I’m getting ready to work on a new portrait! Yay! My beautiful model today is Katie, and I photographed her in the Portland Rose Garden. I want to be able to really dig in to this portrait and make it all about her, her face, expression, and her wonder at experiencing this garden for the first time.
Katie’s face isn’t being lit by the overhead sun. Rather she is lit indirectly by the light reflecting off the roses. There is diffused colorful light bouncing all over the place. While this is perfect soft light to describe the features of a young woman, it also makes gauging my values and flushing out a clear natan a little more tricky. When I work from photo reference, I like to use photoshop to help me figure out the direction I want my painting to go.
I have my PS tool set to Essentials.
The first thing I’m going to do is crop this to 16 by 20 ratio. Click on the crop tool, time in my ratio and make the crop.
Next I want to figure out the natan.
Go to the layers window. Select the background layer, drag it to the duplicate icon. I’m going to do this twice. Now I have three identical layers of my image.
I make the bottom layer invisible, so I don’t mess up my original photo.
I click on the top layer and set the blending mode to multiply. This is a super cool blending mode that I often use with photos that are over exposed or washed out. Basically it adds all the color information of the top layer to the layer beneath it, kind of light if you put a transparency over a photo.
Now you can see my lights and cards are far more pronounced. I also have a lot more color information.
I merge these two layers, and duplicate them.
I go to menu Image:Adjustment:Threshold I move the slider to either who more or less light, and click ok.
I can make this layer transparent and simplify the notan. Something to watch out for is making sure your lights and darks aren’t equal. In my image here, I want the light to point the viewer to Katie’s face. The most important thing for me, is that my natan reads strongly from a distance. If I can’t tell this is a person from the black and white statement, the painting will not read from a distance in color. I like to provide my viewer interest from afar, AND close-up.
Ok, I’m very excited about this notan. I’ll print it out and it will be an essential tool in my toolbox while I paint Miss Katie.
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