Step-by-step: Ren­der­ing a stone carv­ing in Pho­to­shop

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Start by plan­ning out the pat­tern of your carv­ing in black and white. It’s much eas­ier to get all your de­sign done in this stage, as changes are much harder to make later on. Add a layer of flat lo­cal colour and be­gin to build up some ba­sic shape and val­ues. In day­light the bot­tom of your carv­ing will be darker over­all. Think about bounc­ing light, oc­clu­sion shad­ows and how the dif­fer­ent in­ter­lock­ing shapes of your carv­ing in­ter­act with each other. I rec­om­mend re­strict­ing your pal­ette to five shades, then make some swatches of colour for your stone and start to ren­der out your carv­ing, try­ing not to push your val­ues too far. If you want to add a photo tex­ture, use one with­out strong di­rec­tional light. Once you’ve placed the tex­ture, set the layer mode to Darken (modes that pre­serve the orig­i­nal im­age’s opac­ity are best for photo tex­tures), cre­ate a mask­ing layer and use a toothy brush to build up the mask where the light hits your carv­ing.

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