My wa­ter­fall en­vi­ron­ment looks a mess. Do you have any tips that I can fol­low?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A - An­drei Han­ni­gan, US

An­swer

Char­lotte replies

the golden rule for paint­ing con­vinc­ing mov­ing wa­ter is watch­ing the di­rec­tion of your brush strokes. this ap­plies to rivers, seascapes and wa­ter­falls alike. make sure you’re paint­ing in long strokes that fol­low the di­rec­tion your wa­ter is trav­el­ling. this helps to con­vey speed and mo­tion blur – and can even be used as a com­po­si­tion tool to lead the eye of the viewer to the fo­cal point of your im­age.

i use hard brushes to em­pha­sise this ef­fect, which is es­pe­cially ex­ag­ger­ated on a wa­ter­fall. this gives a nice con­trast to the soft, bil­low­ing edges of the mist at the bot­tom of the wa­ter­fall. make sure you keep this rule in mind when us­ing Smudge tools and Blend modes, too.

wa­ter­falls of­fer a good op­por­tu­nity to experiment with a va­ri­ety of tex­tured brushes, ben­e­fit­ing par­tic­u­larly from splat­ter and tra­di­tional-style brushes as the wa­ter tran­si­tions from its smooth state up­stream, to a rough cas­cade as it breaks on rocks in freefall be­fore col­laps­ing into a fine spray on the river be­low. the more pow­er­ful the wa­ter­fall, the more mist and spray is pro­duced as it col­lides with the ground.

Fo­cus­ing on mo­tion and tex­ture, I cre­ate a dra­matic wa­ter­fall en­vi­ron­ment.

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