Making of First Light Petals

Making of First Light Petals
Skill Level: Advanced
Used Software: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Corel
Completion Time: 8 hours

“First Light Petals” was a work that sought to integrate some of the inherent peculiarities native to oil painting into a fundamentally digital medium; using computer software and virtual tools to emulate the sensibilities and techniques comprised by the oil-on-canvas aesthetic.


“First Light Petals” was a work that sought to integrate some of the inherent peculiarities native to oil painting into a fundamentally digital medium; using computer software and virtual tools to emulate
the sensibilities and techniques comprised by the oil-on-canvas aesthetic.
As such, a return to several classical ideas on construction, form and color was necessary; tempered to suit the vastly different work environment. There is probably no simple way to describe the process. Forms and details are often decisions made in the midst of things, engaging the artists discretion every step of the way. Apart from the fundamentals of composition, each subject will prove to be its own distinct process.
What could be said generally of it though is that each work must first be a more-or-less concrete idea
before any attempts towards an execution could be made. Art cannot be an accident. Deliberation is a key to the craft and this tutorial is a reflection of this mentality.

STEP 1: Sketch

First you need a solid idea of what you want to paint and do a lot of studies, because painting needs to be planned and nothing happens accidentally.At this point decide of what type of race you want be it Asian or Caucasian, in this case it’s a Caucasian


I don’t usually draw like the others with thin lines and very sketchy feel, I do a mesh like drawing bec that helps me distinguish the depths of the figure (take note of my mesh make it curvy)


And do same for the whole body and make the dress a different color of lines


Considering the colors at the start of the painting is essential so that you can pull the entire piece together. You can place some dummy shadows and lights to help you see how the figure will turn out. See how the mesh helps you develop the curvature of the body.
What type of color scheme I have used? I have used the triad scheme
– Triad
A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.
Triadic color harmonies tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.
To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.


And paint the colors for the entire painting placing some details you that you’ll already know how it would turn up


At this point I usually use the round air brush default in photoshop and I just use some special brushes I make for the effects.
Think of this point sculpting a clay- slowly develop the face. The face is VERY essential for the audience to believe the reality of the painting ruining this stage would sabotage the entire piece…


Develop the highlights carefully remember to place shadows first and make it feel like a traditional painting- like oil painting developing from a darker color to a light value


And play with the opacity and flow of your brush I usually use opacity 25-40 flow to 35-70.And if you feel like your lost always refer or do a reference for the facial features or the placements of the shadows.


At this point develop the curves of the face (remember to flip your painting every now and then so you can judge it from a different perspective – bec looking too long from a single angle distracts you from judging the anatomy of facial anatomy)


And slowly develop the eyes from dark to the white then placing the correct iris always refer from your mesh layer described from the first part


Again paint this stage slowly you can’t just rush this stage


Again build the shadows first using the airbrush and a circular brush on a low opacity and flow.And slowly add some high lights on the face


Zoom as much as you can on developing the eyes- the eyes should be sharper for more realistic feel


Ad adding some blush on the cheeks and nose to the chin would also help for believability


Examine this stage I slowly build the depths of the socket on the eyes- bec the eyes are not flat they lay on a socket on a face- refer from a skull humans have eye sockets


Building the nose is a bit tricky use some airbrushing with low opacity with high flow and use low on low opacity and flow and for the hardness of the nose use some hard ege brush the default ones in photoshop on a medium flow


At this stage I build up the hairs so I can judge on how would she look


Like the nose the ear also has a hard edge look but feels soft use the same settings from the building of the nose ( remember to use real ear reference on this – I have used my own ear and a mirror for this stage)


Examine this stage carefully because the ears also builds up the realistic feel


At this stage I have flipped the painting because I usually start flipped


At this stage I build up the hair according to the wind that I will develop on the sky (like I said all is planned).And I use a hard brush with the setting of 80 flow 80 opacity to airbrush 35 35 flow and opacity.To develop the lips imagine soft and hard bec the lips are not that soft and not that hard


And adding more redness on the face and some more high lights


This is my favorite developing the sky I use a hard brush with medium opacity on the sky. And remember never to get lost on your color restrict yourself on a palate. I use the same color of the skin tone and the dress for the sky.


At this stage duplicate the layer of the sky and do a Gaussian blur on it and duplicate it again and slowly add some softness using your airbrush same options from the face


Examine this picture


And slowly add some depths on the sky using the same brush used from the face


Adding more heavy darker values on the sides of the horizons


And using the hard edge brush again add some light patterns on the sky to develop the wind directions


Again use your airbrush but now use the same setting and brush on your light colors use the highlights on the face for this part. At this point you can see that I just use the same colors from my figure to the sky.


This is a critical stage I now shift to painter for the divine proportion so I can establish the correct proportions for the entire piece – see that blue lines remember to always put you subject to that area
See divine proportions –
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887. Other names frequently used for the golden ratio are the golden section (Latin: sectio aurea) and golden mean. Other terms encountered include extreme and mean ratio,medial section, divine proportion,divine section (Latin: sectio divina), golden proportion, golden cut,golden number, and mean of Phidias.The golden ratio is often denoted by the Greek letter phi, usually lower case (φ).

At least since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing. Mathematicians have studied the golden ratio because of its unique and interesting properties.


And look at the redness of her face it’s the same color on the redness on the sky same values and options on your brush.
And at this stage build the neck and the shoulders. Using airbrush at 35 – 55 opacity and flow of 90-25 lowest.


And look closely as I have done another mesh to help me with the hands


At this point I use my techniques that I have learned from oil painting its glazing- but here in photoshop the glaze I do Is on the layers using same brush options.
What is glazing?
-Glazing: This method of applying translucent layers of paint which is called glazing gives a rich and realistic look to any painting. In this oil painting technique the colors are not blended together before painting. Applying some transparent colors one the top of the other layer of color can make your painting colors more realistic. Glazing method gives a luminescent sheen and natural look to the painting.

