Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

This tutorial will walk you through the simple steps used to turn a regular photograph into an interesting digital painting illustration, using Photoshop's Filter Gallery and the Smudge Tool. Depending on the photograph you choose, it shouldn't take you more than a couple of hours to complete.

Before I begin, I must give a huge thanks to @kidhelios / for allowing me to use his photo of George Auckland (my old boss from the BBC) as the source for this illustration.

Preview

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

The first thing to do is to resize the photo to your desired output size. This is important as the Filter Gallery effects are heavily pixel based and if you resize after you've finished your work, it can blend them all back together and lessen the overall effect. My photo was taken with an original iPhone and is only 480x640 pixels. I wanted the final illustration to be bigger so I enlarged the image size to 960 pixels high and also increased the canvas width to 1200. Next I boosted the Brightness and Contrast to help the Filter Gallery effects really pick out the noise from the iPhone's less-than-brilliant camera. The easiest way to do this is with an adjustment layer, as it is non-destructive.

Next we need to drop out the background, fix any problems and prepare the photo for the filters. I'll leave you to choose your own way of removing the background, but I prefer straightforward painting in the Layer Mask, for the level of control is gives you. You can be fairly rough with elements like the hair as they'll be fixed when we get on to the smudging part later on. In my original photo, the subject's left shoulder has been cropped from the frame, so that needs to be put back in. I've just copied the right shoulder and flipped it across to the left, tweaking a few bits along the way. Again, it doesn't need to be precise and photo-realistic at all, as long as the basic shape is right and you pay attention to the highlights, shadows and overall tone of the area.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

Now we are finished with our basic image adjustments, it's time to apply the filters.

Load your Layer Mask as a selection (hold down the Apple key and click the Layer Mask) and Copy Merged (Apple-Shift-C), then Paste into a new layer. If you find that the pasted version has moved slightly, just reposition it over the original - quickly flipping the Blend Mode to 'Difference' can help, when everything is black, the two layers are aligned.

Select the bottom layer of the three and apply the 'Poster Edges' effect from the Filter Gallery. Tweak the settings until you get some nice black lines defining areas of you subject, almost like cartoon outlines.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

On the next layer up, apply the 'Accented Edges' effect. This one should brighten up your image and add some nice highlights. Set the Blend Mode to 'Overlay'.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

On the third layer, apply the 'Glowing Edges' effect. Don't worry that your image has suddenly gone black, the extra highlights and neon glows will be perfect once you set the Blend Mode to 'Lighten' and reduce the Opacity down to 50%.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

Obviously, all of these settings are specific to this photo and may not be right for yours, so feel free to tinker and tweak until you're happy, maybe even try out some of the other filters. When you're done you should end up with something like this.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

Now for the fun part.

With your three Filter Gallery layers visible, Select All, Copy Merged and Paste once more, and make sure the pasted copy lines up with the other again. Duplicate this layer (so you have a merged back-up) and then this is layer that we will be painting, but before we start there are two little tweaks to Photoshop's default settings we should change first. In the Preferences, go to Performance and up the number of History States saved to at least 200 if you haven't already. The second tweak is in Keyboard Shortcuts from the Edit menu, and is to change the usual Undo command (good old Apple-Z) to activate Step Backward instead. This allows you to quickly go back through those 200 history states if something doesn't look right.

OK, now for the fun part...

Select the Smudge Tool - it's the third option of the Blur/Sharpen tool - and choose a smallish soft brush, with the Strength set to 50%. Now just start brushing your image and blend the combined Filter effects back together to resemble brush strokes. The key here is 'short, controlled bursts' and to follow the natural lines and curves of your subject. Go with the contours of the skin, the curls of the hair, the patterns of the clothing and so on. Be careful not to bend any of the black lines away from their curves, if you do then Apple-Z is your new best friend.

Other useful keyboard shortcuts to know for this process are the square bracket keys - [ ] - which reduce and increase your brush size, and the number keys, which will alter the strength of the smudge effect (remember; 0 sets it to 100%, 9 to 90% etc)


(200% zoom view with arrows showing the approximate direction and click duration for the Smudge Tool)

Keep going like this, working methodically around the subject. When you do the hair, you can tidy up your rough mask from earlier by extending whispy hairs out from the head when you smudge them and also correct any other areas that you're not happy with - I altered the cloned lapel of the jacket while smudging as I didn't think I had the angle right first time.

