it is difficult to create a pencil sketch and then convert it into another
medium like an oil painting. With Painter 6's Layers, you can start
with a traditional sketch, scan it into Painter (or sketch it right
in Painter!), and convert it into a floating transparent reference layer
that you can paint under. In this tutorial, Ryan Wood takes us step-by-step
through the process he used to create "Canhead."
Step #1 Pencil Sketch
I started off by
scanning in this pencil sketch at 300 dpi, then modifying the Effects>
Tonal Control> Brightness / Contrast to eliminate the muddy gray areas.
Next, I selected the entire image and turned it into a layer (Select>
Select All> Float), filling the canvas beneath the sketch with pure
I selected the mask for the sketch layer in the Mask palette. Then I
went the Mask section's Command menu (accessed via the triangle on the
right edge of the Masks section bar) and selected Auto Mask... Using
Image Luminance and clicked OK. This made the white areas of the sketch
transparent. However, it produced a washed-out version of the original
To correct this, I selected the sketch layer in the Layer palette then
filled (Effects> Fill...) with black. This restored the sketch to its
original tonality. At this point I now had a floating version of my
pencil sketch that was transparent in its white areas. This allowed
me to paint on the canvas below and not disturb the sketch floating
Step #2 Rough Background Painting
Before painting the character's head, I put down a rough background
on the canvas behind the sketch. I used the Opaque Flat brush (Brushes
Palette> Brushes> Opaque Flat) to block in the different areas of color
in the painting. I turned the opacity down to about 10% using Brush
Controls> General> Opacity, which helps the brush strokes build up a
variance of color as they're applied over each other.
As far as color goes, I try to use fairly saturated colors because I
can always tone it down later, and it's harder to go the other way.
After I blocked in the clouds and mountains I was ready to move onto
the next stage.
Step #3 Rough Background with Sketch
Now that the background was roughed in, I could start on blocking
in the colors for all of the elements in the foreground. At this point,
I selected the sketch layer in the Objects> Layers palette and dialed
the Opacity down to about 60%. This helps me see what's going on with
the colors underneath.
Once I had all the colors blocked in, I had to select the sketch layer
to collapse it with the canvas (Objects> Layers> Drop) so I could start
the long process of "noodling out" all of the edges. The end goal is
to get rid of most of the sketch lines. The next part took the longest,
but I feel it's the most rewarding.
Step #4 Rough Colors on Subject
After the larger areas were blocked in, I used Brushes Palette>
Brushes> Digital Airbrush set at a small size in Brush Controls> Size
(5 or less) and a high opacity in Brush Controls> General> Opacity (80%
or greater) to add highlights and render out the detailed areas.
To work color into dull areas, I used a big (30 or greater) airbrush
at a low opacity (10%), and lightly applied a saturated color.
To blend rough edges, I used a variant like Brushes Palette> Brushes>Smeary
Round. This brush smears and blends any existing color on the canvas
with light pressure and applies the Current Color to the canvas with
increased pressure. The individual brush hairs of the Smeary Round brush
provide a "painterly" quality.
Next came the finishing touches. This is the polishing stage where
I focus on the highlights of the paintbrush, the guy and his can...
I always save the highlights for last. Send comments to: [email protected]
You can also send a digital version of Ryan Wood's "Canhead" from MetaCreations'
online postcard page.