Author Topic: CRE201: Painting fur  (Read 6100 times)

Pa Kalsha

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CRE201: Painting fur
« on: March 27, 2015, 11:00:26 PM »
This tutorial will step you through my process for painting fur in simple, character-orientated scenes such as badges and convention IDs - anything that's going to be scaled down is perfect for this technique.
I work entirely in ArtRage, but you should be able to follow along on Photoshop or Paint tool SAI.

Step 1: Flat colour
First draw your sloth.
This first bit is possibly the hardest in the tutorial, which is why I’ve glossed over it in four words. Draw the furry thing, then work out what markings it has. I’ve put a mini-palette with sloth’s base colours on the canvas for reference later.

Step 2: Blending
Using a hard brush, blend the markings into each other. My sloth has smoky markings, but if your creature has bold marks like a tiger you still need to soften the edges a little, or else the marks will look pasted on.
Some people prefer blending with a textured brush, but an untextured brush works fine. The important thing is not to use a soft or ‘fuzzy’ brush, or your work will look like it’s out of focus. Reduce the brush opacity to 60-30% and keep picking colour from the canvas.
If you’re following along in ArtRage, I used the default Blending Markers brush from the Felt Pen group.

Step 3: Flat shading
With the colours done, you’re free to concentrate on the shapes and volumes in the picture. In the working version of this painting, I drew in a little sun and an arrow to show where the main light source is.
I’ve left it out to avoid unnecessary clutter, but it’s a good habit to get into, particularly if you have to take breaks during the painting session.
In this example, I’ve used a medium grey on a multiply layer but your colour choice will depend on the light colour and conditions, and the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Experiment with different colours and see what works best in your image.

Step 4: More blending
Flatten your shadow layer and carefully work the colour into the base tones. Remember, there are two different types of shadow: form shadows and cast shadows.
Form shadows show the shape of an object and, unless the object has sharp edges and distinct planes, they’re are usually nice and soft, but that doesn’t mean you get to use a soft brush! Hard brush, low opacity, remember?
Cast shadows are shadows cast by objects. It’s obvious when you think about it, really. They’re sharp-edged when the casting object is near to the shadowed surface and fuzzy when the casting object is further away. In some cases, that means that the shadow starts out with sharp edges and gets fuzzier along its length. Tree shadows are a great example of this behaviour.

Step 5: Fur direction
Time to make the sloth properly fuzzy. Grab a picture of your animal and check how its fur lies. Keen eyes will notice that I’ve changed the lineart a bit - it turns out that sloth fur grows backwards!
On a new layer, I’ve drawn arrows to indicate the direction of the fur, and I’ll be referring to them for the next few steps.

Step 6: Fur - first pass
Create a new layer and set it to the “Multiply” blend mode.
Using the same colour as the base, draw in the fur with single lines. Pay attention to the length of the fur and don’t get fussy: this part
shouldn’t take too long.
Go over the shadowed areas again with a darker colour.

If your art program has one, a slightly textured brush is good for this. Otherwise, keep going with the hard round brush.

Step 7: Fur - second pass
If you look at your reference images, you’ll notice that fur is darker closer to the skin.
This means that your original colour choice is a few shades lighter than you want it to be. Duplicate the colour layer and move it to the top of the layer stack. Set it to multiply and drop the opacity to about half.

Step 8: Fur - third pass
Last step. Create a new layer and set it to the “Highlight” blend mode (called “Screen” in other paint packages).
Using the same brush you did the rest of the fur with and the base colour you chose in the beginning, draw highlights in the areas lit by direct light.

Finishing touches
All that’s left now is to tighten the picture up a bit by cropping out the unused space and drop in a background to show everything off to best effect.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 02:57:12 PM by Pa Kalsha »