Painting an Enviroment Design

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 652,829 students

Lecture description

In this lecture you will be painting an environment from start to finish. You will be learning how to super impose textures into your painting from photos. This will make you painting go much quicker and also make it look more realistic.

Learn more from the full course

The Ultimate Digital Painting Course - Beginner to Advanced

Everything from drawing fundamentals to professional painting techniques

27:07:40 of on-demand video • Updated September 2020

  • Digital painting techniques
  • Drawing Fundamentals
  • How to create concept art
  • Color theory
  • Character design
  • Photo realistic painting
  • Perspective
English [Auto] All right. Now that we have all their thumbnails done it's time to choose one and take it on to the next step. So like I said earlier in the last lecture I was really gonna go this one but I wasn't completely satisfied with it. I don't think there was enough story. I think that the this little building back here wasn't big enough so what I did is I went and I copied and pasted it down here and I just kind of fix some things repainted some things in there and I painted a person in there a little bridge going out to this mountain out in the middle of this area and I enlarged it a little bit. So we're going to go with this thumb now right here. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and just make sure I'm selected on my painting layer from my own meals. Now I'm just going to use my marquee tool to select around this as close as I can. Copy that and then I'm going to come into this canvas right here which this canvas BY THE WAY IS WE SWITCH IT TWO INCHES eleven inches by 5.5 inches with a resolution of 300. So go ahead and head. OK so some. So just make canvas about that size and then we can go ahead and paste that in here and then using my transform tool I'm just going to go ahead and enlarge the side. So it's touching either side of my canvas like that. Now what we can do is we can either crop this or it cuts off the top like we have in our thumb now or we can just paint it like this and then decide whether we want to crop it later which I'm going to go with that option. All right. So we just let's bring that out just a little bit more so don't have that white edge right. Great. So what we want to do first is we want to go ahead and do a sketch that we can use as a guide. Now this sketch is gonna be a little bit more detailed then what we have going on here. This is just to help us decide where everything will go the shapes and stuff like that. And also the values. But it's just this thumbnails a guide just like this sketch we're about to do as a guide. I'm gonna go ahead and select kind of a blue color. It doesn't really matter what color you used for this I'm just gonna use blue because I think it looks nice to sketch things in blue. I'll bring my brushes down and I'm going to choose to use a brush like this actually. Let's do a hard round opacity brush like that and what we want to do is we just want to start sketching everything out. So for example I'm going to work on this tree. So there might be some things that I want to change about this and this can be a pretty sketchy drawing. It doesn't have to look super pretty or perfect or anything like that and so what the sketch we can kind of start to explain some of these forms in here. So for example maybe this tree kind of twists around like this that's pretty cool looking go on another branch out here and then maybe we'll have some roots down here. So this is a time where we want to start drawing that and now there's a cool way to draw roots just kind of drawing these coils coming around like this and then we can just kind of fall in with a line like that I just kind of creates the form for us automatically maybe there's some rocks out here. Probably mostly covered by plants by the end but that's okay. We can do some interesting looking rocks like this. I don't know why but I guess on a different layer these people on the bridge didn't transfer out so I gonna to go ahead and grab these layers right here. I'm just gonna go and drag these layers in here and then drop them in Mirjam but I'm underneath her drawing. Now we can go ahead and resize them and enter. I'm gonna go back to my image and see about how big they should be. Yeah that looks about good. All right. Come back to my drawing later draw this bridge in. We really wanted to just disappear out to the vanishing point. The bridge might not look completely correct yet we can come back and work on that. It's going to draw this guy in might be kind of cool. Yeah like some land turns out here on this trail that could be kind of lit up or something like that. I mean it'll be a daylight scene since he might not seem very well but that's okay. We got our mountains back here right. Great. So that sketch is looking pretty good. So now what we want to do is we want to start creating individual layers. Now I'm not going to create them all at one time because I want to start explaining to you how we're gonna be creating this by using some photo reference to use this texture throughout this image. So let me show you what I mean. So I'm gonna go ahead and add a new layer and what we're gonna do is let's go ahead and let's drop our blue down the color right now doesn't really actually matter that much. It's just so we can kind of see a little bit better so we want a darker blue. So it kind of