Digital Landscape Painting | Taylor Payton | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      01 Intro


    • 2.

      02 Your first sketch


    • 3.

      03 Laying In Color


    • 4.

      04 Painting begins


    • 5.

      05 Painting with light


    • 6.

      06 Finished Sketch


    • 7.

      07 Second Sketch Timelapse


    • 8.

      08 Third Sketch Timelapse


    • 9.

      09 Fourth Sketch Timelapse


    • 10.

      10 Beginning The Final


    • 11.

      11 From Left to Right


    • 12.

      12 Opposites Reconciled


    • 13.

      13 Balancing Elements


    • 14.

      14 Creative Destruction


    • 15.

      15 Detailing And Sharpening


    • 16.

      16 Economozing Brushstrokes


    • 17.

      17 Checking progress iteratively


    • 18.



    • 19.

      19 Thoughts on Water


    • 20.

      20 Laying In More Elements


    • 21.

      21 Flipping The Canvas


    • 22.

      22 Zooming in again


    • 23.

      23 Adding some Architecture


    • 24.

      24 Architecture Pt 2


    • 25.

      25 Inspired by Life


    • 26.

      26 Refine Refine Refine


    • 27.

      27 Listen To The Light


    • 28.

      28 Details again


    • 29.

      29 Warming Things Up


    • 30.

      30 Transposing Details


    • 31.

      31 Subtle textures


    • 32.

      32 Finishing And Recapitulation


    • 33.

      33 Last Look and Review


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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to express a vivid and lush landscape or environment?

Landscape painting is one of the oldest and most cherished forms of art, and the world is always in need of a good environment artist. 

You have characters and worlds within you, figures and backgrounds. We're here today to cover the background part of it.

In this class, you'll be walked through the process of sketching, coloring, rendering, and lighting a digital landscape painting. 

Taught by professional artist Taylor Payton, the piece you'll see unfold was originally meant as a commission.

In this class, we cover:

  1. Speedpaint sketching
  2. Line drawing
  3. Color and light
  4. Shadows
  5. Simple drawing
  6. Composition techniques
  7. Materials and textures
  8. Brushwork and economy
  9. Shape language and design
  10. Mistake correction
  11. Simplification methods
  12. And more!

Not only will you learn the techniques and methods used to craft the  sketchy landscapes below, you'll even learn what it takes to finalize one.

The brush set for this project can be downloaded here:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Taylor Payton

Illustrator and Concept Artist


Artist & Musician! Creating, teaching, and completing. My aim is to impact the world with the power of art and self expression, and to elevate the latent potential within myself and others!

I believe there are generalized principles that work for everyone, and when we focus on mastering those principles in any given domain, we can leverage them to great effect.

Whether it's drawing, painting, making music, or any other pursuit - when we focus diligently and harmonize with fundamentals, we're able to ascend quickly.

