Figure 8.29

Making brush strokes

6. On the Options bar, turn Opacity down to 50% and make another few brush strokes. Paint applied with lower opacity appears lighter.

7. Press X to exchange the foreground and background swatches in the toolbox so that white is in the foreground. Make additional brush strokes, and notice how they seem to remove paint from the surface (because you are painting in white). Press the backslash key (\) to toggle rubylith mode off.

8. Select the next layer (Layer 2). Press the backslash key (\) again to toggle rubylith mode on; this time it displays the mask from the current layer.

9. Press X to exchange the foreground and background swatches again. Select a color from the Swatches palette (Light Red in this case). Change Opacity back up to 100%, and leave Flow at 50%. Paint a few brush strokes on the new layer.

10. Change Opacity to 50%, and paint again with lighter strokes. Press X, and then make white brush strokes to effectively remove paint from the layer (see Figure 8.30).

In general, start by painting at 100% opacity and 50% flow. Then, decrease opacity to paint in lighter shades of the same hue. If you go too far and build up too much paint on the layer so that it looks like a flat color, paint in white to remove color from the masked layer. For more variation, change the brush size and hardness by pressing the left and right square bracket keys in combination with the Shift key.

TIP Select a different preset brush shape or design your own in the Brushes palette for very different looking strokes.

Digital painting is really an art form that takes practice to perfect. There is no "right way" to paint; you are free to experiment and find a methodology that works for the look you desire. All your masked layers ensure that you will never "paint outside the lines." However, if you want paint to spill out beyond its masked border, just click the layer mask thumbnail and paint in white to increase the borders within which you can paint.

11. Continue painting each prepared masked layer, repeating steps 8 through 10 for each one. Use the colors available in the Swatches palette, and vary your painting technique to avoid areas of flat color where too much paint can build up. Figure 8.31 shows one possible result. Your results will be different because it is impossible to exactly duplicate the nuances of brush strokes.

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