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Painting clothes

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Date Added: 22nd June 2009
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Another tutorial: sometimes instructional, other times somewhat rambling, I hope it will help you in your artistic endeavors. Some of the techniques used below can be used for painting all kinds of things in Photoshop. Like I've said in other tutorials, I don't claim to be any genius at this, I'm just trying to pay back a debt I owe to all the people who've helped me with their tutorials.

If you've seen the rest of my site, you probably would have left already if nudity bothers you. But you haven't, so welcome to the tutorial! Of course we will begin with a nude figure because... well, (spoken in Pythonesque voice), we wouldn't be here if she was wearing any clothes already, would we? Good luck! Onward...

In painting the folds in cloth, it helps to have reference if you need it. Keep a folder near your computer of reference material. Or take a look at a few books out there that specialize in helping the artist draw cloth.

Note: All that follows I painted using a pressure-sensitive pen tablet. If you don't have one, look under your couch and find the money. You won't regret it.

Above you will find the image I've begun with. I've already set a basic pose in Poser 4, and exported the figure as a wavefront object, then imported it into Bryce. After setting a couple lights, getting a comfortable sky, and texturing the figure, I rendered a full picture, and then a mask render. I've made the picture about 2500 pixels high. The larger the better. You'll be getting to some details later, and you'll find them easier if you begin large.

In Photoshop, I cut and paste the mask render into a new alpha channel, allowing me to cleanly select the figure and place her on her own layer.

Usually a Poser figure has certain inherent oddities in the mesh or texture (various folds, corners, rough areas)... I've airbrushed these away, made some color corrections, painted some more here and there until I was satisfied with the overall skin tone. I've also enhanced a few shadows and hilights.

Important note: Never, ever (and I mean never!) forget where your light is coming from. It will effect everything in your scene. You can't depend on the wonderful lighting your 3d program provides to bail you out of what you are about to paint in only two dimensions.

Undoubtedly, I will make future changes to the figure. Depending on the color of the hair and clothes, I may change it later in order to create a better overall tonal quality in the scene. I'm sure I will find areas where the clothes interact with the body... and I'll get ready to whip the virtual paintbrush out again on the figure.

Moving to more of a close-up view, I select a color, a smallish brush, and start painting an outline of the garment I'd like to see on her. At this point, it doesn't matter what color I choose, as long as it contrasts fairly well with the background; i.e., as long as I can see it. Remember, we're in Photoshop now, and we can change anything later, right? Think about your scene... what is happening? In this scene, not much; but the wind is blowing, and that will govern everything I paint in the cloth, and then later (another tutorial) in her hair.
Anyway... it seems my mind has conjured up something perhaps once seen on the cover of a romance novel.... fairly revealing,
yet hopefully it contains enough material to get a tutorial out of it on painting clothing.

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Jeira on Sat, 24 August 2013 8:55am
This is awesome... One of my dream digital painting... I hope i can do the same... Unfortunately i don't know where and how to start...
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