One Simple Way To Add Depth To Rainfall (Or Snowfall) In Digital Art/ Digitally-Edited Art

2017-artwork-adding-depth-to-rain-in-digital-art

Well, for today, I thought that I’d quickly explain one of the many image editing techniques that I use on a regular basis.

For this technique, you’ll need a simple image editing program that is capable of adding lines (of varying thickness) and/or dots (of varying thickness) to an image. I’ll be using an old version MS Paint, but any other simple programs will do for this technique.

One common problem when digitally adding rain or snow to images is that the rain or snow can look a bit “flat”. It can look like a single “sheet” of rain or snow is falling over the image. This usually happens if you just add random white/grey lines or dots to the image without thinking about things like distance and perspective.

However, if you follow a couple of simple rules, then the rainfall in your digitally-edited artwork will look a lot more voluminous and realistic. Firstly, here’s an example image of a city which I’ll be adding rainfall to in this tutorial (to add snowfall, just do the same thing, but use dots instead of lines).

This is the example image (taken from one of my older paintings) that I'll be adding rain to.

This is the example image (taken from one of my older paintings) that I’ll be adding rain to.

First of all, identify the deep background. This is the sky above the outdoor areas in your picture and/or any distant buildings. Here’s another version of the example image, with the deep background highlighted in green:

The deep background.

The deep background.

Now, find the line tool in your image program. Choose the thinnest possible line width (and change the line colour to either white or pale grey) and add thin vertical lines of varying lengths to the deep background, like this:

This is the first step in adding more realistic rain.

This is the first step in adding more realistic rain.

Once you’ve done this, find the mid-background. These are the parts of the background that are between the deep background and the foreground. Here’s another highlighted version of the example picture, with the mid-background in green.

The mid-background.

The mid-background.

Now, select the second-thinnest line width in your editing program and add these slightly thicker lines to both the mid-background and the deep background, like this:

As you can see, the thicker lines are used on both the mid-background and the deep background.

As you can see, the thicker lines are used on both the mid-background and the deep background.

Finally, look for any non-covered areas (eg: anything or anyone that isn’t directly underneath the roof in the foreground of the example image) in the close background and/or foreground and then add even thicker lines to these areas, and to both the mid and deep background areas, like this:

Voila! The rainfall has much more depth! Sorry if the mid-background lines look different to the previous example, I accidentally overwrote a saved file and had to make the previous example again.

Voila! The rainfall has much more depth! Sorry if the mid-background lines look different to the previous example, I accidentally overwrote a saved file and had to make the previous example again.

….And that’s how to add more depth to the rain in your digital art/ digitally-edited art.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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One Way To Draw Backgrounds Through Rain-Covered Windows

2016 Artwork Rain Covered Windows drawing article

Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk very briefly about a simple traditional drawing technique that I discovered when making one of the paintings that will be posted here later this month.

This was one of those times when I was making the preliminary sketch for a painting and suddenly thought “wouldn’t it be interesting if I tried this?” Only to later discover a new drawing or painting technique.

Anyway, I’ll be talking about how to draw backgrounds that can be seen through rain-covered windows. Even though I worked out a “realistic” way of doing this back in late 2014/ early 2015, it relied heavily on using digital tools after scanning the original painting (eg: the “smudge” tool in GIMP if anyone is interested). This is what my old digital technique looked like:

"Shuffle" By C. A. Brown [17th January 2015]

“Shuffle” By C. A. Brown [17th January 2015]

But, I was curious about whether a similar technique can be achieved through traditional means. It can, but the technique I used is a lot more subtle and a lot less instantly noticeable than simply blurring/ smudging the background digitally.

In fact, it’s very similar to the technique that most artists use when drawing objects that have been submerged in water. In other words, all you have to do is to make all of the lines in your drawing slightly wavy. After you’ve done this, then all you need to do is to add the usual thin diagonal lines in order to signify that it’s raining.

However, unlike when underwater objects, you want to make the wavy lines a lot more subtle. In other words, just make the lines slightly wavy rather than very wavy. Here’s a quick chart that I knocked up in MS Paint to show you what I mean.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] As you can see, the lines need to be slightly less wavy than those used for drawing underwater objects.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] As you can see, the lines need to be slightly less wavy than those used for drawing underwater objects.

In addition to this, it might also be worth using techniques similar to those used for drawing and/or painting foggy landscapes. Namely that the further away from the foreground something is, the lighter and blurrier it should be. I forgot to use these techniques when I was experimenting with drawing rainy windows, but I can see how it might be useful.

Anyway, here’s an example of the technique in action – taken from the painting that I’ll be posting here later this month. Although I made my usual digital adjustments to the brightness/contrast/ saturation levels in this picture (as well as covering up a couple of small mistakes), I didn’t use any digital blurring effects:

This is a detail from an upcoming painting. Notice how the edges of the brown building are wavy/blurry, in order to simulate rain on the window in front of it.

This is a detail from an upcoming painting. Notice how the edges of the brown building are wavy/blurry, in order to simulate rain on the window in front of it.

As I said, I didn’t use any “fog” techniques in this painting and the “rainy window” effect is also not really as noticeable as it would be if I’d used digital blurring techniques instead. But, it was still an interesting learning experience and it might be something that is worth experimenting with if you’re making traditional art.

