- Lesson Details
In this lesson, instructor Chris Legaspi explains the importance of clipping masks and shows you how to add final touches to your digital artwork. Then, he gives two important demonstrations, where you can carefully observe and practice along for the best learning outcome.
This lesson belongs to the course Introduction to Photoshop. During this 9-week course, Chris Legaspi teaches you the fundamentals of Photoshop. You will learn through valuable lessons with in-depth demonstrations and beneficial assignments. After completing the course, you will be able to edit photo references and photos of your artwork. You will also be proficient at sketching, painting from scratch, and creating color comp by mastering the basic tools of Photoshop.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
Transcription not available.
Transcription not available.
professionally at least over a decade. I even teach, you know,
I teach Photoshop too. And I recently discovered - oh, I
don't know if recently but later in my career I
discovered what I'm going to show you now, which is called
clipping mask. And in my mind it's probably one of the most
things in Photoshop and I use it like
it's almost like paper. I use it almost as much as I use paper.
Every time I sit down to Photoshop I use clipping mask
so I'm going to go over it now. I'm going to go over
slowly. I'm going to
use it quickly once. I'm going to go over it slowly and then I
expect you to practice because - and you probably will because
once you see how fun and powerful it is you're going to
use it every time. You probably saw me do it periodically. I
probably mentioned it. But I'm going to repeat it now. We're
going to cover it now in detail because it's probably my
favorite tool in Photoshop clipping mask let's go. So now
let's get to the bread and butter of the butter. The bread
and butter of our bread, the butter of our bread and butter.
I don't know. I guess the
the software is the bread and the clipping mask is the
butter. I don't know. I don't eat butter either so it really
doesn't matter. So what I'm going to show you is clipping
mask. Now remember
we did this thing - I deleted my layers. We started with this
kind of this
flat shape and then we added a gradient on top using our
selection. Remember we used this selection and then we,
you know, added a -
where'd it go? We added
a gradient on the bottom, right, using our selection.
You know, if we see it's a razor-sharp. One powerful way and
one quick way instead of using selections is to stack your
layers and to clip them which makes a mask called the
All right, so I'm just going to go very quickly. I'm going to
do it quickly. So first I draw a selection, right?
We know that and then I fill it with a flat shape. We know that
just use good old paint bucket to start with, a nice boom flat
Same with the background.
Fill our background,
make sure it's on its own layer. I'll call it BG, boom
flat shape. That's too dark. Just adjust it, that's too saturated, boom suggest it see saturated boom
fill the background. Now, I'm going to use clip mask to add
gradations and subtlety. You ready? Make a new layer, do the
clip mask, hold alt. Now what I'm gonna do is bring up
a slightly darker color.
A little too far.
Make it a little bit more subtle and going to adjust the
color a little bit. Actually, I like the color.
It's okay actually. Yeah, actually the color was okay. a color was okay
Then we do is do another one.
I like that color, gonna drop the opacity. Going to merge these
two clipping masks because I can. I'm going to do
another clip mask. I'd like to get this band under the neck so
I'm going to use this flat gradient and see what that
looks like there.
The shape is a little off.
Kind of want to get that little bit of light tune. You know
in head drawing there's a little bit of tone under the neck
there. The shape is a little off. That's okay.
I can make it a little bit taller actually.
Okay, and then I'm going to fine-tune that.
I'm going to make this one nice and red. That little bit of
tone under the neck, always a little bit of red.
Little bit warm there.
Going to merge that and go up top. Do the reverse at the top.
And his forehead, let's say I want a nice yellowy kind of
glow in his forehead. Let's say there's a - gonna switch it to circular
gradient shape. Make sure it's set to alpha. Gradient to alpha.
Okay. So my first guess at a color looks like total crap.
That's okay. Guess what's coming? Boom, hue set its on
its own layer. Baboom, baboom, and then we can just do it,
tweak it, play with it. Drop the opacity. Make more subtle.
Baboom, baboom, baboom. Just one more.
I get so excited when I use these.
That color is ugly too,
But that's okay. I got our friend hue say, as long as
it's on its own layer, we're good.
Color was okay. It was just a wrong
value. So I'm going to name this
dark half tones.
Name this light variation or call it a dark
And then one more thing, let's say I want to brush a little
bit of texture, right? Little bit of stubbly texture and a little
bit of blue. We know that -
my painters out there know that
skin doesn't work without blue, especially like a male. If you -
once you add that little bit of razor stubble it just looks so
Just give it a little bit of texture and tooth there.
I normally have more variety in texture brushes. Just haven't
made them yet.
And we're looking at that go that's way too bright Chris. I
agree. But we got our friend hue sat. You're all Chris
that's way too dark, way too saturated. What are you doing?
What are you doing? What are you doing?
Don't worry. My friends hue sat, clip mask, and layer opacity set clip mask and layer opacity
coming to the rescue. Look at that, looks so beautiful now. Can
just make it as subtle and as perfect as you want. Try doing
that - try doing that operation in oil paint and get back to me.
My painters out there know that that was a pain in the butt. I
did in just half a millisecond.
Let's say one last thing. I'll call this cool.
Let's say I want to add some freckles.
Just going to color pick.
Make sure I clip to the freckles.
I really don't need the clip this.
You see? Boom.
Make it subtle, change the color. Let's say I want them
to be -
want them to be blue liver spots. I don't know why a young
guy would have liver spots. But okay,
so that's it. Call it freckles detail.
Forgive me if I misspelled it.
Save it real quick.
Alright, so that was a quick demo of clip mask. Now, let's
go over it slowly. In fact, I don't like these layers.
Okay, so clip mask basically is a layer that uses the layer
underneath as a mask. And this works best when you have a hard
edge shape. That's why I always always always always start with
a hard edge shape, right? This shape is hard edge versus
like something like our drawing right, it's got some gaps, some of
the lighter, some darker, not opaque. This is 100% opacity
with the razor-sharp edge, especially true because we use -
you can tell we used a lasso tool. Look at that looks like a
Russian Academic Drawing a bunch of straights.
So it works best with a fully opaque layer.
So all you got to do is bring up a new layer.
Right? Right above the layer that you want to add, you
know, let's say I want to add darker gradient from the bottom
up, lighter gradient from the top down. So I bring up a new
layer and what I do is I hold alt and then move my cursor
between the two layers and you see the icon change. It was
like a little finger hand. Boom, hold alt, move to the line. See
the line? See the icon change? So line, hold alt. Now it's ready to
clip and then you click boom. Then you see that that little
arrow see that that means this layer is clipped to this layer.
Now flat shape is now what's called the parent, this is the
child, but you don't really - doesn't really matter. So now
everything I do in this layer I'm just gonna do something
crazy like brush some pink, right? Everything I do in this
is contained by what's underneath which is a razor
sharp shape that I consciously made. So it's masking - this is
being masked by this layer that it's clipped to because it's
clipped to this layer. It's masking it. So watch - the moment
I unclip it,
boom. See that, isn't it awesome? I love it.
Unclipped. It's on its own layer.
You know, it's on its own layer. You can move it around. The moment
I clip it, locked razor tight to the shape. And the
reason that's the clip part
is clipping it to the layer beneath it and you can add as
many as you want. Let's say I want to add a
neon green, let's say I you know, I have a two-year-old nephew
who comes in and once this start adding neon green things,
as long as it's clipped, right, you can add, it doesn't go
outside the boundary and I can just stack all day long, all day
long, and just go into clip mask joy, you know, now starting to
look like a modern piece or something and then, you know,
you can merge them command E. You can merge all your clip masks.
So that's the clip part. Now the other way -
the reason why it's called clip mask is because it works
exactly like a mask. Remember that's what we did earlier. We
made a selection, right? and then, you know, we made a
selection and then we did -
you know, exact kind of the same thing, but the difference here
with the selection - I'm going to deselect it, turn the
drawing off - it only stays within the bounds of the
Which is the clip mask you have a lot of it and because
I like this better because obviously you can move it
around and find tune it, you know, you know how much I love to
fine-tune things and you know, the clip mask also works like a
layer mask. So let's say I select - I have my selection
active that I already made and I saved, I make a new layer, then
I hit this alpha mask button. Well the selection's active
boom. It'll draw the mask and now I can do the exact same
thing boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop.
Right as we saw earlier because it's masked too so if I turn off
the mask for example see, I'm turning off the mask, see how it
goes outside the bounds of the mask? So that's pretty cool.
And this is useful to because
you know, like for example
the dark hair is above the drawing. Let's say I want to
add some highlights to the drawing. But you know, I don't
want to go outside of the shape. So I just make a mask. I
select the shape,
make the mask, make my selection active, make the mask.
Now he can draw like I don't know, like
yellowy brown highlights, but still stay locked within the
That's because this is above the drawing. If I put it below the
drawing, right, and I clip it, the work that I just did
you don't see it because it's you know, it's below the
It's below the drawing, right, this bit of tone I the this bit of tone. I
mistakenly put on the drawing. I normally don't do that.
