Painted version on the left is so much better.

Some of you know I’ve been doing a lot of study over the last several months, and now it’s paying off.  I’m working on portrait #32 in my SFAU series, and I decided to put in an earring from a photo. [Decided to do another portrait to practice some of the techniques I’ve learned.] There are a number of ways one could go about doing this, and one of the standard methods is photobashing. Here’s a handy definition from Concept Art Empire:

Photobashing is a technique where artists merge & blend photographs or 3D assets together while painting and compositing them into one finished piece. This is used by concept artists to speed up their workflow and achieve a realistic style.

It’s a bit of a cheat, and the end result can look like just what it is, a photo collaged into a digital painting. If I were to photobash the earring I’d place it in, adjust the colors, tweak it out, erase around it, and touch it up so it blended in well enough. That could work, but there’s a much better way.

Above, I photobashed the earring, and then I painted a copy of that next to it on its own layer. There’s no cheating in that, and the result is a fully painted earring. What’s more, it can be easier to do than meddling with a collaged image to get the desired result.

1) Photobash to experiment with realistic details, backgrounds, textures, and so on.

2) Figure out how to recreate the result with direct painting.

It would be difficult to reproduce the earring if I tried to draw everything. That’s not how I did it. Instead, I created a brush, and adjusted the spacing so it would make stamps like a path of stones. I added an angle jitter, and a background/foreground color jitter to get variation of angles and colors in the stamped segments. Then all I had to do was draw the simple outline of the earring. It was easier to design a brush and implement it than to draw each dot individually. It’s not absolutely realistic, but I don’t want it to be. I want it to look like a painting. There’s a difference between photorealism and painterly realism. [Note: I also painted on a multiply and a overlay layer linked to the earring layer in order to create shaded and highlighted areas.]

This is another advantage of digital painting. With analogue means you’d have to do each dot independently, and mix the colors. And you could never have it on its own layer where you could move it wherever you want. As far as I’m concerned this technique is totally legit, and it does require really getting into brushes and how to adjust all their properties.

Concept artists don’t have time to repaint their photobashed elements, but fine artists do, and I think it’s a great way to make a somewhat sleazy trick into a fully integrated and honest technique.

~ Ends

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