Illustrative Photobashing: Creating a Character Portrait | Hillary McMillan | Skillshare

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Illustrative Photobashing: Creating a Character Portrait

teacher avatar Hillary McMillan, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.



    • 2.

      Finding Stock Images


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Creating a Base in Photoshop: Part 01


    • 5.

      Creating a Base in Photoshop: Part 02


    • 6.

      Create a Focal Point with Layer Masks


    • 7.

      Color Balancing


    • 8.

      Using Texture and Color to Add Details


    • 9.

      Using Photos to Create Realism


    • 10.

      Final Detailing


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About This Class

In this class we will cover how to use stock photos, photo filters, textures, and Photoshop to create an intriguing and unique character portrait.  By the end of this class, students will have learned how to find, choose, and manipulate images to create a “painted” look in a digital illustration.

Students will take the skills learned in this class to create their own character portrait.

Students going into this class should have intermediate Photoshop knowledge.  In particular, students should be thoroughly familiar with Photoshop blending modes, layer masks, the liquify tool, and transformation tools. 

Tools Needed:

  • Adobe Photoshop (any version)
  • Digital drawing tablet
  • An account on (free to make and use)

Meet Your Teacher

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Hillary McMillan


Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to illustrative photo bashing. My name is Hillary McMellon and I'm a 2017 illustration graduate from Ringling College of Art and Design, and I have five years of freelance illustration experience in this class. I'll show you how to find and select stock photos to manipulate into an illustration. The goal isn't photo realism. In fact, quite the opposite will be taking advantage of happy accidents and imperfecta textures to create a more stylized look to our illustration. I want to help expand your horizons to the many possibilities of photo bashing and how it can be used quickly and creatively to bring a concepto life. Your class project will be to utilize the techniques we go over to photo, bash your own character portrait and share what you've learned in the process. Let's dive in. 2. Finding Stock Images: I just want to go over stock images and textures and where you can find stocks to use in your photo bashing. Ah, the main stock that I use in this tutorial is by star stargazer on deviant art. And this is Thea Atlantis, the sunken beauty portrait, and it's a really fantastic stock. When you look for stock, you really one of the best things to look for is very direct, almost Ambien and ive even lighting. So you don't want the image to be super dark in some areas, and that could be important for some photo edits. But in general, because we're going to be creating a lot of our own lighting, it's really useful to have an image that's just very evenly let no really deep shadows or super bright light sources. Now I also use thes textures, and I'll also go over where I find these textures. And these textures were mainly found on public domain pictures dot net, And this is a fantastic resource that I don't know if a lot of people realize how great it is, but it's a fantastic resource for finding stock images and textures, and these are all images there in the public domain, meaning there's no rights attached to them. You can use them for whatever you want. You can use them as is. You can photo, bash, thumb, whatever. And it has. Now I find this site is best used for finding textures here. I just clicked on something on its front page, and that's a fantastic texture just right there something random that I found. But you can also search for something. Let's see when we search for pumpkin and there you go pumpkins for all of your photo bashing, stock picture and the AIDS. And like I said, this is it. Public domain pictures dot net is a fantastic resource, and I recommend, you know, using it to it's full capabilities, like searching for images you might need. And that is also where I found this fantastic texture that will be using and also this one , which is one of the main textures they also use now. Where I found the stock image was actually on deviant art, and I don't think a lot of people realize that deviant art has a fantastic stock image community, and these people are amazing. The folks that create stock images on the site. Ah, lot of them. It's completely free, and they do this for free for people. And it's really fantastic, um, to start looking at stock images. Just go to the drop down menu here says all content. Click on that and just click on Resource. And you can find all kinds of stock images that people have put together. Textures, ah, models, all kinds of stuff. And here I am going Teoh search. Let's see, I just want to show you some of the stock images that you confined here and here. It shows you all of the deviations and click view all. Then you can filter thus by type, induce drop down menus and you wanna click resource. And these are all stock images that people have taken. And you want to make sure