Hopefully by now you're familiar with Blending Modes.  What if I told you there was a totally different way to create a texture overlay? In this video we'll explore an often overlooked feature called "Blend-If", in which the opacity of a layer is dependent on it's grayscale value.  Sound confusing?  Don't worry.  Though this seems a bit more abstract than other painting techniques, as long as you know about grayscale values and the Histogram, you'll do just fine. Due to the technical nature of this video, I'd recommend following along in your own photoshop document.   You'll need two texture images, and here are links to the two I used from cgTexture.com: the Base metal, and a Rust overlay.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Many Ctrl+Paint videos encourage using photo-texture overlays... but what photos are best to use? Utilizing textural overlays is much easier if you're working from high quality images. I like to use 'base texture photos' created by texture artists. These videogame artists use photos which seem very boring by photography standards: uniformly lit and without engaging camera angles. Though they won't win any photography contests, they serve as great raw materials for textural overlays. Google image search often doesn't return useful images for this process, so knowing where to find them is essential. In this video I talk about cgTextures.com, as well as the characteristics to look for in a good photo-overlay.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Are you using masks to their full potential?  Do you even know what masks are?  If you answered no to either of those questions, get ready to have your mind blown.   Masking is one of the most abstract concepts in Photoshop painting, but in my opinion it's the secret for truly efficient workflows.  Though it doesn't feel like a traditional painter's process, it's a skill no digital painter should live without.  This video focuses on painting textural overlays and the concept of 'nested masking' for maximum versatility.

If you're not familiar with masking, these are good videos to watch first: Masking 101 pt.1Masking 101 pt. 2Masking 101 pt. 3

If you want to experiment with the PSD file from the lesson, here is the robot for download.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Sometimes the basic hard round brush leaves your lines feeling... flat.  If you want to throw in some quick pencil texture at the end of a digital sketch, Photoshop makes it easy! This video is not a replacement for custom brushes, but it works well in a pinch.  

Note:  In the video I use the 'Multiply" blending mode, though sometimes others are more effective.  Overlay is a nice alternative depending on the value range of your texture image.  

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Creating a "tiling" texture is a very useful skill for digital painters. This video introduces the basic concepts, and shows how a simple photographic tile can add gritty texture to a brush. This is a technique generally reserved for Texture Artists working in video games, but I've found it to be a versatile skill for illustration in general.

Reader Etheryte is kind enough to show alternative tiling texture technique in this video

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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This is a companion video to go along with the two previous texture brush downloads. Hopefully this will explain why an artist might prefer working on a textured canvas. I don't always begin with one, but it can lead to very rich results. If you didn't get a chance to see the previous videos, make sure to watch them here: Block-in Brush, and Diffuser Brush

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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The previous two videos explained how to observe and paint glossiness from reference. What happens when you are painting a glossy surface from your imagination? In these cases you'll need to have a strong mental texture library, and apply what you've learned in your studies to the imagined forms. This video explains how to approach this task by using appropriate reference materials and doing a bit of mental extrapolation.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Even if you're aware of 'glossiness', and can observe its effects, you still need to be able to reproduce it in your own paintings. This video offers some practical advice for doing exactly that. Focusing on brushwork, I'll show how to use layers effectively to work on the specular highlight separately from the base form.

Improving your painting is often a matter of depicting surfaces realistically. One component of a surface is the glossy highlight, or, "specularity" and it is explained in this video. If you're interested in learning more about surfaces and improving your rendering techniques, you will enjoy two of the series available in the store: Basic Photoshop Rendering and Creating Realistic Surfaces.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Painting is often best done from simple to complex. This methodology certainly applies to situations where you are painting surfaces with 2D decals like an emblem on armor. A traditional painter might first paint the base surface, and then once the paint dries would be able to paint the 2D decal over top. In this video I'll explore a digital approach to this task. Unlike the traditional process, Photoshop allows us to prepare the 2D image as a flat decal and then distort it into place to match the illustration. You can use this same technique to apply existing images such as logos, or 2D images of your own.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Painting realistic texture can be a challenge. It's especially challenging when you're drawing objects or characters from your imagination. This exercise is designed to help you strengthen your mental texture library. The most important part of this exercise is the mental extrapolation. Often times painting from reference materials is a 1:1 copy, which doesn't force you to fully examine your subject. This exercise requires you to do more than copy, and strengthens your mental texture library in the process.