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Painting clothes

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Date Added: 22nd June 2009
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In this step, I've taken the parts of the blouse that are hanging over (top of the sleeves, and the blowing bit on the lower left) and cut and pasted them to a new layer. Some cloth doesn't have an inside that is that different from the outside, but I began to think it might look a bit more rich and interesting if it was. I don't have to be exact at this point, so I just used the lasso tool (L) to draw a selection around them. Then, it's CTL-X to cut, and CTL-V to paste, and a new layer is automatically created with your selection on it.

At the very lower left of the blouse you can see where the cloth goes behind her body. You can paint this area without worrying about painting over her body. Just paint away, and then when you have it done, just hold down the CTL key, while selecting the body layer, and you'll see a selection based on the body layer. Get your eraser out (E) and erase the part of the blouse in front that's supposed to go behind.

There are things here to fix... in some areas the colors don't match up right... there are definite signs of over-burning... and something about those sleeves just don't agree with me.... so....

I fixed 'em. Ahhh...sleeves I can live with now. A bit more medieval looking, and more in tune with the look I seem to be working toward. Yes, you are right; sometimes not much in my pictures is planned... I just get there by somehow finding and inventing things along the way. Hey- watch out... this blouse might end up with green polka dots before I'm done.

But seriously, what you see above is the finished blouse. It's become even more golden in color, the folds more defined, and shadows and hilights well in tune with where the light is coming from.

Having the "laying over" or windblown parts of the blouse on a separate layer allows me to do a couple things. First, I can adjust their color, making sure they are consistent, without messing with the main blouse. I also makes it easier to airbrush their shadows underneath, on the blouse (or an inbetween layer), and skin where necessary.

Remember I mentioned another change coming on those lace shadows? Right. I clicked a button on the layer palette that created a mask for that layer. Using a large airbrush, I painted in the mask, making the lace shadows in the center of her chest fainter than those where the blouse is very close to her skin, just like real shadows behave in the real world. Even though this is fantasy, there are certain real-world constructs that people expect to see. The way light works in our world is something that people depend on in order believe a scene. And that is why it is so crucial to remember
not only how it works, but where it is coming from.

Just like one more thing on her blouse... the hilight along her left side (right as we look at it). Notice the darker shadow (called the terminator) that runs down her side? Also notice that it does not run down the outer edge of her blouse. Along edges, pay careful attention. Look at reference pictures. Different cloth acts in many different ways. But in this picture, the cloth has a sheen, and near the edge reflects a brighter color brought on by the skylight.

This blouse may seem like a ton of work, but we must remember that good work is better created by 2000 small brushstrokes than one large one. Small enhancements, done gently, one after another, and pretty soon you are onto something.

Here is a close up, a working sized, cropped version of the picture showing a section where the laces interact with the rest of the blouse. Also take a look at the lace shadows and how they fade as they get farther away from the body. If you add details like this, it will only add to the believability of your scene.

Sure, there are imperfections, and you know what? That is a good thing. A little dirt here and there is real life. Imperfections in the shadows would be one thing (and would be something to be fixed), but slight irregularities in the folds, in the width of the creases, or in the colors is just fine.

Ever seen a spoon without scratches? A shirt without the occasionally stray thread? A glass without spots? Hmmm.... maybe I need to clean up around here....

I hope this helps you out... if I seemed long winded about painting a simple blouse, it's only because fantasy art is a passion. In bringing a whacky vision in my head to life, it demands all the time I can give it.

oh... and remember where the light comes from.

If this helped you out, I would love to know. You will find an e-mail link below if you feel like commenting. Thanks!

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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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