Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to Paint Ambient Occlusion for Digital Painting






Newest Update:

I made a new video tutorial about How to Paint Ambient Occlusion for Digital Painting.
You can download it here: Ambient Occlusion Tutorial

It's affordable and very cheap! ;)






Hey guys! :D
I'm back with my very first Ambient occlusion painting tutorial! :D
This tutorial was inspired by an awesome fan art of Frozen by Jiyu Kaze
can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=604410012982274&set=a.590138841076058.1073741828.505782986178311&type=1&theater
you guys can follow his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/jkaze0
and Sam Nielson's tutorial
can be found here:
 http://theartcenter.blogspot.com/2010/03/sam-nielson-painting-process.html
follow his blog here: http://artsammich.blogspot.com/

Why Ambient Occlusion or AO painting? Because from what I know, AO is usually a term that is commonly used in 3D software. I use maya myself, and I like AO layer because it will add your 3D object a realistic and solid lighting. So that's why! Solid painting :D
This tutorial is more like explanation on how I do it :)
so, I hope you guys know about basic things like sketching, lighting and shadow, photoshop, shading, AO, etc
So, let's start! :D

1. I always start with sketch! :D


I sketch it in photoshop. I made like a really rough and fast sketch, since I designed her before in my sketchbook. Nothing fancy, just a sketch. A clean and neat line is even better, it's easier for painting the next layer. 

2. Lighting and Shadow
So, I started with blocking the character with light grey color, and in that light grey, I painted the shadow. Try avoiding really black color for this, since you will add that blackness in next layer. So, Imagine that you are painting a clay statue. Analyze the light direction and give the right shadow is important too. 


3. Ambient Occlusion or AO painting

Okay, here is the tricky part. Don't let yourself too carried away in this process, as you may paint the entire shadow again LOL. Just paint the darkest line that the shadow will create! I started with light grey, well almost white color. And I just painted the shadow with darkest black in 30 opacity brush. 
Make your painting looks almost like a 3d sculpt in this process.

4. Combining AO and Shadow layer


So, when you satisfied with your shadow and AO layers, you may proceed to the next level which is awesome. Put your AO layer above the shadow layer in your layer window. And change AO layer from normal mode to multiply mode. Voila, your painting will looks like a 3D render! Amazing right? But this was my first time doing AO painting, so I've made some mistakes, so I usually would go back to both layers to fix that, so it will looks more solid. 

5. Coloring

Actually this process could be done before you start the shadowing. But It's completely fine if you do it after. So, you just decide which colors are suitable for your character. Create another layer for color, and change the mode from normal to multiply. Your color will go down and darker, so it's easier for me to separate each of the color layers, so I can adjust them until the result that I wanted. After you've done with choosing colors, you will shock on how flat the painting would be after you multiply all the color layers. Yes, it's so flat and sucks. LOL, that's why we need to proceed to next step.

6. Tweaking and Subsurface Scattering layer

As you see, the painting would looks flat, so you should add more color temperature on each of your colors. Go back to your color layer and added some textures on the skin or color gradiation on the cloth, etc. My tips is, don't underestimate the power of bounce light. Add a different but believable colors for your painting. For me, I added oranges in neck area bounce, so It will create a subsurface scattering effect on her skin. Try to play with layer mode too, screen and overlay are the best for me in this process. My layer for tweaking is looks like this with no colors on. 

7. Final Image

                   

Here is the final Image. I added light diffusion layer and hair layer to make it looks interesting. Do it for the final, this final tweaking usually takes time too. Actually you should spend more time on the detailing in the area that you wanted the viewer to see. 


8. Conclusion
This method is fun and really technical. You do it step by step instead of just paint. But the result is quite interesting for those who wanted to achieve a solid painting. This is my first time doing the AO painting, so it still took time than my usual painting technique. But I still wanted to develop it. Good luck and Have fun :D

You can ask me anything about this tutorial, I'll gladly answer it :)





83 comments:

  1. Nice! At first glance, it seemed like those were ZBrush passes! One question - what did you do in that last layer? Just painted some colors to add more color variety? Also, did you use the sketch for the final image?

    Great tutorial! Going to try this! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :D
      For the final tweaking, I did some overlay painting, just added more color to darken or lighten some parts. And also adding more color temperature.
      I also liquify the face, to make her more interesting.
      And i didn't use the sketch in the final image. I used the sketch for a guide to draw the AO and shadow only
      Hope it helps and good luck! :D
      Can't wait to see the result

      Delete
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  2. Great process. I will try it and be sure to plug your process on this :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's cool!
    I was trying here, but I don't understand to step 6, could you explain more please? e.e
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline, thank you for the appreciation! :)
      The step 6 is actually just adding your object more colors. Like for this example, I added an orange bounce light under her face, so it will create a more solid and round effects of the face. In this step, you can use an overlay mode layer or color mode layer. This is basically a step where you fix until it become what you wanted. I hope my explanation is clear enough for you :)
      you can ask me again if you still not sure :D

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hey Phil! :D
      You are lord-phillock in deviantart right?
      I noticed it from your awesome frozen fan art lol
      thank you so much Phil! :)

      Delete
  5. hey great tutorial, thanks! Your site has white text on a white background on my pc..just thought you might want to know, its probably just me though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, thanks man! I changed already to black font, i think i accidentally change the font. :)

      Delete
  6. I was confused from Sam Nelson's tutorial so I came here. Thanks for the explanation. I will put it to use and let you know :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SAME! I was a bit confused on AO from Sam Nelson's class, what exactly it was and how to add it. Boom! You helped it click in my brain! Thank you!!

      Delete
  7. Hihi Dalo,
    i am alittle bit confused about no.6 where you mention "Go back to your color layer". Meaning, i paint over the color layer or I paint the bounce light on a brand new layer?. If it is a new layer, do i start on a blank layer or the grey clay figure?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi :D
      when I said that, I mean you just paint in your color layer. the same color layer, you can add some textures or color there, or if it's a skin, you can add some skin pore and freckles.
      Hope it helps :)

      Delete
  8. Where do I find ambient occlusion in photoshop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you can't find it, you have to paint it :)

      Delete
    2. But how? I didn't really understand how i am going to get that effect :P Can you please explain more? :)

      Delete
    3. Hi Amanda, first thing you gonna need to do is, understanding the lighting and shadow in the scene you wanted to paint. After you analyze it, you can start painting the AO in a light grey color layer. You just need to paint the darkest grey to the parts that doesn't get any lighting information. Hope it helps :)

      Delete
    4. Thank you!
      I gonna try it and see how it goes :)

      Delete
  9. In step 2 how did you make your light grey and darker grey blend do nicely ? Im using CS6 With a pressure tablet and for some reason photoshop wont take pressure

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jean, did you install the correct driver of your tablet in you computer?
      For me, I usually use a soft brush with 20% opacity. Or I can use a smudge tool to blend. Hope this help! :)

      Delete
  10. Nice tutorial! I will give it a try with this technique too! Thank you for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sweet, I`ll totally try this type of shading! You`re a great artist!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice tutorial! really helpful
    thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi! Thanks for tutorial!
    Can u help me with 5th step please? I multiplied color layer over AO, but picture became really dark, almost without light, even as I had white parts in AO layer. I tried overlay, it became a little better, but now had too much white on it :D
    I thought that something wrong with my layers and tried multiplying layers from Sam Nielson tutorial and wow - I got the same result as he had, but by overlaying!
    So what is the right mode actually and what could be the problem with multiplying?

    ReplyDelete
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