- Lesson details
In this series, instructor Chris Legaspi shows you how to use Adobe Photoshop as an artist. This series will be extremely helpful if you have been wondering how to use your traditional artistic skills in a digital medium, but don’t exactly know where to begin. Chris will show you everything there is to know about using Photoshop for artists as a beginner, making the often-intimidating program approachable to anyone with any level of computer knowledge. In the final lesson of the series, Chris dives into creating color compositions in Photoshop. Starting with a quick review of the previous lesson, follow along with Chris as he puts all his tips and tricks together to draw from imagination and work from photo reference.
Hardware & Software
- Adobe Photoshop CC
- Wacom Cintiq 24-inch HD Tablet
- Mac Pro
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basically going to learn how to paint directly in Photoshop
using color, using a variety of techniques. I'm going to show
you some of my favorite techniques, some of the most
simplest and most powerful ways we can use the software
to paint and color, either directly or using some of the
tips and tricks that I'm going to show you. We're going to
learn how to make a color comp. So we're going to take Comp. So we're going to take
what we know as artists, we're going to make our own comps
for our own drawings and paintings. And this one is
going to be all in color. So we're going to make a color comp
and I want to show you how I would do it, how I would make my
own comps using Photoshop. Let's not wait anymore. Let's
review the previous lesson, the drawing and the toning. There's a lot
of important stuff that we're going to be using in this
lesson as well and I always want to review because I know
some of you this may be the first time you're using these
tools and these concepts. So you got to have a lot of repetition
before this becomes very familiar and comfortable. So
let's quickly review some of the the tools from the
Okay, so I'm going to just quickly open a new document. One
of the things we did
in the previous lesson was to
create thumbnails using masks and frames. So remember one way
we can make a thumbnail
is by -
or making a series of thumbnails -
is by making a series of frames. So I like to either
make a circle using the marquee or an object, a vector shape.
Here I'm just going to make just a nice - we're gonna make a
couple of nice -
well, let me do a -
let me do square. Square's easy.
I kind of like square compositions. So I just made a
then I duplicated it using
tool. If I hold shift and ALT remember you can duplicate a
layer or and I'm going to merge it with control E or you can hit
command J, which is a shortcut for duplicating the layer. It's
also click and drag here and then just now bring it down.
Now I have nice, you know four even little little boxes.
And what I could do is
make a new layer,
fill that layer let's say with the black. Select my boxes and
now with the selection active -
and to quickly select boxes remember you can hold or whatever
is on a layer you hold command and then click and it'll draw a
selection for you, command and click, come back to the layer
where I want to use as a mask. Right now it's opaque black
layer. So with the selection active I can click this alpha
button, layer mask button. Boom. It cuts out the holes, but this
one has to be inverted. Right now if I try to underneath it
just make a new layer and try to draw underneath it you
can't see it because the mask is inverted.
So I'm going to select the mask, click on the mask. Make sure
that white frame is around it, this white box, these corners.
And hit command I. It's also image inverse select inverse up
top, and now we're good to go. So now we can draw
here and I can draw here. So on number three, number four, and you know,
now I have this mask covering up, creating some nice frame.
So just one way to make a mask and I like to put these things
in a layer.
The other way would be to
an actual black border. So one way I like to do that is just same
as before, draw a rectangle. Remember fill unlike opacity remember Phil unlike opacity.
it just hides what the shape is filled. So if the fill is 0,
whatever the shape is filled in, this case a square, becomes zero.
But because the opacity is still 100
now we can add a stroke, so this is layer effects the layer effects
and then add the stroke. I like inner stroke and you can see it
here, inside - you can see it being previewed live so you can
see how can adjust the stroke remember inside gives you that
hard crisp edge, if you go outside you get this rounded
corner. I don't like that. So I always like to keep it inside.
And then you can adjust the frame as big or as wide
as you want. As long as the fill is to 0 and you have the stroke
on layer effects, you can change the size as much as you
want. So now
I can draw it here and this is my thumbnail number one or
whatever, right? Then I could just like before duplicate this,
drag it down, and on another layer so
we put a thumbnail number two.
So that's creating frames and this is if you want to have -
obviously if you want to have a nice,
you know, if you want to have like a contact sheet what is
now basically a page of thumbnails. This is the really
one of the best ways to work is making a page of thumbnails. I
like to do these in advance. You know, I have a Photoshop
file full of these little squares
ready to go and I know many professional illustrators and
storyboardists also work the same way, so it's good
practice. So that's the advantage of using frames like
this in Photoshop, quickly gives you a nice clean format.
And next remember,
we also created various brush types for drawing and shading
and toning. Remember that
you want -
you want a hard edge brush
a hundred percent opacity. No spacing and no transfer. This
is great for detailing and also great for editing your masks.
And you want a big brush for filling in the
the big shapes. The big mass is shapes.
You also want -
I like to have some sketching brushes. So smaller brushes
some have like a pencil like texture and these you can add
texture or you can play with the spacing, see has a little bit
of spacing, just to give it some texture. Makes it feel like
pen and paper.
And then you want to airbrush, just a soft air brush for
blending and soft edges and then some texture. So these are
some textures that are built into Photoshop and here's a
texture brush I made and you can download and
find texture brushes online or make your own. Remember in the
previous video we covered brushes in a full lesson.
That's a type of brushes that you want. And finally we talked
about toning. So one way to tone
is by using -
tone large masses - is to use marquees. Let's say I wanted to
make this area
and just use marquee paint bucket. You can use also the
gradient tool if you want to add some variation.
And remember I usually like
the gradient tool that alpha which is the second box. You
can - remember you can click on the gradient bar to access it
here in the second box, which is basically foreground color
to alpha, which is transparent.
So you can use the gradient tool marquee and remember the
clipping mask to give us the big spaces. So that's one way
to fill big spaces and you could also
use your large brush. This brush is isn't that big but,
you know, I can also expand it.
I want to add my own texture.
But as long as I have a marquee around it I can
right, I can get -
feel the large shape but have a clean crisp edge, which is
exactly what I want and clipping mask also helps with
And then finally we can use lasso
if we want to do details and smaller shapes.
So lasso either freeform lasso like this.
Create these random small shapes, fill it with paint
Or you can use a polygon lasso.