See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. 01 Intro: Hello and welcome to the digital landscape painting tutorial. I'm Taylor Peyton, and I'll be walking you through the process of painting a digital landscape. In this case, we're gonna be using photo shop. We're gonna take it from a couple rough sketches. So you get a feel for how to paint a couple of different types of landscapes, at least in a sort of thumbnail or rough format, and then go all the way to the end of the process, where we choose one of those and continue to refine all of the elements in the picture plane to end up with a satisfactory final that is lit appealingly and has a lot of interesting differentiation of materials and color. New wants. I'm gonna talk to you about the tools, techniques and tips that I like to use when painting landscape pieces, and by the end of it, you're going to feel confident enough to work on your own landscapes, especially in a digital painting format. So without further ado, let's start generating some of those thumbnails. Some of those earlier sketches 2. 02 Your first sketch: all right. So, first and foremost, I like to create a couple different sketches, a couple different thumbnails, if you will, where I'm filling out a composition and just roughing things in in a way that allows me to see where I'm going to head further down the line. So when you're starting out with their landscapes, it's good to figure out things like the composition, the lighting, the materials the landscape is composed of. And all these things can be answered ahead of time if you just do a couple different sketches. So I'm going to take you through the process of me doing those sketches and the 1st 1 I'll leave real time so you can see most of what it is I do. We may skip around a little bit because some parts air relatively repetitive. However, as it comes to the other sketches, I will time lapse those so we can get through the lesson in a way that feels more succinct . Ah, but basically what I'm doing here is I'm just using lines to subdivide the picture plane, and these lines are going to represent various cliffs and edifices and where certain elements are going to begin and end because that's what lines air good for. Lines are good for contour, and they're good for conceptualizing things. So when I'm basically doing is I start with lines in the foreground and I divide the picture plane diagonally. And then I go all the way across creating a horizon line, and now I'm working within the horizon line to sort of rough in some abstract areas where I know that I'm going to have different materials. So this could be the cliffside versus the top where there's grass and this process. Usually if I'm going to be working on an illustration for at least six hours, I'll spend roughly 20 minutes per sketch and have an average of 3 to 5 sketches. So it's just a matter of developing your own workflow in that vein. But I find that if a sketch doesn't turn out that well, then you typically know that you're going to be dealing with a much more testy painting process. So it's always good to get these out initially. Before you make a real decision on which image you're going to commit several hours of your life, too, and oftentimes I will start in line. Sometimes we go in with big blobs of paint or digital paint in this case, but the line work processes essentially just easier, because then all the areas are marked off like a coloring book, and then you can just go in and add your various tones and colors and all that good stuff. So I'm just using a basic sort of wedge brush here. There's nothing very special about it. You could do the same step with the default round brush and Photoshopped, and I'm just trying to get a sense of what this feels like in line. So as I start to feel comfortable with the composition and did noting where each element is going to go, then I'll start to add some actual paint, and I'll do this on a separate layer so as to maintain my line work. 3. 03 Laying In Color: All right, So here what I'm doing is taking a selection with lasso tool on a layer that is separate from my lines, and I'm going to Marquis off that area. I'm gonna follow the contour of my lines and then use a photoshopped brush with a texture on it to start laying in the basis for the color step in landscapes. All often go straight to color simply because it's just more economic approach when it comes to painting in terms of, ah, a better process, because if you were doing a value study where it's just black and white, that's also fine. But most of the reason that people like to look at landscapes is for the beautiful kind of color scheme. So especially when I'm just doing thumbnails, I keep it pretty much just to the colors, and here I am, adjusting the colors on the side and taking a custom brush and finally laying in. Some paint can see there's a very light texture on it, and it won't paint outside the areas that I've already selected. In order to de select things, you can use command or control D. In that way, when you lasso off another selection. L being the shortcut for the lasso tool. Then you can escape painting just within those boundaries. But essentially, this is the next step. After you have your contours, your lines, then you just use the lasso tool in a textured brush and begin toe lay in some of those large masses. Since we've subdivided them already, it's basically coloring book mode. 4. 04 Painting begins: and now it's sort of a game of making those selections, selecting colors after that and painting within them again a very simple process. And you just want to make sure that your keeping your elements pretty clear So the top plane of the cliffs is going toe have green because that's where grasses and when you get down to the more mountainous aspect, the color is going to shift. The values, which is the brightness or darkness, is also going to shift, and we'll talk a little bit more about values as they become more apparent in this particular sketch. But right now we're just having a bit of color nuance. So starting with green, pushing some yellows around in that selection. Ah, some more kind of pine green as well, which is a cooler green, you know, green that gets closer to blue, and it bears mentioning right now that all color is relative. So most things look cool next to blue green included, and orange looks warm next to green because green is cooler than orange. So that's what we're talking about in terms of relative color temperature. Now I'm not actually making a selection. I'm just going in with a de saturated green color and starting to paint some brush strokes to separate the elements of that mountainous side. Because on the top we have vegetation and on the side, not as much vegetation. It's more about the rocky materials, and it's more of, Ah painting approach now because you could last so everything. But that could be a little restrictive after a while. So it's good for some areas good for getting you to think in terms of separate pictorial elements. But I'm sure you're also perfectly capable of painting pretty close to within your lines that you've already established. So that is also a good way to go about it. You notice I'm making several layers. I like to keep the foreground mid ground and background and sky separate, and I'm always just thinking in terms of layers because it makes it easier to paint easier to change things. So try to keep what is at the four most of your picture plains of stuff closest to the viewer near the top. And as things recede, then they start to go down the layer hierarchy. So the sky is at the very bottom and That's a really good way I find to think of it. And you can see this is already starting to look more like a background more like a landscape. And that's because we've now taken those separate elements and begun to add the different brushstrokes and pieces of color that are going to enable us to car form. And that's what I'm doing right here. Just taking some of the shadow here. Darker values with a pretty similar tone of de saturated green and painting on that because that cliffside is a pretty good focal point, and the focal point is the area that most of the attention is gonna go. So we always need to make sure that our focal point is detailed and delicious, and that it has on interesting arrangement of color, new wants and various patterns of lights and darks. So the focal point will be where you can apply a great deal of your fundamental knowledge, and we'll continue toe talk about the fundamentals. Throughout this particular landscape painting tutorial, she had made a clouds layer now and again. I'm just using the same brush for all of this. You won't see me go singular brushing for the rest of the tutorial, or the necessarily the rest of the thumbnails even. But sometimes it's nice not have to think tonight to think about ah, utilising too many brushes and really getting to know a few of them intimately so rough and some cloud shapes and then switching brushes using the less than in greater than signs in photo shop. It's a good way to get a little more variants, and I already have worked with this brush set for a number of years, and I'll link to that in the description of this tutorial so you can download it. It's not my brush set. It is actually Jamie Jones is, and you can find that for free online anyhow, so. But this is basically just carving some cloud shapes, switching from drawing mode to painting mode. Clouds are a great way to do that because you're not really going to see clouds and lines very often. Clouds are very much about shape, form, edge value. They're wonderful when learning to paint 5. 05 Painting with light: now beginning to select my base color for the water, keeping the hue saturation brightness all fairly close. As faras, those triangular sliders are concerned making a layer below all the cliffs, so I have to worry about painting on top of them and then just pulling the hue slider around a little bit. That's what the H stands for, and in a second here, going to really push the brightness. I'm gonna pull the values way up by getting the brightness slider higher, not quite to 100 but fairly close and then having the part where the water is getting hit by light. So where light is hitting, we want to pull the brightness slider up. You don't want to go all the way to do 100. You want to conserve some of it for the really bright highlights. But when you're painting light, you're getting closer toe white and again like color. Brightness is relative, and you can see just with that indication if you squint your eyes, that's where the cliffside is no longer obscuring the light. It's not casting a shadow on the water, and so the water in that portion of the ocean is getting hit by light. And then it's time to paint the beach, which is a warmer color than pretty much anything else on the picture plane, even though it's just sort of Ah, a dingy orange. And then we're going to start pulling in some of those cliffside colors and values, locate a layer for those, or maybe even create a new one trying to stay fairly organized. But it doesn't always happen in the throes of painting excitement. So for the background cliffs I'm now about to lay in some values. Those cliffs are not facing the sun, so they're gonna be darker, and the cliffs that are going to be catching light those ones. You're going to see me push the brightness upward again. But first we always have to kind of play a little back and forth, get a little color new wants and there. So it's not all one flat color, because that will really, in many cases, dull the life of the landscape. But here we are pushing the lights on that cliff, getting a big shape in there. A big brush stroke making the brush smaller, using the bracket keys on the keyboard because I'm left handed personally. But there's a lot of ways you can set up your particular painting program to change the size of the brush, because often you will need to on the fly. And I'm just roughing in the light shapes. You can distinguish shapes on the picture plane as a painter, as an artist, and then you're gonna sign those shapes colors you could assign them values, which is the brightness or darkness, and that will allow you to manipulate the light of the image more so. 6. 