You can use Photoshop to create almost anything, even beautiful paintings! In today’s tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a digital painting of a ferocious galaxy tiger. You’ll need a pen tablet to achieve this style (I’ll be using a Wacom Intuos 3) and working knowledge of digital painting techniques. Let’s get started!
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Wacom Intuos Pen Tablet
Completion Time: 8-10 hours
Images Used For This Tutorial
Tiger close-up of face (cat):19546688 ©Moodboard
Open a new 8.5 x 11 document in Adobe Photoshop and set the resolution to 300 dpi. Copy and paste your reference into the document and Control-T to resize it with the Free Transform Tool. Roughly trace your reference on a new layer with a Standard Round Brush.
Create a new layer underneath your sketch. Fill the background with a solid blue color and use a limited range of blues to start carving out your painting with the Brush Tool (B). Focus on establishing the light and shadow with these few early tones.
Start to deepen the colors for more depth. Use a Soft Round Brush with around 50% Hardness to begin adding highlights and more volume to the tiger’s face.
Create a new layer and set it to Difference. Use a deep magenta color (#5f0016) to paint all over the tiger. Because the layer is set to the blend mode difference, you’ll notice that the colors automatically change according to wear you place it for an interesting rainbow-like effect.
Since the painting is looking a little dark, let’s brighten it up! Go to Layer >New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance. Adjust the Midtones to Red +37, Green 0, and the Blue to +28. Then adjust the Highlights to Red -28, Green 0, and Blue +59.
Add another new adjustment layer for Brightness and Contrast. Set the Brightness to 54, and the Contrast to -4.
Set your brush to 100% Hardness and the color to white to paint lots of small white dots for the stars.
Our previous color effect has given us a nice range of colors to continue to paint with. Continue painting the tiger with the Brush Tool (B) varying the Opacity and Hardness to your painting needs. You want to keep certain details soft to give it that nice space effect, but not too soft that the details muddy together.
Now use a Hard Round Brush to begin painting the texture for the tiger’s fur. Make strokes in the direction that the hair would normally flow for a natural effect. Try not to get too carried away with this step so that you achieve a nice balance between tiger and colorful galaxy.
Fill a new layer with a mustard yellow color and set it to Hue. Bring down the Opacity of the layer to 47%. This will help deepen the colors with a yellow tint for a more natural color scheme.
Finish up the details of your painting by cleaning up the tiger’s eyes and adding more stars to the galaxy. You can quickly add shadows to the outer edges of the galaxy by setting a new layer to Subtract and painting a bright yellow color along the edges