Author Topic: Tutorial on Painting Fur  (Read 3243 times)

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Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« on: April 09, 2004, 05:36:52 pm »
EDIT: Recently I've found that the airbrush tool is much better than the paintbrush tool for simulating real brushes. I'd recommend you use that instead of the paintbrush for the tutorial, with opacity set to 50% and pressure set to vary by pressure.

Ok, a lot of people seem to ask for a tutorial on how to paint fur. Since most tutorials handling this involve using the smudge tool I felt someone should make one which used basic tools and a traditional method. This tutorial uses only the paintbrush (various sizes) 4 layers (one of which is deleted later) and the fill tool (but only once). The brushes will be set to variation by pressure if using a tablet, but if not you could probably do it if you set brush opacity to 30%

Oh, and anyone reading this who claims they're not good enough to do this method, this was my first time trying it. I've never tried to go into this much detail in a digital painting and it's ended up as a bit of an experience for me as well. Hence why I might seem to double back on myself at times.

OK, on with the tutorial.

Part 1: The sketch

Ok, I'll start out by explaining where I got this method. I took an oil painting course a couple of months ago, and during it this was the method we were taught, do an underpainting then work from biggest brush to smallest.

So what to do. Ok, when you've got photoshop open, make a new file. I chose to work at 1500x2000 pixels. I then created a new layer and did a very simple sketch, drawing the outline along with some notable areas.  The dot in the top right is the size of brush I used, a larger one is preferable.






Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2004, 05:40:28 pm »
Part 2:  The Monochrome 1

In this part I began painting a black and white version of the fox, trying to keep it as accurate as possible without going into too much detail. This lets you work out where the lights and darks will be and will help immensely when you come to colour. Start off using only a big brush to do it. Again, the brush I used is on the top right.


Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2004, 05:50:00 pm »
Part 3: The Monochrome 2

Ok, something I forgot to mention in the last post is that a monochrome is best done in a neutral colour. I changed mine later so that it was a fairly neutral brown. This is cause if you use black and white (and greays, of course) then later on it can kill your paintings colours. This part shows me using black and white, but I'd strongly recomment you use light and dark versions of an earth colour, since they tend to work well for this.

Ok, now for the painting. The brushes in the top right are the ones I've used, and I'm going to be using those ones until the very end when the fine detail is added to the fur.

Ok, take your middle brush and then refine the painting as much as possible with that. Dont cheat and try and use the smaller brush early, no matter how tempting. In the end all I used it for was sharpening the eye and adding the mouth.

And basically that's all there is to this step, refine the monochrome till it bears a fairly good resemblance to the original, although with less detail since you used large brushes (you dont want to get bogged down in this. 45-60 mins should be more than enough to do a passable monochrome from sketch to finish)



Oh, one thing. If you find you have to change back to a larger brush for some reason dont worry about it, it's not a problem. Sometimes a larger brush is needed later when your defining things. This counts for later on too, if you need to use a larger brush than the current one feel free, but try and get as much done with that brush when you do as possible.

Oh, and you can delete the sketch layer once the monochrome's done. One less layer to bother with





Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2004, 06:04:56 pm »
Part 4: Colour 1

Ok, now we get onto the colour. Yay!

Start by going to the background layer and filling it with a neutral colour. Make it lighter than the colour used for the monochrome. In my case I went for a greyed sand colour.

Ok, now we get to the first rule for colouring. As I mentioned earlier, using greys will dull down an image. As a result, never use pure greys, black or white in a painting (linearts are an exception to this, but even then if you're colouring one you shouldn't use black or white. Bear in mind this is for painting rather than line art colouring) Always tint these tones in a suitable colour, whatever you are painting. otherwise it will cause deadening of the colours in your painting.

Anyway, back to the painting. After you fill the background create another layer above the monochrome. Set it to opacity 80%, this'll let you see the monochrome you did faintly and that'll give you a guide in what you're doing. This is the layer you'll be doing all your colour painting on.

Select your largest brush now and begin to paint, using the monochrome as a guide to placing the colours. dont worry about keeping it accurate, just make it as close as you can to the colours you want. In cases like the chest fur where you have light hairs over dark ara, do the dark at this point. You'll paint in the light areas later.

