Texturing: Apple Inclass Assessment Breakdown
Last week in class for an in class assessment, we had 3 and a half hours to do a photo realistic life study of an apple. Here is my breakdown of the process I took to get to the final image: Because I don’t like starting on a plain white background, I filled it with a mid tone grey. Doing this makes it easier on the eyes, but also so you can see the lighter and darker tones better. Using a darker mid tone and a small hard edge brush, I sketched the basic shape of my apple. Remembering an apple is never perfectly round. Keeping towards the more subtle saturation of the colours I started to block in where on the apple certain colours appeared. This is the first pass of my under painting, trying to keep it washy to keep the varied colour range. This is my second pass of the under painting, here I start to use a more textured brush and tightening up the colours and where they appear on the apple using different opacities and brush sizes. Next, I focus on the mid-pass. Keeping the rough textured brush (almost like a chalk texture) at a smaller size and a lowered opacity bringing in the oranges into the reds especially at the front of the apple, where I also played with dropping the opacity on the eraser to soften the edge and the gradation of the colours. Right about now I have done about an hour and a half of work with a quick 10 minute break. I need to start putting in the finer details, so the next step is refine. Using a hard edge square brush at something like 3 – 5 pixels wide, full opacity of the colours that I sample from the mid-pass layer.
Focusing on the right hand side of the apple and around the stalk area with fine detail. This way I can save time, making an optical illusion that the whole apple has detail making focus areas for the viewer.
Also on this layer I added some finer detail with the yellow aging spots also focused on the right hand side of the apple.
In the next jpeg, I start to define around the top of the apple. In the sunken part where the stalk is especially.
The saturation is also increased a touch, as I felt the colours were reading a little washed.
Time to add in some subtle form shadows, because the bottom quarter of the apple is much smaller and not as round as the top. Added shadows to the very inner part of where the stalk is at the top as well.
Since I have done the form shadows it is time for some highlights. Because I was in a room with several bank fluro lights I felt just having one hot spot would look weird so I insisted on putting them on either side of the top of the apple.
I did this by using a soft textured brush and changing the layer opacity to soft light, to get a more natural drop off on the highlight.
The apple is starting to take shape now, I am starting to realise what is throwing me off, the lack of a stalk. Using a small, hard edge brush with colour selecting from the apple colours, I create the stalk keeping in mind I will need to find some more colours for the top of the stalk.
The stalk is also not reflective so I won’t need to worry about highlights so much.
I start to play around with contrast and saturation a bit more now, still feeling that the colours are a bit too washed out. I copy my layers and merge together, making the original layers non visible so I can just work with the one layer at this point. The new layer was changed to soft light, with the opacity dropped down so the colours don’t blow out too much.
Feeling more confident with the colour and saturation of the apple now, I draw in some reflected light on the bottom of the apple. Using a brush that was about medium size with a soft edge, I use the medium grey of the background layer and lightly on the bottom right hand side of the apple, place in some reflected light. This layer was also changed to soft light and the opacity dropped till a more natural look is achieved.
Now it’s time for final detail touches on the apple. I felt the front of the apple should have a little bit more detail, using a small hard edge brush I go in with some yellow, fairly saturated, and try to break up some of the oranges and reds as they were looking a bit washed out and my apple in real life has more variation there. Nothing too over the top though cause I don’t want anything that looks stuck on.
Final touches and the end of the 3 and a half hours, I start to clean up the edges of the apple, since I had a bit of overflow whilst putting in my base colours. I just use a soft edge eraser, making sure to carefully go around the apple and not take out the subtle edges I have put in.
Then paying attention to how the shadows fall around the base of the apple, I ground the apple to the background, keeping in mind bounce light and the darker part of the shadow being directly underneath the apple.
One last thing, I play around with a gradient map, adjustment layer on my background layer, as I am feeling the grey has a little too much of a pinky tinge to it. Bring the grey back towards green a little bit making the shadow colour more green, grey, brown which was truer to the still life set up than the pink touched grey.