06 Finished Sketch: So now we're really starting to see things come together. In terms of this image, it's showcasing light areas of shadow, just enough color, new wants. And as you could see, most of the vivid colors are either going to be in the light or really close to the viewer in the picture plane. In this particular case, that's not always the case, but sometimes it works. And I wanted to lighten up the foreground because it's the top of the cliff, meaning that there's nothing to obstruct the sun from hitting that area. And that just means going in and using a couple different textured brushes to kind of push around. Some writer tones yellow er greens. And it's worth mentioning that as your values go up in relation to the light and relationship to the areas where latest hitting the color of that light will greatly affect the base tones that you've already laid down. So sunlight tends to yellow things or whiten them. Typically, there's more yellow in it. You can always get creative with your light sources, but since it's going more toward sunlight, I like to add a little yellow to my greens and you can see that the water where the lightest hitting is greener than blue, which again it's just a matter of warming up whatever color you're using, because the colors are getting warmer, not cooler in the light. So just taking that little corner there that I haven't really solved and pushing around some really bright values with the Dodge Tool, which is actually cooling it a little bit. It's not as warm as the other lights, but I'm just trying to get some of those top top highlights top tones. And that particular piece is me testing where it would rest. Because this is actually a commission that I recorded. I was hired to paint a landscape by one of my friends. And so this is me testing where this particular piece is going to land as far as the backdrop of an aquarium was concerned. So it's a large aquarium that this was actually painted for, So it's a process I use professionally. People will usually be willing to pay you if you get good enough. It's stuff like this, so it's pretty pretty fun to leverage these techniques for, you know, whether you're ah, professional or hobbyist year you're going to get a lot out of this and learn a great deal about the fundamentals of color and light and landscape paintings. So essentially, what I'm just trying to do is add those finishing notes to this particular sketch, and you notice I have not zoomed in at all this entire time. The reason for that is because I don't want to take more than 20 minutes per sketch, and if I zoom in, I'm gonna start thinking about detail. I don't want to think about detail right now. It's about color, light composition and just getting the overall big. Read the large read of the image eso areas that you know our focal in areas that are falling back a little bit. Speaking of falling back, you'll note that the cliffs in the background have a lot less variants. They have much less brightness and shadow play as the stuff closer to the viewer, and that's because of atmospheric perspective. So the atmosphere is blue and that means that things were going to cool off assed. They recede, and they're also going to become more similar in terms of their value structure. There won't be as much contrast between the lights and shadows unless those areas air really getting struck by light. And in this case, it's not enough for me to paint it. So I've already selected the sort of beachy areas, my focal point, and that's kind of Ah, mid ground thing, the background being the clouds in those cliffs way back there. But yeah, this was the process that I used in real time for the rest of the thumbnails. I'm going to time lapse those so you can get an idea of generating more than one composition. But then we're going to move into the final image and just select some really good points of interest to talk about the process in that, so I'll see you the next chapter. 7. 07 Second Sketch Timelapse: welcome back. So as promised, I'm going to talk you through the other sketches, although they're all going to be time lapsed for the sake of the course. Essentially, it is the same process. But repetition will allow us to see mawr that we did the first time around and with different shapes. It'll still be interesting. So this is me carving in the same delineations using line for you know where elements are going to go in very light. Indications it's like taking a pencil to a piece of paper or a piece of canvas before starting to lay in your paint. And once my sketches finished still staying zoomed out, I drop in that paint bucket, the Dodge Tool, and then I really back a little on the Dodge Tool cause the brights got really hot, really fast, meaning that they were just too bright. And so I had to kind of dial it back. Then I'm starting to select areas that I know are going to be the ground planes and just painting within those selections right off the bat and then painting a little outside of them, similar to what I did in the first thumbnail sketch and then pushing the lights a little bit with the Dodge Tool again and working my way from the bottom up. In this case, as a rule of thumb, it's good to start on the background first and work your way forward. But as long as you have a process like, let's say you work left to right and you kind of scan the image or you work top to bottom as long as you have that basis and you kind of know where you're going in terms of, you know, scanning your picture plane, you should be in pretty good shape. Everything will get filled in eventually. So at this point I'm just taking that large cliff shape that's covered in foliage and vegetation and dropping in some darks and some lights. It's going from darker on the left side, toe later on the right, and it's just a big old chunk of land, and I'm doing the same thing for the right side since I was warmed up after painting the left side, starting with very deep, very dark. Um, when I'm pretty sure are very saturated greens or blues and then moving toward more lightened less saturated greens and blues. As a tip, your shadows will look less flattened dead. If you saturate them very deeply, especially in areas that are very dark, you can get away with a lot of saturation, which is the S slider in the darkest regions of shadow. But that's pretty much of this sketch in a nut show. It's more of a kind of a forest with a river kind of scenario vs, I believe more of an Australian cliffside in the previous one. So just a couple trees, a top of hill and a little a bit of water near the bottom. 8. 08 Third Sketch Timelapse: Here we are, ladies and gentlemen, Thumbnail number three. And right now I think you're starting to kind of know the drill. Start with lines to deal in e eight. The shapes in this case it's Rolling hills and, of course, testing the ever present aspect of said commission being, um, I think it's like a little waterfall thing for a fish tank, starting with a Grady int, this time, as opposed to a flat fill with the paint buckets. So it's a Grady int tool that's a little different on the paint bucket and that you click and drag the direction you want the grading to go typically toward the horizon line. It's a little, ah, whiter, higher in value than near the top. If you go out on a day where you can see the sky, you'll noticed bluer and deeper near the top of the dome shape of our atmosphere. And as you get more towards the horizon line and look down, it gets brighter and whiter, especially toward the sun. But after that, I just start laying in some brush strokes for the hills, less saturated hills, falling more into the background, more saturated hills coming to the foreground. So Richard colors coming toward us. More value contrast and darker colors coming toward us, less value contrast, less saturation, rolling away from us, so more background, less foreground and mid ground being somewhere in between. And that's how you can think of your the depth of your images. You have a foreground mid ground in the background, and right now I'm just adding some of that background shape action again with some of those Jamie Jones brushes that I've grown accustomed to and really enjoy. He could find those in the description box or a link to them, but a lot of painting in this one, because the shapes were really simple, so less mark. Keying off areas with the lasso tool has a cloud brush. Give us a good basis for clouds, but you still have to know how to paint the form of clouds. So I start with low contrast and start to push the contrast with brighter values. Go in with deeper blues, trying to get some interesting cloud shapes and breakup. And yeah, that's more or less it for this particular thumbnail. I use the soft brush here to push back a lot of things, and I really spend some good time, you know, pushing and pulling the values of those clouds again. Clouds air An amazing way to practice your painting, especially landscape painting. And when you can paint amazing clouds, it's easy to impress people. So that's always a nice bonus, because clouds are just they're very majestic. We have, ah, some sort of innate feeling about them as humans. They can be ominous and scary, or they could be wonderful and Brighton voluminous. So I spent some time studying them. In this case, I kept one area of the clouds very bright because that really made the rest of them stand out. And you see, the rest of the clouds are very soft, where the starker edges air on the brighter clouds, but this is thumbnail number three. 9. 09 Fourth Sketch Timelapse: Hey there still with me? Good, because we're on our last thumbnail sketch before beginning the final illustration. Now, since I had done very naturalistic landscapes for the previous ones, I figured I'd mix it up a little bit and have a little architecture in this one. Now, since I was working for, you know, higher, I would have chosen this one personally just because I find architecture to be absolutely fascinating to paint and draw. However, it was up to my client to let me know which one that they liked best. And as you saw the final image, they did not choose this one. However, you get to see the process, so I think that's a pretty nice bonus. Anyway, The sketch process here is a lot more loose, a lot more gestural. I feel like I can give the architecture some character that way. I'm focusing a lot on horizontal and vertical lines because those are the ones that can count on the most to give me the feeling of architecture. A lot of my other lines for hills and stuff, or just me subdividing the picture plane in ways that look more natural. But when it comes to man made stuff, 90 degree angles, 45 degree angles. We like things in subdivisions of five and in divisions of 10 as well. So it helps a lot when doing building shapes and what what have you. It's also much easier to paint architecture. If you have a lasso selection, I will go in once the big shapes are established with a more loose painting approach. But it's always good to get their silhouettes, their big shapes roughed in. So that's what I'm doing with this very tan, um, lower value color and again values in our means. Relative brightness or darkness, so lower values darker tones, higher values, lighter tones. So there's the first initial building roughed in and the foreground as just a silhouette of green, a little bit of color nuance. And then we get the sky going. I copied my building shapes over, so I didn't have to repaint them as much. It's just a nice little economic way to augment the process, and then I just start using those colors and tones to work on the rest of the architecture , and usually when you're featuring buildings in your work and it's a landscape or more of a cityscape oriented piece, they're gonna be the focal point. They're gonna be what absorbs a majority of your time to get all the planes surface plates . I mean, not, um airplanes, surface planes and facets and windows and details. But it says this is just a sketch. I'm inferring those things by kind of playing back and forth, the darks on the lights, keeping very geometric volumetric shapes. And it's basically would taken entirely new course of tutorial to really showcase every little thing when it comes to architecture. But with the fundamentals I'm teaching, you hear it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to just draw, building and use the same painting process while just keeping in mind the subject matter and still get some really neat results. So I'm hopping between before ground, the mid ground in the background. There's still a good amount of building to paint before calling this one done. But I'm covering up a lot of the building to with some interesting tree shapes again, pushing some darks and lights around areas where no latest hitting and the leaves are very dark and highly saturated. Areas where late is hitting and the leaves get brighter and yellow er and you hopefully getting more familiar with that formula. But in essence, this is the fourth and final thumbnail for this commission. Again took about 20 minutes like the rest of them, same process just filling in the areas that were sketched and using a little color, new wants and keeping in minor separations of light and shadow. Now I will be moving on to the next chapters, where we'll be finishing the thumbnail that was chosen by the client, and I'll catch you in those later lessons. 10. 