Tutorial - Beagle Smudge (Part I)

Started Feb 9, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Scott Deardorff Senior Member • Posts: 1,100
Tutorial - Beagle Smudge (Part I)

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback on this image. I really appreciate all your comments. My smudging technique is very much a work in progress, since I’m still pretty new at it. I’ll try to share with you whatever knowledge I’ve acquired through experimentation and the advice of others.

The best way to learn to smudge is to practice – to get used to how the brushes work at different sizes and strengths. The smudge tool is really an amazing tool. It can be used to blur, distort, erase, sharpen, paint, and add or subtract texture among other things. Try playing around with its different settings just to get a feel for it (use the original copy of this beagle, which is available for unrestricted use). Play with the different mode settings: normal, lighten and darken. Experiment with different brush sizes and strengths. For “Beagle” I used only one brush (the rough round bristle brush, which can be found in the “thick heavy brushes” in PS CS). But I used it at many different size and strength settings to achieve whatever result I was looking for. Also I used this brush about 95% in the normal mode setting (In this tutorial all modes are normal unless indicated otherwise).

Here’s the before and after of the image:

Click here if image doesn't appear:

For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll use a small portion of the original.

Here’s my description of how to go about the task of turning “Beagle” into a photorealistic smudge painting:

1. Start out by doing some basic image corrections: crop the image as desired, perform a curves adjustment to increase contrast and a saturation increase (hue/sat targeting red) to enhance the color. Your corrections should produce something similar to this:


2. Upsize the image to approximately 16 x 22 at 72 ppi. This will give you enough size to work with.

3. Sharpen the image by whatever means you prefer. Sharpen substantially, so it looks over-sharpened. Your image should now look something like this:


4. Now you can begin the task of smudging the image. View the image at 200% as you smudge, which will permit greater attention to detail. For all the fur areas use a 15 px. brush at a strength of 40%. IT WILL BE KEY TO MAKE YOUR SMUDGE STROKES FOLLOW THE DIRECTION OF THE FUR. Your fur texture won’t show much detail yet. A later step will help to bring out some definition. You will have to use a smaller brush (about 10 px.) still at a strength of 40% to smudge in tighter areas, like the mouth, nose and around the eyes. Remember to follow the natural lines of whatever it is you are smudging, as your strokes will become more apparent later. At the end of this step, your beagle should look like this:


To be continued in Part II...

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