Step 6: Adding extra elements
After spending quite some time shading skin tones, drapes and hair, the time has come to add a background and extra elements.
I wanted the background to be simple and symmetrical, so by framing the narrow piece by painting some columns seemed natural to me. Using a background sky with green values also makes sense to me according to the ambient light I wanted the scene to have. I used green colour in some of the dark places of the skin tones, the hair, and on the drapes.
The dagger was also added at this stage. I wanted it to include intricate decorations, and by looking at some references photos of different daggers, this one was the result. As usual, I started out in grey-tones before adding colour here as well.
Step 7: Finishing the piece
The dagger has now got the colours needed, and I go over the entire piece checking details and that ambient colours are right. I always add a soft glow to the brightest high lights in the piece by brushing very carefully with a soft brush with white colour. This makes a difference in my opinion when used carefully. Too much glow will kill the piece.
The last thing I do is to add a noise grain on top of everything. This to make the piece look less computer painted, and to add some imperfection to the values. If you look closely at a digital photo, you will see that there are not real clean values, each surface usually has got some grain to it.
I follow these steps when making a noise grain:
- Make a new layer on top of everything.
- Fill this layer with this value of grey: R=128, G=128, B=128
- Set the layer blending option from "Normal" to "Overlay". This will make the layer with the grey scale fill appear 100% transparent.
- Now add a noise to this layer (Filter/Noise/Add noise), and set it to 400%, Gaussian.
- Run filter: "Filter/Brush strokes/Spatter" a couple of times to break up the noise patterns.
- Run filter: "Filter/Blur/Blur".
- Set the layer "Opacity" to 5-10%, depending on what looks best.