Digital artist Tiago Da Silva reveals the Photoshop techniques behind his graphic novel project
I created the sketch digitally in Photoshop; with the colour mode in grayscale and in a large resolution, before later reducing the file to a normal, A4 size. Sketching in a big resolution allows me to achieve more detail, and any imperfections in the stroke will not show up when the file is reduced.
I began by separating the main elements into mask channels. This allows more control when painting the different areas, and also makes it easier to change specific parts. With the masks created, I filled the different elements of the painting with the base colours in midtones, and painted the rest with the brush set to 100% opacity.
Usually I paint from background to foreground, especially for complex compositions. I painted simple shapes for the buildings on the back. There was no need for detail, as the background would later be blurred to create the depth of field focus effect.
For the shadows, I created a new layer in Multiply mode and painted over the background layer, using the masks to paint each of the different elements separately. I’ve used dark tones, a large brush with low opacity and different hardness settings to paint the different materials, like the skin, wall and metal.
I then created a new layer in Overlay mode. Using light colours and a large brush with low opacity, I would change the hardness and brush stroke to make the different material textures.
At this point I started painting all in one layer. I needed to make everything clearer, choosing dark colours to paint the shadows and lighter ones for the lights. I was now working with smaller brushes, changing the opacity, hardness and stroke for different materials.
At this stage, I merged the lines with the painting – this is where I blend everything together and fix any errors. I duplicated the painting layer to paint the details, blurred the background and duplicated another layer for the colour changes. Then I worked with the masks to fix the colour tones with the Hue/Saturation and Color Balance.