10 Beginning The Final: all right, So now we've moved on to the sketch that we're going to be turning into the final piece, and I'm going to start these next chapters off in real time just so you can see the way that I choose colors and laid out in brush strokes and explain things a little bit more detailed. But as we progress and you start to understand the general modality of it, then will time lapse it a bit just for the sake of beings. A sink, too. So initially what I'm doing is I'm just starting on the left side of the image. And if you're starting anywhere on an image, it's usually either at the focal point, which in this case is more of the stream, more of the sunlit stream part. But it's important in a landscape piece to define the materials of all these various areas . So I figure if I start on the left and work my way to the right, then I will have one sweep of detail, and that will give me a basis to kind of measure everything else against. No, I'm just going in and carving form, thinking about the darker edges and transitioning into some of the lighter areas using those darker edges. Really, considering the way that the edges air lining up by squinting at what I'm doing. And that gives me the sense of how the forms or turning how the values air patterned out in reading. And I'm choosing brushes just for their textural quality. At this point, I'm adding a little bit of light right there to that surface of the rock on the in terms of surface planes, as well as brightness and darkness. Most of the colors are already there, so I'm just picking them and a sorting the values and tones in a way that's going to describe the surface of the materials, you know, different rocks and their relationship to the light source, which is warm there in the shadows. And they're cool. We talked a little bit about color temperature initially, and I started off on the left side. Now I'm working my way right word to the right side of the picture plane, but right now we're stops sort of in the middle, at the edge of where those rocks turn into the little kind of stream. It's not really a River because it's not rushing, so to speak. I had, um I don't know what qualifies the river. I can't actually, uh, can't actually discern at what degree does it become? A river verses a stream. So it's just a small body of water, and I did a little bit of brushwork around that small body of water and quickly returned to the left side of the canvas. Just cause there's more forms to describe in the rocks there. Just taking the shadows and either pulling them down word to describe things or taking the lights and pulling them upward to create the illusion of ah form, turning in accordance to the way that light is hitting it. So where the light strikes that the forms going to Brighton, it's going to become warmer in color. And those are really the two things to consider most when you're painting your landscapes. At least in the case of the former principal. You see, I'm very much taking my time on these edges, just getting them to line up in ways that feel like the rocks air subdivided, believably and yet still not over rendering, still not just kind of scum. Bowling across the surface in a way that's going to create, uh, an overworked look I really enjoy when you could just lay down a couple of brushstrokes and kind of let it go and you'll see that even the final piece has a lot of that. I, uh, just make a couple brisk movements that I like and I keep them. I don't sit there and just look at it and look at it, because that creates an undesirable effect in a lot of cases, unless you're rendering something very smooth or going for a different type of aesthetic. 11. 11 From Left to Right: So as I sort of make my way from the left side, more to the right, just sort of making sure that things air growing ever so slightly and finish creating the subdivisions, as I stated previously, in a way that feels realistic and somewhat appealing. It's just a game of enjoying the journey, laying down brush strokes and refining them, trying not to a lick around or noodle on stuff too much and describing form with the marks you're making. So sometimes it's helpful to have stuff on another layer. As you iterated forward this way, you can just flick it on and off checking. If what you're making is progress or regress, it's really nice to use those noisy brushes to give the effect of scattered leaves. And that's what I've done in the upper left corner on the sketch. So I didn't have to mess with it too much, and I I just want to open up some of those areas a little more, create the same sort of effect, but with more light, lighter tones as opposed to just negative space. The negative space is lighter in this case than it is in the ones where it's just sort of blue. The yellow ER spots are meant to represent ah higher value, but also to showcase where small bits of light are getting through the canopy of the forest and creating that particular effect. What I'm trying to do here is essentially start with big, broad brush strokes and gradually refined them to the degree that the stuff to the lower left or the bottom part of the rocky kind of path is. And you can see all the big shapes are laid in at this point. The trees, the land masses, the body of water. I add some large scale shapes later just to make the composition a little more interesting . But the plan, so to speak. The schematic of this particular painting is essentially done and always remember to save your files because you can lose precious time and energy. If your program decides to quit and doesn't have the recovery option in there, you will not be a happy camper. So again, just kind of meandering in the same region, focusing in on making it kind of the benchmark of completion. Although I do pop over to the other side eventually, it's good to just have a degree of finish that you can relate everything else, too. As you move forward. It's really helpful because everything essentially on the picture plane and everything in general, if you want to go that far is relative. We're going to measure things against the things that are around them. That's how we create definitions and borders and boundaries and ideas. So works with colors and light works with the picture plane, and it just is generally applicability to a lot of scenarios. So now that we've stayed zoomed in a little bit, and I have the degree of finish of the left, I want to start bringing some of that finish to the right. Except now that I've finished some of those things on the left, it's easier to relate them to the stuff that's going on on the right. So I don't need to be as zoomed in at this point because I will zoom in later and begin to define them or so. But it's good to have that Broadview, because I'm not really about the details at this point. On the right side, it's about bringing up the level of finish and sort of, ah, sort of an overall way, as opposed to trying to get in there and create some crazy, detailed, hyper rial Bush and then zoom out from that bush and just feel small feelings of dismay and exits and existential dread because you detailed and finished one area that doesn't fit with anything else. So it's just time to start leveling everything up in sort of, ah, equalized way. 12. 12 Opposites Reconciled: so since visually, the stream at the bottom is not massive, it's probably about a maybe 15% of the picture. I want to pay enough attention to it, to describe it as a material and to separate the various planes of the rocks from it. But I won't really get to, ah, expanding it a whole lot visually because most of the images about the land masses. But you'll see that as I begin to work on that little stream or so how we kind of incorporate different colors and edges and brush strokes into making it feel more like water as opposed to the stones. So with some of those streamside stones, there's areas where there's definitely more light and light is coming down through the treetops and down the middle, much more so than it is on left. And there's more light on the right as well. So we kind of go left to right in terms of reading the image and the shadows start on the left and we gradually get more more sunlight moving toward the right. So that's really helpful. Way to parse things is to consider just the general flow, the eyes gonna take in terms of the compositional elements as well as where light is going to lead us to look because typically the human eye. We're always looking at patterns of Layton shadow. It's like another way of thinking of that is positive space negative space inert? There's a lot of polarity and opposites, and learning to find the common or middle ground is really appropriate for creating strong and potent contrast in our pieces. In this case, it's time to add a little more light, a little color nuance. 13. 13 Balancing Elements: So even though I'm going to paint some light in on this particular batch of vegetation, I end up kind of squashing a lot of this part just because in terms of the whole visual landmass, it felt like the left was getting a little too heavy. And by that I mean the dark values and the large size of the the visual shape on the picture plane. It was just a little too much and show. And so, in terms of like shearing down that hedge, it just helps to make the composition feel a little more balanced if you think about the perfect halfway point, like if you were to divide the canvas in half vertically and feel that there's too much shadow and large dark shapes on the left. And there's the general feeling of imbalance on the overall composition, because lighter values feel lighter visually, and you don't have that same heft. So it's It doesn't lend itself to good picture making necessarily, if not employed properly, starting to describe some of the stones that maybe stick out of that little river or stream side part quickly painting over what does not work visually and the way I determine that is , I just squint at it, get a pretty immediate, intuitive feeling of whether or not it's gonna help. And I figure there are enough rocks already. So just described the water as best I can by adding some more contrast. In this case, that means having some ah starker warmer tones in there a little warmer than green, so sort of number, then pushing some of the green back and forth with the number. And already there's a little more contrast in the stream. Visually, things like metal and sometimes water. Um, things with a broader value range tend to benefit from that sort of look is having a starker contrast between, you know, very dark parts of that particular element in very light parts. So in something like water that catches and reflects and pushes around a lot of lots of light and lots of other things in its environment, it's really helpful, tohave that stark contrast just to pay attention to how that kind of reads, and they use reference if necessary, and often times it is, the more realistic you want to go until you understand the principles of what makes something work visually, it's extremely helpful. Toe have reference handy. And I had a great deal of reference for this piece of my other monitor so can see already I'm carving into that left side landmass. I'm gonna make you feel a little lighter so that I can push the value contrast within it as well, because if the shape the large shape itself isn't so big, have a little more room to play with the values. In this case, that means creating more shadows. 14. 14 Creative Destruction: and the brush has been demolished since. That leaves a lot more of an opening. You get more of a room to breathe between the four round in the background. I didn't want to go for something that felt densely populated by too many elements and trees and what nine something that had a little more openness. He could feel the air a little bit better, and that means making compositional calls like that one. So even though I shaved it down vertically, that leaves me some more room to flesh out the right side of the canvas and kind of trade. That energy. That creative destruction that starts by making some sort of noncommittal, large scale brushstrokes using a soft edged brush just to lower the values, create a little bit of texture. And I'm picking from the same colors that are on the left side. So some deep greens and just in general, trying to decide, are there going to be more trees on the right side? Is it going to be some sort of rock edifice? And that's why I start with soft brush, because again, it's not very committal. You don't have to lay down such a well defined shape. It's more about having a nebulous sort of lowering off the values and general texturizing of the elements. And as I hadn't quite figured it out yet, I just decide to create a little more complexity in the bed of the stream and start to define some of the areas were Light is hitting play the lights of a little bit more doing sort of a dance between the cool shadows and the warm lights and feeling out how to add more interest in volume and dimension and yet at the same time, continuously refined and visually describe the elements that are present. So already the right side has evolved a little bit more, and the left side is always there to kind of play against it. And that does take some configuration. Trying to balance the negative shapes the trees and tryto get the new large shape to read in a way that flows with the rest of everything else. So there's that large sort of white ish blue background. There's the dark green right side. There's the deep, shadowed left side with the rock path and the trees, and at the bottom there's a stream so tryingto get these elements to play nicely together visually, and that's why it's good to zoom out a lot and just check the overall feeling of the composition. 15. 