never start with textured brushes!!). Note that in #2, the fur came out too red/pink and too light, but then I fixed it by adding green in #3. More on this later, under Fixing Colours.
When painting highly detailed medium length mussy locks/tufts of hair/fur, once again I start by blocking in the general colours - but then switch to a really small brush and start adding highly unruly strands to the lighter bits, before moving to the locks/tufts on top. This helps add to the feeling of the kind of natural messiness you get when said hair/fur has been blown around quite a bit by the wind. (Plus that messy lower layer helps give the locks at the top texture, if you build up the latter in thin layers of colour).
Long Facial Hair
… is an awesome opportunity to switch off your brain and just scribble. Of course, you still have to lay on the base colours and rough out the flow of said facial hair, but then you can just go straight to a small brush and let your hand take over while your grey matter takes a well-deserved rest.
Still Not Enough Details For You?
Here’s something I picked up from a Linda Bergkvist tutorial that works wonders when it comes to kicking up the detail a notch: grab a very small brush (1-2px), set the opacity to very low, pick your brightest colours and just scribble all over the hair you’ve painted. It looks horrible at 100%, but it’ll look great when you zoom out. Really.
One Last Note: Fixing Colours
Even when I’m (supposedly) done with all that hair, I’ll go back and add dashes of other colours in areas (at low opacity!!!). Sometimes it’s to liven things up, and sometimes it’s because certain areas come out too pink or yellow, and it’s easier to just fix the entire section by painting over it later than try to get the colours absolutely right the first time.
Which brings us to… what happens if you’re painting a section of hair, and it comes out the wrong colour?
The problem with fixing areas that are too red/pink (and this applies to skin as well, and … well, basically any other bit that needs fixing, actually) is that if you simply try to lay on the “right” colour on top of the offending bit, the colours might still come out too red/pink. To solve this problem: add a non-warm colour first - unsaturated green is a good colour, if your painting’s in warm hues - before laying on the actual colour you want. (Or, if you’re only looking to tone down a finished section, just the non-warm colour). An interesting note: when I told a friend of mine (who’s a cosmetologist) about using this method to fix skin, she told me that it was pretty much how they fixed blemishes when applying makeup. LOL.
[Well, you could also use the clone tool, I guess. I refuse to do it, though.]
An illustration of laying on the “right” colour (unsaturated yellow ochre) straight on vs laying on green first:
[See the section on Stiff Thatches, where I messed up the colours. Notice that the ‘fixing’ colour I used was dark green.]
[Of course, if the problem is too awful, you could just paint right over everything and start over again. That’s my Golden Rule of Painting, by the way: never be so attached to anything that you can’t bear to throw it out!]
Thanks, if you’ve gotten this far, and I hope I haven’t made your brains ooze out from your ears. It’s sometimes hard to know when I make sense and when I’m simply babbling incoherently. ;)
mootecky said: That after effects animated Eevee IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING I'VE EVER SEEN!!! AAAA and if it's not too much to ask, can I ask where you placed the puppet joints on the paws? O: When I try it on my own it gets distorted too much ;; w ;; Keep up the awesome works!!!!
Ahhhh, thank you! And sorry for taking ages to reply here, I made all the images below like a few minutes after you sent this ask, then my internet decided that it didn’t like the idea of uploading things, and then I just completely forgot to try again later. Aaaa.
So yeah, here’s a break down of where all the pins went. In the legs, I pretty much put a pin wherever there’d be a bone joint in a typical bipedal animal. The placement of the anchor points were all very important too, as I also used the standard transformations (scale, rotate, position, etc) to get the look that I wanted.
I still made one or two mistakes though. as you can see, the soles of the feet are supposed to be fairly flat. But the final thing ended up slightly concave like this. (for some reason, tumblr’s only letting me upload one image in this ask, so there’s a link)
I do know how to fix that problem though. I should’ve starched the base of the feet. Simple solution, but went totally forgotten by me.
So yeah, that’s about it! Thanks for asking!
Oh, also, Ross Plaskow has some great tutorials on his youtube. I’d totally recommend looking at his stuff.