We draw a realistic skin texture in Photoshop

The skin is beautiful. She comes in different shades and textures. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint skin, this lesson is a good start. From it you will learn how to draw a realistic skin texture using Photoshop and a graphics tablet.

How do i paint skin

Drawing skin is one of the important stages in creating a portrait. It has an amazing ability to stretch and change color depending on a person’s mood and other factors.

For productive drawing in Photoshop you need to be able to work with the tools and settings of the program. However, the ability to work only with a brush will also be a good start. We will also use Color Picker (Color selection), blending modes and adjustment layers.

Color matching

The skin does not consist of a monotonous transition of a light shade to a dark one. To better understand how to draw it, let’s look at different color palettes.

Shades of brown

The change in skin tone can be traced on the scale above. From pale shades to olive and dark brown. You cannot go wrong if you choose brown as the starting point when drawing skin.

Red and yellow undertones

The difference between these shades can be seen in their midtones. Because of the blood in our body, on the skin, we can detect red shades. Especially, it is noticeable on a light skin when the person, for example, reddens from constraint.

Yellow is suitable for deeper shades. To see how this works, use the search on YouTube and watch videos on makeup. Knowing the midtones of your skin is very important when choosing the right makeup base. Pay attention to the difference in halftones among different people.

Blue and green undertones

Blue and green also have the ability to stand out. Look at your hand. Notice anything unusual? Under the skin, green and blue hues are barely visible in places where the veins are close to the skin surface.

You do not need to use these colors in the portrait. But if you want a more realistic job, a few touches of blue and green will not hurt.

Ambient light

Did you know that skin reflects light? Take some bright object and bring it to your cheek. Look in the mirror and notice how the color of the subject is reflected on the skin.

Understanding how ambient light works is very important in drawing realistic portraits. Include surrounding colors in your work to add even more realism to your work.

1. We study a photo

In this lesson, a photo of a pretty girl (charged) with caramel skin color is used.

Carefully study the picture. Pay attention to areas where there are more red or yellow shades. Let’s create a simple color map to indicate the primary colors that prevail in a particular area of ​​the face.

In addition, on the skin of the girl there are areas with hyperpigmentation. This means that in these places the skin is especially dark. To convey this feature, pay special attention to the dark shades around the mouth and on the forehead.

How to choose the color of skin

You can choose the color using palettes in Photoshop, also tool Eyedropper Tool (I) (Pipette) you can take a sample of color directly from the photo. But the finished palettes are quite limited, and since the picture consists of many shades, you risk finding the wrong color.

To learn how to choose colors, try to do it yourself. First, practice in the selection of basic shades, try to match them, without resorting to the help of a pipette.

Using the Color Picker Panel

Open the panel Color Picker (Color selection) and select item B – Brightness (Brightness).

Choose a medium brown color. Move the slider up and down to see the entire color range. I will use this method later, at the stage of applying shadows and highlights, to show you how easy it is to choose shades for light and shadow areas.

2. Draw a sketch

Having the basic skills in the selection of colors, we can proceed to the creation of the outline.

I will try to make the composition easier by removing additional details, such as flowers and accessories in the hair. Draw the basic shape of the head using a small round brush. Then add the details: eyes, nose and mouth. The finished sketch should look something like this:

3. Apply base colors

Step 1

Let’s work with basic skin tones. To begin with, fill the head with any color using a rigid round brush. I used blue. Then go Image – Adjustments – Hue/ Saturation (Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation).

Customize Hue (Color tone), Saturation (Saturation) or Lightness (Brightness) to change the color of the head to brown. In my case, I just needed to set the parameter Hue (Color tone) at -180.

Step 2

We mix layers with a basis and a sketch, having established for the last a mixing mode Overlay (Overlap). Opacity (Opacity) set to 33%.

4. Draw shadows

Now put the shadow. Create a new layer and use the Ctrl + Alt + G key combination to transform it into a clipping mask. Set the blending mode of this layer to Multiply (Multiplication) and begin to draw the shadows using the same shade of brown as for the base.

Soft round tassel with Hardness (Stiffness) 0% concentrate shadows on the neck and around the perimeter of the face.