15 Detailing And Sharpening: So once you really start to settle on the larger shapes. Then again, we can kind of switch back into the modality of describing the forms and rendering those out in accordance with the light source again, in this case being warm sunlight and the cool shadows that usually result from the blue of the atmosphere. So a really great book is color and light. By James Gurney. It's very inexpensive and get it on lots of different retailers like Amazon, and it is really helpful in detail ing some of these principles mawr in depth. But essentially, if you have a cooler light source, the shadows tend to be relatively warmer, and again the opposite is typically true. So warm, light cool shadows. Here I'm taking a textured brush and running up and down the forms on the right side, trying to visually describe it as either vegetation or stone. What kind of vegetation is it? Blades of grass? Was it more of a bush? Is it, uh, some wildflowers and talk with the layer on and off to see if I like where it's heading and really just sort of bringing up the overall level of finish slowly there's really never any rush unless there's some sort of deadline or it's a speed painting. The full duration of this of finishing the thumbnail after the initial 20 minutes was about another five hours. So this took five hours total. And again, I'm going to go into time lapse mode in some of the later lessons because, essentially, it's just doing a bunch of brushstrokes to carve the forms and describe things in detail versus more vague, larger strokes. So I'll go in and make a breast stroke and doing something rather interesting. Here is I'm using the sharpened tool. Oftentimes in Photoshop, you will end up with. Since it's a roster based program and not vector, things will have either a very, very hard edge with the Marquis or selection or last, so tools, we'll have, ah, soft edge due to the brush your using. So one good way to move around that is, to use the sharpened tool, which is in the same menu as thesis much tool, and the sharpened tool takes the pixels and makes them appear more crisp. It adds more contrast to their edges, and overall has, um or painterly look to it if you're using Photoshopped as a digital painting programme, which in this case we are so just kind of bounding back and forth between the left and right sides again. Nothing new, just sort of adding more detail now, using mawr rough and textural brushes and playing up the light and shadows within those rough textural brushes and adding complexity to the vegetation that way kind of pushing and pulling the values. Sometimes we use a soft edged brush to get softer shadows, but typically the lights are sharper. 16. 16 Economozing Brushstrokes: so at this point, it's important to kind of recapitulate the general process, and that is to color. Pick a certain part, whether that's brighter or darker, and create brushstrokes within the particular element that are going to describe it further . You know, pushing things back into the shadows, pulling them into the light, adding more detail. The ah, the shape design, the texture of the brush, the edge of something, how it meets something else. And it's really, really important to remember squinting because that will give you the eye of the painter, so to speak, you're you'll be able to see edges in contrast, a lot better, and it's not a an easy habit to develop. Oftentimes will forget to squint, and our images suffer for it. But what you can do is play some sort of visual reminder had your workstation, and eventually you'll get into the habit. But you you'll need to be vigilant and cultivating it. There will be like one particular year for me, where I was squinting a lot, and somehow I just sort of fell out of the habit. And my work wasn't as potent in some ways in the later years where I hadn't squinted, and I had to go back to that modality in order to have the perception necessary to create stronger imagery. So squinting is one of the best techniques when it comes to picture making, because it separates things in a way that otherwise just doesn't happen naturally with our our base vision. So picking some soft, subtle marks, seeing if I like the details flicking the layer on and off. Sometimes I push a little too much, and then we just got to control Z it. It's like if you were doing Leinart and it was meant to be very clean Leinart. Then you just make a make a mark, and if it doesn't land right, you just go back and redo it. And that's kind of the game when it comes to working very painterly. If you're marks aren't hitting their their particular tempo, then you just have to take him away and try again. And sometimes it takes a couple attempts to find the anchor for your for your painting for your mark making, and once you do, you start hitting them more than dropping them. It's like getting into the flow and shooting a bunch of free throws in a row or something, so I may be made, you know, 25 movements and kept five. 17. 17 Checking progress iteratively: So as you can see here, I'm checking my second iteration folder, and it's really helpful when you're painting or drawing or working in a conservative fashion and using layers to kind of build up your passes of progress to take those layers after every working session. You know, maybe 45 minutes, 25 minutes over long you're working and put them in a folder. Name it. You know the subsequent iteration of what you were working on before. So iteration one generation to it, aeration, three etcetera, and then just flick the folder on and off so you can see all the layers. And if you're building towards an image that is pleasing you and things were going well and looking correct. Or if you're working on something that you know, maybe a couple of those layers are kind of bum layers and didn't really change it for the better. It's a really good way to focus your energies and still have a manner of checking to make sure that you're not creating errors but rather moving it toward progress. So I'm working a little zoomed out now, trying to just keep the whole picture in mind and it's usually not great for detail work. It's more about the general lighting the overall large masses and shaping those. I wouldn't try to paint a super detailed, you know, wildflower or stone at this sort of thing, that this sort of zoom. But I might lay it in the large shape of it, and I zoom in and refined that shape. So different degrees of zoom in. Regards to your focus and regards the way you're working on are always really good to keep in mind. Don't try and paint a face from Super far away on a figure. And don't try to create an area of complex, fresh detail if your way far away, unless you're really masterful with a particular textured brush or something. And oftentimes I'll still lay in those big textured brushstrokes and go in and refine their edges and fix them up and keep them on separate layers so I could do that easily. So here's an example of just kind of packing away with a textured brush again. You can find the download for the dot a BR file, the brush file in the description of this particular course, So that will be available to you, and you can use these wonderful brushes as well. They're very good for describing form and not having to manually paint in every single textural detail and textures important when it comes to all kinds of painting, particularly landscapes. Because that's one of the most beautiful aspects of nature is that the textures air so varied and interesting that it just harkens to the some very primal aspect of our appreciation for it and only way to reproduce that is to have the proper tools. But even if you have these brushes, you'll still need to practice with them, learn toe, wield them and kind of get a feel for how they function when you lay them down on the canvas. So kind of working the edges a little bit, extruding some larger leaves from the shadows, which is always really fun to do. It's a different shape, and thus has different surface planes 18. 18 SIMPLICITY VS COMPLEXITY: So here I am taking the highest value, the highest level of brightness on that particular ah piece of brush and pushing it even more so toward a yellow and also jamming the brightness higher up. So that means I know where the top of the value scale is for that particular part that I'm painting and they'll go even higher than that and move it toward the color temperature of the light source. So that way, I know I'm actually creating mawr of that poll toward the light that we've been talking about throughout this, um, particular course. And then there's the other elements of light which, like I said, is sort of the bluer, less warm late. That's the secondary late, and that's making its way in via the blue atmosphere. That is the earth, really like the colors of the sky are filtering the light that's entering the surroundings that we see. And those lights are going to be as strong as direct sunlight, meaning they're not gonna have this high of a value range. So even if there cooler and bluer like if you squint at some of the stones on the left side , you'll see the the bluer light and how it's not as high key as the yellow or light. It's a very subtle distinction. You have to sort of keep track of your values in, ah, fairly cohesive way to pull it off. And it just takes practice and the conscientiousness to get to that level. And even when you get there, there's always ways to improve it. So it's just managing your forms in accordance with light. Light changes color like changes, value and the lack of light and color does so as well. So that's always a consideration. Another kind of polarity that I like to play within is adding complexity versus simplicity , so some areas will get a little muddy, a little unreadable or a little noisy. And those are words we don't like when it comes to our visuals. We want things to be clear, readable and have enough texture, but not be overly noisy. All these things can be in our favor if we apply them properly, but easy way to kind of parse down a lot of those issues is just to simplify. And that means take a big broad brush and just scrape and repaint and John Singer Sargent, who was a phenomenal master of his time during the 18 hundreds. And I think a little bit of the early 19 hundreds late 18 early 19. He had a lot of wonderful anecdotes about painting that he gleaned from many, many, many years of doing so. And so if you haven't there's a free pdf that he I believe another artists put together of some people's accounts of what Sergeant said and a lot of it was to simplify and to scrape and repaint if necessary. So sometimes that's the case. You gotta let it go and redo it. Nothing is. Darling just have the creative destruction so that the final is better than keeping something that isn't up to par. But yeah, working fairly zoomed out at this point, just so I can still see everything in detail things enough and balance what's going on holistically because later we'll add details even mawr intricate than the ones were doing now. But this is a good degree of vision to kind of keep track of the whole 19. 19 Thoughts on Water: so a lot of the consideration so far has been in the left side and the foreground. Mostly there isn't a great deal of mid ground or background in this one, and that was intentional just because it was like I stated in the beginning a commission, and it was going to be on a as the backdrop of ah, of an aquarium. So I wanted to have a certain sense of depth, and it turned out pretty nicely in the end. But it's still always important to consider your foreground mid ground background and just to work those areas accordingly. For example, I'm really sort of amping the light in that little area right there. It's an area of interest. It's a place where the I can rest and see one of the stones that's more surrounded by grass and such as opposed to the ones that are in shadow and mawr just around other rocks. Another thing I've done at this point is I've added small touches of blue to the water as well as got rid of a lot of the green, which I'll be bringing back later. Other, these images mostly blue and green, so it's a very analogous color scheme, but it's important to have little areas that contrast that. So it's not too dead palette wise. Thus sort of the auburn and number colors in the water because it's it's not water that moves a lot. So I imagine it would be dirtier just by it's static nature and that crisp kind of light ray going through the water and some soft edges that kind of lead into the harder ones. The blues air nice little notes around where the rocks are because the rocks, if the water is moving at all, will kind of act is the as the barriers and light will act a little differently around the around those areas, so we'll shadow. So that's a lot of what I'm considering is I add these small, dark touches he's lost and found brushstrokes around the edges of the rocks that are touching the water, just paying some some heat to this particular area. It's really nice visual separation if you can get those rocks too kind of play nicely with the edges of of the water. It's always a matter of just coming back, teaching every element and refining it further throwing it a little more dark values into the water is considering its shape as a whole as I render out what's around it. Some things are just so reflective by nature that they're going to grab the colors that are in the scene and move them around in a way that's interesting. And water is a very interesting thing to capture. So definitely worth study a lot like clouds. Level of complexity overall has increased in the peace, the brushstrokes arm or certain, and have landed in specific areas to deal any eight form. Before, everything was a lot more broad, were starting to narrow in on. Some of the materials, have more interesting patterns and breakups and textures, and it's about time to return to the left side and add more of the same. 20. 