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Create an Excellent Cartoon Character Drawing
- Photoshop is recommended for this tutorial -
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In today’s tutorial we will be showing you how to make use of simple elements and colors in Photoshop to get an essentially beautiful outcome. People always over complicate things, that’s why we will be having a simple approach towards this large piece. We will be teaching you in a step by step manner and hopefully you can learn something new from this tutorial. Let’s get to it.
The first thing you have to do is decide what stock image you are going to use and what your output size for the large piece is going to be. Are you going to print it in a A3 size or are you going to only use it on the web. In our case we will be making a large enough image to use on the web and in print if necessary. Go ahead and open up Photoshop and then create a new document by going to File>New (CTRL+N) then create a document with the settings below.
Now that you have a blank document in front of you it’s time to create your color base for the design. Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient this will bring up a gradient fill box. Now double click the gradient to setup a new gradient and set the gradient from #3c6c94 to #c0ecf8 (See below) Once you have created your gradient hit OK>OK and then you will see a nice smooth, good looking gradient as your base.
Time to make use of the first downloaded texture, it’s called DSC_0042 I am not aware who the author of the texture is due to having the texture for quite some time now. Open up the texture and drag it into your canvas. Set the layer’s blending mode to Overlay and erase parts of the layer you don’t want. Now create a new layer Layer>New>Layer (SHIFT+CTRL+N) and use a big soft brush with the color #6b6b6b and brush over your entire canvas, then set the blending mode to Overlay. Lastly go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map use the default gradient map, which is Black to White and then set the blending mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 76% This is what you should have below.
Now it’s time to bring in our stock photograph, I have chosen to use one from iStock Photo. Open up your model picture in Photoshop and start to remove the background from around your model if you don’t know how to do it, follow This Tutorial from Media Militia. Now that you have removed the background from the models picture you can drag your model into your canvas and you should have something like this below.
Now that you have your model in the canvas, it’s time to start working on the effects. Create a new layer and take a big black soft brush and then brush at the bottom of your canvas, just to add a darker feel at the bottom. You should have something like this below.
In this step we will start adding lighting to the model. Create a new layer and fill it with black #000000. Now set the blending mode to Linear Dodge and select your brush tool with a soft brush of about 960px big. Now start using different colors to blend your model and lighten up the canvas. I used the following colors: Blue #005d7f | Pink #570033 & #970059 | Green #617c01 | Red #810007 I mixed those colors together and then finally used a hard small brush with White #FFFFFF to create the dots that you see on the chart below. The image you see below is the layer with colors without the blending mode.
Here you can see what the outcome is after the blending mode is set to Linear Dodge.
You can see the piece is coming together now. In this step we will be repeating the exact same thing we did in Step 6 just with a bit different colors. Create a new layer and fill it with black #000000 now set the blending mode to Linear Dodge and grab your brush tool with a soft brush sized 700px now choose the colors that you want to use to light up the canvas. I used Pink #450627 & #32041b | Green #1a1900 you are free to use any colors that you desire though. See color placement below.
Now add in another soft pink in the top left hand corner just to balance the color in the piece.
Now make sure both your layers are set to linear dodge. You should have something like below.
Now it’s time to add in some elements. In this case we will be adding in some butterflies, stars and cogs. I have made these elements available for download as a package Elements Pack Now you can import these elements into your canvas and then place them around how you would like them to be placed. I added in the cogs first and set some of their blending modes to overlay just to give a variety of depth.
Now I added in the stars and placed them around as I wanted, depending on the image you use, you can position them to flow with your design.
Next I added in the butterflies, I made some of them bigger than the others to also portrait depth in the piece. This is what I have so far below.
In this step we will be adding some image adjustments. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Brightness/Contrast. Leave the brightness at 0 and make the contrast -20 now press OK to accept the changes. Now go back to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Curves Use the RGB Channel and just curve your line out a tiny bit to darken the middle of the piece a bit. You should have something like this below.