that you look at what rights but rights the stock artist has for this image. And usually they have them posted in the image description or on their main page, and you just need to read that and be careful of how you use the images and make sure you're adhering to the models specifications. Um, like I said, a lot of these people do this stuff for free, and the least you can do is respect the stock artist by following their rules. Sometimes they would like you to link them. The image, the final image you've created. Ah, lot of times they want direct credit and your in your artwork, but just make sure that you're following the rules. But as I've said, deviant are is a fantastic resource for finding stock images. And, ah, highly right recommend browsing around this, this community, the stock community and deviant art. Now, another resource that I'm sure most people know about is the marketplace on art Station. And I have bought quite a few things in the marketplace on art station, including brushes and textures. Now I've used this kit bash brush brushes for photo shop. I've used it, this one, and I actually use this in the tutorial on illustrated photo bashing. I use one of their brushes, but this is also a fantastic resource, and I recommend browsing through the art station marketplace. There's brushes, tutorials, all kinds of stuff that is extremely useful 3. Deepart: Now, before we dive into photo shop, I have one last thing to go over, and that is the extremely useful website Deep art dot io. Now it is free to create an account on Deep Part, and you'll need to do so for this tutorial. And Deep Art is basically a website that uses analog, a rhythm Teoh bash. Images kind of mush them together. It takes a photograph or an art worker. You can use basically whatever, and what will be doing is will be running stock images and images that we photo bashed. Just the raw photography will be running that through, um, through deep art. And really, you get some absolutely fantastic stuff when you do this. Ah, lot of happy accidents. You never know quite what you're going to get or how it will end up looking. And right here you can use whatever images to run through that you want. You can use other folks, is artwork. Ah, classic paintings, modern digital painters. You can use textures. You can use other photographs, and I encourage you to play around with this because you really end up with some interesting textures and colors and shapes. When you do this here, you can see a piece that I'm currently working on. This was a three D model that I rendered in Dodd's studio, and then I painted over it. And then I ran it through deep art using this artwork, and it ended up really interesting. I like the texture of the harness on here, but again, it's free to use. And they do. When you do have a free account, they ah, put your image in the queue so it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to if they're really busy an hour to finish bashing the image, basically, and for me, that's never bad problem. But if you want it done faster, you can pay. Like I think it's about a dollar or $2 to get it done, basically in 15 minutes. But I've never done that personally. And, um, you do when you run these through, you get see, you get some, Really, you never know what you're gonna get. You get some cool stuff and some really weird stuff, too. But it's fantastic for, um, for bashing the image and just starting with a bay says you'll see. But, um, you do get an extremely low resolution image. It's like 72 d p. I. For the purposes of this tutorial, you do not need ah, high resolution image because this is just a textural base that we're going to be painting over and using as just the starting point. We're not using this image of, ah finished thing so you can if you so desire by an HD and oh, wow, they really raise their prices on that. Yeah, um, I didn't realize how expensive it had gotten to do that, but yeah, you do not have Teoh by an HD file for this at all, but you can if you want to, But I just You don't have to for the purposes of this tutorial. Now, when you create an account, you can go to my images and let's just I'll show you what I'm talking about. Like how to submit a photo. You click on, submit a new photo you can upload from your computer, But I'm just gonna use an image that I've already run through. Let's use this. This is a, uh, figure model, a sort of ball joint joint doll from deviant are a stock foot of a Baldwin joint doll. And here's some styles that I've already used all kinds of stuff in here. And here's Here's some textures that I've used and you can see There's a lot of other folks is artwork in here that I've used and some classic paintings and some modern ones as well. But let's use let's use a super, um, kind of traditional painting. I think this is Ah Sargent painting here and see what we get. Like I said, it is very, very, uh, hit or miss, but you get a lot of happy accidents, and as you can see, this will be done in about 20 minutes, and I'm going to go ahead and make this private. If you keep it as public, it will show up in departs stream of photographs. The finished piece will show up in departs stream of photographs that people have been doing, and it really doesn't matter. I prefer that. Keep them private, but you can do