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Author   Topic : "From Speedpaint to Tight Finish in Photoshop?"
jfrancis
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:32 am     Reply with quote
This is really a question about blending.

In Painter, I see how you can refine a speedpaint into a tight finish with blenders or with bleed/resaturation brushes.

In Photoshop, the only way I can see to make a refined blend is to "sneak up" on the finished blend with lots of low opacity strokes.

Let's assume I have a well painted speedpaint. How do people here take a rough speedpaint and refine it into a tight finish in PHOTOSHOP?
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ceenda
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:26 am     Reply with quote
Glad someone asked this, as I'm keen to know from some of the Photoshop bods how they do this.

I prefer doing speedpics in Photoshop, as I like the way the textures and the brushes are very crisp.

However, nearly all the pictures I have that I call "finished illustrations" are done in Painter over a rough sketch or scanned pencil drawing. Possibly taken into Photoshop now and again to adjust levels and contrast.

I have done pictures in Photoshop, but mostly blended using the Smudge with the spacing option turned off completely. It gets rid of that horrid "photoshop blend" look and works a little bit more like the blender in Painter.
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spyroteknik
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:00 am     Reply with quote
i do that ceenda, because my speedies are really rough and scrawl-like (mainly just to get ideas out, rarely think much when doing them) i'm left with not much option than to blow up to 300dpi and smudge the hell out of it, (my middle stage) get it looking reasonably smooth before repainting, kind of giving it a base to work on, i could do the same with brushes (i used to) but it takes longer and i get the same result anyway, not the best way of doing things and does have it's problems (i have to render the entire image at the large size to get rid of smudgemarks so i lose the impact of just rendering what's needed, no spontenaiety, also end up with a lot more space in the image than intended as it's natural for me to fix elements as i go, make them smaller somehow when tidying up)
smudge is evil, and i avoid it as much as i can, but used for that purpose, it knocks a good few hrs off rendering time so it's a tradeoff i've been slipping into
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AndyT
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 3:34 am     Reply with quote
Damn ... me replying here ... that has to sound ridiculous.
But this reminds me too much of some things:
A discussion between Craig Mullins and Ron Lemen about the role of edges in an under-water setting.
Can't get that thread out of my head.

And a thread about master studies somewhere
(where somebody suggested starting with very soft brushes when you block the main shapes in)

And the approach by Roberto Campus.

It sounds to me as if you don't think enough about the relations between edges when you start out.
Ceenda: Doesn't show in you images though. You do a good job at blending.
Haven't seen speedpaintings by jfrancis yet ...
I guess you start with edges that are too hard and then you have to blend/smudge them away.
Maybe try starting with softer brushes. As you refine more you can make the brushes not only smaller, also harder.
Basically the idea is: keep the soft edges where you want them rather than making them soft after you are done.
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jfrancis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:22 am     Reply with quote
AndyT -- even in speedpaints that have a hierarchy of edge qualities, there are still issues relating to blending that I don't totally get. For example -

Here's a painting I pulled out of the recent speed paint:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v26/dhood/gollum.jpg

(Hope the artist doesn't mind my using this as an example)... But in this image, a speedpaint of gollum, you can see that effort has been put into creating a variety of edges - some soft - some hard - yet it is still a speedpaint. My question is how one would go about tightening an image like this up in Photoshop.

In Painter, I'd lay the colors in strongly and directly and then blend transitions. It's just really hard to blend in Photoshop. The smudge tool stinks. The way I usually do it is to build up a lot of low opacity strokes.
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dhood
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:56 am     Reply with quote
I just use smaller and lower opacity brushes to blend colors. I dont really smudge too much and I avoid the airbrush completly. Most of the time, I resize the picture real large and use 1-3 sized hard edged brushes at a low opacity. Its time consuming, but it works in the end. Ive added a little more detail to the gollum picture. Its in "work in progress". You can kind of see what I mean.
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ceenda
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:00 am     Reply with quote
Well, I still think the smudge tool can be made to funtion a little better than it does just straight out of the box. This is all done using a default round hard-edged brush. (got the idea for this from "loki" originally)

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jfrancis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:08 am     Reply with quote
Okay; that's a huge difference. I have to look into that. Thanks for posting!
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henrik
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:15 am     Reply with quote
I never use blends or smudges myself. I see how it can be practical sometimes, but when you try to achieve something close to reality, linear blends wouldn't work because of the texture that has to be retained.

I usually paint my "blends" with brushstrokes. Adjustment layers work well when you want smooth gradients.

edit 1: Oop. "how about answering the question?"

Tigheting up and finishing a speed painting is nothing strange at all when you think of it. When you lay down your paint, despite the fact that it's a "speed painting", the focus is to get the drawing down (Drawing, such as perspective, figure, scale) as well as values and colors and not so much the textural quiality or the smallest of details (folds in skin) etc.

