To begin a painting in Adobe Photoshop®, I start with at least two layers; A background layer to represent the garment color, and a transparent foreground layer for painting.
Often I will use a pencil sketch scanned into Photoshop, or create a rough sketch on a new layer, to develop the design. This will add a third reference layer which I can also use to layout my colors.
In this example I have started with a simple shape on a transparent layer, laying out both a basic design as well as the base color. I am using a solid round brush at 100% opacity. In this step it is important to block in the areas where I want the image to cover the print substrate completely at 100%.
The next step is to lay in additional colors, highlights and shadows. Continuing to use a paint brush, I reduce the opacity in order to build up various color densities.
Custom textured brushes work well for this, or a small round brush with a low opacity setting. When the colors are where I like them, I switch to a blender tool to smooth and adjust the transitions and edges.
A “blender”, as it is called, is created using the smudge tool in the blur/sharpen tool set. Click and hold on the blur tool in the toolbar to select the smudge tool. With the Smudge tool selected, open the brush settings dialog and create a new brush.
• Open the Brush window and select the Brush tip shape options, set the spacing to 50%.
• Select the “scattering “option, set the scatter to 40% and the count to 4, with the control to off.
• Select the transfer option; set the strength to 0 and the minimum to 0, with control set to pen pressure.
• Check the smoothing box.
Using the Blender tool
The blender tool is designed to be used with a pressure sensitive drawing tablet. The pressure applied to the blender tool controls the amount of smoothing applied to the pixels. Maximum pressure will displace all the pixels in the area, with less pressure providing a smoothing effect, allowing the paint to be pushed and smoothed as needed.
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