Normally, this would be empty space and that hair would
be on its own layer of course for hue sat reasons. So that's
that's the magic of clip masks. It works exactly like a mask
it's versatile like a mask, but it's real easy to apply. Just
hold alt, put your cursor in between the two layers, hold alt
That's a power of a clip mask, works exactly like a layer mask
or alpha mask.
See that? Now I will show you what happens when you try to do
the layer beneath the parent layer - remember the parent layer
has to be opaque. Let's say
you know, let's say I start painting, you
know, you just saw this lesson and you're super exciting like,
oh man that looks so easy and fun. Let me try it.
All right. Chris said I can use opacity. I can use
transfer. Let's use transfer. All right. Now I'm ready to
fill in my face, fill in my character, right and you character? Right and it's a you
know, you kind of kind of do it quickly and rush, you want
want to make it more subtle.
Right. So you have something like this, if I try to clip it
and I go oh, well, I saw a Chris use the clip
mask and the gradient tool. Let me try that. If I do that,
so just quickly darken it, see how it's not as clean as it
does affect the pixels, right, but our pixels aren't clean.
They're not tight, right ?So
you have to have really tight pixels to get the full effect.
So that's why I always start with a razor-sharp, just a flat
old shape, and then what I do now you're getting to see my
approach is just the clip mask all the way up at gradation, at
texture and detail, variation bubba, bubba, bubba, bubba, bubba
all starting with the base of a razor sharp flat shape that I
drew with the lasso tool and fill with the paint bucket and
then boom boom boom boom. boom boom boom, clip mask,
clip mask, clip mask, clip mask, clip mask, clip mask, clip mask with mouse. Click Mouse. Click
right? Starting to see the MO here. see the mo here.
All the way until you get a nice beautiful Warhol guys nice beautiful Warhol
looking thing or whatever this is.
And all the clip mask, you can merge them,
merge them all the way down. And you see the moment you unclip
it it just goes by, just goes all over the place.
That's the power of clip mask.
So let me
quickly add some tone. I just have so much fun doing this.
And you know, you can see I'm
Here using warp tool.
That's the beauty of - I need it to curve actually,
that's the beauty of a clip mask. If it's on its own layer,
you can do so many things to it. You can fine tune it all
And I'm going to erase out a little bit.
Remember eraser you can drop the opacity and make it subtle.
I don't want it on his -
I need to make a texture brush. I don't like that one.
I don't like this one.
And let's add some blue stubble back. This one's a little too
red, little too opaque. Bring it back.
I'm just going to brush some blue.
I almost can just randomly arbitrarily pick any
color like this.
Definitely the wrong color, but
enough to do this. Da da doop, da da doop, da da doop. doop de doop.
Drop the opacity.
Do a subtle erase just to get some cools in there. Okay,
so that's that's pretty close. And I'm going to merge these
clip layers and call it variation.
Save my file.
All right. So let's say we want to do some detail. Let's say we
want to render the nose and render the eyes. Let's start
with the detail. Well one thing I like to do - well first this drawing
is just too opaque. So I'm going to drop the opacity.
Probably start going over the drawing soon. I will if I want
to add hair detail, which I'll do in a moment.
So what I like to do is use a combination of clip mask
clip mask and lasso tool. So I'm going to make a new layer, just
call it a nose.
And what I'm gonna do is I'm going to draw just a rough mask and this
mask will be obviously it'll be way too hard for what we need it
But for now, it's okay.
and what I'm going to do is
I'm actually going to clip it.
Oh actually I don't need to clip it because clipping only
affects if you need to go outside the border like we did
with this gradient, but this one - I'm only going to stay
at the nose. So inside the silhouette.
I'm going to make a
more saturated gradations. So I'm going to use gradation tool,
start with the linear.
And I'm going to fine tune it.
Actually might be a little bit more pink. Yes. That's what I
Kind of get that blushy nose look. Actually going to do that again.
Going to do it
all the way up.
So then if I wanted to do a smaller shape like the nose, I
can just fill it with - I could draw the marquee around the
Do the operations, in this case a couple gradients, then I can
merge the nose. Gonna call it the nose again, and then I could
take an airbrush too, the edge is too hard. We don't want that. Take
an airbrush eraser
and just boop,
just subtly erase the edge, just blend it. You can also use the
mask which probably be smarter. Remember if you use mask I
would have preserved these pixels. Now that I'm using erase
those pixels are gone forever.
It means if I don't like what I'm doing, I'm in trouble. I
just have to do a lot of undos.
So that's combination
using the lasso tool. Let's say I want to do a quick
Just going to draw
a highlight shape on his nose. And then what I'm going to do
I'm going to do two things.
Well first I'm going to -
yeah first I'm going to feather modify
the selection using feather. So it's selection, modify feather.
Let's say make it four.
Four is the number of pixels, it's a little bit subtle. I'm going
to fill this with
the paint bucket not gradation tool. I'm going to do
a couple of things really cool.
I'm just going to actually gonna color pick that light on his a color pick that light on his
head to make it more consistent.
So that was four. Now I'm going to do - I'm going to make a new
clip mask, going to put it beneath
that highlight I just made. What I'm going to do is
select modify feather again, but I'm going to feather it
like 15 times, I don't know 20, let's try 20. 20 might be too
big. Yeah it's too big.
If you try to feather it and it's - the pixel, the pixel
amount of feathering is bigger than the actual selection then
it won't work.
So that's what that warning was. I just brought it back.
And say I want to do 10,
It's too much. So we need some more pixels and say
I'll make a bigger one.
Now I'm going to fill - excuse me - select, modify feather. Let's do
this one, let's do 12. Okay now it's working.
I'm gonna pick that same color,
keep it active. I'm going to make it a little bit more red,
but still bright. Okay, drop it in there. So now you see it's
subtle, drop it there. This one is a little more subtle, drop it
there. And of course I can erase, change the shape, or brush
back on it if I wanted to.
I think the shape is a little off so I'm just going to erase
it because it's on its own layer. I can do this.
Shape is a little off. Okay.
So I also need it on the wing. I'm just going to manually
brush it now.
Yeah, that's what I need right there, that little bit of wing
highlight the brush and that's what we're going to talk about now
is adding details with brush. So that was an example of using
selection tool to add detail.
And I'm going to merge these two layers. Now I have a nice
nose. You see we're starting - we're beginning to render.
Let's say I want to render this eye. So I'm going to make a new
layer and I can clip it or don't clip it. I'm just going
to clip it just to keep it nice and clean.
Let's say he has
a dark cool shadow under his eye.
I know it's a -
I'm using what kind of brush. Oh, it's just airbrush. It's just
Even though it's airbrush I can get really dark as long as it's
really opaque. Right now it's pretty opaque.
So you can you just zoom in
and add all the detail you want using all the brush commands
that we mentioned earlier. Say I want to start to paint the
the white of his eye.
The eye should be
kind of blue.
It's a little too pink there. Going to be set to fine tune it, bring
it more to like the...
Okay. So now I have this dark - let's say I want to make it a little with a want to make it a little
bit darker. Just bring up command U, look at that, command you he's look at that
look how perfect that is.
I love this tool so much.
This tool and clip mask are like my best friends.
Let's say I want to - I like the detail. So this is my I render
Let's say I want to draw a really sharp pupil. So I can either
draw it with my lasso,
and fill it with a color, just going to randomly pick a
pretty dark color for - it's going to be so dark it really
Okay, so it's got to go above drawing.
Right now the drawing - yeah typically I don't make the
drawing this thick and then I can adjust
that. I'm color picking that eye,
putting it there.
The pupil. And then if I want to
cut out of it, of course, I can just -
lots of tools I can just do the marquee again. Let's do
that again. Let's do make a new layer, you know, whenever I do
new operation I make a new layer.
I'm going to use circular marquee. I'm going to feather
it a little bit. Select, modify feather.
And let's make it only two pixels because it's so small.
And then fill it - just fill it with a white. Pure White. Boom.
Got my little highlight, think it's a little too bright. So
I'm just bring up hue sat, baboom.
Pretty cool, right? And one last thing is another gradient tool.
Let's say I want to make his eyes blue, but I want that
beautiful gradient, you know eyes have that beautiful
gradient. So one thing we could do is
draw the selection.
Should probably use a - I tried to draw it.
part doesn't matter, we can totally erase it.
Going to call this pupil.
what I'm going to do is put it underneath the drawing and then
I'm going to fill it paint bucket style with some kind of
That's a little too blue.
I'm going to draw a mask. I lost my selection, remember
because this is a perfectly flat shape that I made I'm
able to call up its election just by holding command and
clicking and then make a new layer above it.
And then use gradient tool. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Of course, that's the wrong blue. It doesn't matter, bring
up hue sat again, command U.
And fine tune it till we get perfect blue gradient. We want -
now you're seeing the drawing show through, that's why
I don't recommend doing - normally don't do a drawing
that intense and then
to get rid of that top part mask or erase. This time going
to use an erase and I want a hard edge. So I'm going to
bring up a hard edge brush and whack whack whack whack whack.