Here I activate it using alt and polygon lasso gives us
really tight control but the edges are hard. So you have
to compensate for that and you could also combine it with
brush techniques to get texture and really tight edge. So lots
of different things you could do with marquees and small
So that's what I would do for for toning. You know, let's say
you want to get the pupil and really detail the pupil or
pattern on your painting, on some piece of
fabric. You can use the lasso tool and the masks for that and
also you can -
remember too you can use
layer opacity to make things more subtle.
Use a clip mask here for the small shape, add some black and
then you can use layer opacity.
And that's just one of the brush techniques. So let's say
I have this shape here.
Let's say I draw like a marshmallow looking thing
and I fill it
with the color
and if I want to add some white
to the top
I can either
go to full opacity with the brush, which is typically what
use the layer opacity to make it more subtle.
Or you could also
go full opacity with the brush and say wanna do this highlight.
Right there in the corner that little mushroom thing or
marshmallow thing that I'm making.
Let's say this thing's kind of beveled, has a little bit of a
lip to it. Let's say I want to do a highlight I can use also do
image adjustments. This one is you saturation to play with the
value. So any mark you put down you can change the value. So
that's a beautiful thing about toning and well, we'll explore
that more as well because it's equally effective when we get
into color, but just a quick review of the previous lesson.
So I know there was a very short review. So if you haven't
seen the previous lesson on the drawing the black and white
sketching and the toning, please review that because
that's going to be very important in this lesson
because we're going to be doing color. So it's almost the exact
same tools but of course color has its own set of complexities
and I'm going to share some more tips to help make our
color better in the computer. Okay. Now we're going to get
into the meat of the lesson. So actually going to start
painting now, we're going to start painting in color. We're
going to make our own comps, make our own color
sketches. It's going to be great. So
what I want to do for this lesson to help simplify it is I
want to talk about the three major ways to remember my
philosophy is to really simplify this awesome
complexity of the software into
the very few tools that you're actually going to be using you
know, just like we do in drawing we simplify or painting
we simplify our subjects as best as we can in Photoshop.
There's five bazillion trillion ways to color things, five
bazillion trillion squared. I mean, there's literally 50 I
can think of, 50 ways off the top of my head to add color to
something. So what I want to do in this lesson, is only going
to show you three ways, the three ways that I like to add
color and paint in color in Photoshop. And these three
ways we're going to - I'm going to first explore them
separately. We're going to take a look at what they are and
explore them separately and then we'll talk about
really is well,
eventually we want start using them together because that's
when you get the most out of the software. So let's take a
look now at the three ways to add color in Photoshop or to to
color and paint directly in Photoshop. Okay. So in
Photoshop, there's a bunch of ways to color and paint but
essentially there's only two ways - well three
techniques, but there's really two ways. Number one is direct.
So you just take a color, take a brush and blah blah blah blah
blah. Just like a an alla prima painting just like we did with
our previous lesson the drawing and sketching just instead of
using black and white obviously, boom. Take color.
Sketch, draw, use your brushes, have a good time. That's the
other way. Then the second way is to colorize. And colorize
basically means to add the color, use the software to add
the color. So this means you can either bring in your own
black and white drawing black and white photo or you can
start black and white
and then add color later using the software. So whether you're
doing it from scratch or you're bringing in your own artwork,
they both will work. Again remember 50 ways to do one
thing. So you're either going to paint direct or you're going to
colorize. So painting direct is obvious. We're going to explore
that but that's obvious how to do it. Just grab a brush and
have fun. The second way is colorizing. Now, there's two
ways to colorize. That's why I call it the three ways to
colorize paint in Photoshop. The first way to to colorize is
with using modes, blending modes. These are the layers.
The layer modes, remember in the layer lesson, we explored the
layer window, menu window, and and we split a couple of
different ways to use the blending modes. So blending
mode's actually a very powerful and effective way to color in
Photoshop and the second way to colorize
is by using image adjustments. Adjustment layers or image
adjustment, you know, I'm a fan of hue sat, you're going to see
it. You're going to see it. So
we're going to have a lot of fun
using adjustment layers. So those are the three basic ways.
Now, let's explore each one individually and kind of take a
look at them. All right let me demonstrate quickly the direct
method or alla prima. So I'm just going to grab
one way - one thing I love to do is I work exactly like I do
on traditional paper or canvas. Always thinking that way. So I'm
just going to grab a big texture brush, right, just
randomly square texture brush. I'm going to pick like a brown
tend to expand. And
I'm going to kind of tone my canvas. Normally I have more
Just quickly - whoops.
Quickly coloring. So this is kind of how I would work
and dropping the opacity. Remember you can control subtlety with
So just tone my canvas. I would do this at home like take a
burnt sienna and then speaking of burnt sienna, I like to draw
with burnt umber. So I'm just going to kind of make - eyeball
the burnt umber in the color window. Remember HSB we know as
artists that's how we mix colors
and then I'm going to draw a - let's say I draw a still life.
We draw a watermelon, but it's a little complex. Let's draw an
A little lazy. Just draw a little apple.
Right? We know this from the last lesson. Then I'm gonna take a big
and fill my apple with a color. So I'm just going to eyeball a
And then I'm going to
make a clip mask and
let's see. I'm going to add some.
Some spots and whoops variation, you know how apples aren't
really stiff in color. They have a lot of variation.
Like I like to eat a Fujis and I always like green spots.
It's really really pretty color.
Okay, that's just some some variation there.
And then we know we can add shading, you know.
Let's see. I'm just going to pick color pick my apple. Pick a
darker and cooler version.
Exactly like I would paint in real life and here I'm using a
lowered opacity to give myself a little bit of shadow.
That's just a really quick
And of course bringing up hue sat kind of cheating and said kind of cheating and
jumping ahead. But this is my friend here, me and my friend we
go a long way back, me and my friend hue sat.
Okay, so that's basically a quick and direct little mini
thing. We'll explore this more when we get into the
Next is using the modes. Let me open a -
let me open a drawing here.
This one's good.
So we looked at this in the last lesson.
So one thing we could do
I'm going to
add some grey tones around her. I used a lasso tool.
Try to use the lasso tool to do a quick selection, but it's not
So I'm just gonna draw a quick lasso because need this shape.
And I'll show you why in a minute.
And we'll do this black and white. So what I want to do is
show you guys
the blending modes.
So first remember, we can turn a drawing into multiply.
And it'll hide the white but still keep the black visible,
which is what I want here.
