This week’s entry features an intermediate-level tutorial. The image used falls on the side of creepy and may not be for everyone. If you’re not crazy about horror/creepshow types of pictures, check back next week for something entirely different. Cheers!
There are many types of silence- that sticky, awkward kind; the hefty, foggy, waiting kind; the soft contented kind. My daily silence is full of sound. There is music. There are thoughts tumbling everywhere. There are pets. There is no speech. There are no words. I converse rarely with others. I don’t often leave my house for anything other than quick errands. I like this. I enjoy my silence. However, I worry about writing to you all. What if, after some time has passed, I haven’t got anything to say? Or, more likely, I have plenty to say, but am too afraid to say it?
Fear of talking to others came on gradually, during my teens. At around the same time, I was lucky to learn to “self-soothe” through drawing. By envisioning whatever’s bothering us, giving it a form and trapping it on paper, we can relieve some emotions like anxiety, loss, or anger. My very first digital painting was done with this in mind, and its subject was silence- the oppressive silence of being too afraid to speak.
Upon feeling so much worry before starting this blog, I decided to revisit the painting. Of course, the original is pretty awful, but I did a strict re-paint rather than start from scratch. During the process, I thought this might make for a good tutorial on one method of color-correction. This is the final image:

There are tons of ways to do color correction in digital paintings. I use several myself, and have read of many others. There is no one “right way”. The right way is the one that works for you… but it’s fun to play!
This tutorial is Intermediate. In it, I assume you already have some level of comfort with digital painting and are familiar with Photoshop. Let’s get started!

1. At the starting point for this tutorial all of the major areas of the image have been painted, their initial shapes fleshed out and refined. However, the colors of the image seem disjointed. They don’t settle well together to create a unified impression. Here’s one method that can be used to fix a problem like that.


2. First off, there were some issues with the overall depth of the image. Some parts don’t recede far enough into the background, others don’t seem round or three-dimensional enough. This kind of problem can be handled with some simple shading. On this image, I shaded with a universal tone (one color for all objects). The image looks better now, but still has a disjointed feel.


3. In order to unify the palette further, I decided to use a technique that involves picking colors from a low resolution version of the image. This works better with paintings that use a wider variety of colors than this one, but I chose this particular method anyway. If you’d like to try, here’s how it works: Save a low resolution version of your original. To change the resolution, in the “Image Size” dialog box, change the “Pixels per Inch” to a low number. For this one, I used 50ppi. Be careful not to save over your original! Next, open your low-res file and choose “Add Noise” from the “Filters” dropdown. Your image should look grainy and pixelated.



Zoom in and pick colors from the image to use in the original. This is the new palette I picked:

silence_noise_palette I knew that I would need some additional tones for the skin, so I added those to the palette as well.


4. Using tones from the new palette, I made some adjustments to the overall colors of the image. Some of the hand colors were added to the woman’s skin and hair, while hair and skin tones were added to the hands. Purple and blue were added to the hands and around the eyes, pink to the nose and ear. The image looks more unified, but is entirely lacking in drama.


5. This is the time to add finer details to the image. I wanted the hands to have more texture and look less human, and the hair to be rid of its flat heaviness. At this point, you can abandon your palette and pick colors directly off the image. More drama!


6. To finish things up, I added a little texture to the skin, visible in this close-up:


I like the “Pepper Spray” airbrush in Corel Painter, but any fine spray digital airbrush will work. Now, it’s finished (until I decide to play with it again)!



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