advanced photoshop
Sep
17

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

Discover the techniques used to create your own lifelike digital portrait from scratch

Expert Brushes: Part 2

View Part 1 of this tutorial at blog.advancedphotoshop.co.uk/tutorials/expert-brushes-part-1

 

Step 13: Add highlights to the hair

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Now select a lighter, warmer colour to add some highlights to the hair. Using the same brush settings as listed in step 12, you can start painting small areas of highlights. Be careful not to overdo the highlights, as you will otherwise risk your image looking flat and lifeless. Work in small areas, intensifying the ‘middle’ of the highlights, and tailing off the intensity of your brushwork towards the edges. This helps to make the image look more three-dimensional.
 

Step 14: Warm the tone

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Once you have worked in the hair, to warm the tone of it you can paint roughly over it with a large, soft brush with low opacity (around 11%). You can paint over areas twice to intensify the colour. Once the colour has been laid down, go to Layer>Layer Style and try out a few different blending modes to see which gives the best results. The idea is to create a warmer tone without extracting any detail from the hair. Repeat this step if desired.
 

Step 15: Intensify the eyes

Expert Brushes: Part 2

For eyes that look more intense, select a very bright green or blue and paint with a soft brush at 30% Opacity around the pupils of the eyes. Once the colour has been laid, go to Layer>Layer Style and under Blending Options, select Vivid Light blend mode. Ensure Preview is ticked so you are able to see the results before committing to the changes. You can always experiment with different blend modes to achieve a different look and adapt the look later on.
 

Step 16: More natural lips

Expert Brushes: Part 2

To make the lips appear more natural, select a flesh tone, and a soft brush (around 13% Opacity). Start painting near, but not at the bottom of the lower lip, leaving the top of the lower lip to fade into the original colour. This will create the illusion of a third dimension to the lips and a more glossy appearance. You can experiment with blend modes, or intensify the highlights of the lips in a new layer.
 

Step 17: Toning down

Expert Brushes: Part 2

To tone down the image, you will need to work over the shadows. By working a lighter colour in a large, soft brush at a low opacity (around 9%), you can paint over the shadows to create a softer, warmer image rather than using the harsh shadows. By initially creating the shadows then reducing the shadows, you can learn various adjustment techniques. As detailed before, you can use the Eyedropper tool to help neutralise the skin tones.
 

Step 18: General enhancing

Expert Brushes: Part 2

When viewing the image at 100%, it gives you a true idea of what the portrait would look like if it were printed. It is important to view it all over at 100% to get a better idea of what the printed result would be. Ensure that there are no dirty marks on the portrait where tones have not been blended properly. If there are, then again work with the Eyedropper tool and brushes to achieve a smoother appearance.
 

Step 19: Warm the skin tone

Expert Brushes: Part 2

You may notice that as you have been painting with a low opacity, the skin may lack some life to it. In order to liven it up a bit, you can add more colour to the picture. If you select a dull pink, you can go around the eyes at a low opacity once again, and then select Color Burn as a blending mode. This will make the eyes appear more lifelike. You can also use this technique on the cheeks and around the face to add more of a lifelike appearance.
 

Step 20: Colour adjustments

Expert Brushes: Part 2

After reviewing your image, you may decide that it still needs more colour adjustment. We have decided to both warm the image up (as in the previous step), and tone down the shadows and highlights of the original. The shadows should now appear less harsh, but the shadows can look dirty if you use the wrong colours. To rectify this, try painting over them again with a soft brush and low opacity in red. Select a blending mode such as Darken and you should end up with a nicer looking result.
 

Step 21: Create a stitch

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Go to the Brushes palette and select Dual Brush. Ensure that the brush is small and hard at around 75% Opacity. We have selected a dark grey so the stitching doesn’t stand out too much. Increase the spacing to around 465% (depending on the scale of your portrait, you may want to play around with different spacing), and then draw a line parallel to the neckline to create the impression there is a seam on the subject’s top.
 

Step 22: Add detail to the eyes

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Now start adding some brown pigments to the eyes – just a subtle detail that adds a lot more definition to the eyes and makes them more believable. Use a small brush and add some small lines and dots, ensuring they are not too close together, but instead just to add a bit of detail. Make sure Opacity is set to around 13%, and choose two different shades of brown to add more realism to the eyes.
 

Step 23: Final touches

Expert Brushes: Part 2

Now take a look at the full image, and you should have a lifelike portrait starting to take more shape. By going over the previous steps again (if needed) you can still enhance the portrait. If anything stands out as not ‘in place’, look again and rework it on a separate layer. The idea is to keep on improving the image until you are happy with it and until you get the desired result of a photorealistic portrait.