stands out and what I'm going to do is I'm gonna go ahead and I will fill in the shape of this tree. So I mean where the roots are just anything like that I'm even going to go ahead and grab more of a hard edge brush solid brush so there's no pressure opacity sensitivity and we're just going to fill the shape in. All right great. That looks pretty good. I can also probably actually go in here find a branch brush like you used earlier and maybe put that branch back in there. So let me find that branch brush. I think that's it right there. Actually I think it might be the other one that looks like it. Go ahead and brush size up and I'm just gonna repaint this brush back in there like that maybe we could do another one I'm gonna come into my brush settings and I can go ahead and rotate this brush around like that and be flip it around along the y axis we put one in right there sometime we try one here that's kind of interesting looking oh and i miss this branch right here. So switch back to my tapered brush paint this branch in right there. All right. So the purpose of this layer is it's going to be a clipping layer mask. This is gonna be the shape of this tree. And so what we'll do now is we're gonna go ahead and we're going to come into a file that I gave you. So you should be able to download this file with the drawing that I also gave you for this lecture but this file right here the assets file is full of a bunch of royalty free images. Now I'm gonna leave out these pen G files just because I'm not 100 percent sure if I can give those away but these images that I'm gonna be using throughout this I put my assets in here for you guys to use along with me because these are from a website called pixels dot com. So as we began adding all this detail in here you can find your own images and textures and stuff from this Web site. Woops from this Web site which is called pixels dot com and it's a bunch of royalty free images not sure where that keeps coming off. But anyways so on that website you can find a bunch of royalty free images which is where I find all my images and you can use those as textures and your pictures and I'll show you how we do that right now. So we want to do is we want to come into our finder or if you're on a Windows I guess you'll just come into your folder and find the image you want to use. In this case we are going to use. Let's see. Let's use this tree imagery here because we want to emulate the tree trunk. So many go ahead and drag that onto my photoshop file so that way automatically puts it here into my file. Go ahead and enter and most going to go ahead and try to erase it and that will automatically raster rise it for me. Meaning that I can transform it or erase it and stuff like that. Basically modify it depending on what software you use and you might not even have to do that. And then next what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go ahead and using my marquee tool to go ahead and select this tree trunk. No go ahead and hit control shift invert or I hit delete. So that way we can delete the outside selection and then what I'll do is I'm gonna go ahead and I can drag this over onto my tree right click. Make sure you right click on the actual title and then create clipping layer mask. So now it's a clipping layer mask for the shape of our tree. And then this is a really good case of where you would want to use a transform tour the warp tool. So if I use the transform to when I right click and I come to work what I can do is I can go ahead and I can warp this image more to the shape of my tree or enter. So it's not worked perfectly and that's okay. We just want to get the basic curve in there because what this is is this is just texture. This is just to help us get the image moving along. If I wanted to what I could do is it could go ahead and use my stamp tool. Actually we haven't gone over the same tool so I'm not going to use it. What we can do is we can go ahead and just copy and paste this layer so select the layer copy and paste it drag it down so it becomes a clipping layer mask and I can just drag that down into my roots like that and then I can just go ahead and you raise the areas that I don't want to get a soft edge brush for my eraser and I can just kind of a race this way to help blended in with that I'll just add some nice texture. I mean go ahead and copy and paste another one turn into a clipping layer mask and I can drag that loops drag that over I have to use my arrow keys because I can't find it I'm not really sure where that is so I'm going to do is I'm gonna go ahead and merge these layers together to their own layer and I'll copy paste that drag it down but you should be getting your idea. Basically you can take these textures tournament clipping layer masks and use them to create these nice textures and your paintings and then what you can do is you can go ahead continue clipping layer mask to drag them to the top then you can take some color so to take like this dark color for example. And I'm just gonna paint that in. So let's use a soft edge brush to do this. You can see it'll paint in on all these branches as well. I can kind of just shade that side and just like that then I can go ahead and select one of these other colors and paint on this outside area. Just like that if we want to we can go ahead and merge our texture layers together and then we can just go ahead and bring up an adjustment layer for it and or adjustments for that specific layer and we can do things like we can