Friday, August 31, 2012

Digital Skin

-By Serge Birault

I think I have to speak about skin because I had a lot of questions about this. Here's a list of tricks to do paint more "realistic" skin with your computer ...



I. Skin Tones

Avoid simple gradients. You cannot obtain convincing skin if you only add black and white to a basic skin tone. It's more complex than that.

Of course, all skins are different but you can try this :

- A little bit of olive green on the shadow.
- A little bit of blue under the eyes (lower lids).
- A little bit of red on the cheek bones.

Just work with low opacity (0 - 5%), on a separeted layer and with the soft round brush.

By the way, if the contrast is not good, it will not work. Contrast is more important than color.




About black skin, I never find a good and single way. It's really depending on the color of the skin. As black skin is usually very reflective, the light has a big influence on the tones.




II. Influence of lights

Don't forget the ambient and the direct lights could changed your basic skin tones. With a strong light, shadows are very dark and the contrast of your picture has to be high, for example.

The color of the light is  important too. Your palette depends on it too.

You can easily adjust the contrast/the tones/the luminosity of some parts of your picture with your favourite software. It's not the better way to work but it could sometimes be helpful.





III. Skin texture

I use the "dry brush" to do skin textures. It works pretty well if you use it carefully. Once again, try to work with very low opacity and on a separeted layer (so you could change the opacity of the layer too).

For the beauty spots and the freckles, I use the soft round brush ... A very small one. Working on a high resolution picture is easier ... It's not very long and you don't have to be very precise.


38 comments:

  1. Can you elaborate more about what "dry brush" is exactly?

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    1. It's a PS brush. You can find it easily, it's a standard brush :)

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    2. I gather you do, but to make sure, Do you use a "custom" texture with that standard brush for skin textues?

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    3. No ... I even don't know how to customize a brush ^o^

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! :)You are an amazing artist!

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  3. Awesome explanations, man! As the other Anon said: Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  4. works like a charm, thanks for the useful advise!

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  5. Very nice to see how you do it :) Awesome post!

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  6. I know you probably spent many years achieving the talent you have now - but I think I may still hate you nevertheless : P

    Thanks so much for this. You've an incredible talent; and any pearls of wisdom coming from you are very much appreciated! Thanks a ton!

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  7. Thank for share, man...this was great

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  8. You very good advice man. Thanks and HOORAY.

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  9. thanks for sharing, waiting thirsty for more, can we see how you do it?

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  10. Serge,

    For your dry brushing of the skin texture, what method do you use to select the color to dry brush over the base paint layer? For instance, do you eye drop the area you will be painting over and then select a shade slightly lighter or slightly darker or do you have another method?

    Scott Talevich

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    1. I usually start with white (or very bright tones) on the most reflective parts. And, yes, I pick up the colors of the brush on the face :)

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  11. Brilliant! So much useful info explained so well. Thanks Serge.

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  12. can you do a tutorial on hair next??hehe..

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    1. Well, I know only one way ... use a very, very small brush :DDD
      Here's an example :
      http://sergebirault.blogspot.fr/2011/01/chloe-photorealistic-attempt-hair.html

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    2. oohh..thanks.10 hour hair..i see how much you put work into detail..very nice sir.hehe.also for your dry brushing stage is there a specific type of dry brush you use??very much appreciated sir.

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    3. I use a Ditlev brush (You can find the pack easily) but you can use a hard or a soft round brush, it doesn't make a lot of difference :)

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    4. i do use the soft/hard round brushes. haha! and well i cant seem to get the same texture this is very challenging. man your works are insane!pass me some of those skills.=)

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  13. Awesomee ..tysm for this n can u giv sum tips on drwing nose

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  14. I'm sorry but it isn't helpful at all.. I mean.. how does this help me executing it?
    Also if you are painting directly from reference it is way easier than picking the colors by yourself..

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    1. I don't work very often with "direct" references. Btw, picking the color is not the good way with my technique (because I work with low opacity brush). It's more about tip do do skin texture here, sorry if it's not helpful for you ... Try this :
      http://sergebirault.blogspot.fr/2011/01/chloe-photorealistic-attempt-face.html
      http://sergebirault.blogspot.fr/2011/01/chloe-photorealistic-attempt-breast-and.html
      http://sergebirault.blogspot.fr/2011/01/chloe-photorealistic-attempt-hair.html
      http://sergebirault.blogspot.fr/2011/01/chloe-photorealistic-attempt-hands.html

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  15. The problem seems to be that the end result still seems waxy and plastic. Perhaps you might want to try experimenting with a more painterly approach, in which you start from very dark and move to lighter tones by building up layers of colour, shade, etc.. If enough of the darker shades show through it might give things more solidity. A wider colour palette would also help.

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    1. The goal is to have a plastic look because I use to paint very shiny stuff (plastic/metal/latex/rubber/ ...). I'm a disciple of Sorayama, you know ;)
      Btw, I like your work Jerry, your techniqye is very impressive !

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    2. Thanks!

      My point about waxy/plastic was referring more to the way you've done skin. Have you used oils or anything similar when not doing digital work? I ask as with oils (for example) you can build up layers of darker hues and overlay those with lighter ones. This is doable digitally. So if you were working on the blue of the lower eyelid, the blue would go on first and then you'd add thin layers of lighter skin hues over that. If instead you put blue over the top of the skin hues, that's like applying make-up and causes a different effect ;-)

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    3. Well, I used to apint with traditional airbrush and acrylic ... 20 years ago ^^'

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  16. Digital Skin ,,awesome.I appreciate all the work.

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  17. Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated. phoenix az painter

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  18. All the skin look very clean.Perfect and lovely work...

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  19. The post is giving information about digital switch. Know all about it

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  20. You're the best man! This is the real deal.


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  21. I found it quiet interesting ,Thank you for posting the great content…I was looking for something like this…, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs…
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  22. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome!

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  23. Opacity of 0 - 5%? I never thought of that. Thank you for the tip!!!

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