You see how we're able to get this the small shapes, the
manual brushing just like we do in traditional combined with
also with gradient tool using lassos. And of course clip mass
to keep everything locked in the shape.
adjustments and other things we could do. So let's say we have
a nice background here. Let's get rid of these. This is our
background. Of course, it's too flat. We don't like that.
We can add a tone.
Of course that blue is too ugly, doesn't matter.
Bring up hue sat, change it up.
Drop the opacity.
Even add a little bit of texture if we wanted,
let's try that.
I got to get some better texture brushes.
This one's not clipped. You can see I'll try to make it but I
forgot to clip it. Uh, there you go, drop the opacity, play
with the color.
I'm bringing up an eraser here just to erase, just to give me
some texture. I don't like that texture
that I had.
That brush is so ugly.
Merge that, call it variation.
And I'm going to merge these two, the background and the
variation. You know, the background, there's really no
detail, doesn't need to be too precise. So I can merge the
layers. So now I'm going to call up layer adjustments.
Let's call up
brightness contrast and say I want more contrast in the
background to make it darker, more contrasty. Say I want
less contrast, make it a little bit brighter. There you go. I like
There's one thing to do. And the advantage again of a layer adjustment is
its own layer, turn it on and off to check, drop its
opacity to make it subtle, and you can go back into it. That's
the advantage of doing that versus directly on the layer
bringing up hue sat for example or brightness contrast.
Because this will affect the layer but I can't find tune it,
I don't have as many controls if it's not on its own
layer. That's one advantage of that. And one thing I like to
use adjustment layers for is to make vignettes. So, for
we can bring up hue sat, you're going to get tired of this he's going to get tired of this
guy. Say I want to drop the opacity. This one I'm going to
clip. I'm going to clip it because I don't want it to
affect the white around it. Gonna drop the opacity and let's make
it a little bit more saturated actually. And what color should
we go? Let's make it whatever, this color. This is color.
And then what I'm going to do is use because it's own mask I'm
going to use the mask to make a vignette. So use circular
gradient, bring up the mask. Make sure my opacity is 100%
and make sure I'm using pure black and wow look at that
I love it.
of course because when it's on its own thing you can fine-tune it something you can fine-tune it
as subtle as you want. It looks pretty good. I'm pretty
happy with that.
And let's say
I want to affect - let's say I want to affect the head as it
is right now, but I want to also affect the drawing. So
that means I can't be beneath the drawing because it's
clipped, right? If I clip it I'll be underneath the drawing
and I won't be able to affect the hair. So I want to do is
I'm going to make
a selection of the shape I want to affect and luckily my
flat shape, right, nice and tight. I also want to affect
the pupil. So I'm going to bring up -
let's bring up levels. Let's increase the contrast. So bring
up levels and levels, when you call up an adjustment layer
with a selection active, you saw the little marching ant
things, it draws the perfect selection mask for you. So now
I only affect what's on my layer.
And it affects everything beneath it that's within the confines
of the mask. And I'll show you what happens if it's not masked
in a minute. Say the moment I unmask it or turn off the mask,
see how it affects everything? Which doesn't look too bad
actually. This is only affects what's in the mask,
which is the character, this affects the entire frame
including what's outside -
it affects the entire canvas, which doesn't look too
Okay, so that's just a quick look at the power of adjustment
layers, masking and clipping to get all kinds of events. Okay,
well that was
all the tools you need to draw and shade now you're ready to
go, go do your thing, make your own comps, black and white
comps, colorize them to whatever.
I believe this set of tools is probably
the most useful tools and why Photoshop is so powerful. I
mean you saw me getting excited and you saw some of the things
we were able to do that are just incredibly laborious to do
the old school way. Only the Masters can make beautiful
gradients like that. But yeah, you put - you got everything. If you
need to get confused please review, go back to previous
lessons. I know I went through a little bit fast but probably by
now you're also a little bit more experienced if you've been
Transcription not available.
will have two different parts to it or two different separate
assignments. The first is we're going to learn how to draw and
tone from scratch. So what I'm going to have you do is draw a
skull either from imagination or reference if you have
your own reference, make sure there is good lighting. And
you're going to draw it as if you're drawing on paper using
Photoshop and then you're going to add light and shadow and
shade, just like you would do with traditional medium
we're going to use Photoshop and all the tools
that we covered in the lesson. So that's the first part,
drawing a skull lighting and shading. Okay. So our first
assignment we're going to draw something and
add tone and light and shadow. So treating this exactly like if I
was drawing on a piece of paper, we're going to show you
how to use Photoshop to mimic that process and to make it
smooth and fun. So this first one will be a skull. I'm going to - Move be a skull I'm going to
I'm going to use reference, you can draw from imagination. You
can use - you can also use your own picture. I just chose this
color because I like them and you know,
it's good, it's good practice to be able to draw it from
memory. So let's get started with the first assignment. All
right, so we make a new little canvas. It's good sized, eight by
I have the reference.
Okay, here's my reference.
Make sure it's a untabbed. Where's my -lost my other one.
So it's always under window. If you lose your windows you can
find them under the window, file menu. Going to make this a
little bit smaller. I don't really need to see it. So first
I'm going to sketch. I'm just going to sketch and draw. I
my brush made. But instead of drawing on the flat background
I always like to make a new layer.
So I'm just going to kind of draw.
and this drawing brush already has the things I like and I'm
drawing it full opacity, but changing the color to really
light color, this kind of like drawing with the
light pencil almost or I like to draw with - lately
I like to draw with colored pencils and
they come in various different shades of gray so it's kind of
So just quickly draw my skull and kind of try to draw the rest
from memory here. I'm just going to use the reference for
I'm not looking, I swear, drawing from memory I think.
I'm not going to do fully rendered skull here. Just kind
of show you the process, you know, for example, let's say
you shot this reference, but you want to test out different
This is where it's at. This is
probably one of the most useful I would say, if not the most
useful thing, about Photoshop is making your own comps, making
your own comps and adjusting your comps and that's what this
lesson is all about.
Okay. I looked a little bit, had to fine tune that shape a the fine tune that shape a
Fine tune this shape. Skulls are so fascinating to me.
are a great way to practice head drawing.
remember the portrait - or not the portrait little
invented head, little character I drew from imagination, little
drawing was a little too intense.
A little too,
you know, it's just too dark.
I filled in areas which I shouldn't have.
Now what I'm going to do is drop the opacity and to make a
new layer. So I'm going to paint with a little darker
And I'm going to make it -
make sure transfer is on and then I'm going to make it
80% because what I want to do is sort of clean up some of the
again, the power of Photoshop is exactly like a light box,
right, if you've ever drawn a light box or an animation
so exactly like that.
Just cleaning up my shapes
because I don't want too many construction lines. Although I
like them. Actually I do like them, but if I wanted to make a
serious looking, realistic looking I guess. I don't know.
Just make sure some of the shapes look good, major shapes.
This part is fine. You're going to have a lot of fun sketching,
This part is fine. You're going to have a lot of fun sketching, I can already tell. I remember first time I played with the
I can already tell. I remember first time I played with the
computer, man I had so much fun.
Especially if you have a
really good tablet and a pretty strong computer it's quite
You see how useful the layer and opacity techniques are, very
Okay, and yeah, it looks pretty good.
Now instead of, you know, that looks pretty cool. Instead of
deleting that layer I'm just gonna drop the opacity even
more. So I like some of that grit and some of that noise. I
don't know if you can see it now, it's super subtle. So
let's make it like 20% and then I'll keep this at a hundred
percent. And then merge the two and I'll call it drawing or
line art. Whatever.
Alright, so let's say I want to test the compositional idea.
I might have made a series of thumbnails that I
liked. So let's say -
let's say a kind of want to match this background. Nice
chiaroscuro, meaning dark, against the dark background
like a Caravaggio and then
Let's try that. So first, I'm going to fill the tone nice and
like a nice midtone.
Then I'm going to add a little bit of texture
with my ugly texture brushes.
And we do this black and white.
And I'm going quickly here.
A lot of these tools
We covered already.
I'm doing just making
a little noise.
Combining techniques to get the noise I want.
And I actually want to reverse this. I want it to go instead
light to dark, reverse opposite light to dark. So I'm going to
take the layer that has the variation, call it variation,
call this BG.
And I'll go to rotate it.
Well expand it a little bit, play with it.
Because it's on its own layer you can do that. Change the
Let's see if I can adjust that,
get rid of that little line. Nice and a little bit of noise
and detail and texture just a little bit.
Normally, I would have some really nice of brushes
because it's just it's more fun. This simulates
drawing paper. I love to draw on tone paper, 9 out of 10
times I draw it on tone paper and it has a little bit of texture.
So again simulating a traditional. Okay. So that was
my BG. I'm going to go ahead and merge it.
It was easy to make, it's not a big loss. My drawing is here.
I got a bunch of extra layers for some reason. So now what
I'm going to do is make the flat boom, boom, boom. Boom,
boom, boom. Just draw my - whoops. Make sure I got the right lasso
Just going to quickly block in the silhouette.
call this flat and I'm going to fill this
with a flat shape.
