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Experiment with brushes

By Ferdinand D. Ladera
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 6th October 2014
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Step 06: Creating focus

This part of the painting process was one of the hardest for me. I took my time detailing and compositing each of the elements to make the painting more beautiful and eye-catching.

You should detail the image so that the story is smooth and understood by all. You don't have to detail everything, what's important is the focus point, which for my painting is the octopus destroying the ships. The octopus is my main focal point and second is the buildings. To support this order, I lessened the building on the pointed mountain as it was a bit distracting.

Putting more detail on the ships and adding more buildings

Step 07: Composition

You should also have a sharp eye for the composition. I include a variety in this image, and ensured that almost all the subjects were aligned.

In this image here, you’ll see:
1. The Rule of Thirds - placing the main subject (the octopus) in the thirds.
2. Root 4 Rectangle the basic armature - The dynamic symmetry of a rectangle, two diagonals, four reciprocals and vertical/horizontal lines dropped the four intersections. The subjects are aligned to the lines of the composition.
3. Ellipses - Arcs and ellipses can be used to unite subjects or objects in the image. Here, you can see that the subjects and the mountains follow the curved or circle lines. It moves from the small circle to the biggest so the composition of the subjects move from big to small. This is a good way to compose a painting as it makes you look at the main subject and leads your eyes to the other objects in the painting.
4. Arabesque - a curvilinear element that leads the eye through the image. I also applied this to the painting, as you’ll notice - the flows of the lines are also aligned with the objects.

A variety of composition rules followed in the creation of this piece

Step 08: Brushes

These are the brushes I used. All these were downloaded from the internet thanks to those artists who shared these brushes for free. I just changed the settings of the brushes to my liking.

Some of the brush textures used in the piece

Step 09: Color
I enjoyed this part of the painting process the most. The process was simple and quick to do but it delivered amazing results. Before, coloring was a tedious part of the process because I color by objects in different layers. Adjusting the ambience or contrast of the scene was such a hassle because I had to merge layers for it to take effect. Now that I've learned to use curves in separate layers without flattening them, coloring has became a much easier step.

Here, I used curves in the layer mode and adjusted the red, green and blue channels until I got the mood that I wanted. If I wasn’t satisfied at that stage, I could just keep repeating the process until I got the colors that I wanted.

Using curves to hone the color hues

Step 10: Light

Here in this scene, I wanted some light to come from somewhere on the left and shine on the octopus diagonally. So I added some yellow - orange, on a separate layer in Multiply mode.

Then I applied Color Dodge (brush setting mode) on a separate flattened layer using a Soft Round brush so that it would create a contrast with the rays of the sun.

Adding a yellow-orange light to the scene on a separate layer

Step 11: More color adjustments

Here, I adjusted the color again using curves. The procedure to this is the same as the procedure using the channels earlier - just be sure you do this in separate layer. I also adjusted the contrast using Levels, and then I added a little more detail on the top such as the clouds and birds. These were all done using custom brushes.

Tweaking the overall color tones using curves

Step 12: The final image

And this is the final image, I've flipped the canvas here and I did a little bit more adjusting using the Color Balance function until I was satisfied with the colors. I wanted it to resemble a classical painting.
I learned this process on my own through experimentation and studying famous artists. You can copy the process I used here, but I think all of us have our own interpretation when making masterpieces. I’ve shared my art creation process here just to help you with your own images, or to merely inspire new concepts. Till’ next time!

The final image

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