20 Laying In More Elements: all right, so now we're speeding up in terms of the time lapse, and that's because the basics air pretty much covered as faras. The general painting process goes. So in order to keep things sink, you're just going to kind of move at a quicker pace. As faras, the videos air concerned but still talk about principles that air applicability all in real time, Of course. So right now, just pushing the contrast on the left and right sides again, carving shapes in a smaller fashion rather than a broader one, pushing the contrast by adding small pockets of shadow inclusions. If you will occlusion shadows or some of my favorites because you go super dark for those cause, it's so included in those pockets that no light can enter. So, though often me, the darkest parts of your picture plane there I go, laying in a brush that has very vegetative qualities, and so I just elaborate upon that with the Dodge to a little bit and start to raise the values of it. I'm not sure how much of it I keep. I think I just needed something besides that noncommittal soft wall that I created earlier Then we lay in some Ruff's for background trees because he can't have trees on the left side. That would be weird. And then, using some larger brushes, had a zoomed out ratio to kind of Leon's more brush and complexity being much more committed to the left side now and yet still being willing to get rid of parts that aren't working. So after some refinements have been made, then I feel more confident, sort of pushing other elements around in terms of adding bigger changes to the picture plane that I can then repeat the process of refinement on so large scale shapes for the composition and then more finite movements within those shapes to ensure that there, uh, reading at the level they need to be. But since they're further away from us than the stuff I've worked on in the front, they don't need as much detail anyway. So that's more of the mid ground area rather than the foreground stuff 21. 21 Flipping The Canvas: so, having taken a big look at the composition and gone three, it orations deep. Now on our 4th 1 It's time DeLay in yet another large scale element to kind of help balance things out a bit, since the left side at this point is still heavier than the right. It's important Teoh add something with a darker value scheme as well as a larger shape so that the right side feels a little more in accordance with the left. And there's a little bit of kind of edge work, a little bit of pulling and pushing things, getting rid of some of it and try and, uh, re implement other parts of it. Painting leaves is interesting because there's so much visual noise. But there's still areas of light and shadow in accordance with, you know, those different little surface planes, all those separate leaves catching various aspects of light. So it's quite a bit of juggling act, but you just kind of got a push and pull the same way as you do with every other ah, particular visual element. And this is one of the first times I'm flipping the canvas just so I could get another view of things, but my I see it in a fresh format, and I'm really enjoying the foreground elements and how much work isn't put into those in the refinement of those features. But I still see how rough some of the rest of it is. And flipping the canvas allows me to perceived that even easier and see what areas need more work in brush, strokes and refinement. So I still haven't laid in that large, interesting element to balance out the composition yet, but that'll that'll certainly come soon. Right now, it's just about taking the newfound areas of improvement and implementing them, getting all those leaves to read, sometimes with a very large brush stroke that just gets refined as things progress. 22. 22 Zooming in again: still working on those leave shapes and messing with the mid ground. Since I didn't lay it in initially in the thumbnail phase, it takes a little more figuring out as we approach the final, and that's just sort of the game. It's easier to have it planned out, but if you have to add it later than you kind of have to run it through compressed version of the process. When it comes to completing an image, there's nothing wrong with it if it serves to better stuff. But typically it's usually smarter toe planet out if possible. But again, you can see where zoomed in and still in time lapse mode. So I'm not actually painting with such a fervent speed. But I'm just dealing Jiating mawr of the elements, adding some textural interest, making sure that if the eye rests on a particular area, wants to zoom in, it will be appealing. It can't just be one big, ah vague thing. If you're going to be zooming in or it's going to be printed off in a larger scale format, you should be able to see sort of the painterly nous as you get closer and closer see the brushstrokes and how they at a distance, appear realistic and act in accordance with lighting and all that fun stuff. But as you get closer to the image, you can see the individual painterly nous and brushstrokes that make up that realistic far away read. One way to think of it is it should read both as a postage stamp and as a billboard. So from the micro to the macro, your composition, your lighting, your fundamental should be so on point that they're scalable but is a quick note. If you wanted to flip the canvas like I did in the previous little snippet of this particular tutorial, you can go to image image, rotation, flip, canvas, horizontal and you'll be able to check things with a fresh eye that will be of great use to use things sort of move forward in the process. 23. 23 Adding some Architecture: All right, So this is gonna be a fun one, because we're going to implement that larger scale right sided architectural element that I spoke about in previous chapters just to balance things out a little bit. Everything is super organic and natural, and so in orderto have a little bit of unity, and I mean a little bit of variety. With our unity, we're going to have a more architectural item. So in this case, I'm using one of my favorite brushes. That's very textural, but also great for laying in large scale shapes. And I'm exploring with some pretty pretty dim values, pretty dark values. So I can always lay some lighter ones over him and sculpting the architecture very quickly , even though this is a time lapse portion again, it didn't take me long delay in the overall shapes of this particular piece of structure. And that's one thing that I really like to do is to start with just sort of darker values for my initial lay in, and then pull out the brights to give it dimension and volume. So and this color picked a darker part of the image and than a lighter part of the image when I was ready to add a little bit more form. I'm thinking of having some sort of archway, some sort of overhead gate that maybe could have been a small Schreiner, just a bit of structure or ruins out in hidden deeper area of this particular like setting . So just playing with that a little bit. See, I'm not zooming in at all. I'm just carving the form with light and dark values. Try to keep the dark ones where most of the shadows would be falling in accordance with that top down light source. And even though there are shadows on the right side of the architecture, I'm keeping a little bit of a Grady int from light bouncing back up into the shadows, which is still going to be darker than the lights. But it's not going to be as dark as the shadows, and that's called reflected. Light and reflected light is one of the most important parts of the form principle, because that's light that's bouncing from an adjacent surface on to the um onto the surface that is in shadow. So late hits a point and the photons bounce back into some shadow and illuminate the shadow ever so slightly and color it, too, because that's a light does is it brightens things in the colors. Things so reflected light does that on a more low key level. But, yeah, I felt it was important to incorporate this element because it as just another degree of interest to the composition via its shape, fear it's value scheme and large kind of structure. Next to the, you know, large trees on the left side. I need something to balance those out visually so that it didn't seem to off kilter, and you'll notice that hit it with that big soft dodge brush by using the dodged with a big soft brush to I just kind of lather on some illumination in a noncommittal way, no scribble downward to infer some stairs and that more or less was a pretty clean lay in of our architectural element. And then it was time to get rid of those trees was just Some of them are working, but they need more refinement, and sometimes I just get rid of him and bring a couple bits back to see whether or not they are improving the composition or not, but run our sixth generation folder now, so you can tell it's it's been, ah, pretty good amount of work on this thus far. 24. 24 Architecture Pt 2: So just cause we set the architecture doesn't mean weaken. Forget the architecture. And now it's time to just keep on bringing it up, since it's in the foreground, more or less to the level that everything else is at, which means detail ing it, adding more interesting, complex and breakup of shape and making sure that it is working with same form and lighting that everything else is and just describing it a little bit better, adding some more contrast. So a lot of that just comes down to zooming in on it, really giving it the focus it needs and working in that capacity. Still keeping the shadows and lights pretty separate on this guy. It's easy because it's more simplistic geometry. But geometry in general is why we haven't easier time parsing shadow and light because things are either gonna be cubicle conical, um, pure middle or spherical. So that's circles, triangles, cones and squares, basically, and since they're so simple, it's easy to detect what various aspects of them are, you know, going to react toe light a certain way like a circular object, has a very round forms of light falls across it and kind of ingredient in most cases, and a cube has much more, much more harsh form transitions. The surface planes air much more separated as opposed to the sphere. And so, obviously the value transitions are going to be much starker and darker. And that's just the way that those particular primitives react to light and a lot of geometry and architecture, thankfully, is built on those very same principles, and thus we can light it pretty easily. It's always good to keep once resumed in returning to some of the other areas, because we now have yet a different perspective, and we see that there's more detailed to be had in some of these areas. You'll note that I've gone, added some dappled light to the kind of rocky transition on the left side, and again, that's a really easy thing to do. You just add a higher value so brighter, uh, color. That's closer to the light sources color, which is yellow, and it'll just sort of get peppered into the shadows. And you'll know that some of the light is breaking through the canopy of the forest and the leaves air, scattering it because there they're blocking it And so the light cast is only the light rays that make it through, uh, what is essentially outside the picture played so yes, from shadowed areas. You can think of how light is going to break through what is casting those shadows and that will help you create the effect. Essentially, I'll just go back to some of the larger elements and refined their edges or add a little more textural interest. Maybe a little more value contrast. And that's what over time builds up to something that feels finished. Something that feels more done is that attention to detail in texture and contrast in separation. Just trying to infer the leave venous of some of the background elements that are all very light. Low contrast because those elements need love and work as well. If we're going to be, ah, just having them a part of the picture plane. So starting a maneuver, some more background elements, since having one architectural element is good, we can probably implement another in the form of a bridge like a background bridge, and so that's what I'll do back. Here's I'll keep this low contrast look because we don't want to draw too much attention to make people think that because of the contrast, it's part of the foreground or closer than it is. Essentially, I just built this Stonebridge shape back there, and I refine it throughout the rest of this particular tutorial. But it just serves to echo some of the architectural elements that I've already established in the picture plane, as well as add a degree of balance and interest to the background. So even though we established a initial sketch, you see that as an image evolves, it has, you know, certain choices made on the picture plane, and that can be, you know, for better, for worse. But the main point is to just keep adding interest without breaking what's already established and by breaking, I mean, doing so in a negative capacity. Positive change. We're always looking for a k a progress. So while in this zoomed in state, it's just a good time to create more of that 25. 