whatever you'd like. We got we'll come back in about 20 minutes and I'll show you what we got. Okay, so after about 20 minutes, this is what deep part came up with, and this is actually a really interesting result after running it through what I believe is a sergeant painting, and I could be wrong about that. But like I said, I will be. When you use the is, we don't need a high resolution file. This is about 72 d. P. I and we Onley need the low resolution image because we're just using it for texture and shapes and color. But, um, yeah, As you experiment with finding different stock images and running them through depart, be sure to just try a bunch of different stuff like try different paintings, textures. Just experiment as much as you can, because these can be a bit unpredictable. But you also end up with fantastic happy accidents. So really, keep in mind what you're trying to go for with your character portrait, and I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. I'll see you in photo shop 4. Creating a Base in Photoshop: Part 01: Well, everyone and welcome Teoh This tutorial when you find get into the shop and here all I'm doing is opening up the original soccer mooch and called the de Arte Engines that I created . And one of the first things that I do to create a unique base is Teoh. Play around with adjustment. There's blending modes and a lot of times use overlay at screen or soft light, and you can you'll be able to see this. And so the shop I'll. But I will later these on top of each other and just play around with opacity and rare blending those. So I'm getting a textual based where I concert paper costs us. And what I'm really looking for here is just to create yeah, basis I campaign over. I'm not looking for, you know, a perfect image or something that's, you know, really refined. I'm literally just mashing pains together until I find something that I say. Oh, I can, you know, start painting ever bills, and a lot of times I'll just put right here and also, like e original sacks a little over everything so I can always go back here and check portions or check. You know any areas of White House, you know, straight too far out of my reference. So it's getting a little wonky, and I've created a new layer on top of my base where now I'm just refined, starting to refine things as I is I and staying varies invalid. We'll see that I don't start steaming and until very, very far into the process. And the reason for that is especially river digital painting. It's so easy to get fall down details and wages in you can start, you know, focusing on. And I were a strand of hair on a little detail on just completely forget the rest of your image, and the image ends up looking extremely disjointed. So I highly like a home saying, zoomed out and using bigger brushes, lock in those sheets and just start Buhari. But things I know plenty of times is, is then and get all fiddling with it. Yeah, um, like I said, with these images, I very rarely have Ah plan. When it comes to this stuff, I kind of just win it and we'll let my imaginations and take me anywhere it wants to be all of these our imagines, he sort of experimenting on your head you're and what that becomes. Quite a theme. Later, you'll see that I kind of mess around with head a lot. But I want there had her to look like. And again I'm flipping back and forth that top layer, which is, um, the original soft photo. I'm turning that off on just to make sure I'm not getting too weird with the anatomy. Of course, I want to bring my own stylization in Jewish, but got to make sure that they're not. You didn't shoot your beautiful face. And with this image, the face is the lightest part of it. There's the most contrast installing the face so it really has to look good, the lightest area of the image, all the rest of the areas of darker the hair clothing background. So you want your eyes immediately dropped buffets. So that's why you want that Teoh just extremely on points 5. Creating a Base in Photoshop: Part 02: at this point, Really Be careful. Like I said, that you're not able down in detail and you're really just playing around and refining the big sheets. What you want those larger shades to look work right now? This is how I worked at a non destructively I call it, um, I will put layers at a certain point and where kind of create a save point. Then I copy that group and the copy. I emerged the entire group. I right click on the group and I just loaned the entire thing. So now I have a new Basij was I know turn off the visibility on the group. I still have it that way. I school have that group, that sort of save point that I created, And then on top of that, I have you stuff that I'm being together. I do that when I'm about to do something. That's kind of kind of like Major is changing the illustration or it's something about its chairman's in love because I might not like it, and I just still need it. In what way? I'm not destroying the entire energy, entire progress of the image. I can always go back to that same problems. I just felt like what I've gone. But you'll see you doing that throughout you. Process a rule, you know, once I get to a certain point, maybe five layers. And so I will create a group and then create a copy of that group on top and emerged that copy. Right now, I'm