General working methods you may want to use when Painting a face

Here is one method you can use to realize a full-color, digitally painted face and head. Just follow these steps:

  1. Start by making a sketch, as shown in Figure You can draw it by using either the traditional paper-and-pencil method or drawing directly on the computer; it really does not matter. If you start with a pencil sketch, you will, of course, need to scan the image into your computer. At this stage, you should consider resolution issues, along with what the final output will be. Will your image be used for print or on the Web? A print image will need to be at a much higher resolution than a Web image. When starting with the scan, consider working with an image that has a resolution of 200 dpi and that is grayscale. A 200-dpi resolution is large enough to let you include all the necessary facial details, is a high enough resolution to print well, and is small enough as far as memory requirements to allow you to paint quickly. If you are going to be drawing directly on the computer, make sure that your output resolution is set when you create the image. Most of the imagery you will paint will probably start at fewer than 1,500 pixels in the largest dimension.
  2. Once you have set your resolution and have a basic design ready, you are ready to move on. A pencil-sketch scan usually contains a large range of gray values, as will a sketch drawn directly in the program. In this particular case, the drawing paper had numerous small, colored flecks. These types of things left in the sketch can be distracting and should be made less distinct, if not eliminated. If not much variation exists between the strokes that you are drawing with or in your scan (i.e., the sketch is predominantly black and white), you may want to skip this step. If the sketch contains lots of distracting marks and you want to remove them, use the Levels command (Image > Adjustments > Levels) to reduce the number of gray values while leaving the image looking cleaner without the speckles, as shown in Figure
  3. Save your file—I cannot emphasize this step enough. Make it a habit to save numerically named versions of your work. One of the best things about digital painting is this ability to save multiple versions to which you can revert if you make a major mistake.


The beginning sketch.   The sketch after we used the Levels command.

  1. Cut and paste the image back into the original.
  2. Set the Composite Blending mode to Multiply, as shown in Figure This provides a top layer where the white has become transparent, allowing you to paint on the background layer while showing the original sketch through the top layer.
  3. As a general rule, it is not recommended that you paint on a white background. The reason for this is simple. Against a white background, especially on the computer monitor, virtually every color and value will look too dark. Therefore, you should always add a tone of color to the background of the image. In Photoshop, fill the background layer with either a color or a gray value, as shown in Figure. We chose the color in this case to contrast with later colors that will be added as we paint. You could add a gradation if you prefer.

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