It’s the little details that bring impact & photorealism to your artworks, but with so much detail how can you possibly know where to start?
Learn the textures required to add realism to your artworks! This tutorial shows the figure 8 texture for skin, lateral textures (moving), micro shapes and hair textures!
Airbrushing for Realism
before we get started it’s important to realise that there are two ways of creating textures and each can be found by asking yourself the following question;
Is the texture you’re creating light over dark, or dark over light?
For the sake of learning more rapidly we are going to abbreviate these.
DOL texture = Dark over light
LOD texture = Light over dark
The easiest way to tell the type of texture that you need to create is to look at the shape that you are to blend your texture out of & ask yourself;
Is it a DOL shape or LOD?
When creating your airbrush Textures, focus on your height and intensity of paint flow to ensure you are recreating the texture exactly as you see in your reference.
- Increased height will soften textures.
- Decreased height will sharpen textures.
- Increased intensity will sharpen textures.
- Decreased intensity will also soften textures.
Like any of the textures in airbrushing, you should first lay down the shape that you see, only then should you begin blending your textures out from that.
All of the textures pictured within these tutorials are DOL.
The Figure 8 Texture
The most widely used airbrush texture!
The figure 8 texture was taught to me by a man named Paul, a movie makeup professional and one of the founders of MEG Make up Effects Group, Australia’s leading movie make up company.
The idea of the texture is to imitate skin & for best results it is used on a 3D surface, however it is extremely common in artworks using both LOD & DOL textures.
This texture is created very easily but can be a little tricky to get the hang of.
While holding the airbrush around 2.5 inches (7cm) from the canvas, relax your wrist and begin moving the very tip of the airbrush in a figure 8 motion – but only a small motion, you want your figure 8 to be be able to fit on a dime!
As you continue to repeat this figure 8 motion, pull back very slightly for paint.
The opacity of the texture you’re creating determines how far you pull back for paint.
As you see the paint hit the canvas, offset the next figure 8 to one side & continue to offset each consecutive figure 8.
When you feel comfortable enough doing this motion, begin to speed up your movement, concentrate more on the texture that you are creating and let your wrist relax. Increase your speed until the result that you are getting looks exactly the same as picture above.
Remember – the size of the texture you’re airbrushing is determined by your height and intensity of spray (how much you’re pulling back for paint).