Hi everyone, this tutorial will help you create a digital painting from a photo in Photoshop. Very few digital painting beginners have the ability to create digital paintings without spending too much time on experimenting various techniques. If you have got a camera, it will be easy for you to make your own digital painting in Photoshop by using your own creative photos.

For this tutorial I will be using a Wacom graphic tablet, a photo by Sander van der Wel I found on Flickr. You can view the photo by clicking on this link: Sparrows Feeding

The other resources I have used in this tutorial are free grunge textures set you can find here: Download Texture set


Okay, before we get started let me show you the results this tutorial will generate. Here is the final picture!

 Final Result

Step 1

Open your photo in Photoshop. In this case I downloaded this photo in its original size and opened it in Photoshop. It’s time to get started with making the sketch. Keeping the photo as background layer locked, start creating a line sketch by selecting a soft round brush with the Transfer and Airbrush presets chosen.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2

This is how you the sketch looks.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3

Create a new layer below the Sketch layer and name it ‘Background’.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4

Now we will create three different coloured layers using brush tool. Choose any three colors that you like and with a round brush selected make blobs of those colors around the birds we see here. This will create a soft background. The brush settings and colors are shown in pictures below. Note that I have hidden the sketch and image layers. Doesn’t matter if you keep it hidden or on.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5

Now we will create a Fill layer below the sketch layer and start filling by picking colors from the birds in photo. Use color picker “I” to select colors from the two birds and fill up the birds using a soft round brush with the following settings.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 6

After the two birds are filled with soft colors, choose dodge tool and start applying it on the areas that I have circled in the picture 2 below.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 7

Next, select the Burn tool and start applying it on the areas shown in circles in the picture below.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

Step 8

We may see some gaps in between the painted areas, we need to fill up those areas so we will select a soft round brush, create a new layer and fill it up with a color that would not be too dark or too light for the birds. See the below pictures to have an idea of what to do next. Set the opacity of the brush to 75%.

Digital Painting Photoshop Tutorial

This is how it would look after we have filled up the Background Fill layer.

 Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 9

Turn on all the layers and use the following settings for them.

Fill Background layer, Blending Mode = Color Dodge, Opacity = 58%

1st Background layer, Blending Mode = Color Dodge

2nd Background layer, Blending Mode = Lighten

3rd Background layer, Blending Mode = Lighten

Move the Sketch layer to top and turn its Blending Mode to Screen.Leave the Fill layer as it is.

This is how it would look.

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 10

Next step is placing the texture image on top of the rest of the layers. Blending Mode = Color Burn and Opacity = 50%

You can use any of the textures found in the texture set, I used the fifth texture image named greyscale_natural_grunge5.jpg

Here is the outcome

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 11

Create a Gradient Fill layer on top of the texture layer and choose a transparent top to colored bottom gradient. Use the following settings and color for the gradient.

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 12

Set the gradient fill’s Blending Mode to Color Burn and Opacity = 50%

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 13

Add some noise with the following settings. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise > Uniform

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

 Step 14

Add some lighting effects to the same layer. Go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects and follow the same settings as shown below.

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Step 15

To give this painting a finishing touch, lets add a frame to the image. I used three empty rectangles with a gradient stroke of two colors. Choose colors of your own liking and move them a little to create an interesting look.

Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

Choose all layers and select Merge Visible to merge all the layers. This is up to you. You may not like change it makes in the result, so you can keep the image as it is and save it as JPEG.


Photoshop Digital Painting Tutorial

This is how our digital painting would look like in the end. So, you see how easy it is to create a digital painting with a photo. Try this and let me know if it helped you! If you liked the tutorial, don’t forget to share it with everyone!

Create Digital Painting in Photoshop

 

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