Underpainting

When an artist starts an oil painting of a landscape or a seascape, she usually sketches out the subject with a few lines, often working with charcoal or a pencil to locate the horizon and major land masses. Then she dips a big brush in thinned-out paint and begins the process of underpainting. This blocks in all the solid areas; the sky, the ground, the ocean, and any obvious features like a large rock, a cliff, or whatever else might be included. Underpainting builds the foundation of the picture, establishing the colors and values of the different parts of the image. After that, all that's left is to fill in the details.

Photoshop's Underpainting filter looks at the image that you're applying it to and reduces it to the same sort of solid blobs of color. In Figure 9.7, I'm applying the filter to a photo of a pond. If you want to download this photo and work along, it's called fallpond and it's at the Sams website, as discussed earlier in this hour.

FIGURE 9.7

Check your settings in the Preview area before you apply them.

FIGURE 9.7

Check your settings in the Preview area before you apply them.

Underpainting gives you the basic elements of the picture, minus the details. Using the Underpainting filter requires making some settings decisions. The Texture settings are exactly the same as in the Texturizer filter used on the watercolor. Here, though, you want to bring out more of the texture, so you use a higher relief number, and possibly a larger scale on the canvas. You can also paint on burlap, sandstone, or brick, or on textures that you import from elsewhere. The Brush Size setting ranges from 0 to 40. Smaller brushes retain more of the texture and detail of the original image. Larger brushes give a somewhat spotty coverage and remove all the detail. Texture Coverage also ranges on a scale from 0 to 40. Lower numbers here reveal less of the texture; higher numbers bring out more of it. In underpainting, the texture is revealed only where there's paint, not all over the canvas.

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

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