In the photo I'm working from the scene is outdoors. Therefore the colour of the highlights will be blue of reflected sky (except where the sun hits directly, which will be a yellow/orange tinted white) Since blue is the main highlight for the image the shadows should be it's contradictory colour, which is an orange (read up on colour theory, it's pretty useful)

Of course, I couldnt have a bright orange as shadows so I made it a brown, and since I'd used a more greenish blue for highlights the shadow was more red than yellow



This layer will probably be a bit messy, as you can see mines is, but dont worry about it. The next few stages are the ones where it's refined more.





Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2004, 06:12:13 pm »
Part 5: Colour 2, aka Refining what you've got and adding basic detail

Ok, at this point we start to get some detail in and the painting actually starts to look like what it is (in this case a fox)

Using your medium brush add more detail to what you've done. Try and bring some shape to the body using light and dark colours (this is where the monochrome helps a lot). In the case of fur, add parts where it's brightly lit in the form of broad strokes moving in the direction of the fur.

And that's about it. After here it gets kinda repetative in that you shrink brush and add more detail, shrink again, add again, but the steps do include some useful stuff and the last part has some important parts so I'd advise reading through it.

Anyway, here's what I've got so far following this






Offline Kitsuken

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2004, 06:16:32 pm »
Part 6: Yet more refinement and defining fur

Ok, this is pretty straight forward. With the smaller brush do the same as before, making strokes in the direction of the fur's flow. At this point, though, you'll need to alternate between light and dark colours in the case of longer fur.

Heres mine for this step.



This is about the point where asking others for advice comes in useful, since you'll have started to develop tunnel vision and may miss things easily. It's also handy to flip the image horizontally and see how it looks, since this can help you noice flaws

Offline Nocte

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Tutorial on Painting Fur
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2004, 06:36:46 pm »
Great tutorial! I like the fact that you're showing a method, this way it is also useful for those who work with traditional media.
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Offline Kitsuken

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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2004, 06:39:40 pm »
Part 7: Nearly there

Ok, at this point you should be using a fine brush. In my case I went smaller than my original 3 (although I used the larger ones as much as possible)

Couple of things that came up when I was working it, mainly problems I came across after people's suggestions.

1) I had defined the chest fur as curly. This wasnt the case in the reference, it was the lfur above the leg that should be like that, but Id gotten confused and done all the long fur like that. Got that fixed

2) The light on the fur became too bright, so I used a large brush at *very* low opacity (ie 10/20%) and painted over the light fur that was a problem using a contradictory colour to blue, since that will dim the brightness of the colour (useful thing to remember)

3) I'd missed the right (the foxs left) eye when I was correcting the image. This was tunnel vision in action since I didn't notice something wrong till someone else mentioned it.

4) I went overboard with the small brush and ended up making it look a mess. It took about half an hour to fix. Try and be careful with the finer brushes, it's tempting to do a lot of work with them but overdo it and your painting becomes a scribble

5) The left eye (fox's right) was too large so I shrunk it down a bit so it would fit.



And basically that's it. If you want you can go even smaller than I have, or you could add a background or refine the colours further, but that's it from me. I'll have the final image posted soon





Offline Kitsuken

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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2004, 06:47:32 pm »
Unicorn: Heh, you caught me while I was disconnected. You should have another look through, I've edited a few of the posts so they read better (and the first one isn't as offensive to people who use burn and dodge tool ':p')

Offline Nocte

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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2004, 02:44:49 pm »
Oops, seems I butted in too soon. Sorry 'bout that.  ':blush:'
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Offline Kitsuken

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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2004, 04:53:37 pm »
hah, 's no big deal. I wanted to seperate the different parts into different posts, so I knew the risks I was taking (actually, now that I think of it I would have been better writing it seperate then cutting and pasting).

I kinda hoped the forum would be quiet enough to avoid it, but I was cut off from my connection before posting the last bit so there was a gap where I couldnt post

I actually found it kinda funny that I'd gotten compliments on it before I'd even finished   '<img'>