Make sure I have the right right color.
Wrong brush there -
oops wrong layer.
Okay. I'm in the right layer. Just wanted to make my mask a little want to make my mask a little
Wait, let's say
you have this drawing,
you really like the drawing,
and here I toned it using Photoshop, but you know, you
can easily have scanned in a complete drawing. I just didn't
have one on hand here.
Okay, that should be good enough for this demonstration anyway,
just want to do a quick demonstration of the modes.
Okay, so I have
this is what you just saw was we did a lot in the previous
lesson of shading and toning. So now let's say I have this.
I'm going to merge these two, going to put a mask on her.
Okay good. So now I have - I turned off the background. So
now I have basically a nice finished tone drawing. What if
I want to color it? Well now we can use mode so I'm going to
start by dropping a color.
What would be a good color to start with?
Well, flesh tone is an obvious one. It's one I can think of.
I'm imagining this blouse to be - or her her outfit to be more
of a like a beigey like a potato sack color, not too
So let's just start with a like a nice a like a nice.
flesh tone. Now it's clipped so it,
right, doesn't go outside the boundary. We know about
clipping mask. Now right now it's normal so it's basically
hiding the drawing hiding what's underneath. So now What's underneath. I'll so now
I'm going to change it from normal to overlay. Wow. Look at
that. Pretty cool, huh? Then I can go from - try soft
light. Okay good. So soft light gave us a nice -
a nice warm beige tone to start with and I'm going to
turn up the saturation a little bit.
That's pretty cool. And then
so that layer's on - so I'm going to write it here. Soft light.
And now this one I'm going to use, maybe add a little bit of a
cool color. Let's see. Add a cool color at the bottom, going
This one's on normal right now. I'm going to change it to
multiply. Multiply not only works with value, but it also
adds color. It darkens things. It takes out the lightness of
things but also adds color.
So right now it's kind of like glazing almost like a
watercolor effect. That's what's cool about modes, very
similar to like a watercolor or a marker rendering almost.
And then finally let's just add a nice golden
color to her face. Let's try that.
Let's use what kind of mode, let's try overlay. Typically I try
all of them. But the ones I like most are overlay, soft
And this one needs a little bit
That's good. I'm going to erase that part around her eye.
And then finally going to add some - I'm just going to straight up
brush some pink on her lips there, maybe on her nose and
the cheeks a little bit on her hands
and the pink isn't right. So I'm going to - should be more of
And then I can use a mode let's try soft light. Okay, see some
of it didn't show through, let's try overlay.
Okay, that works. Let's try multiply,
I like that the best.
Let's make it more subtle. So that's just the beginning
of using modes, I can keep going up and up and up. Every
time I add a new color, all I have to do is adjust the mode
and adjust the color. So that's one way to use blending modes
And we'll explore that more.
And the final way is to use adjustment layer. So adjustment
layers are very powerful and you already saw me use some.
But one way I like to use adjustment layers is to start
in black and white, get the value right. So let's take
our friend the apple again.
I'm going to fill the background
with the tone.
I'm going to fill my apple
with a nice mid tone.
And then I'm going to add a shadow.
I'm not going to worry too much about the edge.
Just made a mask there.
Not going to worry too much about the edge because it's
more of a color demonstration. But here let me just erase the
edge, make a little bit softer.
And we got a nice
core to our apple here.
It's being masked out. That's why you don't see it up there.
And finally the cast shadow.
Extend that core. Let's do a highlight too.
Might as well.
Oops - yeah.
Let's make the highlight a bit softer, I'm gonna use the airbrush.
So this is my little apple that I painted in Photoshop. Now,
the modes are great if you have layers. Right now, I have
layers, I have the highlight and the layer, have the shadow and
a layer, I have the apple and a layer, and I have the background and a
layer. So this is exactly like what we did
with the toning and working with layers, but now check this
out. So one thing I could do right away is because the apple
is on its own layer, I can bring up an adjustment layer.
So either call it up here
and let me do that. Let me call this up here. So hue saturation.
And I'm going to clip it just to the apple. So it only
affects the apple. And then now if I click colorize,
boom. Now, I have a chance to make color. Remember if you
don't have colorize, right, so don't really do anything with
the hue or the saturation but yes, you can make it
lighter or darker, but we don't want that, we want to color so
it's colorize. So Photoshop already knows you want to do
this. So what do you want? You want Granny Smith? You want a
Martian apple, you want red delicious? Let's do a Fuji,
kind of a brownie orangey red. Fuji's like a thing, read Fugees like a thing
let's just do that. Turn up the saturation. Whoo. It's like the
what do you call that?
Snow White, blood red apple. Okay, so there's an apple
obviously needs variation looks very flat. There's my apple and
if I like it, it's on adjustment layer.
If I like it I can -
I can merge it with my Apple. But now my Apple is good to go.
My background, I don't really need adjustment layer. I'm just
going to straight up bring up hue sat, shortcut is command U
and what background should we put? Let's make it like a pale
because the thing is red.
Like a pale blue green. There you go. That's my background.
And the shadow of course we can add color to the -
going to bring up command hue again, hue/saturation.
Look at that.
Make it a desaturated shadow, saturated shadow,
somewhere in between and keep it really dark and then what I want
to do is drop the opacity. So some of that apple shows,
through I like that. I like that right there and finally
Going to colorize my highlight. Wow, it picked this orangey
green. I like that. Let's do this yellowy.
There you go. There's my little apple.
And you saw we started with all black and white shapes and then
use adjustment layers both up here image adjustments directly
on the shape or down here using adjustment layers. And we'll
explore these in more detail as we go. We'll take our
time and slow down and explore different techniques, but I
just wanted to give you a quick idea what they look like. Okay
that was a quick look at what the three techniques are direct,
blending modes, and image adjustments.
