Step 3. Adding Highlights
The next new layer is the basic highlight layer for the skin. I’ve kept it pretty dull as I didn’t want to make the skin really shiny or wet looking. Areas like the tongue and eye which are wet have more highlights.
Zoom in to areas that you want to make "pop out" gradually build up the highlight area.
I'm using white to create the highlights today. If I wanted to add more realism I would add a bit of colour to it. A lot of people will say white is a BIG no-no! The reason why you can get away with it however is because you are creating very low opacity highlights so some colour of the original layers comes through.
If you look at the more close up image above you can see that highlight lies on the right side of the bumps and lumps of the creature consistently.
If you feel your highlights are too sharp...use Blur >> Gaussian Blur. If you have finished your highlights you can try lowering the opacity of the highlight layer or duplicating the highlight layer to see what it would look like more intense. Experimentation is the key sometimes.
When you are happy with the highlights you are ready for the next stage. Step 4. Adding the Wow Factor >>
Step 4. Adding the Wow Factor
In essence this is the Sarah Lee Pastry technique. We create "layer upon layer upon layer".
An easy way to make the image richer and give it a bit more depth is to duplicate the original shaded layer and to colourize it. This can serve a double purpose and give the skin a translucent look also. The image below left is what we have and the image below right is the result of our second colourized "Shaded" layer.
First obviously, duplicate the "shaded" layer. I named this new layer "Transluence_Red".
Image >> Adjustments >> Hue/Saturation
THE IMPORTANT THING TO DO, SEEN AS THIS LAYER IS BLACK AND WHITE, IS TO CHECK THE COLOURIZE BOX. Otherwise your adjustments won't work.
I use both hue and saturation and sometimes the lightness too. The colour balance is another that can be helpful to do minor tweaks, it's actually really good to get into the habit of using that. I use it quite a bit at work for colour correcting.
Next (the image above left) I gave the tongue a bit more colour. I just duplicated the transulent red layer and erased all but that area. See the image of my layer palette below.
I then created a layer to add a few more highlights for the eye and tongue to give it more of a wet look and to help bring them out a bit more.
In the image below you can see there are more cooler tones. I did this by duplicating the translucent red layer again I erased sections and changed the colour to something a little cooler. This purple/blue gives the impression of a fill light and helps to give a bit more depth.
On the final page of this tutorial we will add a background and experiment with altering the colour of the existing layers.
Step 5. Background and Colour Experimentation
In the image below you can see the background I created. It consists of a basic stone texture with a hotspot added to force the main subject to the front.
To create the stone texture background...
Duplicate the gradient layer. Then go into the channels tab.
Create a new alpha (you can name this stone or whatever) and apply a difference cloud filter
Filter >> Render >> Difference Cloud
ctrl f will keep applying the filter until you get something you like.
You can apply a noise filter if you like, not too much though because it can get too grainy looking.
Now back in your layer palette click on the duplicated gradient layer (make it active).
Add the light Filter >> Render >> Lighting Effects
On the left you can see the image and it has an ellipse around it. You can grab the points on the ellipse and move it around the image. One point projects a light source, the tighter the circle the brighter it will become. Try and get the ellipse to surround the whole image without burning it out. BEFORE YOU CLICK OK...
At the bottom of the Lighting Effects Menu there is a dropdown that is Texture Channel. Make sure you select "Alpha 1" (or whatever you named the new alpha you created). You will see the image on the left change to a stoney look.
Then all you have to do is adjust the mountainous slider to your liking.
Easy huh? You can play around with the settings but I just used the defaults. Once this is done I used the dodge and burn tool to brighten and darken areas but it's not really necessary.
If you look closely at the layer palettes below you can see that I have altered the hue/saturation/brightness of various layers to achieve the different results. By keeping your colour work on seperate layers you can virtually alter every aspect of the final look.
So that's it!
I hope you enjoyed this digital colouring tutorial and maybe even learnt something new along the way.