Let's say right now, it's - let's make it 50 nice and even
right down the middle. 50%
You see some of the old ghost line showing through. Yeah, I
don't like that. I don't like that at all. What I'm gonna do is -
I wasn't expecting that because what happened is because
the lines, remember I started the drawing with really
light color. That's kind of working against me now. So what
I want to do is make the whole thing black as if it were
And instead of
dropping the brightness of the color of the marks, making it
brighter, I'm going to drop the opacity. Because eventually I'm
going to paint over the drawing to get little bit more, but I
like the look of it intact. It just looks cool to me.
Okay, so I got a flat but you know flats are flat. And
artists we don't like that. We don't like that. dressed me. We don't like that.
We know things must have gradation. So I'm kind of going
to treat it like I did the background. Let's try that.
There's so many ways to add texture. There's lots of
filters we can use, we've used filters in previous lessons. So
I'm just going to
bring up this guy.
Actually I don't like this brush at all. It's a little too... fruit, too.
I really have to get my own.
The spacing is not enough. There it is.
There it is. A little bit more space. Yeah. I'm going to
make that more subtle. Do the reverse for the top. I'm going
to pick a different texture. Take this take this.
lighter one - whoops. It's not clipped. That's why it's going
outside the bounds.
You can change the order too of your clip masks. This one I'm
going to do a dissolve, which kind of gives me a little bit
of texture. It's a dissolve. That function is right here
Little bit of texture and dirt.
I like that.
I normally make a dirt brush. I have one at home.
And I'm going to do one more pass
make it more subtle by using a clean
This time round shape masking it.
Even more subtle, a little too dirty. Okay, it's perfect. This is
variation, variation. And I have light, dark variation, light
variation. Beautiful for my flat is old boring.
Just going to mix it, merge them.
what I like to do is
make - just like we started with a flat shape and then we add
clipping mask, gradations, and rendering for the shape itself,
I do it also for the shadow. So
what I like to do is just brush the shadow as if it were a hard
edge shape and I'm going to try to use this brush.
So little too
Yeah, and then see if I direction -
So it's going to kind of - kind of look
like a -
kind of chalky brush.
I'm gonna turn transfer off.
I want to be a little bit opaque. I'm just going to use a little
yeah, actually, let me turn transfer back on.
Yeah, because I don't - actually I'll take that back, turn
transfer off. I need it to be hard-edged. It's just not
the right brush.
So 80 percent opacity should give me enough subtlety. So
what I really want is stuff like that, little bit kind of
like a pencil. So
I'm going to pick not so aggressive color to start with,
pure black. Right now the base is about 50% so I'm gonna drop it
to 25% or so.
And then I'm going to just start brushing the shadow
shapes that I see.
I already started to outline some of them.
Actually, let me go back to a hundred percent because
remember we saw what happened when the layer that we clip to
isn't fully opaque. The effect is very weird. We don't want
that. I'm just going to kind of
trust in the process there.
Because right now I'm - my mind is switching to traditional.
As a traditional artist I'm like oh, oh can't make the shadow
too opaque, right? We know when we paint we want to make the
shadows generally transparent so they sink back, right, in the
And notice I'm trying to be careful because it's not
clipped. I didn't clip it. So I wanted to show you what happens
when you don't clip.
But look down here, look it's going outside the boundary.
Actually, I do want that a little bit and I'll show you - I'll
explain that in a second. It's kind of reason why I didn't
Make sure that eye is nice and tight and these little smaller
shapes, not too worried about, they're important but not right
now. We know that
when we draw and paint, we always want to focus on the big
shapes first, the big masses, of course, we know that.
If you've seen other lessons on NMA, you probably heard that
ad infinitum to infinity.
Okay, that's my shadow shape, needs some masking. Gonna call it shadow.
So what I'm going to do is instead of clipping it like
that, what I want to do is I want to make a mask because the
shadow needs to be its own body, needs to be its own body. So
I'm actually - because it's fully opaque and I like the shape,
I'm going to first make a mask and then instead of making a
I'm just going to delete it. And there's two ways to do that.
delete the stuff that goes outside of the shape that I
want to mask.
I can either just do this, just erase - oops make sure I'm on the layer.
Erase the layer and remember you see me on doing it's always
control Z, control Z to go back. So I can do that or
that I can do
is merge layers. And I'll show you that
in a minute, but let me just leave the mask on there for
now. Now the reason why I do that, why don't clip it, is because
I want the shadow to be its own entity because I'm going to
clip boom, boom, boom, boom onto the shadow itself.
Just like we do it very with the skull shape. I'm going with the skull shape. I'm going
to clip on the shadow itself.
Shadow is going to be its own layer, its own entity that sits
above the image, is kind of like imagine a
piece of tracing paper on top of your drawing or an
animation, another sheet of animation paper on top of a
So now I need to make a cast shadow, so I'm going to zoom
out a little bit.
And I'm going to do a quick cast shadow. So I'm going to
make a new layer and call this shadow two, should call
it cast shadow. And what I'm gonna do is draw a marquee, some draw a marquee
just to quickly fill the shape of the table
that was the circular marquee. Draw an oval and then paint
Now I don't want it
to fill this stuff so I can either erase it or just mask
out, but I'll show you.
Actually I can do that. Now I could just drop the mask in but I'm going
to adjust the shape of my shadow a little bit. It won't
be a perfect circle of course. I'm gonna bring my eraser back.
I'm going to make this a new brush preset.
Just change the shape of the marquee a little bit
because the light's coming from here. So this part will
probably not be in shadow, even though the table.
So now shadow is on its own entity. See its own little
entity, its own little body. And of course, what do we do with
the shadow? Just like leave variation. Now you would variation that it is the
don't have e to do this step. I just like it
because you know, there's dark parts of the shadow, there's
lighter parts of the shadow. We know that
and we look at the reference, see how the eyes are lighter,
the nose is darker. The occlusion shadow is brighter.
So this area is darker. So go ahead and darken that up.
See how beautiful that looks? Just love it. I just love it.
I just love the clip mask. It never gets old when I watch it
my God, it's so powerful. Two layers of it
because I can because it's Photoshop, you can make layers
all day every day.
Just keep making layers until it looks right.
Gonna lighten that a little bit. I'm going to save the darks
for the end.
Just want to lighten that
shadow a little bit. Actually gonna like this whole area a
I just needed to lighten that part. Okay,
Actually using airbrush. I like using texture brush so much it
can get a little bit aggressive.
Okay. Forgot the occlusion shadow gets a little bit darker
than you know.
And I'm going to lighten
the area around the eye socket a little bit, just a little bit,
make it super subtle. Just use airbrush little bit in the
nose. This is reflected light coming inside and bouncing
around in there. Drop the opacity to make it more subtle.
Let's see where else we can go. I'm just looking for any reason
to add variation. It doesn't really belong there for that
now I got shadow flat variation.
So that's pretty good. Now to quickly add a tone and a
highlight. That's really all we need right? Actually I'm going
to darken the background. So I'm going to bring up a layer
Just do that, just to test it.
And I'm liking that, I'm liking that. Actually this can go
darker at the bottom, but I'll do that at the top. So I like
the new dark background. I can merge it but I'm just going to
leave it as it is.
So now I'm going to go back to the flat layer. And now I can
clip it because the shadow with its own body, its own layer, its
And what I'm going to do is
going to do some gradations, going to go lighter and darker.
Start with the -
from the bottom up,
from the side out.
I'm going to
mask some of that out.
Looking beautiful love it.
I'm going to mask some of this out.
Yeah, let me try a mask. There's a part here that needs
to be masked out. There it is, it's very subtle. just very subtle.
There's form here.
Yeah, typically by like to do is instead of manually brushing
these tones I like to use gradients as much as possible.
With clip mask, of course.
That way it makes the tones very smooth.
And a little bit lighter up top. And this one I'm going to
use combination of dissolve. Just going to pick pure white.
Just go whoop.
Whoop. Everywhere I see a little bit of light I'm going
to use a dissolve layer. Whoop.
And one more at the bottom. And I'm putting three highlights on
three different layers and explain that in a minute.
Because I want to be able to manipulate them independently
of each other.
This bottom one should go really subtle. So drop the
opacity. This middle one less subtle.
And the top one the most brightest, because you know you
want that egg effect. So that's why three different layers
and because it was on dissolved mode.
And now I'm going to
use a smooth gradient
and just change the shape a little bit.
I want it to match that highlight there.
Warp it a little bit.
Sort of match the shape, drop the opacity. Don't want it to be
that bright. I'm going to brush that in manually. I just want
to set it, set the table for it.
Merge that. So call it
lights. I'm going to merge these, I like these. Apply and
call them shadow
or dark half tones.
That's what HT is, half tone/
And let's see, now I'm just going to randomly brush
some texture using this brush, some light color texture.
This is way too aggressive, let me drop the opacity. we drop the opacity.
Still not completely happy with the texture. I normally have a
a good texture brush, that kind of looks like skull or bone actually
or rock. It's really cool.