25 Inspired by Life: all right. So since I was already in detail mode for the architecture, I decided that it was time to give the tree a similar treatment. And so we switched to some textural brushes and start to up the value contrast trying to describe the material that it's made out of, which in this case is bark. And that just means thinking about the textural quality of bark. And since the limbs weren't very intricate as faras, the rough of the tree went, I decided to also just extrapolate on those a little bit, kind of multiply the appendages and give it a little bit more believability that way, just because there's usually a fair amount of complexity to every tree, even though it follows a pattern. And there again, another really sincere object of study is trees. They're so I mean, prevalent where you live, I hope, and you could just go out and try and stared enough room to see the patterns emerge to you . Like the way that bark is laid out. Their general shapes, how the branches kind of multiply and get smaller. I mean, multiply and divide kind of simultaneously, depending how you look at it. But then I was just going up in painting out some of the red lines from my previous sketch , which helped to establish the overall forms that I've now built in paint because a lot of it was just laid in in the early stages as a contour. But returning to the previous topic. Like I said, Clouds, water, trees, all these things I've drawn more than once and definitely painted more than once. And so that's why I'm able to bring images like this together fairly cohesively, even though it's not, um, completely realistic. And it's not definitely at mastery. It's just adeptness. You can leverage a lot of what you learned from life, and a lot of great art is just transcribing nature. So you want to get out there. You want to do some studies and really get a feel for how these things impact visually, how they function. Learn more about the science of light, the science of how trees grow, whatever modality you can use to get yourself excited and informed so that you can express that in your inspirational work is of great value to you. So there's a lot of angles of study. But a lot of it comes down to mileage and understanding not only how it looks but how it operates. So just going back into the leaves and kind of doing on an overall sweep of detail here, bringing everything up fairly consistently because again when we switch are viewing degree , whether we're more zoomed in her zoomed out, you're going to see different aspect. And you're gonna wanna work in different ways, depending on whether your closer or further away from the image. So it was able to capture some decent light on the right side. 26. 26 Refine Refine Refine: So you remember those noncommittal soft brush moves On the right side, you can see how slowly those have built up in tomb or descriptive textures and elements. It just starts with a vague notion and eventually ends up ah, building form upon itself until you have these details and these more realized, um, visuals. So that's why it's fine to just lay stuff in kind of vaguely if you know where you're going to be going as the peace develops. And part of that is sort of just trusting your process, trusting your own judgment and having an iterative workflow that allows you to kind of step back. Uh, after every 45 minutes, 90 minutes, whatever work session and just recheck things, make sure they're heading in the right direction. But a lot of the game now is just to keep on refining the elements that are in place, adding little details, tweaking the lighting, making the edges more appealing, sharpening certain parts, softening other parts. Um, the drawing of things is has been set in for a while, so it's really more about the colors, the values and the edges and squinting at it. Just a check and going back and forth in that manner. So I had a whole bunch of nice texture over there. So I just lasso tool some of that texture, and I get out the mixer brush, which is if you using photo shop CS six or above. It is in the same panel as the brush, and I said it to dry with 0% wetness and 50% load up at the top. And then I would just use that texture that I you served from another part of my painting and transpose it onto other parts. And some of it, I think, look decent. And I kept a little bit of it for the kind of at a little vegetation to the architecture part. But other, it's kind of an unwieldy technique. I haven't used it a whole lot, but sometimes I will take more detailed parts of my painting and kind of bash them into less detailed parts in order to save time and create a little bit of interest. And in this case, that's what I did. And then I'm thinking about the reflection of the water in relationship to the um to the pillars and the the Ark archway there, And basically the formula for reflections in water is that it's going to be the vertical inversion in sort of a wave, yer watery or reflection. So I'm just taking those areas and transposing them ah, 180 degrees vertically, and that creates the idea that it's reflected in the water. Even there's not much water there. There were to expand the picture plane down and you would see the full, ah, height of everything in terms of that, our quay archway, um, that architecture. Ah, and that would make it more apparent. But since there's only so much water and they have to reflect so much of what's going on above it in the picture plane numbers, pushing some later values into the background just getting rid of some of that flatness this is the backgrounds very light. I'm just pushing the keys a little higher as faras, the values air concerned and again just sort of scanning the image and detail ing bits here and there, trying to bounce around from area to area, bring everything up in a way that is concomitant with what's around it. Using an assortment of textured brushes and peppered brushstrokes a little bit here a little bit there, and everything at this point has has gotten that treatment enough. It's just waves and generations of detail ing and passes and tweaking so that there's an overall finish that's slowly coming into place. And it's a very patient game. It's my very much about enjoying the process and not really over doing it in terms of, um, in terms of like, over detail in one area and then going to the next that can work, especially if you know your focal points and you know what's gonna fall back. But in this case, the approach I used, the approach that I kind of cultivated was one that bounced around and was relative to things. I would finish to a degree and then bring the other parts up to that same degree, and, um, I knew the foreground would be more detailed in the background. So as you kind of proceeding in your landscape painting piece, just create those textural areas of beauty and finish in value, contrast and light. But also think about the parts that are falling back and how much detail you really need in those or how much need to define them because you may not need. Chances are you won't need as much 27. 27 Listen To The Light: So now it's time to really get up close and personal with water. It's time to really face the edges of the rocks and creates a more shadowing around the separation where water meets some of those river rocks or ah, the flat dry areas and that a little more contrast. Try some brush strokes and see if they feel right within the confines of that ah, liquid space. And essentially just keep on adding some color New wants, because water can pick up a lot of interesting tones and variants. So I used some orange to kind of push my way out of the number zone, and it allowed me to add a lot of interesting visual flavor to the to the water. There's those indigo blues and some of those oranges. Some numbers, and there's nothing on the picture, the picture playing quite like it. So it was just really fun to paint that and return to it a little bit. Try and add some. It's more rays of light, some more areas of greenery again, trying to kind of copy down the vertical axis of what is above it on the picture plane and tempering the areas around it, trying to get Iraq sticking under the surface just generally at this level of zoom refining some of the other elements. Well, I was in that mode. That's, um, blades of grass. Manually, the ransom hits of texture In essence, everything just keeps on getting refined and refined, adding more or less contrast, simplifying making a little more complex. It's always a matter of kind of dancing between those two opposites for any given object until the image itself just feels cohesive and and done within the deadlines you've set for yourself. At this point, I've also added a little bit of dappled light to the architecture as well. But overall light is gonna be our best teacher. The more you pay attention to how light reacts on services and defines form and allows you to see what it is you're seeing, the greater propensity to advance quickly and art because we're capturing the visuals of everything. And yeah, a lot of it is technical. A lot of it is learning toe wield those fundamentals, but ultimately it all comes back to how light acts upon surfaces and various types of surfaces, like casting a shadow. For example, based on the way light is cascading onto the architecture and what parts the architectures blocking the light from hitting that particular wall. And I can sell the feeling of a wall by casting a shadow on it. 28. 28 Details again: getting into another zoom situation now that we have a shadow that's being cast from the lack of light that just can't get through the architecture because it's a solid object, it's a good idea to go into detail the architecture up a little bit more. And so in this Realtor time clip, that's what I'm doing at a little more shadow and making soft brush strokes up and down the different areas where I can push some of the value contrast or at a little more detail, ng work. A lot of it is just making several moves and keeping the best ones, some dividing areas for a little bit of detail. I don't want to be too perfect cause, and it seems like it's maintained or recently build. Instead, I'm thinking more that it it's seen its fair share of time passing and it's still holding up to some degree, but definitely not as fresh as when it was erected. Nature has a way of kind of absorbing the things we make when they're left to their own devices, so that's why I have a couple little areas of greenery growing on it, and that's why I have it in someone of a state of disrepair. No stonemasons making the track out here, toe going, replaced this thing. Sure, anything of the areas where shadow would be making itself more pronounced versus where light would be the the victor. A lot of that's just color picking it and extending it, crafting and sculpting it. It's all about those details, at least when it comes to a focal object like this, getting the light to play right on it, slowly adding more contrast, always squinting and checking football players on and off netting soft brush strokes of texture. Zoom out to check. 29. 29 Warming Things Up: Okay, so at this point, you're probably thinking, where did that dog come from? And the initial plan in the commission was the sort of surprise my commissioner with a dog breed similar to theirs in the painting somewhere. But no matter how I worked on this thing, even though I didn't record that part of the process, or rather, I cut it out even though I worked on, I couldn't get it to seem is realistic or believable as the rest of things. And it was just a tiny detail, and I felt that piece was stronger without it. So eventually you'll see me get rid of it. But it's it's here for now. And most of what I was trying to do here was eliminate some of those bluer tones in the trees because I wanted them to appear more natural and again work in some of that bark texture and the brown of the dog in the image, and at least made me realize that I needed to kind of work the trees some more and make them kind of break up the over our king blue of everything. There was just too much blue for it. to feel as natural as I would have liked. And so I start running some of the warmer colors in this case, varying shades of tans and browns atop what was sort of a blue basis for the tree. You know that everything kind of comes in layers. It's really about just building form, very slowly, building brushstrokes nice and slow. You can do it quick. It's just harder to control. It's like going around a race track at whatever. I don't know how fast race cars go, probably over 160 miles an hour. And so it's incredibly difficult. Handle things at that speed, so just take your time as per usual. Don't get too hasty. One thing that are just tend to do is when they're making mistakes. Is to triangle faster to get through that painful, mistake laden period. But that just ends up making things look hasty and even worse. So it's better just a simplifying correct. One thing I've done at this point to is add some soft brush to those dabbled lights that I laid in earlier that gives it a blooming effect, which is subtle but powerful in helping me so the notion that we're dealing flight Dapple ing through. We look a very bright light as it hits the surface. You couldn't see the aura, the attenuation, and that has a fall off, and it's usually very soft. It's very subtle, but if you pay attention, you will see it. Then you can start to capture it in your own work. You've seen me use sort of a mid value to sketch things and before, like the architecture. And here is an attempt to do it for a tree kind of pushing and pulling the values in that shape right there, something to close the gap between foreground and background a little bit. So some mid ground tree stuff roughing in some leaves as well, moving those layers around again with that push pull of paint, erase a little bit, have a separate layer. So all that's possible. But overall just warming things up. And every time I add something like to zoom out and check how it plays with everything else because otherwise you just don't know if it's an isolated, zoomed incident. You have toe have to revisit it in context might look great as a crop, but in the entirety of the image. It brings everything down or just doesn't gel quite with everything else then going back to visit with our friend, the architectural ruins, seeing how all that plays out in terms of adding some more light and contrast and detail shaping things. Overall, when I'm thinking of shapes like that, I heard a thing of what it used to be before it broke and how it broke and where it broke. And you start to come with ideas and stories in your head. You know who took the pieces or that kind of stuff. But really, what matters is what we can see, for the most part, so it's important to just capture those types of elements. 