advanced photoshop

Expert Photoshop tips for creating CGI elements

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

We talk to Photoshop experts about how they incorporate CGI elements within their Photoshop workflows

Paint in backgrounds

Jonathan Duval /

“I used V-Ray to render my base model and then imported it into Photoshop to finish up. The main job was to create a background…

“I wanted to achieve a painterly aspect for the image, which made Photoshop the perfect choice as I could make use of the default brushes…

“In this case, I selected a hard brush and then painted in some shadow and light. After that I used a pattern with a slight opacity to give detail to the background and then painted in a symbol to give the impression that the character was in space…

“The Color Balance option enabled me to add blue to the shadow and a touch of red and yellow to the highlights.”

Expert Photoshop tips for creating CGI elements

Enhance character designs

Jean-Michel Bihorel /

Sketch concepts

“I first used Photoshop to sketch some rough concepts of my character before starting the modelling phase. Photoshop gives you the same comfort as a sheet of paper, with the advantage of the Undo command to make many research drawings.”

Imagine the results

“I then used Photoshop to make a paint over on some snapshots of my character during the modelling stage, in order to preview how he will look after textures and shades are applied. Again, Photoshop comes in handy for previewing the results.”

Expert Photoshop tips for creating CGI elements

Paint textures

“I decided to paint the textures onto the character directly. The possibility to have many layers at very high resolutions makes Photoshop the perfect tool to combine the different elements and masks that might have been generated in many different types of software.”

Adjust background elements

“To integrate the character a bit more with the background, I took some dry tomato elements, then made them bigger and blurry in the foreground in order to generate more depth in the composition of the picture.”

Improve your creature textures

Mahsa Rakhshani /

“For this piece I used Photoshop for improving the textures painted in ZBrush.”

Expert Photoshop tips for creating CGI elements

“You should never underestimate the power of adjustment layers, especially when used with layer masks. I used this feature for creating the highlights and shadows on the character and the plants…

“I also used adjustment layers for removing unwanted black areas coming from my texture and colour correcting the final image.”