try to play with the coloring the hue. We can also play the saturation so to bring the saturation down a little bit and the lightness so we'll get a little bit darker and a little bit saturate. Go ahead. OK I'm going to do the same thing for this color layer we just did so bring down the brightness and the saturation but especially that saturation. I don't I don't think we want it to be bad. Green can bring that brightness back up a little bit. Go ahead. OK we can see we're already starting to get a good base for our texture. All right let's go over some more techniques that we can use. So another thing we can do is we can use the color sampling tool to create some really nice leave effects. So the way we will do that is we'll go file open and then we need to open an image. Let's open this one right here so we have these leaves here. This works best when you have some leaves with a dark background. So that way you can differentiate between all the individual leaves then we'll just come up to filter or select sorry. And then color range and then I'm gonna go ahead and just select a color I want so just like that color right there and as you can see in our preview it shows us what colors we have selected all the white areas or the areas we have selected. And then if I go ahead and I switch over to the plus eyedropper right there it's gonna make it so I can add more color so I can select a few other colors and their all right. That's pretty good. I'll go ahead and head. OK. And now you can see it automatically selects all of those and I can go ahead and hit command C for copy or if you're in a macro or B Control C but either way just go ahead. Copy that and then go ahead and paste that into your file in here and you can see that it kind of cuts out a lot of those leaves and we can use that as texture. So if I bring down the size like this can go ahead and kind of overlay that over the tree. Go ahead enter and then using my research tool I can just go ahead and he raised some of that out but it just creates some automatic texture and leaves and stuff in there and by using these techniques it's really useful. It makes painting go by so much faster especially when you're painting actual environments it's going to zoom in there look you go ahead and bring up to you in saturation layer controls. And I'm going to go ahead. I it to saturate it. I want to put this all back at 0. We don't want down 0 I just can't do that. All right let's try it again. So bring up our controls and then I can go ahead and I can play with the color of a for want of touching a chord changes from master to something like yellow and I can go ahead and bring up the saturation of the yellow to just make that stand out a little bit more and I could come back the master maybe just to saturate all of that overall and darken it a little bit so that way it doesn't stand out too much. Got it. OK. And now you can just start layering together these textures and also paint on top of that so you still want to make sure that this is an actual painting. And it's going to allow you to get textures in there much quicker. So let's have a look at one more example. So let's say let's go ahead and put all these in a folder. It's really important that when you do this you keep everything nice and organized. Otherwise it can get very confusing because you're going to have a lot of layers going on with a painting like this. I want to go ahead put these all in a group folder and we can call this right tree. All right great. So all that is in one folder now so I can keep that nice and organized and I can just open that up if I want to pull something out of there or change something. So now we're going to do something else so let's go ahead. Let's add a new layer above our drawing them to go ahead and just select select another dark blue or something like that and using my brush tool. Make sure you're using a hard edged brush. We can go ahead and fill and the shape of kind of our mountains and rocks and stuff in the foreground. I guess you wouldn't really call it a mountain but a foreground area. So this is going to really be covered up by a bunch of plants and stuff. So the shape isn't super super important. You do want to cover the basic shape that we've drawn here but the profile of it is not going to be incredibly important. What's important is that we just get the bulk of it in their I go ahead and ignore these rocks for now we can come back and paint us on their own lair. Great. So let's go ahead and let's create a new layer or actually let's just go ahead and bring a photo in here someone come into my folder groups might come into my folder and let's look for something we want to use. So in this case let's go ahead and let's find something that has some rock on it that we can use as a rock texture so maybe something like this will look good. Go ahead. Woops it's gonna drag that in there. Then we can go ahead and resize that if we want. Right now before we really do anything I think that looks good. And then let's go ahead and create this into a clipping layer mass all right click click clipping layer mask. There we go. So we already have incorporated some beautiful rock textures in there and it took like almost no time. It's so fast. And that's why this technique is such a cool thing is bringing textures in here really allows you to get these really cool textures in there. I know it does. It looks kind of funny right now. But as you watch me paint this you'll see how slowly transform it and tweak it and