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Skin Texture

March 29, 2014

The process of painting skin in Photoshop is similar to the method used to paint fur. By slowly blocking in random brush strokes, the variations in skin can be produced. For this particular skin texture, the skin being painted is that of Caucasian skin.
To start this painting, a new document of 2048 by 2048 pixels with a 300 pixels/inch resolution was created. Using the ‘paint bucket tool’, the background layer was filled with a orange/brown base colour.

step_01

step_01 Fill background layer

Above this layer is where the subsurface skin was painted.  On the foreground colour swatch a darker value of the base colour was chosen, along with a slightly lighter value of the initial base colour for the background colour swatch. Then when painting the subsurface skin, the background and foreground colour were constantly switched whilst painting to provide more variation in the tone of the skin. The swapping of colour swatches was done by using the keyboard shortcut ‘x’. On a new layer, using a speckled brush with 23% opacity, a random skin texture was painted.

step_02

step_02 Subsurface skin painting

The next step in painting the skin texture was to add in the capillaries. On a new layer, using a speckled brush with some texture at an opacity of 23%, random brush strokes were painted using a darker version of the dark colour used for the subsurface skin layer. A variation of brush sizes were used to give the capillaries more variation. Then to add some depth to the texture, a ‘bevel and emboss’ and ‘contour’ was applied to the layer. This was done by double clicking on the layer to bring up the layer style menu. The following settings were used on the bevel and emboss:

step_03

step_03 Adding capillaries

capillaries bevel and emboss settings

capillaries bevel and emboss settings

skinTexture_contourSettings4All

capillaries bevel and emboss settings

On a new layer above the capillaries, the veins were painted in. The veins were painted using a ‘hard round’ brush at 50% opacity and with the pressure sensitivity button on. The size of this brush was roughly a medium sized brush, and using a bluish/greenish mid-tone colour, the veins were blocked in. The pressure put on the tablet pen was reduced as the brush stroke to make the vein was ending. This gives the impression that the vein ‘pops’ up in some areas and then blends back into the skin like real veins. Then by lowering the size of the same brush and using a slightly darker blue/green, the main area of the vein was painted in the middle of the blocking pass.

step_04

step_04 Painting veins

To make the veins have depth, the ‘bevel and emboss’ was used again with the following settings:

vein bevel and emboss settings

vein bevel and emboss settings

skinTexture_contourSettings4All

vein bevel and emboss settings

At the moment, the skin colour is too dark, and so to fix that, a new layer was created above the vein layer. On this layer, the canvas was filled with a milky pink/orange skin colour. Then the layer blend mode was set to ‘screen’. This is to make the skin colour pale as a screen blend mode is an add operation and thus creating a lighter result. The layer opacity was then lowered to 58% so that the layers underneath would come through the filled canvas.

step_05

step_05 Layer with screen blend mode

Above this layer is where the pores of the skin was painted. Using a spatter type brush with the ‘scatter’ brush setting on, and opacity pressure on, the pores were painted in a dabbing motion of the pen.

step_06

step_06 Painting pores

The layer then had a layer style of ‘bevel and emboss’ using the following settings:

pores bevel and emboss settings

pores bevel and emboss settings

skinTexture_contourSettings4All

pores bevel and emboss settings

The pores were too prominent, so the make them more subtle, the layer opacity was lowered to about 50%.

To make the skin texture more realistic, a new layer was created to paint the sun damage on the skin. Using a ‘soft round’ brush with a medium to low opacity, the opacity pressure button on, and a light saturated orange, random spots were made in a circular motion. Only a few brush strokes were made so that the skin was not completely covered with sun damage. The layer blend mode was set to multiply so that the layers beneath would come through and so that the paint went on the sun damage layer would be darker than the skin. However, the sun damage looked to obvious which made it look like it was paint and not realistic skin. Therefore the opacity was lowered to around 60% to make the texture subtle.

step_07

step_07 Sun damage

The final step in the skin texture was painting in freckles. The freckles were made using a brush that created random dots with various sizes. However, this same effect can be produced using a ‘soft round’ brush with a high ‘spacing’ value and using the ‘scatter’ setting on with ‘shape dynamics’ also on. Then using a light redish brown colour, a small section of freckles were painted in. The layer opacity was then lowered to around 60% to help blend the freckles in with the rest of the skin.

step_08

step_08 Freckles detailing

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