See how I glaze the face and the neck area on this step


And slowly building downwards to the arm using the same brush and options but slowly bulding layers upon layers for the glaze effect


Now using a harder brush with the opacity of 100 to 100 flow slowly add some shadows

AND REMEMBER to eye drop the color used on the face


Now this is the tricky part the hands! Always use a reference on painting the hands bec it must be soft yet hard.Remember Renoir quotes?
“When I’ve painted a woman’s bottom so that I want to touch it, then the painting is finished.”
That’s how it needs to be believable to convey the realism of the painting

DONOT rush this stage like the face it is also essential
Use the same bush and options on slowly building the shadows first

And going to the semi light parts


And now build the under shadows for the hands to define the depth – remember to refer from your mesh and reference – any reference will do even your own hands


At this stage do another layer and paint on the nails make sure it is very subtle


And building from the hands to the arms and to the left bicep same techniques on the brush and building of glaze on the different layer

And add some redness from the face to the arms

And refine much more the shadows and the softness of the skins

And examine this stage I have built another mesh for her lower arm to help me decide the curvature of the skin


Eye drop the same colors on the other arm and using the same opacity as before slowly build the skin


And see that I always bring up the redness to uniform on the face.And adding more shadow details on the arm using. Hard brush 90 opacity 100 flow


And slowly build some high lights on the arm referencing from the colors of your face – never get lost of your color.


Now this is not really needed but I want to establish the legs so I can determine the drapery of her dress
Same options but a bit less detailed


Now using an air brush with opacity of auto on photoshop cs 5 I now paint the backgrounds of the rye


This is just the base color for the background – color pick the rye it is also the same as the skins


Now on another layer I layout a simple color sketch of the cloth one her back
Suing 80 80 opacity flow


And another layer covering her leg and establishing the drapes


And adding some dummy high lights on the dress just to keep in mind the light source

And adding more dummy shadows as well on the dress


Now this is the tough part painting the rye one by one ( always use a reference on painting the rye or grass) brush used – air brush 80 80 opacity and flow


And slowly define the bristles using the same options of the brush indicated


Do the same technique on the other side…. Never rush this part!


A little dubs on the top make it believable as a contrast on the dark sky


And on another layer build some shadows on the lower part of the grass

Examine this close up

and add some white dubs on the top layer to add some effects of some bloom


On another layer build the shadows of the cloth SLOWLY pull the shadows down and another layer for the semi light parts


And duplicate the layer and do a Gaussian blur on top


On this stage I now plan to paint the dress ALWAYS use a real dress for reference of the drapes

On the same brush setting add some redness and some shadows on another layer

And on another layer build more shadows on the top

And adding some shadows on the arm part and on the sides to establish the depth

See the close ups

And zoom out to check the dress if the color is uniform on the palette used


And add another layer on the adding of the shadows of the dress

Make it darker so you can easily pull the highlights off later

At this stage put some bloom on the sides of the arms and dress
What is bloom? – Bloom (sometimes referred to as light bloom or glow) is a computer graphics effect used in computer games, demos andhigh dynamic range rendering (HDR) to reproduce an imaging artifact of real-world cameras. The effect produces fringes (or feathers) of light around very bright objects in an image.
The physical basis of bloom is that, in the real world, lenses can never focus perfectly. Even a perfect lens will convolve the incoming image with an Airy disc (the diffraction pattern produced by passing a point light source through a circular aperture) Under normal circumstances, these imperfections aren’t noticeable, but an intensely bright light source will cause the imperfections to become visible. As a result, the image of the bright light appears to bleed beyond its natural borders.

Here is a close up

At this stage add some shadows to separate the arms from the dress


And on another layer add some dummy highlights and shadows for the lower dress

Now again changing to painter use the blending tool water rake and grainy blender to blend the lower dress

and some “ just add water blender on the sides”


And going back to photoshop duplicate the layer and add some Gaussian blur effect on top and erasing some parts on the sides

And on another layer slowly add more shadows on the drapes – remember your reference


Now the fun part duplicate the layer and use liquefy tool to achieve the softness of the cloths BUT never get too carried away with the tool

And again add another layer for some more shadows

And on another layer – remember how you did the grass and rye? Add another on the top of her dress for depth

Same on the other side be patient just enjoy the process never rush the painting


Here are some close up of the grass and rye

And for more depth effect add more blur grass and rye on the top of the piece


Now add another layer and add some white hair the brush used is the same airbrush with options 60 opacity and 40 flow – to add some HDR kinda effect
What is HDR? – high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight.
The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple photographs, the latter of which in turn are individually referred to as low dynamic range (LDR) or standard dynamic range (SDR)photographs.
Tone mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.


Now adding another layer on top of the white hair add some brown strands that is uniform with the wind direction but remember to not completely cover the whites

And on another layer adding more strands on the top of the whites


And on another layer on top add some lighter strands on the hair
Remember the setting same setting here aswell

And adding another bloom effect on another layer on the sides of her hair


And add another bloom effect on the sides of her dress on another layer
 Setting for blooms are same as your low setting on the face w/c is 35 opacity and 35 flow


And on another layer add some penetrating lights under the clouds to add some drama remember to refer from real clouds about this effect
Now going to light room 3 to post process the colors


Pull out the vibrance and the lightness of the piece
The final image

Brushes used on skins and dress


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  • Harvey “soulspline” Bunda also known as H.N.Bunda on his paintings is a comic book artist, concept artist and painter, he specializes on visual narrative work on his comic clients and also mixes his outstanding oil painting skills to digital media.

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