Now it’s time to make use of some brushes. Navigate down your layers palette and create a new layer just underneath your model layer. Now grab your brush tool and make use of Abstract Glow Brushes by Ro-stock now choose your brush from the pack and brush underneath the model layer to give it a mystical feeling. I made use of 2 different brushes in this case to make things flow well. I have something like this below.
In our final step we will be sharpening the image. Firstly create a new layer by going to Layer>New>Layer and then go to Image>Apply Image. Now that you have a applied image go to Filter>Other>High Pass now use a radius of 10px and hit OK. Now set your blending mode to Overlay and your opacity down to 42% and you are done.
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Final Image Preview
On this tutorial we will make a Poe and Pluton cartoon portrait, using custom brushes created by ourselves
Open a new document of 1800px high and 1200px wide. First, we will set up what will be the brush that we are going to use to draw the general lines, from the Brush Selector pick the brush no.30, Hard Round, and set its opacity to 75% and Flow to 35%.
Now, on the Brush Presets menu (F5), make the following settings, check the Shape Dynamics and Transfer boxes, and adjust Spacing to 1%. You can see the final shape of the Brush.
Create a new layer “Poe”, and leave its default setting. With the Brush we created, start drawing the face, neck and shoulders, adjust the size to get thicker strokes on the garb, and thinner strokes for the face, hair, and neck. Draw flowing strokes, without taking much care on the detail, afterwards use the Erase Tool to remove the unwanted parts of the strokes. Also use the Erase Tool to create the eye’s brights.
Next, on a new layer “Body & Pluton”, start drawing the Poe’s lower body and Pluton. On the picture you can see that the strokes just establish the main forms, using stains instead of precise lines. Again, use the Erase Tool to remove certain areas as Pluton’s eyes and Poe’s fingers.
We will add an extra layer “Lower Body”, where we will paint the area between Poe and Pluton. After, this will be useful for split the two elements and avoid to mix them together. Notice the erased area beside the Pluton’s head.
Now, let’s start to create our custom watercolor brush. Use a new layer to paint two brush strokes as shown, using the Soft Round Brush. Notice that they aren’t symmetrical, this will be better for the final result. Next, go to Edit > Define Brush, we can name it “watercolor”, now it is ready on the Brush List for being used.
Next, on the Brush Presets (F5), start setting the following adjustments, check the Shape Dynamics box, and adjust Spacing to 1%.
Check the Scattering box and adjust its settings as shown. The same with the Transfer option. You can see how the brush shape changes on the display.
Finally check the Dual Brush box and select the brush number 45 with the following settings. Now we have our watercolor brush ready for be used.
Pick the Smudge Tool, and with the watercolor brush, smudge the painted layers we created before. Adjust the Strength to get different results.
Create a new layer “Details” and with a Hard Round Brush paint the fine details as cat’s whiskers and some loose hairs. Next, with the Smudge Tool, and a Soft Round Brush selected, drag some portions of black to create more cat fur, with a small brush size selected.
Now, we will create another textured brush. Using the brush number 30 as a base, apply the following settings on the Space Dynamics and Scattering sliders.
Following with the Transfer and Dual Box adjustments.
Picking the Eraser Tool, and the brush we just create selected, erase some edges of Poe’s suit to imitate a dry brush watercolor effect.
Next, create a new layer “Pluton’s Eyes”, and on it draw the necessary brush strokes to draw the eye’s pupil, yes, remember that it only has one…and the eye’s shadows. With white color, paint the tusk and the eye’s brights.
For the Poe’s face shadows, select the brush number 30 and adjust it as shown.
For the Poe’s face shadows, create a new layer “Poe Face Shadows”, set its Blending Mode to Normal and 60% opacity. Start painting the shadows as cheeks, chin, eye sockets, etc. Overlap more than one brush stroke to achieve darker tones.