This one will work. And let's erase out with another one.
And this part isn't necessary. I mean you can literally take a
picture of bone and use it as a photo texture.
but I like to do it manually just for fun. I like that, gives
a little bit of texture, lightens the value little bit.
So that's really the beginning of the render because of course
next we know we have to
quickly do the transition and the little bit of tones and
then we'll finish up this demo here.
And the transition is simply the transition from shadow to
at the core shadow.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to just pick a dark
color, make a new layer, of course.
And for this I'm going to use transfer, make sure transfer's on, and
And for this I'm going to use transfer, make sure transfer's on, and I'm going to use
I'm going to use
Just to get that nice subtle
look and you know, of course I could use hue sat to fine-tune
whatever I do at this stage.
And this is a lot of fun because to me, this is very
close to how I work
in traditional medium
basically just doing the transition tones. That's what
this step is right here.
It's the tones and go from core shadow into light.
So we know,
my painters out there, my draftsman know.
They know what's up. They know this step is important.
I've some nice half tones here. I'm going to use another
Because really what I'm thinking of is value shapes, you know,
obviously I'm working in sort of a dark to light manner.
So subtle half tones there and if I want to go even more
subtle, I can just drop my opacity even more
and even change the color if I want, right?
So I'll bring that back.
Bring some of that back there.
And you know, I can just take it as far that I want to go
I don't want to take it all the way.
So we'll call this a core shadow.
Let's see what I'm going to do. I'm gonna do this little bit of
I should probably make a mask, which I will in a second. Gonna
draw a selection here.
So what I want to do is like something like this.
texture tones in the side plane there.
Erase out with another.
Yeah looks pretty cool. That edges is cool. It's a little
So I'm actually going to merge, going to make this, drop the
opacity and just merge that so it's all one layer.
Okay. There you go.
So that was my core shadow. My lights are pretty much there
so what I want to do is just add highlights in the fine details
Lots of ways to add this highlight. What I'm going to do is
I'm going to draw
draw a lasso.
I'm going to feather it, select modify feather. Just give it
like two pixels, drop in the light tone. Oops.
There we go, and then I'm going to erase
Doesn't look as good as I like actually now that I see it.
Let's try this. Yeah, it doesn't look that good. That
wasn't good idea.
That looks okay. So I'm just going to brush it in manually.
Probably what I should have done earlier.
And edge little hard, so I'm just going to bring up, new
brush, airbrush it.
So call this highlight.
That's what HL means.
Let's see. I remember you can always undo with control Z, that
erases too strong.
now I can just go down the figure or the skull here and
add the small highlight shapes.
I'm using a fairly hard edge brush about.
That's okay because I can always erase, I can even blur it
with the filter if I wanted.
So I know, I know, I know, I know
tones are way too bright. I, know I know.
But in case you haven't noticed yet, it really does not matter
what you throw down first because you can always adjust
And that goes for any operation
And I like to combine little bit of line.
You see starting to add detail.
So I can either
call up hue sat,
make it lighter or darker or just drop the opacity. Just
think I'm just going to drop the opacity, make it more subtle. That
way it'll layer on top and add its own a noise. So you can
just layer on top, add its own bit of noise.
It looks pretty cool.
When I say noise I mean like, you know fine grain texture
detail. So it's kind of like the bone itself has that,
has its own like noise pattern detail, has little pits and
crevices we can totally
brush onto our effect.
Alright, so I'm pretty happy with that. One last thing I
want to do is this highlight
put a little bit of a
light shape on the foreground and add a vignette. I'm just
going to add a circular gradient. I'm going to add the
noise pattern. I like to just need some noise. So under mode.
Dissolve, excuse me.
This makes it noisy gradation
like that. Then we do a filter.
Blur, motion blur.
One of the many blurs we can use.
I don't like that direction.
That one's okay, and then drop the opacity. So what I want is
that feeling that light is hitting this surface.
And I'm going to apply a gradation to make it a little
bit more subtle. Like that. Oops, make sure that noise is just make sure that noise it's
Okay, then finally, I could put a vignette around the whole
thing. I like vignettes. So bring up hue sat at the very
top so it affects the entire canvas, drop the opacity.
And then we can use gradient tool to unmask or to bring
back. Boom. Nice little vignette. So it looks like a spooky skull
and a dark room, kind of like the reference.
Alright, so that's the end of this assignment. Hope you
enjoyed it. Please please please practice. Please review.
I know I went quickly. Probably by now, you're a pro and all
these tools you saw in this lesson and you know, we built
upon previous lessons so review this, practice it, draw your own
skull. Draw something else more simple. I know skull's little
hard to draw but as long as you understand the concepts
that things go on their own layer, drawings should go in its
own layer, the toning should go on its own layer, highlights should on layer highlights Shadows.
go on its own layer and long as you understand the power of
clip masks, masking and using a gradation tools and selections
to fill big areas and playing with your brushes you're going
to be a pro. So that's in this lesson and let's move on to the
to create comps based on a drawing. So we're going old
school here. What we're going to do is we're going to take a
drawing that we drew on paper, scanned into the computer,
we're going to bring it into Photoshop and create three
different comps using Photoshop to add all the value
and all the shading. So it's going to be a lot of fun. It's
very old-school. And if you're like me and you also love to
draw and you love to shade this is going to be a really great
and fun assignment for you. So let's get started. All right,
what I'm going to do first is bring in the drawing
that I already scanned here.
Okay, here you go. And this is -
you might recognize it as a character from Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon, it's an Ang Lee film, came out a few years ago,
but has wonderful cinematography. I really
enjoyed the photography and his wonderful characters. So what
I'm going to do is take this drawing. I'm going to create
three different comps. Let's say I wanted to make a larger scale
painting or maybe a more finished drawing. What I want
to do first, of course, is is decide on the composition, don't under composition
specifically the value composition, you know, whether
we want mostly darks, lights, whatever, and Photoshop is the
perfect tool for doing that.
let's get started by first
blocking in some shapes. So this
is pretty big.
a pretty high risk and 300 DPI. And of course set to tiff.
So what I'm gonna do is make a new file first and then just like we saw
in previous examples I'm going to make myself three different
thumbnails. So I'm going to first grab the drawing.
There's a couple ways to do this here. I'm just going to
just take the drawing, draw a marquee around it. So I don't
need all this white space. So that really doesn't matter the
stage and just kind of drag it in there. You can do that with
the marquee or you can just - if there's no marquee and you just
want to grab the drawing you get started. What I do is I
grab the layer itself and manually drag it into the new
document like that or you can do cut and paste, control A, control C,
that kind of thing but
I tend to just like to drag it in the document.
This looks pretty good. And it's pretty big. So I'm going
to shrink it down. What I want to do is have three - be able to
fit three of these on one page and one 8 by 10 sheet so that I
can print it out.
So what I can do is start big with one and then reduce it in
So first, I'd like to make
what do you call that?
A nice little frame. So I know what the composition will be
let's see. I'm going to drop the opacity. So what I want to
do - whoops.
This is too dark.
What I want to do is just
take this background and kind of give myself a nice crop.
That's the word I'm looking for. Like to get the right crop
that I want. And once I have the right crop, I can apply it
to the drawing.
And then could either make a mask around the drawing, which
I'm going to do here. I don't want to eliminate all that
to make use of this drawing,
Meaning what we're going to do
is we're going to keep the drawing untouched as its own
layer, but we're going to add the tones underneath it on
separate layers. And the quickest way to do that is to
set it to multiply. So right now it's set to normal mode,
right? The drawing is on its own layer. It's surrounded by -
let me show you. See if I turn the canvas black you can see
the drawing is surrounded by white
we scanned on a sheet of paper. So
first I'm going to turn it to multiply.
So what multiply does is it eliminates the white of the
paper and all you can see is the dark, the darks. So that's a
great way if you scan a pencil drawing like this it's a great
way to be able to preserve your pencil drawing and use it as if
you were toning with markers. So this is very similar
approach to using marker or perhaps watercolor where you
would draw on your paper or your board and then
add the tones and the drawing is still preserved. So this
works a lot like that. So now it's set to multiply, I'm gonna
name name drawing.
Then I'm going to name this the flat or BG. It's called BG.
And I'm going to -
let's make the BG about 50%.
Okay, so it's about a nice even mid-tone. So now what I'm going
to do is I'm going to add some tone to my character.
Well, let me make it 75 percent, it's a little easier for me to
Okay, so now I'm going to
draw tones, add the tones, but first I need a mask, of course.
let's see if I can use the magic wand. What I really want
to do is draw a mask around her silhouette so I can use all the
clipping masks and things.
So, let's see
if magic is able to grab ahold.
Okay, in this case, it's not working. So it's no problem.
I'm going to have to draw a mask manually. It's no biggie.
We've done that many times.
So remember I typically like to draw a big crude mask like sort
of like this
fine tune it as I go.
And here I'm holding alt.
Remember if you get
a little confused about this step. This was reviewed, you
can review the previous lessons on selections.