Once you've finished your painting, you'll need a background. I've used and tweaked Fabio's excellent space background tutorial and added a spiral galaxy from the NASA archive for mine. As a finishing touch I've duplicated my painted layer, given it a high Gaussian Blur and moved it below the painting layer to add an overall glow to the image. If you plan on painting your background using the same effect, it's useful to keep it separate from your foreground image so you don't end up smudging the two together.

Reader Tutorial: Easy Digital Painting Illustration in Photoshop

About the Author

My name is Nathan Barry and I'm currently a freelance Web Designer/Coder, after spending nearly 10 years building websites for the BBC. I also write for Wired's GeekDad blog [link to http://www.wired.com/geekdad/author/discotechnological] and I'm a keen photographer and full-time Dad. You can follow me on twitter @GeekDadNath if you like. Thanks for reading!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Yesterday I went to a book store, and had a look at some great design and illustrations books. There, I found this great artist called Kareem Iliya, who makes some amazing fashion watercolor illustrations, pretty beautiful, so I just had to find her portfolio once I got home.

Her portfolio is pretty amazing, and I just had to share her work with all of you. For more of her illustrations, you may visit her portfolio. I hope you enjoy these! Cheers. ;)

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

Amazing Fashion Watercolor Illustrations by Kareem Iliya

About the author

Hello, everyone! I'm Paulo Gabriel, a 25 years old designer from Porto Alegre, Brazil. I work as a webdesigner since 2006, but websites and blogs have been a hobbie for me since 1999. Here in Abduzeedo, I try to bring only the hot stuff for you... and hope that all of you enjoy my posts! For more cool stuff, you may also follow me on Twitter

Color Tools, Resources and Inspiration

Color is the integral element with design. It can bring a bland idea to life, it can revitalize a boring and dreary web site and can bring lifeless art to, well, life. Why is it so powerful? Because different colors can invoke different emotions with different people, thus altering our perception of how we see art.

In today's news round up we have collected some color related articles, some tools for your inspiration and learning.

Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color

Color Tools, Resources and Inspiration

Color in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else. Sometimes this is due to personal preference, and other times due to cultural background. Color theory is a science in itself.

This is the first in a three-part series on color theory, were the author discusses the meanings behind the different color families, and gives some examples of how these colors are used.

Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color

25 Color Combination Tools for Designers

Color Tools, Resources and Inspiration

There are a lot of online tools to help create a beautiful color combination. They all vary slightly to suit each designers with different preferences on how they work. In this article they collected together 25 of the best color tools, with a quick overview on each to help you decide which is best for you.

25 Color Combination Tools for Designers

Colorgorize the Web

Color Tools, Resources and Inspiration

The first version of Colorgorize was published in 2007 as a project at the University of the Arts Bremen, Germany. Back then, Colorgorize was a Firefox add-on that could display similar colored websites to the website currently opened. Colorgorize has since changed to a website recently to allow it to reach a bigger audience. Today, thousands of websites are already analyzed and can be searched by colors.

Colorgorize the Web

What If Computer Graphics Ran Under Crayola's Law?

Color Tools, Resources and Inspiration

What If Computer Graphics Ran Under Crayola's Law?

By Paul Andrew (Speckyboy and speckyboy@twitter).

IBooks?

Classics, great books/reader for the iPhone, free for a limited time in recognition of Apple's liberal use of their interface in the iPad. If you have an iPhone/iPod touch and DON'T have it, get it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Amazing Coffee Art by Dirceu Veiga

Dirceu Veiga is a Brazillian Designer living in Curitiba ( South of Brazil ). He started his career in 1994, working as an illustrator artist for children's books in several Publishing Companies. Dirceu really loves coffee and he goes a little bit further with his passions mixing illustration and coffee, he creates amazing arts using coffee as ink.

For more information about Dirceu Veiga I highly recommend that you check out his website: Coffee on Paper

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga


Dirceu Veiga - Coffee Art Artist

Coffee Art

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Coffee Art is a painting technique that use just 100% coffee instead ink to paint.

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Sketches

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

Amazing Coffee Art  by Dirceu Veiga

About the author

My name is Fabio Sasso, I'm a graphic/web designer from Porto Alegre, Brazil and I'm the founder of Abduzeedo. I hope we can share lots of information, tips, and ideas through Abduzeedo. Also you can follow me on Twitter or my personal site at http://fabiosasso.com.