Let’s start with the background, create a new layer “Background Color”, just bellow of the layer we created before. On it, with the Gradient Tool, select a brownish tone and make a gradient from bottom to upper zone as shown.
Next, to start making the lights, create a new layer “Highlights”, with the brush we created on step 16, select white color, and start painting the lights, I chose a cenital light, so it impacts on the upper areas of volumes as shown.
To add some vignetting on the background, go to Filters > Lens Correction, and on the Custom tab you will find out the Vignette Amount slider, a quantity of -40 will be ok.
To create the paper texture, we will add a real paper image. Create a new layer “Paper Texture”, set its Blending Mode to Multiply and 30% Opacity. Next, Copy and Paste the paper image on that layer.
Next, we will add an spotlight just behind Poe. Create a new layer “Spotlight”, set its Blending Mode to Lighten and 50% Opacity. With the Elliptical Marquee Tool, create a circle, place it behind the Poe’s shoulders and fill it with withe color, next go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Bluer, and blur its edges. To avoid that the white overlap to Poe, create a Layer Mask and hide the unwanted areas.
Continuing adding textures, create a new layer “Ink Stain”, set its Blending Mode to Lighten and 80% Opacity. On it, place one of the ink textures you will find on the assets as shown.
More textures…Create a new layer “Aged Texture”, set its Blending Mode to Soft Light, and 80% Opacity. On it place again one of the ink textures from the assets to give an aged finish to the image. Notice that all textures are placed bellow Poe & Pluton’s layers, to keep them clean on other plane.
Now the image is almost finished, create a new Group and put in it all the layers. Next save the document as .JPG, open it, and place this file on top.
With the Dodge Tool, light up a bit some areas to create more contrast. The watercolor brush will be a good choice to do that.
Again, let’s add some more vignetting, go to Filters > Lens Correction, and adjust the Amount slider to -30.
Finally, to add some noise to the image, create a new layer “Noise”, set its Blending Mode to Multiply, and fill it (Shift + F5) with white color. Next, go to Filters > Noise > Add Noise, a quantity between 8 and 10 will work.
And this is the final result
With rich beautiful works in web design, illustration and icon design, designer Vet Orso from Russian Federation shows his drawing process for FORNEX with the help of photoshop.
When he completes the draft, each parts needed on the paper, he has a general idea in his mind. Then he starts his work with photoshop. Drawing the sketch for FORNEX, coloring and dealing with details are main steps. Since it is not difficult, with careful observation and patience, the result is one brilliant piece of work comes into being. It does have some kind of similarity with the original poster!
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In 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan began writing a program on his Macintosh Plus to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. This program, called Display, caught the attention of his brother John Knoll, an Industrial Light & Magic employee, who recommended Thomas turn it into a fully-fledged image editing program. Thomas took a six month break from his studies in 1988 to collaborate with his brother on the program, which had been renamed ImagePro. Later that year, Thomas renamed his program Photoshop.
During this time, John traveled to Silicon Valley and gave a demonstration of the program to engineers at Apple and Russell Brown, art director at Adobe. Both showings were successful, and Adobe decided to purchase the license to distribute in September 1988. While John worked on plug-ins in California, Thomas remained in Ann Arbor writing program code. Photoshop 1.0 was released in 1990 for Macintosh exclusively.
That’s the early history of Photoshop. Here we have created The Evolution of Photoshop Infographic, in order to show you the entire history of Photoshop up until now.
About the Author
Dona Collins is an infographic artist, blogger and financial writer at CreditLoan.com. When she is free you can find her on twitter and other times you can find her writing articles for creditloan blog.
Sometimes, you may find it difficult to look for some of the highest quality photoshop tutorials using search engines. As most of time, almost all tutorials would label themselves to be good, high quality or even the best photoshop tutorial you can find. When searching through all these tutorials, your time is wasted.
In order to save your time, Photoshop Lady come up with 30 Best Photoshop Abstract Effect Tutorials of All Time. These are selected from our Photoshop users and readers.