Now let's talk about why you would want to use each one,
what are they good for? The pros and cons of each technique
before we explore the various techniques in detail
let's - I want to talk about
why you should use them, one over the other. Now first the
direct method that's a lot of fun. It's very
much like alla prima. Now direct method because it's kind of
alla prima it's hard, it's harder. So
it takes a lot of experience. So I think if you're an
experienced painter, or if you're an experienced colorist,
if you have a lot of mileage already with paint color,
I say try the direct. You'll pick it up right away,
especially if you have fairly decent brushes so direct is
great for experienced painters and direct is also good if you
have good reference. So let's say you've photographed a model
and the reference in and the lighting is perfect. The color
is really good in your reference. But you want to
bring it into Photoshop and make a color comp in Photoshop
first, but your reference is great. I would play
with the direct method because it's really nice if the colors
are already laid down. Because remember it's a lot like
painting and even in painting, you know, inventing color and
especially inventing color and form, rendering, and all that
stuff it's a pain in the butt, it's very difficult. So if you
have good reference in mind, definitely direct is the best
method and obviously it's also great if you have colors in
your mind already. Like, you know, like for me, I almost
always start with some sort of earth-tone in blue or some sort
of red and green, you know, a cool warm palette. I always have
that in my pocket. So again if you have experience, if you have
a good palette already in your mind or before you sit down at
the computer you already have a color palette and I say
start whipping it out direct, you'll have a lot of fun. Now the
cons or the disadvantage of the direct method is that like
I said because it's more difficult, it's a little bit
slower. So if you're crunched for time, like me, I was a
commercial studio artist, a commercial illustrator in the
studio, so I didn't have unlimited time
working in the studio. So a direct method is not good if
you need to do things quickly because it does take longer.
It's like - it's closest to real traditional painting. So it
does take more time and more skill and the other
disadvantage with direct painting is that you have less
control of the values so the value can be lost. So again, if
you're not totally experienced with color, you don't know how
to control the value of a color, you don't know how to
see values in color, direct method is going to be tough.
Now doesn't mean you can't use it in practice, of course, but
I would get those skills
first. Learn your color in the real world. Grab some paints.
Learn how to mix. Do some plein air. You know, that good stuff, are you know that good stuff,
right? Probably if you're watching this you already
have experience in that. So
that's who direct method is for, is for experienced
painters. And people, you know, you don't really care how long
it takes. Now blending modes, the advantage of blending modes
like you saw is speed and convenience, you know, you can
just take a black and white thing and
put a new layer, change it, you know, remember we changed it to
soft light, boom it became a color. So that's one of the
advantages of blending modes is speed. So a lot of commercial
artists, commercial illustrators like myself when I was working
in the studio, I used a lot of that, took a black and white
image, added a mode and you know called it a day. And that's cook call it a day and that's
another good thing about modes too is if you already have a
drawing like what you saw here, if you already have a
rendered drawing that you want to bring in, a charcoal drawing,
a pen and marker drawing, pen and ink drawing or even a tonal
black and white painting or even a grey or neutral colored
painting, that's when I would use modes is scan that in, bring
it into Photoshop. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Add the
various modes and make the color crazy and fun. And
speaking of crazy and fun that's the the second advantage That's the the second. Vantage
of the modes is you can get some really wild effects. You
saw me use overlay, the color became pretty cool right away,
right, and you will see more of that later in this lesson, but
modes create what we call a happy accidents, of course in
painting, you know, when you try new things try different
color combinations and techniques, right, you almost
want to get happy accidents and blending modes does that
because when you stack like overlay and multiply and soft
light and color dodge is another wild one you may be
familiar with and we'll explore that. When you start stacking
them, yes, you can quickly lose control and the
colors can look like crap very quickly. But you also have
that slim chance that you get something that you like. So
that's what an advantage of modes, wild you make wild and
unique color combinations and happy accidents. And of course
the disadvantage with modes is you have no control. That's -
for an experienced painter like me and if you're watching this, if
you're an experienced colorist or painter, you may not like
modes because you have almost no control.
Like you saw, you know, I put on a
blending mode, overlay mode, and yeah, I made a color but it
wasn't exactly what I want. I still had to adjust it later.
So - and especially like I said if you start stacking the
modes, soft light on top of multiply, on top of overlay, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah, all right, you will absolutely lose
control. Now, you may want that. Like I said, if you're
experimenting you may want that but personally for me as an
experienced painter typically stay away from modes because I
want 100% control. So that's its only disadvantage is you it's only disadvantage is you
have no control. And finally the advantage of using adjustment
layers or image adjustments like we saw in our last example
is the fact that you get 100% control, you get maximum control
with adjustments. Remember you saw me bring up hue saturation,
you probably - if you've been following this whole series - you
see me hue - see me use hue sat quite a bit and I like Pew set quite a bit and I like
the fact you get that slider. You can even enter the numbers
if you want precise control and then on top of that you can
have more control with the layer opacity, so
that's why to me the image adjustments, adjustment layers
are my favorite color and painting technique in Photoshop
because it gives you 100% control. Now
the disadvantage to adjustment layers is I would call it a
more advanced technique. I think you have to be pretty
comfortable with the software. So hopefully you've practiced a
lot and you
are pretty familiar with the software now and you have to
have a pretty well trained eye because you know
when you go from grey slap on colorize adjustment, image
adjustment, hue sat,
how the hell do you know -how the heck do you know what the
color is unless you you have that mileage? So
I would say
to me it's a little bit more of an advanced technique,
especially the way that I'm going to use it and you're
going to see it here because it does take quite a bit of
experience. But I know - I have I have faith in you. I
know if you're watching this, you're probably already been
painting quite a bit and probably seen other lessons on
this site and and already have some experience. So I think - I
think after this you're going to have a lot of fun using all
three but especially image adjustments.
And that brings me to my final point before we get into the
fun stuff in the painting is that ideally we want to use all
three. You saw me as I was playing around demonstrating a
little bit, you saw that I did have to eventually use multiple
modes. So for example, you saw me sketch and draw, but then I
had to use image adjustments to fine tune the color. You saw me
bring in my own drawing and use blending modes. I had to use
image adjustments to fine tune it, and then finally you saw me use -
turn an apple into - a grey apple into color using
image adjustments but to get that apple to look quote
painterly and more interesting obviously I'll have to come in
with some brushwork, some good old-fashioned normal layer
boom, brush work. Just like we do in traditional media. So that's
the goal is that once you see each of these three methods
every project you sit down, every time you paint or do a
color thumbnail you're going to be using them in harmony just
like we do
in drawing or painting, we want to use, you know, our
drawing and painting elements together in harmony. We're
going to do the exact same thing in Photoshop. So that's
the goal is to use all three. So that's my little
rant for the pros and cons of each method. Now, let's take a
look and explore each one in detail.
Transcription not available.
