I’m not that big of a fan of photo-bashing. That’s a technique where you take photos and superimpose them on your digital painting in order to achieve textural effects. It can be a cheap cheat that looks cheesy, or it can be a sophisticated process that when done right can really add something. Here I’ve used several different photos of wood and painstakingly masked and shaped them to align with various parts of the character. Hint, “puppet warp” can work better than “warp” for contouring the overlayed image. But the real secret here is putting the texture layer under the shading and highlight layers I created earlier. That way the shading is applied top the wood texture, as opposed to just putting it on top and erasing into it, or something equally barbaric.
Note: I’m not done with the texture stage. There are still sticks I haven’t tinkered with…
Above is the full image in a wintery light. Notice how well the crack in the wood works on the hand. For that I used “puppet warp” and added nodes at different points to adjust the trajectory of the crack. This is coming out better than I’d expected, as I intended this as just another exercise based on a tutorial. There’s a ways to go, though it already looks good. When I do these tutorials I inevitably throw in a bunch of my own techniques, skills, and tricks. Before even starting I did 20 profile sketches just to understand the structure of the head in profile better.
I’ve updated, finally, to Photoshop CC. My old laptop was dying on me, and the final straw was it couldn’t do some Photoshop features anymore, such as “liquify”. There’s a bit of a learning curve that will slow me down for a tad, including dealing with the Windows 10. But my new laptop and new PS will be a real bonus to my digital painting very soon. The custom brushes I was able to download are insane. At very least the program and the computer are comparatively lightning fast. This also means I can work larger with not difference in my process, which is good when it comes to making prints.