5. We form facial features using glare

Step 1

Open the panel Color Picker (Color selection) and move the slider to the very top to select a color for the highlights. This color will help us to form the bones on the face, focusing the glare in those places where the most light falls on the skin.

For each individual color, create a new layer. This time we leave the blending mode to Normal (Normal). Apply the selected color glare. Outline the shape of the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. Brush strokes should be hard and coarse, so adjust the parameter Hardness (Hardness) in the region of 50-100%.

Step 2

Change the hue again by moving the slider down. Gently mix highlights with a more subdued shade of brown. While working, do not forget to compare your drawing with a photo to make sure that you are on the right track.

6. Draw halftones

Step 1

If it seems to you that the colors look wrong, do not forget that you can always add halftones and correct the picture. Create a new layer and set its blend mode to Overlay (Overlap). Use the previous color for halftones.

Step 2

We continue to experiment with semitones and draw on layers in the blending mode Overlay (Overlap). Around the eyes, mouth and forehead add a more reddish tint. Remember that at any time you can adjust the colors using Hue/ Saturation (Hue / Saturation).

Step 3

Add a darker shade of brown in places with hyperpigmentation and particularly shaded areas. Also this shade can highlight some details of the exterior. When finished, we merge all layers in blend mode. Overlay (Overlap) together.

7. Smooth skin

Step 1

Now the girl in the picture becomes more similar to her photo original. We continue to mix colors and create smooth transitions using a soft round brush. Eyedropper tool (I) (Pipette) we select adjacent colors and mix them carefully so that there are no sharp transitions between shades. Adjust Opacity (opacity) brushes to get a better and smoother result.

Step 2

Coarse brushstrokes are still visible on some areas, let’s fix this. Create a new layer in overlay mode. Hard Light (Hard light) and fill the skin with a solid color.

8. Glare and ambient light

Step 1

Add a warm tint to the face. Change the foreground color to white and on a new layer in blend mode. Overlay (Overlap) start to paint highlights. Again we focus them on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. Areas with highlights always come out ahead; do not forget about this while drawing.

Step 2

Since the woman is on the street, she is surrounded by natural light, which sometimes has a bluish tint. Using this feature will significantly increase the realism of the portrait. On the same layer in places where ambient light is reflected from the skin, add blue highlights.

Now her face looks more alive!

9. Draw the skin texture

Step 1

Before adding texture, try to make your skin as smooth as possible. Use a brush with a hardness of 50-100% with a sufficiently high opacity value. Smoothing the skin, we begin to draw a texture.

Step 2

The first way to add textures is with a special brush. I will use the standard Airbrush Soft Low Density brush. Brushes, suitable for drawing skin, look like a group of small dots that perfectly mimic the pores on the skin. This set of grunge brushes (for a fee) is also great for imitating the texture of the skin.

Do not overdo the addition of texture. Create a new layer in mode. Overlay (Overlapping) and begin to draw pores, using the color of the cheeks.

Step 3

Nothing in nature is perfect, including our skin, which is why digital painting often looks unnatural. A quick way to add textures is to use a filter. Noise (Noise). Create a new layer using the tool. Paint Bucket Tool (G) (Fill) fill it with a solid gray color.

Now go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter – Noise – Add noise) and set Amount (Quantity) by 12%. After that set the layer blending mode with noise on Overlay (Overlap) and reduce Opacity (opacity) up to 38%.

10. Add the final touches.

We almost got to the finish line! At this stage it is very important to determine what details the portrait lacks.

We draw eyebrows with short strokes, delineate the line of the mouth and remove the excess around the edges of the portrait, using a hard round brush. When using a soft brush, the portrait will look fuzzy and blurred, so make sure that Hardness (Hardness) is set to 100%.

We continue to add other details, such as hair and background. Gently draw a transition between the skin and the hair line.

Do not try to perfectly copy the hair from the photo. Just draw a line following the general direction of hair growth. When finished, adjust the color by adding a bluish tint using Color Balance (Color balance).

Here is the final result.

That’s all!

How realistic the skin will be depends on how hard you work on your drawing technique. Study the photos of different people to catch the difference, and pay attention to how the lighting falls on the skin.

Learn different types and colors of skin. Keep practicing until you achieve good results.

I hope this lesson gave you a little confidence in working with digital graphics.

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