Such a powerful tool.
if you want to refine or modify your selection, you hold alt to
cut in like I'm doing,
you see the minus sign.
And if you wanted to add you hold shift and you see the plus
sign but in this case,
all I'm doing is
subtracting or cutting out, cutting into the selection
I already drew using the rectangular lasso tool.
This gives me a lot of control and you know personally I draw
with a lot of straights as you may be noticing, a lot
of straights here. That's just a personal taste and
The sword has a very unique curve to it. I almost want to
pen tool, the pen tool gives you the ability to create beautiful
long curves like this, kind of curves that are like a
nightmare to draw by hand.
Let's see this cut back in here.
And for this one, I'm not going to render per se
so not to worry too much about the pencil line, how deep I cut
into the pencil line.
So just going to be real basic. And for this one let's see if
cut this out. So notice I want to cut this out quickly. So I
grab the magic wand and I hold alt, notice again it turns to minus
and then cut in, boom. So that's pretty good. That's a pretty
good cut. See that, cut that space out. Because I held the
minus key. That was the magic wand tool. So in this case it
worked because the silhouette was drawn fairly tight.
And that should do it I think for a nice little mask. And of
course I can modify the mask at any time. Now that I got a
mask I'm going to make a new layer. We'll call it flat.
And then boom. Okay, so we don't want it pure black, of
So hue sat
and if you want precision I'm just going to go to 50. Just
nice and even, boom.
And the flat is bigger than my boundary. So what I'm going to
do here, actually, what I'm going to do
is also make a frame.
There's a couple ways to make a frame.
Yeah what I think I want to do, let's just lighten this little Let's just lighten this little
bit. I need to cut this and draw - I'm basically trying to draw a
black the border around the whole thing. So, let's see.
Let's take this. This is an object. Put this on top, I'm
going to drop the field. This is a vector object shape.
Remember if you drop the fill to zero, you can still have a
nice clean stroke in. There you go 24 pics, seems pretty
good. Let's try 30 pics, all that seems better. But you
know, it's a little too tight. So I got to expand it.
Just want to make sure that
because I set the stroke to inner instead of outer because
I wanted that clean tight edge, remember if you set the stroke to
outer you'll get a curved edge. Okay, so now that's a pretty
I'm liking that but I want this
to be cut off. So what I'm going to do is I can either
apply a mask to all of this or what I can do is make a
folder. So I'm going to make a group, I'm selecting all,
command G. If you have a bunch of layers selected, it creates
a group and then I'm going to do is I'm just going to call it
layers because all of my artwork will be in this layer
in this folder.
And then I'm going to put a mask on this, boom. So now
everything in this folder will be within this mask. Within this
tight shape. So now I don't don't have to worry about going
outside. So for example, you can just you know, I can just
go like that right and it stays locked in my stroke or the
frame, that black border's at the top, going to call it
frame just so I know what it is.
Okay, so now I'm good to go. So that was the set up, you know,
I kind of went forward and backwards, but that's okay. I
mean there's five hundred ways to do the same thing. So
that's why I always kind of skip around and don't
always follow total linear logic, but essentially the
steps are all the same.
So the next stage is the shadow block in. So I'm going to get
myself a fairly nice dark mid-tone. And let's set this to
Now I got to decide how much of her will be in dark shadow
because it's not - the lighting
So I don't even know if this will be a good step to be
honest with you. Typically if I have a beautiful clean shadow,
I will almost always do this step. But for this one the
shadow wasn't that tight as you can see, it's kind of
all over the place. So
forgot to clip it there.
And actually the
you know, I'm going to call this layer darks.
These are my dark shadows.
Right now set to 80.
Eighty percent opacity. So it gives me a little bit of
softness, not too much.
And let's see here.
What I'm trying to do is get myself a nice
clean dark shadow shape.
And a little bit of subtle tones there.
So it's not the cleanest, most uniform, most contrasty shadow,
but this is fine
for what I have to do.
Just adding tone where I feel that it needs it.
I'm using the same values, fairly dark value, but a soft
airbrush this time.
You can see how beautiful the multiply layer is working. The
drawing is showing through right now, it's beautiful.
So we're getting some of the value and tone from the drawing
Okay so I'll call this darks
and this one I probably won't need to add variation or
anything. So I'm going to go ahead and mask it right there.
That way I don't need to clip it.
So with for the flats, I'm going to go ahead and mask it.
I'm going to give it some variation. That's what I meant
So go from bottom up because I imagine the light source is upper
left or straight up. I'm going to go from the bottom left
let's see what else I can do. That was just a general pass,
looks really nice. And then I'm going to do a lighter pass
using the gradient tool
and I'm going to clip that as well. Let's see what happens if
I expand that a little bit because I want that feeling
that light's coming from above
and the bottom so really looks really nice so far. So I like
that so far. It's a little too contrasty. What I'm going to do
is mask out the areas that should be dark, like the
sockets. I guess a problem with that highlight. It's
washing out my lights a little too much, or my dark little too
much. I don't really want that.
Okay, it's good. Drop it a little bit more. It's good.
It's perfect. Okay, I call it variation.
Let's see. What's next?
What I'd like to do is get a little gradation on this,
just on this outfit, so I'm going to mask it out.
see that. Yeah, beautiful.
So a little bit darker there. I also want to do it here at the
arm. So I'm masking out this section because I don't want -
I don't want it to affect this section or really anything
else. That's why I'm going to use a mask because I like to
use the gradient tool. So you see that beautiful gradient
that happened there.
Should probably put another layer. Always try to put things on a
new layer. That way I can always adjust each operation,
fine tune it, and then if I'm happy with it can merge down.
One more pass right here. Maybe a couple more passes.
I just want to affect this
shirt thing, her sleeve there.
bottom up and inside out.
That one was a little too - whoops. Whoops.
Too aggressive up top.
Basically doing some really quick washes of tone. You may
notice that it feels like tone so now, I have my darks
and my mids, but no light. So first I'm going to put a light
here, but let me darken the background. So this is one of
decisions and there's a bunch of ways to do this. I like
gradient tools so much. Let me just try that. Let me just
darken the background.
but I'm going to clip it.
And then maybe add some texture at the bottom. Let's see what
that looks like.
I'm not quite sure how how light I want it to be.
And you know that you don't have to use a brush like that.
And you know that you don't have to use a brush like that. You could have just slapped on a gradient, it would work just as
You could have just slapped on a gradient, it would work just as
I want to see what it look like little bit of texture. That's
one of the things I could use this step for of course is to
figure out those a texture background work better than a
soft quiet background like that.
Not sure what's going to find out.
Let's try dissolve.
Kind of like that grainy look, that looks kind of cool. Let's see I was kind of cool. Let's see
we can blur it, filter blur.
Let's try motion blur.
Clip that and then we'll add a mask and
I'm just trying a bunch of different things right now.
it feels pretty good. Feels like a pretty good start.
Let me get it a little more. I'm still not quite happy with the value
there. Let me get a little bit more. Oops. I don't want -
let me just focus on the value for now.
All right, let's do that.
That's more of a chiaroscuro. I like that much better Carol. I like that much better
actually. Okay good. So let's settle on that as a background.
So now - well now you can see the mask.
Right here isn't that clean. Let me
clean that up.
This is - all this little noise is a little disturbing. So all I
This is - all this little noise is a little disturbing. So all I have to do is tighten up the mask.
have to do is tighten up the mask.
And that was - remember here we use the
wand tool, magic wand to quickly select this area.
the tools you still need to do some cleanup work.
That's okay. They they get us
almost the way almost there. That's what the tools and
shortcuts do. They kind of get you in the ballpark.
And then from there you can
take over and fine-tune it, refine it, polish it.
Okay, let's see. It looks pretty good.
Let's see if I can clean up the sword a little bit.
See, that's why I think I should have used a curve here.
The pixelated-ness is - it's all right.
And notice I'm using erase, so I have to be a little bit
using a mask. I know I say
using a mask is a little bit more -
little bit safer for sure, but
I think it's more.,
just smarter way to work. I'm just being being a little lazy
here. Okay, so the mask is pretty tight.
Let me get some tone on her hair.
I'll call these darks.
Oh, no, these aren't darks. What are these,
are these darks too?
Okay, let me get that. Oops.
I wanted to make sure I put that on a separate layer
right there. Just clean up that little bit of dark around her
hair. If I want to put a rim light there, of course, I can
do that later.
Alright, so now I'm set up.
BG tone, okay. So now I'm set up to do the lights. I needed
some value in the background because right now it's
surrounded by fairly light value, 75 percent grey,
right? So the lights - I won't be able to judge them correctly
until they do this. So now I have a choice. Let's see.
Should I put the brightest bright on the sword? I believe
in the reference it's on the sword. This is not clean.
Or should I put the
brightest bright on the -
oh also guys, you might be noticing I rotate the canvas.
In this version pf Photoshop it's with the R key.
But you know, you can also just do your remember flip canvas
They work - they work pretty well too. But the R gives you this
arbitrary rotation. So just click R to get out
of rotation mode hit escape.
