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Painting an Apple

April 7, 2014

To paint an apple, the method of ‘pulling focus’ was used, where the initial stages of the painting are blocked using large brush sizes with very little detail to using progressively smaller brush sizes to create more detail.

The easiest way to paint an apple is to actually obtain a real apple and study its surface properties. This allows you to think about the surface before starting to paint and allows you to get closer to a photorealistic image. To begin the painting, a new in document was created in Photoshop with dimensions 2048 by 2048. Then using a real apple as a reference, I started to sketch an outline of the apple which was going to be used as the template for the painting. This sketch was done using a ‘pencil’ brush with a light grey colour which acted like a real pencil.

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step_01 Outline sketch

After the outline of the apple was done, the details of the apple were also sketched in on a new layer as another guideline for where the paint will be applied. The sketch had to be quite accurate so that painting would be easier.

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step_02 Sketch details

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step_03 Stem sketch

A layer was then created above the sketch layer which was used for the underpainting of the apple. Using a ’round blunt medium stiff’ brush, the apple colours were blocked in. At this point in the painting, the placement of the colours had to be correct as they will set the foundation for the rest of the painting.

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step_04 Underpainting

The next step was to refine the blocking of the apple and begin to create the streaks of red and yellow that are apparent in the apple. To create this effect, the direction in which you are painting this scratchy texture is very important. You want to match the contours of the real apple, so therefore by paying attention to where the contours are and making a mental note of where they are, you will be able to easier follow that same contour in your painting. A new layer was created for this mid-pass, and using a ’round curve low bristle percent’ brush with a lower ‘bristle’ and ‘thickness’ value in the brush settings, the scratchy apple texture was painted. The ‘thickness’ of the brush was also increased in addition to using a 60% brush opacity with the ‘transfer’ attribute turned on in the brush settings. The brush pressure button was also turned on in the top toolbar of Photoshop with the brush selected.

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step_05 Mid-pass

A new layer was created after this for the refining pass of the painting. This was done using a ‘flat point medium stiff’ brush. The refining pass consisted of cleaning up the brush strokes on the apple and matching placement of colours better.

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step_06 Refining

After this, a new layer was created for details and texture such as the little yellow spots that overlap the red colour of the apple.  This was done using a spatter brush with various brush sizes from medium to small and a mid to low brush opacity.

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step_07 Details

The panting of the apple at this stage didn’t look much like the real apple I was referencing. To rectify this, the large solid colours of the apple in the painting were ‘broken’ up to create the randomness of the streaky pattern of yellow and red. This was done using a combination of small ‘hard round’ brushes and the eraser tool. Random patterns were scribbled to create a random apple texture, then a ‘spatter’ eraser with a mid to low opacity was used to break the pattern up even more.

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step_08 Creating more details

The apple at this point was fairly close to completion, however instead of merging all the layers, a new layer was created and on the new layer, the ‘apply image’ setting was used with the default settings from the ‘Image’ menu in Photoshop’s toolbar. This tool creates duplicates of all layers and then merges it and apply it to the new layer whilst still keeping all your old layers. However, the layers that I did not want in the merged layer had their layer visibility turned off. The layers with the initial apple sketch were hidden.

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Using apply image

Then on this new layer, the apple was cleaned up around the edges using a ‘hard round’ eraser.

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step_09 Cleanup

A new layer was created above this layer where the darker red colours on the bottom of the apple were painted in in addition to painting in the apple stalk.

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step_10 Apple bottom details

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step_11 Stem overpaint

Then finally to finish the painting off, on a new layer, using a ‘soft round’ brush and a ‘spatter’ eraser, the highlight of the apple was painting in. The eraser was used to break the highlight up slightly.

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step_12 Highlight painting

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From → Texturing

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