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Sorry for another ridiculously short article, but I hope that this was useful 🙂

ANIMATED Cyberpunk Art Preview :)

[EDIT: I’ve just replaced this animation with a slightly slower version (since I was worried that it flickered too quickly), which also has a smaller file size – so it shouldn’t take ages to load]

Well, although the full version of this digitally-edited painting won’t be posted here for literally ages (so, it’s also a glimpse at some of next year’s art), as soon as I finished making it earlier today, I just had to turn it into a small animation and, well, I felt like showing it off. Enjoy 🙂

As usual, this animation is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Intersection (Animated Preview)" By C. A. Brown

“Intersection (Animated Preview)” By C. A. Brown

Four Very Basic Tips For Drawing And Painting Realistic Water

2015 Artwork Realistic Water article sketch

If you’re new to making art, then trying to work out how to draw and/or paint realistic-looking water can be somewhat confusing.

Although I’m still learning the finer points of how to draw and paint realistic water myself, I’ve learnt a few things over the past three years or so which might come in handy.

So, without further ado, let’s get started:

1) The colour of water: This sounds like a fairly simple thing. After all water is supposed to be blue – right? Wrong.

Water is, as you probably know, completely transparent and colourless. What this means is that the water in your painting or drawing should be approximately the same colour as the things above it and/or whatever it is being contained in.

This is a copy of J.W.M Turner's "The Fighting Temeraire" I made a while ago. As you can see, the water is pretty much the same colour as the sky

This is a copy of J.W.M Turner’s “The Fighting Temeraire” I made a while ago. As you can see, the water is pretty much the same colour as the sky

So, for example, if you’re painting the sea – then it should be roughly the same colour as the sky in your painting. If you’re painting the sea during the day, then this means that it should be blue/green.

If you’re painting the sea during the sunset, then it should be orange/red/yellow/black and, if you’re painting the sea at night, then your water should be black/dark blue/ purple.

Making oceans, rives, lakes and seas a totally different colour to the sky is a beginners’ mistake and it’s one I’ve made more than a few times in my own art. But it can be easily avoided if you remember this simple rule.

Likewise, if – for example- you’re painting a red bucket full of water, then the water should be a slightly lighter shade of red than the bucket – perhaps mixed with a small amount of whatever colour the things above the bucket are.

2) Distortions: Because light passes through water at a slower rate than it does through air, everything underwater will appear slightly distorted. This is basic secondary school science, so how is it relevant to us as artists?

Well, one of the easiest ways to show that something is underwater is to draw it using slightly wavy lines rather than with straight lines. Likewise, a good way of showing that something is partially underwater is to draw the lower half of it using slightly wavy lines. In case this is confusing, here’s a picture of what I’m talking about:

Everything above the water line is drawn using solid lines and everything below the water line is drawn with wavy lines

Everything above the water line is drawn using solid lines and everything below the water line is drawn with wavy lines

Whilst you can use distortions alone to show the presence of water, it can sometimes also be useful to draw a few wavy horizontal lines on the surface of the water (like in the example) to make it clear to your audience that they’re looking at water.

This technique also only really works for clear water – if your water is muddy or is extremely deep, then you should only do this for a small part of the objects very close to the surface and to make objects that are far deeper either completely invisble or nothing more than a dark silhouette (using a darker version of whatever colour you are using for your water). Like this:

As you can see, the object that is deep underwater is a much darker shade of the water's colour.

As you can see, the object that is deep underwater is a much darker shade of the water’s colour.

3) Very basic reflections of the sun and/or moon: I can’t really offer any advanced tips about how to draw and/or paint realistic reflections in water, because I’m still learning how to do this. However, I can teach you one basic thing that will come in handy if you’re drawing the sea during the day and/or night.

In short, if the sun or the moon is above the sea, then you need to draw two wavy lines in pencil on the water directly below it – the space between these lines should be lighter than the rest of the water. In case this was confusing, here’s a small diagram to show you what I mean:

2015 Artwork Realistic Water figure 3

4) Slightly realistic rain: Rain is fairly easy to draw, right? All you need to draw is lots of short diagonal lines across your painting or drawing and it looks like it’s raining, right?

Well, yes. But, if you do this, then it will just look like there’s a very unrealistic two-dimentional sheet of rain falling in front of your picture.

If you want to make your rain look more realistic and three-dimensional, then you have to make some of the lines longer and thicker (so that they look like they’re closer to the front of the picture) and some of the lines shorter and thinner (so that they look like their further away).

It’s as simple as that, and it should look something like this:

Notice how some of the lines are longer and thicker than the others.

Notice how some of the lines are longer and thicker than the others.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (18th January 2015)

Well, I’m tentatively thinking about starting yet another art series based on rainy weather. And, well, today’s painting is a random landscape that took me less than half an hour to make. As I mentioned yesterday, random natural landscapes are kind of my subject of choice when it comes to making “lazy” paintings LOL!

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"A Folly" By C. A. Brown

“A Folly” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (18th December 2014)

Well, I was still in the mood for making B&W sci-fi lineart and I’m really proud of how this drawing turned out 🙂

This drawing was partially inspired by this “Blade Runner”-esque 1980s-style instrumental song on Youtube called “Future Club” by Perturbator. I won’t link to the official video here, since the album art is fairly risque. Still, it’s an absolutely brilliant song.

As usual, this drawing is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"City Rain" By C. A. Brown

“City Rain” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (28th September 2014)

Well, originally I was going to paint a 1980s/1990s-style scene of a tourist exploring either a Venice-like city or a seaside resort in Cornwall. But, since I really can’t paint bright pictures, the weather in it soon became a lot..gloomier. I also ended up digitally editing this picture a lot more than usual after I’d scanned it too.

Since this painting will have probably been posted on DeviantART a few days ago, I’ll provide the original lineart for it as a blog exclusive.

As usual, these two pictures are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Scattered Showers" By C. A. Brown

“Scattered Showers” By C. A. Brown

And here’s the lineart:

"Scattered Showers (Lineart)" By C. A. Brown

“Scattered Showers (Lineart)” By C. A. Brown