Introducing leggings. You’ll never run out of inspiration.

3.14159 process, animated

final piece

Damien posted a journal detailing the process for his entry into the happy challenge.

So, being the bandwagon type – I thought I’d do what he did. I realised I’ve still got all my working files – I can actually go back and piece them together into a little animation. So here it is.
(It might take a moment to load, as it is about 2mb – but unless you’re on some 14.4k modem, you should be fine.)

Obviously I didn’t save it every five seconds, so this will only have major iterations. This was done fairly straight forward. I always tend to work on sections when I’m painting (getting the detail for one area before moving on to the next) but I normally work in layers and go back and forth between them. With this one, I pretty much painted on a single layer (with a few exceptions – mostly being hair).

It was basically a matter of getting the shape down, then refining the details… and repeating. When I’m painting, I use the colour picker frequently. So I’ve mapped it to my wacom. This allows me to pick up the colour from the canvas quickly and push it around, and then switch to another colour (again, taking it directly from the canvas) and go back and forth and blend colours efficiently. If you were to watch me do this, you might even miss that I’m doing it at all.

At first I started off using a digital oil bush, but found that it wasn’t fast enough and I decided to stick with the airbrush tool (modified a little to suit my purposes) It’s basically flat colour that is applied at about 25% transparency with a low flow rate. When I’m working between light colours and dark colours, with the colour picker and airbrush tool, I can create gradients without ever having to stop and think about how I’m going to do it. I just put down the two extremes and gradually blend them together.

I use a large brush to create the basic shape, and as I refine the details I’ll gradually shrink the brush and zoom in closer until I’m working at up to 400%.

Shadows and highlights are pretty important. Shadows will create depth and highlights will bring the image forward (or something along those lines). All I know is after you add shadows and highlights, your previous version will look flat and boring in comparison.

Another thing I focused on, that I think helps a lot, is texture. I spent some time detailing inconsistencies in the skin, adding red spots (pores and/or freckles) and some sickly yellow in parts. I’m discovering that our skin is a whole myriad of colours at times… so simple pink flesh won’t do. There are greens, browns, reds and yellows in there. Even after hours of pushing colours around, I decided I wasn’t happy with the overall tone so I took the whole thing into photoshop to tweak the it by pushing the vibrancy and desaturating it and upping the contrast until I was happy. Also, I added a noise layer to further enhance the tone.

Hair is simple and quick to do. But surprisingly hard to perfect. You might notice the beard is pretty much finished within the first couple of frames here. It took maybe two or three minutes to get that almost complete. Although, as always, I came back later and spent a while adding stray hairs all over the place.

So there. I can’t think of anything else to add just now. Perhaps I will write more if I think of something. Let me know if this has been illuminating, or just boring. Any questions?


  • Gabby87
    Gabby87over 5 years ago

    This is so cool and nice work my friend!!!

  • mimi yoon
    mimi yoonover 5 years ago

    wow…. this is so so awesome and definitely illuminating…. thank you for sharing this….

  • Sarah Moore
    Sarah Mooreover 5 years ago

    Wicked! I love seeing how these are put together.

  • Damien Mason
    Damien Masonover 5 years ago

    Fantastic man! I could watch that animated gif for ages :)

  • Jessica Andrews
    Jessica Andrewsover 5 years ago

    It’s so great to see how you go about all of this, it’s amazing to watch

  • Tate ©
    Tate ©over 5 years ago

    made my day… thanks.

  • Natalie Perkins
    Natalie Perkinsover 5 years ago

    I love seeing this sort of animation! I don’t think I could do it, but I could piece together the layers of colouring I guess!

    I still think your skills are coming along in an ENVIABLE way!

  • I’ve seen your timelapse videos… they’s awesome.

    – Paul McClintock

  • ayarti
    ayartiover 5 years ago

    Great read. Are you using Corel Painter? I’ve never tried digital painting before, but i wanted to have a shot at it for this challenge. My wacom came with Corel Painter essentials 3, so i loaded that up and it seems to be a pretty powerful tool, even with its limited ‘essential’ features.

    After 4 failed attempts of a digital painting, i’ve decided to complete my portrait using techniques i’m more comfortable with. I can’t imagine how much time its taken you to build up the skill to pull off your portrait. Kudos!

  • I don’t use the majority of tools available in painter. The few that I use, I use religiously – and I think those are probably all available in the essentials toolset. I like playing with all the other brushes, but when it comes down to it – I choose the one brush that I’m most comfortable with and I’ll just use that one to death.

    – Paul McClintock

  • Soxy Fleming
    Soxy Flemingover 5 years ago

    interesting watching the detail in the eyes change and their colour. I’ve never tried this (and I probabnly should one day) the fine hairs in the beard are great too

  • Chris Wahl
    Chris Wahlover 5 years ago

    Great work, Paul.