And then back to normal.
Okay, so this part is a little tricky because - well, it's not
tricky. Everything you see me do we've already done but it's the
order that's tricky. Right now my mind is like well should I
do this or do that because the order kind of really doesn't
matter especially for busy doing a sketch thumbnail is
kind of what we're doing here. And you know, we're not doing
anything finish and rendering and also Photoshop there
literally is 50 ways - there's a probably a hundred different
ways we could have did what you just saw. So that's why it
may feel like I'm going oh skipping steps, which I am, but
don't worry so much about the order, just pay attention to the
tools, you know, which we've already covered, lassos, layering,
adjustments, gradations, clips, clipping mask, all the stuff
we've covered. I'm just using the basic tools, but just using the basic tools, but
you just see me do it in slightly
different sequences, that's a good word for it. So
now we're almost done with the the setup. What I'm doing here
is setting up so that we can quickly have the setup,
the layers, the masks,
ready to do quick and easy variations. Once I have this
set up, once I have
the layers set up the way that we need we can quickly make
boom boom boom, different versions. So
just be patient a little bit here and you know
with practice too you'll be able to come up with your own way.
Right now you're just watching me do it the way that I'm
comfortable with, comfortable with the way that I think is
the most efficient but the sequence is kind of this - kind
of jumbled. So don't worry about that. We're almost done
with the setup mode. Last thing I need is lights. All right,
let's set up the lights.
All right, let's set up the lights finally. So what I'm
going to do is - let me just try this real quick. Let me
just try this.
I'm going to make a layer. Oops.
Just going to copy
to make a layer, clip it, call it lights.
I'm going to start. I know it has an I. I know lights has
an I. I'm going to start just with the great - because I know
there's a highlight in her face. I know that much. So let's try
And it looks pretty good. Let me just temperature - or not temperature,
brightness. I'm skipping ahead to the painting lesson. You'll
guys want to make sure you come back for the color lesson next
And let's do a couple more.
I'm using all gradation tool because it's just such a
beautiful and soft way to work.
Because my brush work can be like 50/50. Sometimes it looks
okay. Sometimes it looks like total crap. So I really like
the gradient tool for this reason
and because you know
I have unlimited layers. I can make as many layers as I need
and crop and edit and do all this all this good stuff, which
I like to do.
So you saw three pieces there, the cheek, the nose, and the
forehead on the three different layers. Just going to merge
them. I'm pretty happy with what I got.
And it didn't preserve the thing. That's okay. Typically
can preserve the -
now I'm doing some manual brushing here.
Just want to give her some highlights here. Put the little highlight
on her shield there.
So I'm pretty sure I'm going to put the bright highlight
on this area, the sword blade.
Now I don't have to, just going to make a comp and test it.
That's the beauty of Photoshop.
I'm just testing a theory that the highlight, the brightest
spot on the sword would look pretty good.
Will look the best. I don't know.
You don't know till you try it out, test the theory.
That's what a thumbnail is. You're creating a theory that
oh, my picture will look better if I do X, Y, and Z.
So I'm going to do this in a couple layers. I know it's a
Do this in a couple of layers.
Actually, let me include the sword. I don't need to mask the
actual blade because it's already clipped.
I do need to mask where the blade intersects with her body,
overlaps her body like this area. I want that to be fairly
tight because what I'm going to do now will only affect the
blade itself. So I'm going to make a -
make a new layer.
Put this guy on it.
And this is the mask for the blade itself and then I'm going
to start with pure white and just going to do reflective
it affected the mask. And what I'm going to do is draw a marquee
around this area because when you do reflective gradient,
needs to be clipped first.
Okay. There you go.
You can change, you know, you can change the angle very
quickly just by rotating it. So that's one of the features I
love about gradation tool, you combine it with layers,
it's just so so powerful.
Okay. So this is like a general glow on the sword there, which
I'm loving right now. I'm loving it.
Actually, I'm going to make a new mask because I didn't - it's not
The effect I want isn't mask incorrectly. So now I just need
the mask of the sword itself and the handle there.
So again, you know, you're seeing me do the sequence kind
of jumbled here, but
the tools are all the same.
Okay. Now I got a nice tight mask. Is it a tight mask? No, not
There we go.
Awesome. Okay. Okay. So now I go to really tight mask. I'm
going to delete this guy. Delete. You see how it went over
now? I'm going to call this sword.
All right, here we go.
I'll call this lights.
I'm very sorry. All right. Now
soon you will see why I'm going through this much trouble.
Once these layers are set up correctly, you'll see the
benefit of doing it this way. Actually, there's one more
thing I want to add there.
Which is right here. This one feels a little flat.
You say it transform the mask is well as, that's what you were seeing
there because they were linked. Now they're unlinked so I'm able now. They're unlinked some able
to transform the
layer by itself
one more time.
So whenever you see me make make a new move, I'm pretty
much always doing this creating a new layer and then using the
options that I have to modify and fine-tune it.
Preserve. I'm going to delete where it goes inside
where you erase.
Decent brush size, okay.
I still don't like preserve, I still don't like - student like
this hand is looking -
need a little bit of light there, but not too much.
Just some more aggressive manual brushing.
Okay. Anyway, let's get back to the sword. So here's the sword.
I'm going to drop that, what I just did, because I want a
bright bright highlight right down the middle. So I'm going
to make a new layer, duplicate the mass by holding alt and
Now I'm going to make a marquee because I don't want
the gradient to spill all over the canvas which makes it hard
to rotate, makes it very hard to rotate. So now I'm just going
to slap it on there. It looks pretty good.
What I can even do is drag this layer above the drawing, see
what happens there? Now it's like - looks really
bright. I love that, we can do that one more time probably.
Should keep doing that. Probably draw another marquee. Let's try
that just for fun.
Because the blade handle will have its own -
so I'm going to make a folder.
I'm going to put the mask of the blade in the folder and
with inside that folder I'm going to put a layer,
empty layer, I'm going to put the mask that I just drew
so now I can affect only the part of the blade but the
folder of masks out the blade itself. So basically using two
masks at one.
And then I can do this. Yes, see that? It only affects that area
that I drew but it also stays locked into the blade,
sort of a double mass technique. Going to clean up coming. We're going to clean up
the edge. Of course it's way too funky and hard.
Just clean up the mask.
the option to clean up my work.
Then lower the opacity a little bit.
It feels okay.
I can move it, still active. It's still masked so I can kind of move
it around to see what might look best. I could rotate it.
See how it might look best.
I think that looks pretty good right there.
So now what I'm going to do is I'm going to merge all of this work
that I just did into this layer. Oops kind of wanted to
preserve the sort. There you go. I've merged the group. Then
I've hit merge down and it preserved the layer and then we preserve the layer and then we
do a little bit of subtle erasing right here.
Just on that part. Yeah.
Too subtle there.
Okay. So now I got a nice comp.
Now I finally have a comp. Now
in this comp, my darks are pretty much around her. Her
dark accents. Mid-tones are her outfit, her skin. The lights are
some of the lights on her skin and also the brightest
highlight here is on the sword and also on the handle.
So it's like a two value system. I can even do this, one more
thing. Just for fun I have a brush it creates a
a bling effect. I like that.
That way, you know, okay there's the brightest There's the brightest
Let's drop the opacity a little bit.
so I like that comp. I'm going to call this comp one. All right.
I'm going to save this as
Okay. So now let's try a couple different versions.
Let's try a couple different versions. What if the one
obvious example is what if I
want the brightest highlight on her. Let's try that.
Very easy, so I'm going to duplicate my work.
Call this comp number two, and I'm going to move comp number
one above and move comp number two, just drag it and slide it
down - oh, I didn't copy the layer or the mask.
I forgot to put the frames.
Oops. I forgot to include the frame. So this is the layers.
This is the frame. I need them both. I'm going to put the
frame and the layers folder, select them both, command G, call
up a new folder. So call this comp one is now inside the
folder. I have the frame and all the layers with the mask
that keeps it nice and tight. Okay, so now I can duplicate
this, call this comp two, I'm going to change the order, move
it down because this one will go below it. I don't have to do
that. I just know one is at the top, two is on the bottom.
There'll be a third one which we'll have to adjust the size in
a minute. So
now we got all the layers that we need. So let's say I don't
like that sparkle.
I don't like all that sword highlight,
all that stuff.
I like the highlights. What if I want to put the brightest
highlight on her face. Let's say I keep the sword
sword is toned down, right? And now I want the brightest
highlight on her face and I'm going to put that above the
So now I'm going to use it all.
drawing toning here. I'm not using any tools, just using the
And just going to add the highlights where I think they
A little bit of highlight on that -
her shirt there.
Little bit more highlight on the top plane of that - her
So that looks pretty good. And then what I'm going to do is
I'm going to intentionally brighten her.
So, let's see. I'm just going to make her brighter. I'm
pretty much gonna make
the world brighter too. See what -
if I just. I like that. I just lowered the opacity really of
that. You see how powerful
the layering system, no, you're starting to see oh, that's why
he did all that damn work.
