Ques­tion

Can you help me paint a del­i­cate, lace-like ma­te­rial? Beth Hub­ble, Es­to­nia

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

An­swer

Matt replies

Lace pre­sents two chal­lenges: the semi­trans­par­ent fab­ric and the de­tail of the pat­tern. When­ever a ma­te­rial needs to show the form be­neath it, I roughly ren­der the un­der­ly­ing sur­face first. Here I use a sphere for sim­plic­ity, but the prin­ci­ple ap­plies for any shape. With the ba­sic form ren­dered out, se­lect the area where the ma­te­rial will lie. Copy this to a new layer, colour, then flat­ten and work drape and fold into the ma­te­rial.

With the ma­te­rial area de­fined, add pat­tern de­tail. Don’t be tempted to paint in pre­cise pat­tern­ing across the whole ma­te­rial, be­cause un­less there’s sim­i­lar de­tail else­where this will prove dis­tract­ing. In­stead, choose one or two high­light ar­eas to show de­tail and al­low it to break into broader marks as the ma­te­rial falls away from the light.

Af­ter colour­ing, use the Eraser tool while the new area is on a sep­a­rate layer, to make some of the un­der-sur­face show through.

Add lace de­tail spar­ingly. That will be much eas­ier on the eye and help sup­port the form over which the ma­te­rial lies.

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