Digital Painting Lesson 4: Textures, Part Two

The Lesson
Instead of painting with textures like we did in lesson three, this lesson was about applying textures to a painting. Bobby gave us a rough painting and we had to “finish” it with the textures he supplied.

Applying textures involves a lot more than just slapping them on a picture and switching the blend mode to overlay—at least if you want them to turn out nicely and really look like part of the picture. We worked with four textures here: two that made the cave (simple photos of rocks), one for the cracked ground (an actual photo of cracked ground) and another for the kangamolebunny’s skin (Bobby made this one from a picture of a naked mole rat). Applying them required warping, twisting, modifying and painting to get them to look right. All the textures were applied with a layer mask so that we could control the opacity, tone, saturation and more of each one.

Below you’ll see the rough painting we were given and my finished product.

kangamolebunny kangamolebunny_AustinLight

The Critique
I wasn’t very happy with the way my overall painting turned out. I really liked the creature, but the cave was no good. The area where the light hit the wall was blurry and the shadows I made looked too contrived. I wasn’t exactly sure how to make it look better, so I turned it in as is and gave myself three stars (I wanted to go with two, but Brooke convinced me to add another).

Bobby agreed with my wife and gave me three stars as well. He said my creature was good but there were some areas that needed to be lightened up and more defined, and the ears needed more hair. For the cave, he went through and showed me how to make some craggy, organic surfaces, and make the lighting look more realistic.

When I started this lesson and saw Bobby’s finished product, I thought there was no way I’d be able to create something like it (I tend to think that before most of these lessons, but his instruction is so good that a week later I’m turning in pretty good stuff). Though I wasn’t too thrilled with my finished product, I learned a great deal about textures and how to incorporate them into a painting without it looking all digital and fake.

I’ve already received the critique for the next lesson on the smudge tool, so I’ll have that up by this weekend.