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Thoughts and tips on digital painting and painting in general

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Date Added: 9th December 2009

When painting the sky, I looked at the colours from the reference pic, but added more greens and painted it in warmer shades, also a bit less contrast and darker so it matches the mood of the picture. I'm painting not the reference image. If it'd be exactly like on the reference pic it'd look too artificial. Also I painted more clouds too make it look more dreamy. Then I painted the moon. Basically it was just a round shape on which I painted darker dots and then erased most of it with low opacity eraser. This is also the moment when I add some details like water lily and change / refine some other.

And here's the last part - highlights and colour check. As you can see the source of light in this picture comes from different angles, so I added small but really visible lights on the "edges" of the woman and the plants. I usually paint lights on a new layer. Don't forget that the colour of lights is NOT white, same as the colour of the shadows is NOT black. Never. In this case I used some orange. For better effects change the mode of the layer from normal to soft light or screen (just experiment with it to find the best effect)..

After you think it's all done it's really useful to check how it looks in greyscale mode.. Why? Because it shows you which places need more lights and which are too dark. While you don't see all the colours you can just focus on the intensity of shades.. Another useful trick are Photohop levels.. Try SHIFT + CTRL + L for auto levels (or play with levels - CTRL + L) in Photoshop.. it will probably give you a strange result, definitely too contrasty, but you'll see what kind of levels would be good for a photograph with such colours and might give you the idea how to change them some more if needed


Also flip your image horizontally at least once - it will show you mistakes which you wouldn't notice without it. The best thing to do is to do it with the first sketch you have and check colours in greyscale mode in the very early stage of the colouring progress.. The very first thing you'll have to learn when painting is to SEE what you paint. It's not that easy as it sounds. Usually people can see other's mistakes but not their own. The moment I started seeing how many I make (some time after this old swamp lady picture here) was the one when I made the biggest progress. When some time will pass you'll notice (just as I noticed) that flipping or changing the mode of the image will be just a bit helpful not irritating that you didn't notice all of that before..

I hope you found all of that useful and good luck with your paintings!

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