Photoshop is what I call blending mode techniques. We're
basically going to use the blending modes that's in the
layer menu to add color. Now I'm going to go through this
fairly quickly to be honest, I don't use this quite as much. I
don't recommend it that much but
it does have a lot of powerful features that we can take
advantage of. So let's take a look.
Okay, let's open a new drawing here.
Now blending modes are really fascinating way to add color.
And one of the most common ways is that if you already have a
black and white drawing black and white sketch, black and
white image, black and white photograph, it really doesn't
Okay, so I'm going to open a -
just a black and white image.
And I'm going to open one
from one of the previous
demonstrations so we can start to add color to it. Let's see,
which one do I like?
Let's try this upper left one.
So what I did was I just saved this as a new document,
so I really don't need
the other layers
for this demo.
And just going to crop it nice and tight. Okay, here we go.
Now we're rolling.
So we get a black and white image, right? So what I'm going
to do is I'm going to create a layer
for the foreground
and now I have a foreground and a background on two separate
layers, and I also have the
alpha mask in case I need them. So what I want to do
is what I like to do is just apply a general color over
everything and that's really easy to do,
you basically can just take - grab any color you want.
Let's say I want to start with the blue. I like cool blue, just
a nice random blue that I picked, I use paint bucket, and
then you turn this into
overlay. That's one way.
And look instantly that
that blue layer it colors everything underneath it.
You can turn it to soft light, a little bit more subtle,
Even multiply, multiply also darkens, but it adds color.
It lightens, but in this case adds color because this
color is so saturated,
and hue. So this is a lot of different ways to do this. So
what I would do - what I typically do if I use modes
is I would just do a nice subtle
wash. I like soft light because it's more subtle. And then what I
would do is I would just bring a hue sat and adjust the
saturation a little bit.
Make it a little more subtle like that.
In fact, what I could do is since I have it on layers,
which is really convenient, I can apply this color
in two layers, one to the background one to the
foreground. That way in the foreground for example, if I
want to make subtle adjustments like
some orange. Let's say I add a slightly warmer greener sort of
color variation in this area, see how it doesn't affect the
because it's on a clipped part of the layer.
And what I'm going to do is
use this color layer just made then I'm going to turn this.
Let's try it to soft light, see how that looks. Now soft light is
more subtle. So that didn't show up. And try overlay.
Okay. So this pretty good. Let me bring it back to soft light
and what I'll do is I'll adjust
the color now. Also
about blending modes too is that you need value. It's sort of
like glazing in a lot of ways. It's sort of like glazing
because you do need some value underneath, notice how these
lights in these lights interface and these highlights
in the sword. They're not picking up that much color.
That's because they're just too bright but down here in the
half tones and dark half tones you're seeing a lot of the blue
show through the exact same color. Road
And also one good thing to keep in mind is that when you stack
start adding color modes, let's say I want to add
some warms to her face and I'm just going to pick
a brush and sort of brush it on there, you know, as if I was
about to colorize her skin and her face.
I could easily
clip it, which I have, then turn it into a mode. In this case
soft light and then you see how it changes a little bit.
but now, now I can merge these three and the colors will stay
intact. So because these three are all the same mode, I can
merge them to make my layers cleaner, have fewer layers and
just make it a little easier on myself. But if for example,
let's say this bottom layer was soft light, this middle one was
overlay and then this top one, this pink, was a color.
Okay. Now if I tried to merge, look what happened, I'm just
going to do it just for an experiment.
Try to merge these layers,
right, you'll get - and then you'll get a weird normal,
becomes a normal layer but then you have to
rely on only one mode. So this is the main reason why I don't
use blending modes or don't recommend them because it's
just a little -
it becomes a little crazy to manage, very complex.
So I don't really like it for color. What I do like it
for is for quick fixes, for quick fixes,
and I'll show you that. And also for adding texture, which we'll
talk about next.
So that's a quick way to just put on a nice tone
also on existing black and white drawing. But if I were to
to colorize this, I would probably take a few more steps,
that's one advantage to the blending mode is that if you
already have a black and white drawing, black and white photo,
you can quickly colorize it using a mode and what I would
probably do from here on out is
you know, get a color that I liked, a base color that I would
merge that, and then I would continue to add subtle glazes,
probably like this for her skin, turn it to a mode, and then
this is color mode right here. So really strong effect, and
then just play with it and adjust it.
And build up colors that way but
to be honest the colors look very unnatural. So that's why I
really don't like working this way anymore and a lot of
illustration types guys who use Photoshop for illustration work,
professionally they do use this style using blending modes to
colorize black and white art work because it is fairly fast.
You know we're able to get color very very quickly.
So this is one way to use it. All right, so just pulled up a
couple of my files, brought up the the painting demo from
the previous section and a photograph that I took and I
just want to show you really what I think is best used for
the blending modes, which is to
quickly add color and enhance things that already you've
already created not trying to color from scratch, which is
what we were beginning to do with our previous example.
Okay, so let's start with this picture. So let's say for
you have this picture, but you want to add maybe a nice orange
glow up here. All you have to do is grab an orange, grab like
an orange glowy color and I'm just using a big airbrush. Do
that like that. And then you take a mode now, it's
on normal, then you turn it to overlay and you see how like
this course is very exaggerated. But look how cool
that kind of looks, cool and move it around because it's on
its own layer and you can play with the opacity,
right? That's on overlay,
that looks pretty cool, little bit subtle and I can repeat it
over here, you know
just to really blonde her hair. That's very very quick. So for
me, this is one of the best applications for the blending
And then, you know I could also
add some pink to her nose and maybe her lips and maybe her
cheeks, just real subtle.
Then switch that to a soft light or see soft light's very
subtle. That's what I like about it. And then you know play
with that and erase out, just be more subtle. You see how quickly
and powerfully we can use blending mode to add color
to an existing
And here's the pear, let me make this smaller here. Remember the pear
we had from last week.
And luckily this is on layer. So let's say
I want to add some more color in the bounce light, let's say I
want to add select color, pick this like violet purple color
and I can put that here,
right on the shadow area. And then I can do - let's try and then I can do let's try
multiply to make it dark. Well, that's a little too dark.
Let's try overlay. Looks okay. Soft light. That's too subtle
Hard light, oh hard light looks pretty good. Let's try color.
