View Full Version : Background painting technique

11-27-2007, 12:46 PM
I am trying to create a smooth transition between the colours in a background and struggling. I am posting a couple of screen captures to show the current state of play. This is the best I have done so far after deleting other efforts.

The first is my efforts to get close to the second.

I tried plastering a whole layer with different shades using the oil brush and then blending with the palette knife. I made an awful mess! It was too streaky.

Next up, I have tried the roller, airbrush, lighter oil settings, lighter and heavier palette knife settings.

Lighter oil settings and heavier palette knife is the closest I have come and is demonstrated in the first image but there are still noticeable holes.

Any help with this would be much appreciated. :(


11-27-2007, 01:39 PM
I'm not sure I'm completely clear on what you're trying to achieve but something you may want to consider is that once you export a file and then import it, the tools and settings you used become irrelevant and you can blend it further from there. Hope that made sense. :)

11-28-2007, 07:30 AM
Thank you Robert for answering this.

What I am trying to do is sort of mimic the second image (which is part of a photograph) for smoothness of transition between colours. The first image is my efforts to blend colours more effectively and so far not succeeding.

Any ideas gratefully received.


11-28-2007, 08:35 AM
Suggested reading...

erwinsoo's excelent tutorial on blending:

Enchanters interesting post on paper-roughness blending:

Peter has some interesting tricks on creating smooth via resize:

A quick writeup on creating gradients using transparency stencils.

On a personal note, I find that using paper with 0-roughness combined with crayons is a good method.


11-28-2007, 09:03 AM
The 0-roughness method is from Sweedies sky tutorial (but it seems to be offline at the moment).

0. Start new image. I choose canvas, 300x400 pixels. Set background color to gray.
1. Add layer. Edit paper setting for new layer. Set roughness to 0%.
2. Select crayon tool (the one just left of the eraser tool). Reset. Set tool size to 100%.
3. Add desired colours to your painting. I Alt+Click picked the colours from your example, but you may just use the bot-right color picker (dump01+dump02).
4. When canvas have been filled I change Pressure to 20% and toolsize to 50%. The trick now is to smooth all the places where colours meet. Where two colours meet you simply Alt+click pick the lightest one. Then smooth to make the transition by going back and foth in z-patterns. Hard to describe - try it out, experiment.

Now I go over the entire painting untill it's finished (dump03). You may try to go up/down in pressure. But the trick is to simply Alt+Click pick. z-smooth. Next area. Alt+Click pick, z-smooth. and so forth.

In my final image I have two layers. The top layer is the smoothed transition. The bottom layer is just a gray layer with the canvas-texture.


11-28-2007, 10:24 AM
DoodLS, you are a peach!

Thanks so much for all this - very much appreciated. I may have to wait till the weekend before I get the chance to try this out. But I feel more confident of a positive result now. I didn't do very much with crayon, just brush, palette knife and roller mainly.

Sophie :D :D :D

12-03-2007, 04:42 PM
I'm a pretty new artist myself, but I found that the pencil tool is nice for this kind of thing. they blend well. kind of hard to see from the thumbnail, but that's what I used for the background in my avatar. started with yellow, then gradually moved the slider to orange (little by little) then to a red-orange. Over-lapped each change in color a bit before blending them together with the palette knife. Different texture than oils or crayons to be sure, but I like it :) Can find the full-sized pic in my gallery if you need it. All done in a single-layer. Best of luck!

(Edit: changed "portrait" to "avatar.")

(Edit #2: I'll post my own shot at this with pencil tool later on. right now though, I gotta get some sleep :) )

D Akey
12-03-2007, 10:41 PM
Like looking through a steamy shower door.

Conversely, technique-wise, it seems like you have it covered.

It's after 9 here, so what can I say. I cheated on my Rorschach tests.

:D :D :D

12-04-2007, 10:45 AM
Ok, here are my examples. You'll have to forgive me, I used the color picker rather than lifting the colors directly from your desired background pic, so they may be a bit off, but hopefully it helps anyway. Also, I turned the canvas so that it would appear vertically as your reference does, while I was painting, but it seems that it turned horizontally again when I saved it? can't find a way to fix it.. I feel like a bad example now :oops: so turn your head to the side while you're looking at it? :lol:

01-06-2008, 02:56 PM
make the backgroung with the airbrush at 100%of perssure then smooth it with the same colors you took but with a very light pressure........thats's what i would do but tou may not want to use it......that depends of what style you want to do, i don't know! :lol: then ive smooth it with the brush tool with no paint and 90% thiner(diluant in french) heres's mine but it's the first time i try personally i think yours is better but im just giving you my ideas :D

01-10-2008, 04:45 AM
You might try this..

Make your first layer your darker color.
add a layer, change the opacity to somewhere between 20 and 30, and use the airbrush on a slightly lighter color, and a light pressure setting, and airbrush across.
add another layer, same, same,
add another, etc..

You can get some interesting variation with this method, or variations thereof.