just defining the clothing. I really enjoy doing Geometric, he says. He's really geometric and structural low there. You'll see me playing around some more with a headwear. I just could not decide what to do with it. Beginning, I was very unsure. Huck, I I have fiddle around with it a lot and the upcoming and some upcoming segments, and I actually just edited that out because I just don't keep it. So there is some parts of I've edited out of the video because it's just me messing around and there's nothing relevant. So if you see it jumps, that's why. Don't worry. I haven't just haven't gotten rid of anything in court, just you making horrible headwear decisions and I just like I said, I'm painting directory on like I just with color. One of the reasons why I love this method so much. Is it really gives is, um, interesting color palette is you get a lot, so many happy accidents And I never would have thought that color there, but just work so well so you can just color pick right in and use them in the pain. Over here I am ringing texture and and I used texture, unify imagenes where it will look similar and rendering so that texture on top. It will also bring the image together with a single color like a color block. And I will use blending modes. I will usually but a texture over on, you know, overlay or soft light lower that a passage age, whatever one, and it just brings the entire image together. 6. Create a Focal Point with Layer Masks: So now I'm using a layer mask to erase out some of the object Some of that shape that I put over because I still want the face to be visible. I don't want, uh, shape to overwhelm the face. I'm erasing out of it using a mask. Now, I'm just playing with that background again by throwing a layer on top. And I put this on top of the texture because I want it. I wanted to affect the texture to I want I want the collar just like texture. And I'm sort of creating a vignette. I doing us again. I lower the opacity a lot on those shapes because I wanted to come across is more of a texture become mean peace and, uh, illustration Okay, that color layer that layer that I just put over everything and did, uh, then yet around I use ah Gaussian blur a use Gaussian blur. Teoh blurt out and it creates a fantastic Yeah, because I don't want people's I going outside of the frame. I want everything to focus on the face, just creating some background elements and cause I really like structural things. Using the select tool the library because I can just quickly create shapes. Never be afraid to, like, crop your image if you figure out like, hey, this is look better. If it wasn't as big, never be afraid to just stop it. So at this point, I'm starting to get a little bit closer because I realized, Oh, yeah, there's a face that I have to have to block out. And what's great about Portrait's is obviously, you want the focus to be on the face, and the faces are the most fun to render, in my opinion, but they are also the most difficult for me. I have the most trouble painting faces, so you'll see me refer to the reference on top of a lot and what's great again about this technique. You can then create a layer mask on that top reference photo, and I inverted the layer mass so I can go in and I can paint with White and that mask that master that I've inverted and like, Hey, I want more Dittemore photographic detail in this area or that area. I can go in and paint, paint the image into my into my illustration, and I can use low opacity, a low capacity brush, and it can be so subtle so you can just go in and get really subtle photographic detail. Yeah, again, you just have the stock image on top and you create a layer mask and then you hit on Mac. It's command I on the layer mask and that inverts the layer mask. So now everything is blacked out. So you go in with white and you paint where you want the photographic detail to show up. You paint that on and white. It's really a fantastic technique. Again, I'm doing that group. Layer that group save point thing again. Now you'll notice I did not emerge those textures. 7. Color Balancing: That's because I want everything that I do just still be affected by those textures. I am painting everything with those textures on top, and here you'll see me mess around with the liquefy tool, which is pretty good. For some reason, it was acting up on me and it wouldn't show up in the preview, So I would, you know, use the liquefy jewel Jews they like making I bigger like I'm doing here, but it wouldn't Children preview. I had Teoh no, apply it and then go look in the actual image to see what it had just done. I don't know why it was doing that again. I'm finally starting to zoom in a bit, but and still keeping my distance. I you know, I'm very careful about getting too detailed too quick, because it can really mess up in, in and especially a digital painting. Um, one thing I think that kind of plagues digital art is over rendering, and it's and I think it's really just cause it's so easy to do. You can just get stuck in one area and sometimes I see these images and it's just like everything is so detailed. Just Honestly, it's unnecessary. Um, one thing that I learned is you can get away with rendering one small area, usually the area you want people to focus on the most like in this one, the