30. 30 Transposing Details: going in even deeper for more detail. Simplifying repainting, trying to think about the surface planes and how they're catching light based on the light source have already established long since beginning this going in for a couple cast shadows on the stairs and delineating some of those stairs more so looking back at this again after having recorded and reviewed it, some of it's a little bit noodle e. You can see there's a lot of breast strokes happening and not a lot of change per se. But sometimes this just tends to happen as part of the process in the detail ing phase or when rendering kind of increases. This is still time lapse, so quickened. But at the same time, there could be more brushstroke economy going into this particular part. You don't need to make a lot of movement for detail, necessarily. It's just sort of it just sort of comes with more and more visual statements being made and kept thinking about how long it's been here. How much of a chance would vegetation have to climb all over it? Just trying to tell little stories within the image, because these are things that can't really speak. So they have to showcase their tails in other ways, using some darker values to deal 88 things further. More contrast, more complexity, little engravings and marks. I get it. When you saw me lighten things up like that, that's usually the Dodge Tool. It's just quicker than picking the value and pushing the brightness zooming out. I really liked how those details read, so I kept them and I flicked the layer on and off to double check. I'm just scanning the image, looking for the next areas to attack. In this case, it was making an overlay or soft light layer. Start with overlay. But then I switched to soft, light and soft light layers with a big soft brush. Er, good for adding ambiance again, that noncommittal light. But it doesn't change. The values is harshly. And then I was trying to add some sort of foreground elements because it was feeling like I could push the depth and dimension of the picture a little more. So I tried to build these dark, very dark, deep in value shapes to see if I could create some interesting things running across the picture plane. Ultimately I knew it wasn't going to work very quickly, so I instead decided just to polish and refine some of the shapes I did enjoy. Add a little color. New wants to those some wildflower colors, and then I eventually just end up taking those details and transposing them into the foreground or rather into the left side landmass, as opposed to keeping them in the foreground, cause they just weren't it was hard to implement them as faras, the composition goes because everything had already been pre established in such a big shape. Change is not going to be easy to work in the mix. Just cause there was already so much, and I try several different positions and moving it around, but it never quite works. So instead of losing the work, I just take all that detail, scale it down a little bit and place it where there's maybe not enough color nuance. So even though I spent some good time on it, I was able to repurpose those pieces, and I spent some good time painting them in and implementing them more so in areas that already have a pre established silhouette and have been worked on to ah, solid degree already 31. 31 Subtle textures: Now we're back on the left side with these new sort of color spices, the reds and blues, or the deeper blues rather than the sort of de saturated ones we were using earlier. And I like the idea. But I wasn't a huge fan of the execution. So even though I placed them there initially, I decided to go with sort of a more white ish flower and just throw some texture brushstrokes angled in the general direction of what would look like a bunch of flower buds . And a lot of this is just getting across the idea of the thing not trying to painted exactly as it is, although still lives would be used for something like that. We're working in kind of a painterly capacity on landscapes. You're just trying to create visual statements that conveyed the idea of the nothing of the thing. More than trying to represent the thing in a completely hyper realistic way. Also adding some differing blades of grass and carving out the rocky areas, some of the areas air still pretty soft visually to so it helps to just later on a bit more certainty, as far as, um, Sharper brushstrokes are concerned. Kind of like subdividing the rocks with darker tones. Zoom out, flip off the layer, check the changes and wash. Rinse. Repeat again. Going with that sort of sharp angled brush. Using soft strokes, toe lay in some textural ideas of more flower bud heads, and then I probably go to sharpen those. Just add a little more contrast, a swell kind of following suit on the right side, not with flower buds but with some of the leaves in the vegetation. See the things They're usually very broad and tend to focus in and get a little more textural as they kind of come together. And you know, you're kind of hitting the limit of a certain piece when you're just making a lot of Marx, and things aren't changing as much. Sometimes you can do that for a few more hours. But unless you're going to add some new, larger scale elements or you're going to zoom in and get some really finite details like zoomed in even more so than this, then it's starting to feel like things are complete. They're wrapping up, and that's a good time to start banishing, adding the finishing touches, and those finishing touches really depend on the peace. But typically, it just means cleaning things up, refining what looks loose or too soft and is detracting from the rest of it and augmenting what's already there with a little more detail. A little more contrast, a little more starkness, maybe a couple more light beams, Sun spots. You just can keep asking yourself the question. How can this be better? What needs to be fixed? What would make this look like it's completed, and then you'll invariably start to generate answers based on those queries. 32. 32 Finishing And Recapitulation: So now we're kind of closing in here on the last couple chapters or iterations or whatever you'd like to call them in this particular tutorial or series of lessons. And I just thought I would recap some of the more important points so that you can walk away at the end with more information retain that will help you as you continue to further your painting abilities. So, first and foremost, we started with thumbnail sketches, meaning that we figured out a lot of the things ahead of time. So we had the ability to elaborate upon those things. Later, when we chose our final sketch in this case, the client chose the final sketch, and it all started with contour lines to delineate the forms initially. So we had sort of a paint by numbers approach, um, where we are. I'm sorry. I guess closer to a coloring book approach because there were no numbers per se. But you have areas marked off that you know, we're going to be certain things on the compositional plane. So the line work does that for us, after which we used the last tool to fill in those big areas and then start to sculpt those large areas with more texture and lighting and new wants and definition. We talked about brush, economy and light. Ah, the interplay of shadow and light. You know, warm shadows. Then you have cool lights and vice versa. Well, cool shadows equals warm lights. Sunlight tends to yellow things more so in a sunny day, with the sun rays getting around the clouds and through the atmosphere dappled lighting. We know the light always raises the value of something. The brightness that it touch is basically, and the shadows, whether those air cast shadows and object blocking light or form shadows light on an object transitioning into shadow. Then we know that those air going to always be darker and value than in the light. So those are just a couple of really good points you can take away when you move into more of your own landscape paintings or just painting. In general, all those tend to be pretty fundamentally applicability, adding the last few passes of noise here, visual noise in the various areas of the land masses and finally painting out our friend the dog, cause it was just not implemented well the dog becomes part of the landscape now, and that's how it works sometimes. Ah, again, You can't be too precious about anything on the picture playing, even if it is a cute puppy and then we find the hillside a little bit more. 33. 33 Last Look and Review: all right, so welcome to the very last lesson in the landscape painting Siri's. It's been an honor to explain the process and hopefully elucidates some of the elements that make up this particular genre of digital painting and kind of explore some of the fundamentals in a way that makes sense and can be applied pretty straight away so that you can practice them and grow Mawr and Mawr, adept at applying those things again. I'm Taylor Peyton, and I really enjoy not only creating but also demystifying the process. So I truly hope that it's been insightful, at least in some capacity for you. And I appreciate you taking this process and just observing it and watching it to the end. That's no small feat. A lot of people, some people, I'm sure, quit. But you made it. This fire and the rewards are now yours, as long as you actually go out and paint with those rewards. Anyway, this image again took me five hours after the initial 20 minutes sketch and the other 20 minute sketches that followed. You can see there was still room for improvisation along the way, and it waas you know, someone of a matter of trial and error in some cases, which is perfectly fine and part of the process, and things have been polished to a degree now that more would be kind of overworking it in a lot of ways. So it's just about maintaining what you have and not messing that up, doing little subtle things, that air just pushing, pushing it a percentile better. But at this stage, it's not going to get orders of magnitude better. Usually, that'd be like starting a new piece just cause it bears repeating. It's really smart toe work from life and to understand how light works and illuminates everything and try and do these things in isolation. I have painted rocks as still lives. I have gone out and sketched a lot of trees. I've There's no clouds in this particular image, but I've stared at clouds long enough and parse them visually and painted them lots so that even in the thumbnails you could see there was an understanding of how to convey those ideas and the same with water. Everything is just sort of ah, process of problem solving, you know, in a cohesive way, and the more you repeat and understand these things, the better they tend to get. So just keep working at it, continues the search for ways to make it better and better. And you'll find yourself after, you know, months of consistent work did, noting some improvement. So this is essentially the final image here. You can see there's just sort of a scanning checking from side to side and feeling everything out, seeing how it's looking. But I was satisfied at this point. I felt good about how much Polish had gone into it, yet maintained that painterly look. The lighting scenario was pleasing and the materials red. Well, I think the architecture really makes this one has that nice little cash shadow and interesting volumes. So thank you for watching. And be sure to apply everything straight away as much as you can, and you will in time grow into greater and greater ah, prowess. Greater and greater levels of mastery. I'm just taking on adjustment layer here called selective color, pushing things around a little bit in the neutral zone. But that's just a last minute adjustment. Nothing really crazy. Thanks again for watching. I'm Taylor Peyton and I will see you in future lessons. Take care and happy creating