Digital painting with Photoshop CC for learners

Steps on digital painting with photoshop cc for learners

The techniques of painting on canvas can be transferred to digitally painting in Photoshop. The most interesting part is that  core principles for example composition, colour theory and perspective still apply – so once you’re good to go with your Creative Cloud subscription, you simply require a little know-how and you’re ready. This article will help break down the boredom  the process of creating a simple digital painting with photoshop cc for learners, all the way. However, it’s important to recollect that most artists will develop their own unique workflows.

Begin with a sketch


sketching is basic to numerous artist, both traditional and computerized. The advantages of sketching before painting is that it takes into quick iteration of thoughts without focusing on the more extended process of painting. Things can be worked out in unpleasant shape early.

sketching digitally can take a wide range of forms – it very well may be a traditional pencil sketch or (as for this situation) a fast painting. When working on a quick sketches, try to give yourself time limits, both per sketch and for the general sketching process. This will enable you to abstain from spending too much energy in any one thought and get you into painting faster.

Start perspective and set the mood

photoshop perspective

When a sketch has been done with, it’s a smart thought to set out some perspective guides before you paint anything. Perspective is such a paramount aspect of painting – even in canvases like this one where there aren’t a lot of visual cues. It’s something I make a habit for doing in every painting, as it assists with the stream of the image.

Each element you paint ought to retreat towards the vanishing point. This is snappy and simple to do in Photoshop CC with the Line Tool.

You’ll additionally take note of that in this image above I’ve applied a simple gradient behind the perspective lines. This is something I like to do for exterior paintings as it does two things. To begin with, it suggests the direction of the essential light source in the image (for this situation, the sun). Second, it provides me a bit of direction for the colours I need to begin painting with. I’ve decided on cool, quieted blue tones.

Select your brushes


As you start using Photoshop’s Brush tool and Brush panel for the first time you might feel a little overwhelmed. The amount of customization and control you have over what your brush looks like and the way it behaves can be something that sidetracks you if you’re new to digital painting.

My recommendation is to limit yourself when first starting out to two brushes. Here, I’ve highlighted both the Soft Round and the Hard Round brush in both the Brush panel and the Brush pop-up.

It’s also worth mentioning that painting in Photoshop feels infinitely more natural when you use a pressure-sensitive tablet. I use a Wacom Cintiq but can also recommend its Intuos product line. Photoshop actually has tools built in to take advantage of this hardware. The two options marked in the Options bar at the top of the image correspond to pressure control over the brush’s opacity and size.

Set up the foundations

Build the foundations

As you start to think about translating your sketch using these two brushes, it’s easiest to start with simple shapes and silhouettes. This allows you to focus on the composition and flow of the image without getting bogged down in the details.

Here, I’ve used the Hard Round brush with pressure-sensitive size control to shape the silhouettes. This can be done rather quickly by applying paint with the Brush tool and subtracting it with the Eraser tool.

It’s also worth noting in this image that I’m breaking the composition apart into layers. In the Layer panel I’ve created layers for background, midground and foreground. When painting silhouettes for these layers, I’ve also considered the effects of atmospheric perspective in the colours I’ve chosen. These silhouettes can serve as a base to build detail upon later.

Turn on the lights

Turn on the lights

Presently it’s a smart thought to define your primary light source. In an outside painting like this, the essential source of illumination is ordinarily the sun. It’s crucial to set up the light source since it will impact the manner in which you render out the details over the outlines as it will affect colour delection and shadow placement.

Find the details

The next step can easily be the most time-consuming: we need to find the details in each layer of the composition. Here, Photoshop’s clipping layers will be helpful.

If you create a new layer above the layer with a silhouette on it, you can alt+left click the space between the layers and clip the new layer to the existing layer. Any paint applied to the new layer will now only be visible where the silhouette layer underneath it has opaque pixels. By doing this you can begin to quickly apply paint to the new layer without worrying about cleaning it up later.

Now using the Hard Round brush, start by adding some random organic shapes to define the tops of all the rock faces. These will be the portions of the rocks that the light illuminates the most. If the silhouette layer underneath isn’t dark enough, you can then follow up by painting some shadows between the recesses in the rocks.

Repeat this process for each of the defined layers of the composition. Remember, as you move further back in the composition details should become less and less apparent and colours should desaturate.

Polish and distribute details

During this step, the first thing you should do is to take a hard look at the painting and ask yourself what could be better. Maybe a detail you’ve already painted could use a bit more work. Maybe you feel like the image is missing something.

For this painting, I wanted to add some ships flying through the canyon and some clouds to break up the sky a bit. For the ships, use the exact same process you used earlier with the rocks: silhouettes or shapes first, then detail.

For the clouds, start with the Hard Round brush and in the Brush pop-up adjust the Hardness to around 50%. On a new layer begin painting your clouds using the pressure-sensitivity of your tablet to create variation. Don’t forget to define colours for the lightest areas and darkest, shadowed areas of the clouds. If your clouds feel too bold, adjust the opacity of the layer in the Layer panel.

If your painting doesn’t turn out just like this one, don’t be discouraged. Digital painting (just like traditional painting) is something that takes a lot of practice.


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