face you can get away with, rendering that very well. And it'll trick people's I and you filling in, uh, detail in the rest of the image because our brains automatically want to still in details. So if you you can get away, actually, which not rendering everything? Because humans, our brains, naturally want to fill in the rest of the image. Our brains make pictures automatically, and just our brains wanna fill in the rest of the D table. And this is when I think my color start being a little muddy and you'll see me correct us later. But it's like I said, it's very easy to dio when you're working with this technique. So be careful about getting your colors muddy and always sort of go back, play with color balance and see check out those other you know, the previous group group images that you have those groups, those groups like eternal. If everything except you know, the first group player and see where your colors originally. One. And you can use that as a sort of based color balance everything again, using the select tool to get really sharp lines again. I really like structure and clothing. I tend to draw clothing. Very geometric, very structured. And really, at this point, you see, I believe that much starts to really take shape. I have an idea of what the background is supposed to look like, very textured. And with that Gaussian blur, then yet that I'm messing around with again. I really like I don't know why, but I really like layers, layers of shapes. 8. Using Texture and Color to Add Details: and you'll see how, if you're bad with faces. Hot tip. I don't not look at your reference for a very long time, which is what I did. And another really great thing about this technique. If you feel like you need more texture, more detail. And again I really loved this. How this deep are kowtow ended up. That's what I dio is I you back and I put the entire thing low opacity, normal, normal mode, low capacity. I put it over my entire illustration, except for the vignettes and the texture. And again I use that layer mask. I don't invert it this time, but so I'm painting and the black in the areas like built wanted to show up. As I found the areas where I really wanted that texture depart texture. I really liked the effect it had on the hair. It made their hair sort of look very watery. Very like, almost like the sun is drifting through the water and landing on their clothing and hair just creates this really nice affect not just the hair but the entire background image I painted out of be faced because again, I want my face to be very clear, very wrong. Here, layer masts are your friend in this technique for sure. If anyone didn't know, I think most of the people who are watching us toe hitori no house and make like a mask. But it's, uh, the button in the lower right hand. Part of the screen is a square, a gray square with a dark grey circle in the middle. You just click that while you know you hear that next task. So this is the point where I thought the image was done. But then I realized this phase. There's something just off the phase. I have somehow managed Teoh straight, very far from what I want it. So it's always good. In my opinion, when you sink, an image is done. Were you thinking images done just stock and leave it alone for like a day or even a day or two, and usually you will you will figure out, Oh, there's something else that I'm Is there something you to correct? And again because I also figured, Oh, the hair got muddy. It's not his vibrant red isn't wanted, so I go in with some red just paint into the hair on a blending layer. Leave thoughts. Think it's an overly I go in there with the red and I also warm up. The face is the face. Yeah, we're going to focus on the base for a while now. Trust me, I am very bad phases. So I really have to focus and use a reference for phases because it's one of my weak points is an artist. So I really have to work at it again. Like that's what's so great about reading before, you know, officially finish an image or post anywhere is you will catch things that you thought were done. But then on a second there, looking like oh, that is not finished, it'll I have to fix us. 9. Using Photos to Create Realism: and again, just going in there and creating some more deaths. Hair by adding shadows. And it's what I always do, cause texture plays. Such an important role of my work is I will go back in and play around the texture, the connection. Everything that I have on top is unifying the image. And again, you can just create a blank liar and color. Fill it with whatever color you want to use to unify the image and use that paint bucket. You'll just fill the whole thing. Play around with the capacity and blending mode, and you've got the same effect, but not a lot of texture if you're not a texture person, but it's really useful if you're playing around with a bunch of colors. Teoh, in my opinion, use a color block either with a texture or just plain field. Liar at you Unify the peace And again, what is my mistake here? I am not looking at the reference. I am just messing around and not using a reference for the face, and I realized that mistake later on, and I pull up a reference. But it's amazing the difference that the reference can make and I always tell people using references It's not cheating. It's