Okay. So now I can do this. Let me
change the brightness.
Remember all this tonal work we did right here in the
I can either drop the opacity or I can do a combination of
both lightening it.
Just want to see what it looks like if she's brighter.
Gonna kind of erase this out.
So extra bit of darkness that I did there. So now she's a
little bit brighter, little bit brighter all over.
A lot of the attention is on her face now
because the brightest highlight's there and you may
want that, you may not.
Little bit of texture.
This is kind of cool, now it's like kind of like hatching.
This is exactly what I would do in paper.
Just adding few more highlights down here just to see what it
looked like and of course I can do that because it's a comp. I
think that's starting to look pretty nice actually. Wow,
I don't know what you guys think at home, comparing these
two looking like the bottom of looks pretty good, huh?
so that's it. That's it. That's my third cup. I wanted
to test two things. If the highlight looked better on her
than on the sword and if the background should be lighter,
her outfit should be lighter. That looks pretty good. Let's try
one more comp. I don't think I need that anymore.
I don't need that anymore.
Call this highlights.
And it's above the drawings. I don't care if it goes outside
the borders of the mask.
Yeah, it looks pretty good.
Okay. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to make - I'm going
to copy this one again. Just click, hold, and drag. Call it
And let's see should we go
down or to the right? Let's go to the right. That way you guys
can see I'm just going to expand my canvas
I use the crop tool. Sorry, you may not have seen that. That's really
best one way to expand the canvas. Let me undo that. I just
take the crop tool, shortcut is C, select the whole canvas and
then drag it. You can drag it. You can crop it by going
smaller, of course, but you can also drag it to go bigger. So
I'm just going to drag it to about double the size. Remember
we also can do that with canvas size.
Now we need to correct the gap, this black space. So I just
selected the tone that I put there in this case so
now I got a bigger canvas and now I'm just going
to drag - whoop - comp number three to the right. So now we
actually making four comps now.
Okay. So what's one more combination we can try?
What if we make her -
let's make her super -
let's make her super dark.
This is kind of like a low-key, high-key, mid-key. We can make a
Yeah, I'm not quite sure what to do here, what kind of
Let's try - let's try
a different background idea.
Let's try a different background. Let's just try that because we
can. So we got my layers, take the background tone,
what I'm going to do first is
kind of like this darkness to it. Let's just see what it
looks like if we add texture and let's try that.
put that on its own layer.
All of these custom brushes over just quick ways to make
Okay, BG texture.
Let's see. It looks nice, it's really dark actually.
Let me try this. I like the texture so I'm just going to
see - put on a hue sat see if it looks good when it's - oh, it, does
look pretty good when it's darker. I like that.
I like that. So I'm just going to go ahead and
put that together. Just merge it down with the work
that I had and then going to try one more thing. I want the
beam of light to expand kind of passed her a little bit.
So I'm going to make a
circular gradient with a dissolve change it to like pure
bright white and we know that's too bright, doesn't really
And it's totally - because it's on its own layer can change
shape as much as I want. Now I'm going to do a filter.
Actually let me cut into a little bit here.
By cut into it I mean, let me see if I can erase
out of it and randomize it a little bit. So I'm going to
apply a filter and see what that does.
So filter, blur, motion blur, and they would all do cool
Yeah, this might not be the right texture for this.
It's worth it. It's worth a try.
I kind of like that. It's little bit peeking behind
her. So let's leave it at that for now. Let's just leave it at
that for now.
It's now it's too dark or it's too bright.
Okay, that's better. That's better. Just a little too dark -
or too bright. Excuse me.
Okay, so textured background, right away I don't like it. Doesn't
look as good as this one. So, let me make it a little bit
Okay, that's okay. Still not happy with it. But let's move
What other variations can I try? Let's see.
This looks okay with a really dark background.
Let's see if -
let's see if we can make our lower forms a little bit
brighter. So let's add some more light to these lower
Let's see this highlight. Let's keep that.
so I'm going to make a layer right above lights. And let's just -
oops. Let's just start to
see what we can get here. What I want to see if these if it -
if it looks good to bring out these forms, meaning make them
catch some light in here is what I'm doing here.
Right away I'm not liking this as much
as the previous one.
Not just the the brushwork looks a little sloppy, but it's
just compositionally it's not as strong.
That nice break contrast
that nice contrast between the dark -
darks and lights up top.
It has a nice feeling of fall off.
Looks okay. It's okay.
Gradient little bit here.
Now I'm not liking the background. Let's keep
things simple here when. What I'm going to do is make a plain
old dark background. Just whoop.
I'm going to give this one a little bit of noise.
Just going to make a new layer and this is pure black here.
This little bit of texture noise.
That way it's not super flat and dark.
Let's drop the opacity there, make it more subtle.
Now I have some
texture. Let me
make some -
there you go.
Just want that texture to be really subtle. Okay, and now I'm going to do a -
let's try this.
Let's try this.
I'm going to make it a nice hot spot. Whoa, that looks pretty
good. It's really dramatic, like a poster almost, like a movie
poster. I like that.
That was just kind of an accident. I was hoping for the
splatter brush actually.
This brush it's kind of randomy and organic, which is good and mean organic, which is good and
bad. It's bad. It's good because it is random and you
have very little control over it.
When you touch it down, kind of looks different.
I kind of like that, just make it subtle. Yes. I'm liking
this. I'm glad I tried it, you see me struggle through it.
Well, I like that. So in this case, yeah, we have a dark
background with this cool like mystical effect on her.
What I can even do is try - let's try this. I'm going to take her Try this. I'm going to take her
let's see what happens - I'm gonna duplicate this,
the lights, in case I don't like what I'm about to do. I can
bring back the original.
So turn down the lights here
on her face
even more, kind of like that. So what I'm trying to do is
see if I can get a hard hard highlight on her
have this one go above the pencil line that way so it's
really really bright. And now there's like a nice specular
highlight, specular just means it's
more reflective. So let's say her skin
is little bit oily
or has moisture on. It's wet, things become much more
So don't worry about
what it's called. Just know that hey you're making a
and you got to make your comp look good so sometimes you good so sometimes you
highlights have to go really hard.
And I'm going to try a different tool, I'm going to use a
I like that.
All right so now she has some specular highlights. A little
bit different than down here.
I kind of like that. Let me add some more spec highlights.
This makes it feel like very movie poster-y which I love. I'm
loving that look.
You know what I mean, it's very dramatic, I'm loving it.
And then one last thing I want to try is texture, is texture.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to make a mask. I'm going
to put this above -
these are the lights.
Going to merge my work here.
Looks pretty good actually.
Happy accident. Preserve.
I basically kept my original lights. Oh no. No, here it is.
I was able to combine it. Okay. So the last thing I'm
going to do is add a little bit of texture. So I'm going to
take a layer put a mask on it because I don't want it to go outside
of her boundary. And I'm going to - I got this little polkadot
brush. You can also do this with dissolve and just going to
add a little bit of texture,
just to see if it looks good. It may not look good. Maybe I
want her to be nice and smooth and polished looking.
This adds a lot of grit and you got to be careful, of course on the
face because it feels like razor stubble. I'm just going
to undo that, do not want to add razor stubble to a
female especially lead character like this.
Actually I'm liking this texture. Let me see if I put it
above drawing what happens.
Right now it's -
it was below the lights that's why I wasn't seeing it that well.
And if some of you are fans of like
he is a famous poster artist,
he does this sort of thing with
his movie posters but
uses acrylic paint, of course, he's old school like me.
All right, so that looks pretty good. That's all I'm going to -
I'm going to put an end to it here. That's my third comp.
And let me just get them all in order.
And I'm going to - now I'm going to crop, I just draw a marquee.
keyboard shortcut for cut or crop and boom.
We started with this one, this one took quite a while because
we had to do all this set up. We had this set up.
Let's put this down here. Instead of all the layers make sure set of all the layers make sure
the frame was working, then once we had the setup remember how
easy this one came and then this one came, was a little bit
tricky, but we basically had everything we needed to make
quick quick instant variations. So that's pretty
cool. Alright, so you got to see me do it. I know kind of
went a little all over the place. So again, if you get
confused or you get lost just just review and all of the
stuff, you know, we've covered already
you can review the previous sections because nothing I did
was new or different from what we covered, it was just done in
different sequence. So the sequence really doesn't
matter. I mean, it kind of matters depends on your style
and your taste and what you're after but important thing is
the tools. So now, you know how you can make comps quickly,
hand-drawn. You can scan your own drawing and then now you
know how to set up your layers and all your clipping masks and
things to make quick variations. Boom. Boom. Boom.
Boom. Boom. Really fast, really easy, you know, and you know
all this stuff is exactly like how you would do it in
traditional. I would have done this with marker and pen and
pencil as well. But you know in Photoshop it's so fast and
so easy we can make - we make three more, we can make 30 more
no problem. So hope you had fun. Remember to review,
remember to practice. This is a lot of stuff we covered but
once you get familiar with it, it'll seem like a nice
breezy walk in the park. So until next time, take
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