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Painting Fur

March 23, 2014

The process of painting fur in Photoshop utilized everything I have learnt from the last few painting exercises from creating and editing brushes to painting methods. This texture was created using a Wacom pen and tablet. Firstly, a new document was created with dimensions 1024 by 1024 pixels with a pixel resolution of 300. Using the ‘paint bucket tool’, I filled the background layer with a slightly darker than mid range grey colour. This will act as the base colour for the fur texture.

furTexture_step01

step 01

Next, a new layer was created above the background layer. On this layer I used the ‘flat blunt stiff’ brush from the calligraphic brush library in Photoshop to create the underpainting. However, the brush attributes were altered to make the brush create multiple strokes with different shades of grey to simulate the variations of texture in fur. In the ‘brush tip shape’ options in the brush menu (f5), the bristle qualities were changed to the following:

furBrushSettings_01

The ‘colour dynamics’ box and the ‘transfer’ was ticked on and the following settings were used:

furBrushSettings_02

furBrushSettings_03

furBrushTesting

Testing the fur brush

Then in the top toolbar of Photoshop where the brush properties are located, the ‘flow’ was set to 10% with ‘opacity’ at 100%, brush size of 48 pixels, and with the ‘opacity pressure’ button clicked on. The brush was then saved as a new brush preset for future use. The foreground brush colour was set to a dark grey and the background brush colour was set to a light grey. This was done so the colour dynamics of the brush would create a range of brush strokes between the two grey colours. Then whilst keeping the Wacom pen in an upright position, I began painting horizontally, in a random pattern whilst also applying different amounts of pressure on the pen to change the darkness and lightness of each stroke.

furTexture_step02

step 02

The first initial pass of the underpainting was too sharp and needed to be toned down in a way. So, to do this, a ‘motion blur’ filter was used on the layer with an angle of 0° and a distance of about 20 to 30. This allowed the fur to blend more and hide the brush strokes of the painting.

furTexture_step03

step 03

On a new layer, the mid-paint for the fur was created using the same brush just created, but with a few more attributes altered as shown below.

furMidPaintBrush_settings

This brush was also resaved as a new brush for future use. Then using this brush, following the same direction as the underpainting, I filled in some areas with some horizontal strokes to fill some gaps in the fur.

furTexture_step04

step 04

The next step was to start adding details to the texture by creating an individual hair stamp. The ‘hard round’ brush was selected from the brush library and in the brush menu, under the ‘brush tip shape’ options, change the hardness to around 80%, turn on ‘shape dynamics’ and set the ‘size jitter control’ to ‘pen pressure’ from the drop down menu. Change the flow of the brush to 80%, use 100% brush opacity, and change the size of the brush to 70 pixels. Hide all the layers, then change the fore colour of the brush to a dark grey and on a new layer, draw a slightly curved line that looks like a hair follicle. Try to get a nice even pressure throughout the stroke so there are no bumps in the stroke. This layer was only used for testing purposes and deleted after it was not needed.

singleHairBrushTesting

Brush stroke testing

Then when I was happy with a brush stroke, a large ‘soft round’ eraser with the opacity at 80% was used to make the ends of the stroke softer. Then the transparency of the layer was locked by clicking the ‘lock transparent pixels’ button on in the layers panel and using a ‘soft round’ brush, the tips were made slightly darker using a darker grey. Using a ‘hard round’ eraser at opacity 100%, the tips of the brush stroke were sharpened to get a tapered point. Then the brush stroke was selected using the ‘rectangular marquee tool’ and then defined as a new brush preset. On a new layer the hair follicle brush that was made was used to create individual hair strands. This was done by tapping the brush around the canvas instead of using consistent, long brush strokes.

furTexture_step05

step 05

The next step was to create another brush that would give continuous strands of hair. This was done by editing the attributes of the hair follicle brush in the brush menu. The following settings were used:

continuousHairBrush_settings01

continuousHairBrush_settings02

continuousHairBrush_settings03

In addition to the brush settings, the size of the brush was 174 pixels with a brush opacity of 78% and flow of 45%, and both pressure buttons on. The brush was then saved as another brush for future use. Then on a new layer, the continuous hair follicle brush was used in a random fashion to add more detail to the fur texture.

furTexture_step06

step 06

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