How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Can't figure something out? Want to understand something in more depth? Need input, paintovers, pointers? Ask away!

How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Postby ignite » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:46 pm


I have said the same in the thread "anyone else feeling stuck", but to properly introduce me:
Good day, I'm new! I hope for help and to return the favor when possible. For now I sadly am at the bottom rung, a seal-doormat so to say.
I am stuck, but want to get good! Figuring out the steps and not getting overwhelmed=cramped up and paralyzed is really hard, but I figured out ONE question I could use you more skilled people to answer me:

How to even properly paint in values in Photoshop? I always tried using he pen pressure opacity control option paired with reducing the opacity so I could make fine steps. But it never really works out and feels not very controllable.
Also I see others seem to paint with full opacity and no pen pressure. How do they sample the colors? With the eyedropper set to a higher sampling field so holding it close to the hard border of 2 values gives the middle one?
I tried and I get results like the attached one. Which is shameful. You can also see that it's nowhere near something acceptable or finished, but it feels like I am sitting in front of a canvas, blindfolded and using a brush without bristles...

That being said: How to get out of that psychological prison of feeling bad for being so unskilled, having wasted years of not properly training and not even knowing how to practice? I feel that this is a bad mindset for growth.

Looking forwards to your input!
garbageface.jpg (37.24 KiB) Viewed 1396 times
portman1301.jpg (37.43 KiB) Viewed 1396 times
hauer.jpg (38.83 KiB) Viewed 1403 times
User avatar
Level 0: Southern Fur Seal
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:13 pm

Re: How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Postby matt0 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:00 am

Hey Ignite,

First up, I actually really like those attached studies - not everything an artist does has to be tight or look "finished", there's nothing shameful about any of the images in your post.

For values I use pen pressure and I spend a bit of time in the config software making sure everything feels right. It's easy with Wacom tablets to play with the pressure settings and find out what feels comfortable while still allowing you to use as full a range of sensitivity as possible since they have a little pressure gauge to give you visual feedback and plenty of room to tweak things.

Then in Photoshop I use a mix of hard and soft brushes - I always start with hard round or chalk brushes at 100% opacity (with pressure), then usually drop the opacity down to something that feels right when it comes to blending or adding subtleties. If I need smooth gradients over an area or need to soften edges I'll use a soft round brush (hardness set to 0% usually, it's rare that I use anything in between) and again, set the opacity lower depending on how subtle I need to be.

I'm constantly sampling values from the work and changing the brush size as I go.

That's my own personal way of working, hope you can get a few ideas from it.
Level 2: Steller Sea Lion
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 1:25 pm

Re: How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Postby ignite » Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:12 pm

Thank for your kind words and the description of how you do it!
I think I'll most likely also just have to try around more, but it always feels horribly strange.

I'm mostly used to pencil. Shading with a pencil also works via pressure, but yields different results than with the digital pen.
Especially when I'm using pen pressure in Photoshop and thereby the opacity is controlled, going over a previously painted area of course will give a darker value, even if I did not want it there. I will post an image of what I mean later.

In all videos I've seen so far, the painters use 100% opacity and no pressure, then sample an inbetween color of two shades somehow. Eyedropper tool set to greater range? However, I feel this doesn't really give me much control.
I tend to think about shading a shape like building up from a midtone (gray). Paint darks over gradually, paint lights over gradually => Shape with light and shadows. It somehow doesn't feel right in Photoshop whereas when doing it with a pencil it makes sense and feels intuitively right.

It's rather vague what I'm describing, but looking how to pin the problem down (then solving it) is what I'm looking for help for! :)
User avatar
Level 0: Southern Fur Seal
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:13 pm

Re: How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Postby Ziggy » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:49 pm

Disclaimer: I'm also a newb.

I also have watched a lot of youtube videos, and this is the approach I'm using for studies now (in the picture). I draw the lineart, and then just blocked in the values at 100% (underneath the lineart for starters, then I turn the lineart off), and then blend afterwards. I like to blend in a separate layer, so I can preserve the value blocks, mainly because I think they look cool.

The blending took about 10 minutes, and I just used a 50% opacity soft round brush and the eyedropper.

Blocking in the values took a couple of hours. I start with a base tone, which was approximately the value of the line in between the figures. Then I just choose the other tones in the colour picker. Might help to make a value scale for yourself off to the side that you can eyedrop from. Then it's just a matter of identifying the shapes, and then putting the nearest values in.

I also use the round brush that gets thicker based on pressure (like the line inbetween the figures). And I just manually set the opacity using the slider, and I don't change it very often. For instance I changed it once for this study. I did the lineart and blocking values at 100%, and then the blending at 50%.

Also, don't forget to paintbucket in a background value that isn't pure white.

Your second study looks pretty good. I wouldn't try to hatch like that though. Cleaner to choose the value you want and block it in.
value study example.jpg
value study example.jpg (86.48 KiB) Viewed 1286 times
Level 0: Southern Fur Seal
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:32 pm

Re: How to Photoshop Value-Paint, please?

Postby Hai » Sun May 15, 2016 3:04 am

Simplify/Squint to see the shadow and the light shape first. Use only 2 values(white and black). This will train your eye to see the correct shape.
User avatar
Level 10: Ribbon Seal
Posts: 526
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:14 am

Return to Questions, Help & Explanations

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest