Photoshop tutorial: Master skin tones

One of the keys to great painting in Photoshop is knowing how to combine very loose, freehand techniques with more precise attention to detail.

In this tutorial, Sam Gilbey shows how to create an appealing, realistic face that draws the eye.

1_Photoshop_utorial_Maste_skin_ones

Central to this is understanding how Photoshop’s Brush tools work, and learning to adjust them to our needs for different stages of the piece. Brushes offer a great deal of flexibility, but the trick is knowing when to apply something dramatic, and when to be more subtle.

In general, it’s about making a few simple choices in terms of texture, colour and detail – this can turn an average-looking portrait into something mesmerising.

We won’t be aiming for photorealism, but it’s important to understand how the skin both reflects and absorbs light. This means that the application of light and shadow is absolutely crucial when it comes to painting faces.

2_Photoshop_utorial_Maste_skin_ones

Step 1 To create a good textured background, open the Brushes menu as shown above and select a large, soft round brush. In Shape Dynamics, set the Control drop-down to Fade. In the Texture menu, load Artist Surfaces, pick one, and then set the scale to 50%.

3_Photoshop_utorial_Maste_skin_ones

Step 2 Experiment with different-sized soft circles in similar tones and build up a loose, textured backdrop for your piece. This is a good way to try out how the brush settings work before you use them on the portrait itself. Sketch a face and scan it in, or open outlinesketch.jpg from the cover CD or the Zip file below. Import it into your document and set the layer blending mode to Multiply.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags photoshop

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sam Gilbey

Digital Arts Magazine
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?