not, you know, a cop out. It's a tool that artists have always used since the beginning of art, especially after photography was invented. And it just brings your piece to the next level. Zara's realism and all right believability goes, Of course, there's always using your own style, too. Translate the realism, and that's what harbor a jinx them just painting a realistic image is stylized, not image. And oh yeah, flip your canvas. Mm, yeah, I go to edit And I believe it's transform image and flip the canvas horizontally because you will catch every mistake you've ever made again. I'm using some more photo bashing to fix the space. So this is extremely useful and putting it on top. And just I don't even have Teoh use a different London mode. I can just put it on normal and not texture is unifying that photo right end to my illustration like I don't have to do not much fixing so right now to fix the face I'm using Dr Bash, I'm just painting over and adjusting Soto, you how I want a piece to be stylized one, uh, painting over the features, especially the area, because I like really big eyes. Very well. Influence like anime when it comes to you, join and painting eyes so I usually make them quite a bit bigger again. I just take that I and it walk it in right over my illustration and I start painting in the changes I want. They can make it bigger. I I had a bit more highlight of it while bluntness to it, and the textures and layers are doing so much work to unify it so you don't have to spend all your time paint game. 10. Final Detailing: here, you can see me Starting to play around with the futures is at this point all I do from here on out is refined the face because I definitely realized that the face was not where I wanted it. Today and here I use a lot of the war being tool to play around with the shapes of futures . Of course, I have my reference to the right. What I really want to do with us is just make sure I have some elements of realism because those small elements of just making sure your proportions are correct, they hope. Bring the piece toe life as you still want that stylization. But you just you don't want it so far removed from Acura Anatomy. That just doesn't look right, because humans we look at faces pretty much every day. We work acumen. Jason is it's nothing that we see the most. So when we look at artwork, we immediately know if something is wrong with days, our brain just immediately guns. Wait, that's not right. So when you're doing something like a portrait, you really need to make sure you're getting the face right. Just played around with tones here the I at this point, what I dio is I bring in the reference I cut out the I bring and I really like how this ended up because what I do is I just drop it in there and I still paid and I'm moving around with work tool. No use Wondering knows once again just stay there. No, the I into arrested a picture. And I think that really added great touch of realism. Like I said, I'm very much by and so I tend to do this. I was the eyes the most. I also like to very defined lives at one point, because I have my work states tiled vertically. If you go up into a window and that drop down menu, then hit a range, what does is you can tile war one news and shop Brickley Evil is ultimately if your other ways and I like to tile them vertically because it just puts the reference right in front, right side by side. So you could really get a handle on the proportions, and I also zoom in which image the same percentage. So then I can bring down the guidelines of future damage. They match up so I can use those guidelines as sort of a. What I do is I used some sort of a So I'm lying up guy players with each image side by side and zoomed in Teoh the same person pigeons on each window. Basically, it gives me a grid bathroom of checking my proportions. Make sure knows lines up and the eyes, just making sure that I'm not too far off because I want to Silas everything. But I also just, you know, like I said, add realism and make sure it's not too far off. So I'm getting towards the end of this image and really thank you for following along with me on. I can't just see everyone's projects. You sure you're finding good reference images and crediting the bottles and just find some textures and fly around on depart? There's literally so many different options what you can dio with these tools, and I hope that this has been a really informative lesson. I hope you really learned something in terms. Have your eyes of them to new possibilities with passion. Really think more people should know about this? Nothing and holiday just ways you can use to create an image. So I can't wait to see everyone's projects. Not just we've a J. Paige or NGF Village. The project section up of your PST files. If you want, I will be uploading the one for this and the project Viol sections. You can see all of my different layers and, uh, and a different layer one DeVos that I used in the past site use. So feel for you to check that out and see exactly what you there other than that. Just know how fun I can't wait to see everyone's projects. And you Sure you like. I'm great. I peroration color balance your image. Correct your colors. Make sure things don't get buddy. It was great having everyone and I will see you next time.