Whoa looks little -
it looks cool. But the value is bright, too bright. So you
why I really
stopped using this. I used this quite a bit early in my
Photoshop career, my illustration career,
but now I just don't like not having control but you saw how
quickly if we go, oh, I just need something blue. Now here
we can put something in the light, sort of like what we did.
Let's say we want to make
the light more yellow, we can do the same thing
right there. Set it to overlay, that really colors the light, the
color's a little off now, but... And then let's say I want to
add a touch of red to the bottom. So now I'm going to go
to like a multiply.
And then I can add just a touch of - whoops that's the wrong color -
and touch of red or
reddish orange. Sort of like a stain in the fruit, going to be up
here, color that, quickly add color to that thing, to the stem
using a blending mode. So again using the blending mode I
think it's best for enhancing things you already
have. You just need one or two quick fixes, color fixes, like
what we have here. That's what I would use blending mode for.
And also to keep in mind that each
mode has different effects and behavior. Definitely
experiment. You saw me I
put a color down and try all different modes. So definitely
almost all of the ones that I used will add color. Right now
we have for example multiplying this layer. This layer is an
overlay, the yellow the cool purple we put is is a hard
light. You can even use color dodge, you can use as
screen. We saw so a lot of different options, definitely
My two personal favorites are overlay, soft light and
multiply because I use those quite a bit for value, but they work
really great for color. Let me just do a quick dodge
highlight. See what that looks like. I'm going to set the mode
to dodge. That looks really bright.
Look how bright color dodge gets but because it has a little bit
of color it's adding some color to it. So I like that.
Okay, and one more - one more thing that I really enjoy
about the blending modes is probably this is probably its
most powerful and common use feature is that the blending
modes are really great for adding a quick photo texture.
So for example, you can -
let's open some images here.
Okay, so here I have some photos that I took of some nice
texture. So let's take this pear. Now what if I want to
put like a little bit more bumpy rocky texture on this
pear. I don't know why you'd want to do that. But you could,
so I just grabbed a photo here. Just - I just took on my
iPhone, brought it into Photoshop. Now
I simply drag the layer into the document, just to bring it
into the document. So now my pear has
And what you can do is you can first clip it and then turn
that texture into a modes, right now it's on normal. So let's
try it overlay. Wow, that looks kind of interesting, I like that.
Let's try with soft light, looks like oh, it's more subtle. Hard
light. It looks like a candy, kind of interesting. Linear light,
what does that do? Let's try color. Oh wow.
Well, I didn't expect that. Multiply, oh multiply looks
great. Let's try overlay, overlay is one of my go-to
That looks pretty cool. It looks like sort of a candy
and that's a quick way to add texture. Now, of course, if you
don't want - let's say on the shadow, you don't want the
texture all you have to do is put a mask and you know, just mask
just like that, you know, maybe you don't want it at the highlight, you just
mask it out there. A little bit on the shadow, make more subtle.
You know, if you don't like the color you can just
turn it into a -
turn it to greyscale by simply dropping the saturation
all the way down. So now you just get the texture but not
the color and of course because it's on a layer you can also
affect the opacity and things so you see how quickly we can
add this cool texture. Any photo can become a texture really,
for example, I'm just going to grab this tree. Here's a bunch
of trees, bunch of wood and sticks and things. So what I'm going to
do is I'm just going to grab a little section of it like
Then I'm going to bring it into this document.
I want to go control C and then over here in this one
control V. Remember this guy from a previous lesson. So now we
have a photo on its own layer and
let me set this to overlay, that looks kind of creepy and weird.
That looks kind of cool.
So now I start to add a little bit of color and
this weird unexpected texture. One thing that's kind of fun
about using photo textures like this, basically
photographs on your artwork using a blending mode like
overlay, a lot of fun is because you just get weird results.
Now, of course,
really want control with color, but when it comes to things
like texture it's kind of cool to get these weird results and
then you could spice it even up even more by using custom brush
to erase out of it. So for example,
I'll just grab this round brush that I like and start to use a
mask to sort of fade it out, make it become more transparent
in some are so now it gets really really texture-y which
is really really cool. I'm really liking this look.
Really didn't expect it.
And of course you can make it as subtle or as obvious as you
want, but just to quickly show you the
possibilities that can be done. And just for fun let's put in
this texture of this
little forest here. Let's see if we put that in the
background, see what that does.
that looks kind of - looks kind of funny. Looks kind of funny
but it kind of works. Let's see. This is - now it feels
like a giant skull is sitting in a park. Let's see, so I'm
going to turn this into
a soft light. Oh, okay, then we'll just - you can
have a lot of fun with photo textures as you can see. Let's
And multiply it works good. I like where was I - soft light. So
I'll drop the opacity and you know,
if I don't like the color of this -
if I don't like the color I can just bring up hue sat, command
U and then drop the color or increase it or change it. Lots
of different things you could do. It's almost too many
options. That's one of the reasons why I stay away from
blending modes nowadays.
So yeah, probably the most powerful application for using
blending modes to add color is really to add texture, quickly
add texture to your work.
Okay, so you saw
when we started to color with -
color our black and white comp with the blending modes that
the results weren't that great.
I like to have full control with color and this way you
really don't and we saw that if you stack modes on top of modes,
overlay on top of the soft lights,
then it's really crazy and unpredictable. So for that
I don't use it anymore. I wouldn't recommend it. But you
saw that what it is really quick and efficient for is for
adding color, quickly adding or enhancing your color, slightly
changing your color on an already existing drawing
painting or image or photograph. And then finally
the ability to use any photograph as an overlay, as
a texture, simply by bringing it on a new layer on your document
and changing the blending mode like we saw. So you definitely
would want to experiment. As you saw there's
a lot of different options. It's way too many to go through
and way to -
way too many options to control, which is why I personally don't
recommend it too much. But for these purposes, I think it's
very great and it's very efficient. So now let's take a
look at the last way that I like to use
Photoshop for making color comps, which is using the
image adjustments, which is probably my favorite way
and it kind of combines the best of both worlds.
Transcription not available.
using Photoshop to make a color comp based on photo reference.
So because this is a comp sketch - so just like it's pretty
much going to be a like a color thumbnail.
I'm going to work out my ideas and color so I'm not going to
do a detailed drawing by any means. So I'm just going to
sketch the shapes that I see
and then I'll use the tools to add value and color.
So not too detailed, just don't want it to be super ugly.
