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Painting clothes

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Date Added: 22nd June 2009
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Now, you'll see I've pretty much got the general outline of her blouse, and blocked in colors, along with some parts that are folded over. I've done these in a different color, not necessarily the final color, just one that is different so I can tell them apart.

For the laces, I used the pen tool to create a path zig-zagging back and forth across her chest. After creating the path, I made sure that the last paintbrush I had selected was hard-edged, and around 5 pixels in size. On brush options (for the pen tablet) on the upper right of your menu bar, make sure those checkboxes to vary opacity and size with pressure are not checked. Then, going back to your path palette (usually hidden behind your layer palette), and hit the circle at the bottom that will stroke the path with your current paintbrush. Boom! You've got yer laces.

On another note, you can do the same thing in various programs that have a "line" tool or something similar.

Ok. Still with me? It hasn't appeared to be that important until now, but are you thinking about where the light in your scene is coming from? Wait- you are thinking about the light aren't you?!? Aren't you?? Because now it really matters.

It may seem like I've done quite a bit of work since the last step. Maybe not as much as you think. Let's walk through it.

First of all, I've decided to go with more of a cream color for her blouse. I duplicate the blouse layer (you can just drag the layer in the layer palette over the new layer button, and it will create a duplicate layer). I do this so I can experiment without making any permanent changes. I hit CTL-U to bring up the hue/saturation menu. Clicking the "colorize" button, I play with the sliders until I've got a color I'd like to start working with. Clicking on the "ok" button, I get get to work on the fun stuff.

Now let's work on some shadows. What you see on the right is a combination of working with the burn and dodge, smear and airbrush tools. I'll hit a few shortcut keys as I work between them:

J - airbrush
O - burn and dodge
I - eyedropper
R - smear and blur
CTL-Z - One of the pleasures of digital art... the ability to undo your last action. Lovely.

When you are using the airbrush, you can also hold down the ALT key to turn your brush icon into the eyedropper, enabling you to sample from part of the blouse nearby. Saves a lot of time over having to choose the eyedropper. It also helps in getting the subtle shading we are looking for in the shadows we are looking for. After all, we are thinking about the light constantly, right?

Don't forget the valuable tool of transparency protection. When desirable, check the box on the layer palette that protects transparency for that layer. That way you can paint without worrying about going outside the boundaries of your clothing. If you want to change the shirt, just uncheck the box and paint away.

Working on the laces, I can be happy that I rendered large. I use the burn tool to darken the bottom edges, and the dodge tool to lighten the top edges. I set a small brush to around 20% opacity, making sure I make only small changes at a time. I won't vary size with pressure with either the burn tool, or the airbrush at this point.

For some of the creases, I set the layer opacity to 85% or so, just enough to see the underlying body. That way I can get the folds underneath her breasts and armpits right without guessing. Once I've done just a bit there, I up the opacity back to 100% on the layer.

After getting a few of the folds in, I'll gently, very sparingly use the smear tool to move the cloth around. Be careful. It's very easy to overuse this tool... pretty soon your painting can look, a smeared mess. So far, I've mainly used it on the pull in the cloth created by the laces.

Above, among other changes, you'll notice the overall color of the blouse has gotten darker. I know I originally stated "cream colored", but I have a fascination with golden hues. There are many ways to do this. Sometimes, it's just because you've painted all the changes... and other times (hint) it's because you've duplicated the blouse layer, perhaps colorized it, played with the color balance, and then set the layer attibute to "multiply" or "overlay" or "soft light".

When I work on a picture, I'll take breaks from painting to see what Photoshop can do. I'll duplicate the layer, change the color, and then overlay using different layer modes just to see what happens. If I see something I like, I'll keep it; sometimes hitting CTL-U to play with the hue and saturation while the layer is in that different mode. It's fun, and a great way to experiment.

Yes, it may seem that I work somewhat haphazard, but I have fun. Isn't that the point? I know I'll get there sooner or later.

In this picture, there are also a few refinements in the folds and one of the sleeves. Just a bit more time working with the same tools mentioned in the previous step.

I will vary the mode of the layer, to sometimes preserve transparency, and to sometimes not. If I am changing the borders of where the blouse is, then not. But if I'm airbrushing, it certainly helps to make sure I don't paint beyond the edges. Again, you can change the transparency mode by checking the box on the layer palette.

Have you noticed one very large change? Yes, I've airbrushed a few shadows on her skin created by the blouse. To do this, I first create a new layer between her body and the blouse. Then using an airbrush set to 3-5% opacity, I gradually work shadows in, using a combination of black, a dark skin color, and a very dark blue. Why blue? Two reasons: The color blue can be found in all shadows, and secondly, the blue sky around her (the environment) will find itself reflected in all kinds of places you would never think to look. And since we are digital painters, we will most definitely look.

For the shadows created by the laces in her cleavage, I used a smaller airbrush and painted with a consistent opacity (4% or so), being careful to follow the curves of her form. I found myself ever so drawn to the CTL-Z combination at this time. Don't worry if it takes time. Getting the brushstrokes right is what makes it believable. If not believeable, then hopefully at least acceptable within the appearance of the total scene. There will be another change to those shadows later....

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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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