paint it into what I want it to look like. Another reason why we want to keep everything on separate layers so you can tweak the colors and adjust them and the contrast levels and all of that because that way you can really control every aspect of your image and make sure that all the colors and everything are working together. All right. So now what we can do is we can go ahead. Let's bring up our controls. We can do is saturated a little bit let's darken a little bit as well. Something like that. OK. All right. Great. And then what we can do is we can go ahead. Let's bring in another photo someone to come into my folder. Let's grab something with a lot of shrubbery so maybe something like this one guy and drag that in there. I want to go and bring him to size right now. All matter enter and then let's go ahead drag that beneath this one so it becomes an automatic clipping layer mask. And the reason why we draw a drug this over the top of this one is because what we're gonna do is we're gonna get some gonna get some text just a little bit of texture out of this one so I'm gonna go ahead and use my race or tool or another thing we can do is we can actually just go ahead and create a clipping mask for the specific layer. So this isn't this isn't gonna be a clipping layer mask for the layer beneath it. It's going to be a clipping layer mask just for this layer. So we'll go ahead and hit that icon. And so now what we can do if you remember is we can use our brush tool and if we paint with black all trace it out and if we paint with white. So if I switch over to white paints it back in so that way we don't ever actually lose our image we can still always manipulate it erase it out and bring it back in. And this is just really good because when you do things in digital painting you want to make sure that you can always reverse what you've done pretty easily. So go ahead and switch back to black and maybe I'll switch over to a different brush. More of a soft edged brush and I just want to leave some of this up here at the top of these rocks it's kind of cool even that waterfall in there. But for our image that's not going to make a whole lot of sense you can see it just kind of add some plants on top of those rocks. All right great. So even though this doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now by darkening it controlling it and then painting on top of it and adding a bunch other plants and stuff that's really gonna change things up. Now one last thing I want to go over before I really start diving into this painting is I want to show you how using PMG or transparent backgrounds of things like tree branches and plants and stuff like that is super useful for paintings like this as well. So like I said I didn't include these in your asset pack because not all of them are necessarily I'm not necessarily allowed to give them away but they're really easy to find if you just go online and you search P and G the letters and then search for just things like branches leaves all kinds of stuff like that you're gonna find many different things that you can use for free. But basically what we can do with is I can go ahead and select one like this one. Go ahead drop it in here and you can see it has a transparent background which is perfect for what we're doing. And I believe the size about where it's at. Go ahead enter and then I'm gonna go ahead and drag this into my right tree folder and let's go ahead find that layer where to go Oh it's right there okay. So that layer is on the very top of all the other layers which is perfect we want it to be above our tree branches. So it kind of hangs over them but you can see I can kind of just drag that in there and I can drag a whole bunch in there and then just using my controls I can just go ahead and just I can darken it Candy saturated it maybe bring it up a little bit more and have it really does saturated stuff like that. I could even change the colors of the leaves a little bit more if I wanted to. There's a lot of different things you can do to adjusted to make it fit into the image a little bit more. All right. So those are all the basic techniques that I will be using throughout this painting. So I'm just basically taking shapes that I've painted out and then turning and then adding layers on top of that texture with clipping layer masks and also color clipping layer masks so I can adjust the colors just the textures and then I'll also be painting a few things on top of it such as leave brushes so if we come into my brushes I might be using leaves so maybe something like this would come onto a layer that I can actually paint on. There you go. So I'll probably paint with leave brushes something like this throughout the painting. So those are the basic techniques that I'll be using. So what I want you to do now is I want you to just sit back sit back and relax and just watch me paint this painting and you're going to learn a lot from it. So let's go ahead and get started. All right. That just about brings us to the end of this lecture so you should have been able to follow along pretty closely with what I was doing even though there was being time lapse but you should've seen what I did what I was doing. If you have any questions about what I was doing make sure that you asked your questions in the CUNY section of the course. Real quick let's just review kind of what my thought process was. So the first thing I want to point out is you'll notice that this tree a little ways into the painting got flipped. And