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Speed paint a sci-fi watchtower

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Date Added: 26th January 2018
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Learn to speed paint a sci-fi watchtower in Photoshop with Amir Zand, utilizing the Smudge tool and the Gradient tool for quick painting!


This time I will share a new tool that will help you to quickly kickstart your painting and creating thumbnails and complex objects, adding colors and textures and the whole painting process.

Quick thumbnails

Similar to my last tutorial, I will start doodling and create some quick thumbnails in my sketchbook. I'm not trying to define exactly what I want but these quick thumbnails will give me an overall idea of what I have to do. I'm not really trying to spend so much time on these sketches, and I don't really care if they are messy or not that clean, these are valuable because they contain information like composition, values and so on. And that's what I really want to achieve from them.


Now before I start this painting I'm going to share a new way to quickly start a painting using the "Smudge Tool." This technique is really handy in the speed painting process and it's extremely fast and practical.

All you need to do is make the Smudge tool strength 100% and start moving your image or your brush! As you can see in the first image below, I paint a sample shape and set it as my brush, then choose the same brush from my "Smudge tool" and use it to move it around. I also make some quick digital thumbnails with the same brush and technique - it's a very fast and effective technique.



Blank page

Now that I have some quick thoughts about my composition it's time to start my illustration, filling the blank page using the "Gradient Tool" and using my "Smudge Tool" to quickly paint my tower. I'm working on a grayscale tone, focusing on the whole composition first and adding the color to it later on.


Shaping up the composition

In a speed painting process, I will always use my in-painting assets. It's not like every element of my painting is actually being painted and doesn't mean that they are coming from an outsource too! I already painted my tower shape so it's a smart move to copy-paste it and scale it quickly to shape up my composition the way I want it. This is something that I always do during the speed painting process. I quickly paint the mountains using "Lasso Tool" and a quick "Gradient," and work a bit more on the front tower. Also, as you can see, I keep moving forward not focusing too much on a single part, but focus on the overall composition. It's something that I already said but it's always worth mentioning.



Details and color

In this step I will add some more details to the sky and ground, as well as adding a figure on the front tower just to check the scale, and lastly using the same smudge tool technique to fill my mountain in the background. It's good to mention that I kept all my layers separate until now, so I have the background, mid-ground and foreground separated, and it's easy for me to switch between them to add details.


It's time to add the very first colors and tones quickly using gradient to fill my page in a separate layer, before putting that layer on "Overlay Mode.' As you can see from the result in the image below, I've managed to bring some green tone to the overall painting.


continued on next page >

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