Just trying to get close. Okay, so we got a figure,
little sketch there.
Let me draw this, give this face some
get this drawing of the face some love there, it's a
Okay, and then draw the - while I'm zoomed in gonna draw the
shadow shapes just so I know
where it should go.
Because I like to put that on a separate layer, in
case you probably noticed that already.
Definitely like to keep the flats shadow all separate
until I can
just sketch the drawing.
All right, so now we know what to do.
We fill the shape just like the previous examples.
Just a quick dirty shape, like that, using the lasso tool. And
I'm going to start
with the value block in for so I know
where my values are. In fact, I'm going to make a background
I'm going to use -
I like using the rectangle
tool. So a nice background, I'm gonna make this background
75 percent brightness. Okay, go just so you know, I'm not
looking at all that white. Now I'm going to clean up my mask
and then move on to the shadow. So
use the lasso tool and I could also use
the brushes as well, you don't have to use lasso tool. Just
like a lasso tool, it's very quick.
Got the flat.
This will probably be her skin. Now, what I want to do is I'm
also going to make a layer for the red,
the cloth, going to lighten this little bit. Because I'm not
a hundred percent sure
that I want the cloth to be that red. I don't know. I don't
know, should be a red maybe. I don't know. But that's why we're
doing this in Photoshop. I'll show you the
really the awesome power
that you have going to make a mask for a so it's nice and
tight. There you go.
The awesome abilities you have
when you use Photoshop for this.
My brush wasn't fully opaque. So it works best for
these flat block ins, make sure you brush is opaque.
And your capacity is full opacity.
Even her hair, I can adjust the color of her hair.
Let's do that now. I'm going to call this fabric
flat then finally her hair because I like to have things
on as many layers as possible.
Well, at least the major objects, that's not her hair
Shadow is going to be on its own layer
who knows maybe blond is not the right hair or light Deb the right hair or light
brown the right hair so we could always make that decision
the last thing I like to do is put the shadow on its own
So what I like to do first is sort of
kind of get the value right first.
Roughly approximately where I want it to be and then we'll
address the color which should be a lot of fun.
Because let's say you wanted to do this as a giant painting and
you know, you're not really sure which way to push the
color. Maybe you want it to be stylized. Maybe you want the
to be totally invented. You want to alter the color, you
know, you're doing a narrative piece
and maybe you want to make it all into the monochromes.
Instead of all this red maybe you want to do, you know
something that has all blue. So that we can figure out here
very very quickly in Photoshop.
That's what really is powerful about
this feature and skiing the last bit of shadow.
Then I'm going to put a gradation on the background.
Let's make it circular.
Background's a little too stiff. And adjust the value.
So let's take a look at what we have here. I'm going to make
this a black so just hit command I to invert it.
So let's take a look. Okay, so now
I'm looking at the values really quick. Let me quickly
if the background should be darker.
Okay, it does look better a little bit darker. I like that.
This guy can get darker as well.
her skin, the flat of her skin looks pretty good.
I could even add
the hot spot. Right now we have like
a light, dark, middle kind of thing, three value system. So
let's add a - yeah. I like that. I like that. I'm going to put this
little - a little highlight above the sketch.
So now I know my brightest bright is my darkest dark will
be the shadow. So let's take our shadow.
I'm going to label it shadow and make sure that the value's
right first. Yes. Yes, looking good.
And of course the fabric is on its own layer. We can make that
darker. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I like that. And then let's take
the flat little bit darker, her skin
little bit darker. Okay. So now it's w're in a pretty good value
range. I can fine-tune it some more but you know, they could
take hours really.
and let's do a couple different examples, just for fun.
Well, let's try one. Let's try one. Let's say
I kind of like the colors I had set up. You know, let's say I
shot this and you know, I do want to use red, and maybe not
that red. So first let's put some color on everything
starting with her skin. So I'm going to take the flat layer,
right, and I'm just going to bring up hue sat, click
And I bring her skin into the fleshy orangey kind of range.
You know, it definitely needs variation the way the skin
looks very flat like right now.
But we're just starting. We're just starting. Now let's look
at the fabric. Okay
bring up hue sat again the fabric, now click colorize.
Okay. Do I want to do more brownie maroon-y red, do I
want it to be more this like really hot apple-y redm like a
Should it be more of a violet red? Hmm. to Red? Hmm.
It's just more like a wine colored red, a little bit
closer. Let's say I want more of a
really hot race car red I. like that. I like that. it. I liked it.
Just for fun, just for shiggles. for shingles.
and her hair bring up hue sat
I want her hair to be
close to her skin color.
I can just
sort of match the skin tones there.
Maybe give it a little bit more of a red hair. Okay, that's
her hair. Now finally the shadow. Well first let's
address the background.
I think an obvious choice for the background is a grey-green
because I want this red to pop out. So let's bring in - oh, that
looks good. Now, of course because I have
a huge - oh, that looks great. I like this, you can play around
with the temperature really quickly, the hue with
this slider bar. So
you can tell I really love the sliders
like that and then this guy, this bit of gradation and it's
too violet. Let's bring it back towards blue.
Yeah, like that, towards the blue-green. Yes. It's more of a
phthalo green. Okay. There you go. There you go.
And then let's change the color of our light now before we go
to the shadow. Let's make the light nice and bright.
Let's put her in a -
should we put her in a green light? Can we do that? Let's
just try a warm light. We could always change it later.
Right now the light in the reference is sort of this
neutral but we can totally colorize it. So that's what I'm
doing here. I'm adding some color to the light, sort of
making it this yellow-y - yeah, I like those sort of is blowy yellow
color. All right, and finally the shadow,
boom, colorize. Okay, so
we can go warm shadow. We can go cool shadow.
I thinking cooly turquoise-y
like that is perfect for the shadow. Yeah, that's beautiful. I
like that. Just using my skills and experience as a
And that's pretty much it for a quick comp.
You know, I made a couple decisions here. One that I like
the red that I shot my reference, but I wanted it to
be more of a warm orange-y candy apple red, race car red,
and I'd like the background the sort of neutrally grey
background, but I wanted it to be tilted towards like green
and blue green. Here I definitely exaggerated the
Shadow's much warmer here, but we can also add the bounce
light and the variation but that's just one way. And let's
do that now, that's just one quick way that we can go from
photo to quick color cup and we started with - remember we started
with black and white shapes and then boom We quickly used hue
saturation to adjust. Let's just do that now, quickly now I
can add even more options and try different more things.
