March 16, 2018

How I Paint Skin - Digital Painting Tutorial

Hello everyone!

As I mentioned on a previous blog post, I will be making a monthly tutorial or step by step digital painting process, and this time I decided to make a short tutorial on how I paint my digital portraits/how I paint skin. It's a bit hard to describe at times certain steps, so please bear with me! :D 

On this tutorial I used Photoshop, a Wacom tablet and only three PS brushes for this: the round brush, airbrush and a dotted brush for the freckles.

Let's get started!

I: Here I start with a plain base colour. I have the main colours swatched so you can pick them if you'd like.

II: Now, I map out where the shade and highlights were initially going to be. I'm not too strict about these shades I'm choosing, since what matters at this early stage is to have a nice base of colours to work from. However, it's nice that they still look like they belong together and that their saturation and hue isn't too far off from each other.

III: Two more shades are now introduced to build up the skin shades and its rendering: a dark brown and a nice dark pink shade. Keep in mind that as I use the pen pressure, the opacity of the darker pink won't be shown in its full force. 
I also outlined her face features with the dark brown as well as around the face. The key is to build the contrast between colours so it gets to the point where we don't need the sketch lines anymore when the face features are visible in form on their own.
IV: With a very dark brown colour, once again, I outline the face features and start to render the eye. The the initial highlights are also blended with the other shades.
V: On a Multiply layer mode, with the lightest colour of the swatches, I darken around the face, neck and shoulders. Here, I fixed the position of the lips and render them a little bit. Once again, blend, blend and blend all the current shades on the face until they start to shift into each other nicely.

VI: On this step, I fixed her eye position, which was a bit skewed before and fixed her hair colour since it complements her better. With a dotted brush, I placed some freckles on a new layer and lowered the opacity. I also played around with the the Colour Balance adjustment layer until I was happy with the overall skin shades.
VII: With the Colour Dodge brush mode, I place some little highlights on the eyes and lips with the lightest colour from the swatches. For the lighting casting on the character, I chose a dark purple to make it a bit fun. Speaking of fun, I also painted on her an elf ear 'cause why not!

VIII: When it comes to the skin, the last step is already quite finished, so this is just an extra effort if you'd like to go a little bit further. I used Selective Colour to fine tune each colour and I merged all of the layers into a new one and used Gaussian Blur. On this same layer, I selected the Soft Light layer mode, so it gives her a softer and richer look in terms of colours.

And that's it! 

I hope you were able to take something out of this skin tutorial and that you have fun with your experiments!

I'll see you next week with some new digital paintings that I'll be posting.

In the meantime, please subscribe to my blog's newsletter, so you can keep up with my blog posts and follow me on social media!
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