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It’s a digital age, one doesn’t need a subject to pose before them for hours, simply a photograph is enough. Graphic design student, Sri Harsha Andukuri takes us through a step by step guide on making a digital portrait of any famous celebrity, in this case, Hollywood’s own Scarlett Johansson.

Step 1

Fixing the Canvas and Preparing the Outline

The process of portrait begins by fixing of the canvas. This is achieved through Photoshop, where a new file is opened with an A3 size. This is followed by creating an outline of the image using a red colour, on a new layer. The colour red is selected because it highlights profiles and edges in the middle of the painting. Then, marking of highlights and shadows in a new layer using red colour and a textured brush with opacity 7% and 14%.

Step 2

Filling Base Colour for Skin

Once the above step is completed to satisfaction, a colour palette of shades, tints and neutrals are made for the skin. A new layer is then added and a neutral colour with full opacity is used as the base colour for the body. At this point, any colour exceeding outlines is erased.

Digital Portrait of Scarlett Johansson

Step 3

Detailing the Face

This is then followed by creating a new layer yet again, where the base colour of the eyes is filled using a brush with full opacity. Here, colours exceeding any outline are erased. Subsequently, a new layer is created for highlights, shadows and details for the eyes. The next step requires painting in highlights and shadows of the nose and other facial areas using a colour palette with a textured brush bearing 7%, 14% and 21% opacities.

Step 4

Detailing the Lips

Following the fixed colour palette, a base colour is filled with 100% opacity first for the lips. Highlights and shadows of the lips are drawn in a new layer with a small size textured brush with 7% opacity. Using a small brush at this point enhances precision and detail.

Step 5

Painting Rest of the Skin

Going further down, shadows and highlights of the neck area, collarbone and chest are painted using the colour palette for the skin. Used a textured brush of opacity 7% and 14% in a new layer.

Step 6

Painting the Dress

In a similar way, the base colour, shadows and highlights of the dress and its drapes are painted. Here too, a separate colour palette is fixed for this.

Step 7

Painting the Hands

Keeping shadows and highlights in mind, the arms are also painted in a similar way as in step 5.

Step 8

Detailing the Hair

The most challenging part of the portrait is a painting of the hair. The most time-consuming step; a new layer is filled with the solid base colour of hair, taken from a selected colour palette. Carefully then, hair is divided and marked into different parts according to its flow. This is followed by the creation of another new layer in which a number of strokes are drawn along the flow of hair in each and every part which is marked. A new layer over this one is then added which is used to blend all these parts using a brush with less opacity, in order to link the hair flow.

Step 9

Fixing the Background

Finally, a new layer is added below all of these layers and filled with a solid colour. A shade of the base colour is selected, as in the palette, and is painted in a new layer to create a vignette feeling to the background. Another layer is subsequently added in which a 30% opacity gradient of black colour in multiple modes is employed. Upon completion, save the file as a jpeg and open in Adobe Lightroom where the portrait can be post edited for the desired outcome.

Published in Issue 25

Creative Gaga kicks off the year with an issue that asks the important questions, is it the web that’s leading the brands or the other way around? With 2014 witnessing an increase in brands investing in digital marketing, 2015 will only be bigger. We can say India has accepted the revolution, where more and more people are opening browsers to e-commerce, literally window shopping, and setting up shops online as well. The issue brings together renowned designers with digital experience, who discuss and throw light on the pros and cons of this change and where we possibly are headed with this in the future.


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Creative Gaga - Issue 55