Let's say I want to add
some subtle variation to her skin, we can quickly do that at
the knees, at the elbow here, at the chest under the neck, across
the face very very quick.
I see it's working again. I can adjust it as much as needed.
But I think that's okay.
I can add lighter variation like a very warm orange
near the hot spot.
That's ugly orange. Let's see if we can make it a prettier orange.
Okay, like that, just needs to be lightened a little bit.
See if we can shift it towards yellow. Oh, I don't know if I
Just drop the opacity to make it - once it's a little
bit more desaturated it looks good and the hair
this one I'm going to just use straight brush
instead of gradient tool. What I'm gonna do is grab the hair
and just make a darker version of it.
Just color picked the hair and use the slider, make a darker
version of it. So now has some dark hair going on there.
of course remember we talked about this shadow being too
plane. So for example, I can make a clipping mask, clipping
layer, color pick the fabric color, and then boom put it in
the shadow, but you know, it's too intense, a little too
Let's do that and then drop the opacity. So now the shadow has a
little bit of subtlety.
We can do the same thing at the bottom where the bounce light
from the ground comes in. So just color pick the ground you just color pick the ground
color, color pick the ground color, use a gradient and then
boom, put that back into the shadow. Look at that, it's another
shadow looks starting to come alive. It's not just this flat
blue shape. Color pick the hair.
Make a darker, slightly cooler version, desaturated version, and
then boom, put that in the hair where the shadow is, right up
I can even -
let's say, you know, we can just keep on going, we can just keep
on going. Let's say
I want to add a little bit of
sun spots, freckles, and things like that. So what I'm going to
do is sort of help this red come back into the painting. So
I'm going to color pick the red that I chose and I'm
going to put this above of the skin, right here, skin.
Then I'm going to take a
little texture-y brush and sort of ass a
couple spots. This brush doesn't look that good.
And neither does that, that looks like she's sick. But
because I tried it, we know that it doesn't look good or at
least the texture doesn't look good. So probably if I were to
do this, I would get a different
This one's a little too spotty.
Let's put some bounce light back into the fabric.
Just color pick here, just brush it on there into the
planes of the fabric. And then finally I can take the
fabric and just put it a little bit in the background because
you know, -
and just a couple bunch of ways. We saw I'm going to try
this polka dot brush.
I'd like to put some of that
Some of that warmth into the background because otherwise
just looks a little too stiff and this custom brushes it's a
little too noisy for my taste so I could probably
find other ways to do it.
Remember, it's like 50 ways to do
Just kind of erasing out. Now it's creating this weird It's creating this weird
texture, which I don't like.
Bring back my -
okay, I like this brush better, like the texture little better.
And lower the opacity even more.
And then you can, you know, you can keep playing with it.
Add some more of that red into the foreground on a separate
layer, but also
drop the opacity again because even more subtle than the other
pass like that. And then
you can do direct brushing now. I'm going to go all the
way to the top of the stack, top of my layer. I'm just going to
color pick this and
just do some direct brushing. Let's say I want to put a
little bit of red accent right up here, put a little bit of red
accent there, little bit of red accent in here and be around her like
around the contour.
Just like that. Maybe I want to bring some of this blue into
her, I can do that.
I just color pick the blue in the background and then use it
as a color
inside the figure itself. Actually makes it
core shadow tone actually, it's not bad. bad.
So you can see even we can start to think about what color
the core shadow, how warm it is or how what temperature it
is. What chroma it is.
Should it be cool and brown like this, you know, we
can totally change it.
That's a wonderful thing about this process. All right, so
that's my first comp. We can obviously go more, we can take
this and change subtle variations. But as far as it
comes, this is a wrap. Okay guys, that was the end of this
lesson. I hope you enjoyed this color and painting lesson in
Photoshop. We learned so much stuff in this lesson alone. You
got to see how we can use some of the blending modes. You got
to see how we can use the various brushes to paint and color,
all the various color controls the color menus and of course
we go to use the image adjustments and the various
adjustment layers and adjustment options to not only
fine-tune the value, but of course the color. So we pretty
have come to the end of all the skills that I feel that you
will need to create not only color comps, black and white
cops, adjust your photos, take the best slides of your take the best slides of your
own artwork. So even though this is the end of the lesson,
don't forget that you can always review. We covered a lot
of stuff. We covered a lot of stuff in this entire series, all
the way from the beginning, you know, so if you know if there's
a couple of technical things that you got stuck with, make
sure to review the earlier sections. If you got stuck on
the drawing make sure to do that section and the black and
white and adding tones and using various adjustment tools
and of course you can always review this video when
you're ready for color, when you're ready to get started
painting in Photoshop or making your own color comps. So we
covered a lot of stuff. This has been a long series. I
really hope you enjoyed it. Hope you get some value out of
it. And I finally hope that you're no longer intimidated by
Photoshop. I know it's a huge piece of software. It's very
in-depth. It's a massive piece of software and
you pretty much have everything you need to to get
going in and hopefully as you went through the series you
gained more confidence and more experienced and you're able to
use the software
in ways that you've never thought were possible. And if
you're ready to take things further or to keep growing and
keep using the computer, if you really like Photoshop, you
know, I would recommend you to not only review the lessons but
maybe tried different assignments and also, you can
try to combine the techniques, you could take a photo,
paint on top of that for example and adjust the colors or you
can take a painting and use Photoshop to add photography,
you know, use the various tools that you saw.
So combining techniques, combining mediums, even though
they're digital, that would be the next step because what you saw
were a bunch of pieces and we're able to use them to make are able to use them to make
useful things. Now, you can take your pieces,
this and this and this, the color adjustments, photo here,
this, this, and this to really expand your knowledge
and your skillset of this really powerful and unique
software. So that's the end of this series, the end of this
lesson. I really hope you enjoyed it and I hope to see
some of your Photoshop and digital work in the future. So
until next time. Take care.
Free to try
1. Preview Chapter52sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Quick Review and Three Ways to Work With Color in Photoshop44m 6s
3. Using Photoshop to Mimic Traditional Painting49m 32s
4. Using Blending Modes23m 0s
5. Using Adjustment Layers18m 49s
6. Chris Creates a Color Comp Based on Photo Reference24m 15s