the reason for that is because I just thought that it would look better if it was going in that direction that way it was kind of more framing the image rather than kind of just jabbing into the center of our image. So that's why they had it curve out that way instead of the other way had it drawn before the annual you you saw that it was just a very long process. This is going to take you a little bit of time. This painting took me probably about three hours and it just takes time to layer in all these different paint pieces of paint and also these images like the leaves all that good stuff. So this is just going to take time. Now one last thing I want to talk about before we end is the adjustments you can make your image. So once you have your image all painted and everything it's it's a good idea to adjust your image. So the way we can do that is just by coming up to the very top we're gonna have an adjustment layer we're gonna add a hue and saturation and what we can do with this is we can go ahead and we can just kind of adjust the saturation if we wanted to so if I wanted that to be a little bit more vibrant I could bring that up. So it might be looking a little bit 2D saturated so what I'm going to do is I want to bring that up and saturation just a tiny bit. And then we could also create another one of these and we'll make it a contrast layer maybe you can bring that contrast up a little bit. See how that looks. Now it's a good idea to look at your composition and image from far away and see how it reads and if it reads well from far away then that's good. That's what you want. And then from there you can add in all your detail but it's important that you constantly zoom in now. So you might have noticed that I was zooming out a lot throughout that painting. Now I think you could actually probably do without the contrast. So we'll just leave on let's go and completely delete that. So I'm just going to leave the hue and saturation adjustment on there. Now another thing we can do is I kind of started adding these rays of light in here and the way we can do that is by using color dodge layers. So let me show you how this is done. So we're gonna create a new one because I want this to actually be a little bit more warm a little bit more red so we can bring that warmth into our image. So I've created a new layer on top of all of my layers. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go ahead just select a red basically. So maybe something like that and we can always change the color. We'll see if we like it or not. And then we want to grab a soft edge brush that and if we go ahead and we change our color mode or our layer mode to color dodge. So right there color dodge you'll see that when we paint on this it creates this really cool effect. Basically everything kind of absorbs this color and adds value. So we want to do is we just want to basically kind of add a little little bit of warmth in there. Maybe what I'll do is to come down here and I have this other one right here when I turn that off so I can't see it. And then come back up and let's see if that helps at all can out a little bit of warmth up here as well. All right great. Now that might be overdoing it a little bit so we'll all have to do is just bring the saturation down just a little bit. That and that just adds a lot more warmth into our image. We just want a touch of that warmth in their eye. Perfect. I'm going to actually turn my lower back on that I turned off down here my other light ray I'm going to keep that in there it's good to zoom out so that looks great. I think that looks pretty good. All right. I think this painting is done. The last thing I did was just go ahead and sign it. Even though I designed this. Go ahead sign it with your name I don't mind so I'm probably I just select this color here and then just line it up and saturate it is something something like that and I'll just go ahead and grab a good brush for signings or something maybe like that that looks good on my bra size down and maybe I'll my transform tone to shrink that down a bit maybe bring down the opacity. So it's not so dark. All right great. So there we go one finished landscape environment painting that came from our own imagination. So if you follow along with me. That's great. Go ahead and post your results in the CUNY section of the course and if you have any questions please ask them. And also what I want you to do is I want you to go ahead and even if you didn't paint this one with me go ahead and walk through the whole process that I do where you start with thumbnails and paint all the value thumbnails and figure out what your composition is going to look like and then once you figure out which one you want go out and take that turn into a sketch adjust the sketches you need to enlarge things whatever you need to do and then go ahead and use the techniques I taught you by bringing in textures and then painting on top of that and make sure that you keep everything on layers and keep everything in separate folders. So I got a little bit messy here at the end. If you download this photoshop folder I'll let you I'll let you look through all of my different files and stuff but you'll you'll see that some of it is pretty organized some of it is kind of messy. But for the most part I try to keep all the main things in their own folders so you can see I can turn off entire sections in layers there's a sketch. All right. Thanks for watching this lecture and I'll see you guys in the next one.