It's about (from what I believe Craig mentioned when he started his speed paintings) rendering a subject with the minimum effort possible. It has turned into something else over time here on the forums, but the principles are clear. If painting reads, speedpainting or not, a tighter painting is a painting with everything pushed further to ...well I assume, realism.

edit 2: Doh, one more try, please? ...

Blending is never really your main obstacle from turning a speedy into a finished piece. Again, if the speedy does not read, no blending will help you.
(People might argue over this, but I'm making a bold statement here.)

ok, i go back to work now.
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dhood
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:41 am     Reply with quote
If you think about it, smudging and blending with brushstrokes do the same thing. If you were to blend two colors together, in the middle where they meet, it would look like two seperate colors at a low opacity, If that makes sense. If you were to get small enough, eventually I think you would have the same results. Its just a matter of preference.
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henrik
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:53 am     Reply with quote
Smudging and blending values kills your details though. On some surfaces it's nice to have a few sharp pixels popping through the blurry mess.
It is a matter of preference, but painting the blend gives you more control than a linear blur.
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skullmonkeys
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:24 pm     Reply with quote
henrik wrote:
I usually paint my "blends" with brushstrokes. Adjustment layers work well when you want smooth gradients.

Hey Henrik, I was just wondering how exactly is that done?
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Alen
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:43 pm     Reply with quote
ceenda wrote:
Well, I still think the smudge tool can be made to funtion a little better than it does just straight out of the box. This is all done using a default round hard-edged brush. (got the idea for this from "loki" originally)

[pic]

Is this for photoshop? I don't see those settings anywhere.
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jfrancis
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:55 pm     Reply with quote


Turn spacing OFF
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AndyT
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:45 pm     Reply with quote
Well your idea of what a speedpainting is not mine I guess.
You think it is a speedpainting when it looks wild and the brushstrokes show?
The whole image looks as if it was done with hard brushes.
Then a hard low opacity brush to make somewhat soft transitions, lost edges and so on.
When a soft brush is involved it looks different. Cleaner I guess.

Edit: And the brushes are very small. Guess if bigger brushes had been used the block in the shapes it would look cleaner.

I don't think I can get the point across. But henrik said pretty much exactly what I meant:

Quote:
It's about (from what I believe Craig mentioned when he started his speed paintings) rendering a subject with the minimum effort possible.


For values most people start with the mid-tones and then add shadows and highlights.

For edges starting with soft brushes and later using harder ones might be the fastest way.
At least it is worth trying it.

The approach should work for finished images as well as speed paintings.
It is a speed painting when you stop as soon as the desired impact of the image is there IMO.
For finished pieces you wouldn't stop there.

oDD wrote something about Loki and his text about hard brushes too.
I have never read that I guess.
But I don't see why you'd make a broken image and call it speed painting.
Then fix it and call it finished art?


Last edited by AndyT on Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Matthew
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:46 pm     Reply with quote
well u could use the blur and airbrush, in the middle only airbrush was used and in the right one I used blur tool and then with one stroke airbrush. All at 100 opacity and 50 flow.

I am with Henrik here and if you work big those rougher strokes ain't gonna be that visible anyway.

Hope it is ok that I used your smiley ceenda.


g'day
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oDD
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2004 2:30 am     Reply with quote
i remeber when in the past i had the same problem. But for me, now there aint much difference in the process of painting between the speedie and a full finished painting. The simplest anwer to your question "what do you do when painting a full detailed pice after reaching the speedpaint level ?" i would answer " i continue to paint the same way...". I don't use smudge. i think henrik said it very well so i'll stop now.
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henrik
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 7:45 pm     Reply with quote
skullmonkeys>

It's not complicated at all. You lay down a solid color/value to describe a plane or a shape. The small brushstrokes are either small brushes or custom ones to break up surfaces. I guess you can say I usually I work in 3 steps where the first one is establishing value and color. Second is to create a rough textured surface that describes form. The last one is to use smaller brushes to give me accurate control of where pixels go.
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kevphil
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:24 pm     Reply with quote
I was hunting all over to find the "spacing" control for the Smudge brush, and realized that you have to click on the words "Brush Tip Shape" to display those settings. Thanks to ceenda & jfrancis for the tip. Using a combination of low-opacity strokes and this Photoshop version of Painter's Blender seems to take out some of the tedium in creating soft blends.

I'm new to these forums and am really impressed by what I see here. Thanks!
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jfrancis
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:02 pm     Reply with quote
henrik wrote:


I usually paint my "blends" with brushstrokes. Adjustment layers work well when you want smooth gradients.

...

Blending is never really your main obstacle from turning a speedy into a finished piece. Again, if the speedy does not read, no blending will help you.
(People might argue over this, but I'm making a bold statement here.)

ok, i go back to work now.




@ kevphil:

That's what I do now, too
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