Hello and welcome to another episode of ConsumeCreate.
In this video I want to share a super simple technique I’ve recently developedfor drawing much more realistic hair using Photoshop.
The technique will probably workfor most digital art programs, but it does help significantly if you have a digitizingtablet such as a wacom.
So, to start I’ll be demonstrating thison top of an image I finished recently, but before I started using this technique.
Hereyou’ll see my Power Girl image, and as it stands the hair is so-so, but is nowhere nearrealistic.
It borders on chunky and stylized.
The great thing about the tip I’m goingto show you is that it can work directly on top of any current process you already use.
It isn’t something that needs to be done right from the start.
It is completely additive,and in fact, I recommend doing it last.
Now, you will want the hair to be mostly blockedout and to have the major areas shaded.
As we’ll use these areas of light and darkto inform how we shade in our next steps.
Start by making a new empty layer on top ofyour current hair.
Then select your brush tool, and modify the brush settings so thatyour tablet pen-pressure is tied to the brush tip size.
Make the brush 100% hard (or near100%), and disable any opacity or flow controls – we want them to be at 100% so only the sizeof the brush can vary.
Increase the maximum brush size to the widthof what I’m going to call a “lock” of hair.
We are going to lay locks of hair directlyon top with our brush.
Start with a solid colour around the midrange of the hair’scolour.
Then just begin strategically drawing locks, following the general form of the hair.
This is where you get to decide how cleanor messy these locks are.
They can swing wildly away from the major shapes, or can followthem closely depending on the look you are going for.
Just keep placing them until youhave a reasonable amount of coverage.
Use reference if you want to compare to actualhair.
I recommend not overlapping these locks as it will make subsequent steps harder.
Ifyou want denser locks, make a new layer so that none overlap.
Now, the second step is adding another layeron top.
This is for what I call “strands”.
Decrease the size of your brush until it isthe width of either a single hair, or a very small group of hair.
How small depends onyour preference, but generally real hair is so thin it is hard to go too small.
Start laying in these small strands in thesame way as the locks.
I find the silhouette of your character is of the most importancewhen it comes to these small strands because it is where strands will stand out and havethe biggest impact on how the hair looks.
Again, continue until you have a decent amountof coverage.
Having these strands overlap is less important because shading them lateris a little simpler than the locks.
Once your “strand” and “lock” layersare blocked in to your satisfaction, lock the layer transparency and change your brushto a regular shading brush – I use a ‘soft round’ with pen pressure tied to flow andopacity.
Go over your lock layer with the major shading- this part can be made easier by colour sampling from your existing hair.
You don’t haveto match the shading of the hair below exactly, and indeed shouldn’t match it exactly – youwant it to be similar, but also take into account the locks position is slightly differentthan the hair below.
Do the same general shading for the strandslayer.
For it this shading should be all it needs.
Once you’ve done that, I like to add somedetail to my locks layer.
I use a small-ish brush with pen pressure tied to both brushsize, and opacity.
With quick back and forth strokes I lay in some detail – switching coloursbetween light and dark to transition between those areas.
Sampling colours from the hairbelow, again, helps speed things up.
Eventually you should end up with somethinglook much better, but there is a final step to bring it one more notch.
Photoshop haswonderful layer effects, the one we want to use for this is the “Drop shadow” effect.
Double clicking your “locks” layer will open the layer effects window.
Click the boxfor drop shadow, and start editing the settings.
The shadow direction, intensity, and colourshould depend on the lighting you’ve created for your scene, so fiddle with those valuesuntil you get something you like.
Add a similar drop shadow effect for the strandlayer, and Bingo Bango you are done.
I like this technique because it is simple,easy to do, quick, and can be added at any point to give hair a little bit of extra realism.
You can take it even farther if you want to go the extra mile – the amount locks and strandsyou add is completely up to you, but it only takes a little bit to really improve the look.
I hope this tip helps some of you watching,and if any of you have your own tips for making realistic hair, you should share in the commentsbelow! If you want to see a longer timelapse of myentire process for this image of Power Girl, there is a link in the description.