This tutorial excerpt shows how to reproduce the luscious, tactile surface of oil paintings in Photoshop
Oil paintings are not just about colour. One of the most vital aspects of any oil artwork is the tactile surface texture of the finished piece. This dynamic surface really makes you want to reach out and touch the painting, adding enormously to its impact and appeal. In terms of digital painting, this is often the one component that’s sadly lacking in the finished piece, so here we’re going to concentrate on reproducing the luscious, tactile surface of oils in Photoshop.
We’ll begin by creating the painting itself from a photographic start image using layer masks and brushes to selectively reveal parts of individual layers, building up a complex, painterly look. We’ll build each layer with increasing depth of detail to create the painterly effect.
By using a canvas texture and an embossing effect along the way, we’ll evoke both the look and feel of an almost touchable canvas surface. We’ll add to this textural interest by painting on to layers which have a 0 Fill value coupled with a layer style to replicate the effect of really thick, expressive paint, the effect known as impasto where the medium appears raised from the canvas.
See how this project is created in issue 72 of Photoshop Creative.