How many layers to use in digital painting – character design


– [Voiceover] What’s up guys? Welcome to the TheArtClasses.com. Today I am going to show
you how I manage layers, or layers management for character design. The usual process that I usually do, I’m gonna show you guys how. And again this is still April 2016. I am still doing a tablet giveaway or a drawing tablet giveaway. If you want to win a
digital painting tablet, then you can just post
a comment down below. And if you have any question or comment, just post down below, also. I will answer them. Usually I answer all or most of them. And I’m planning to do a
video probably weekly so, I will get some of your good question. Because some of them are gonna
take quite a while to answer so I’m not going to write them down so I have an idea of maybe make a video, weekly video, pick a few
questions and answer for you guys. So it can be a short video. Anyways, alright, well,
let’s get to the tutorial. Originally I was gonna upload a painting Wonder Woman tutorial today, but I kinda accidentally, take it further than I should. So the original Wonder Woman was this. And, I changed quite a few things so, I was thinking… In the beginning I was trying to make really stylized stuff because I was, you know, watching Justice
League on Netflick. And then, after a while I decided to make it a bit more realistic. But, for the most part, all the painting remained
the same but I have to change the proportion a little bit. And I have to change the face. The arm, tweak it a little more and I have to elongate this arm. Then lower the chest area down. But for the rest of it proportion is still pretty much the same. So, here’s Wonder Woman. And hopefully, I will upload the video on the tutorial. Alright so this video is
going to be a quick tip on how I manage layers
on the character design during the process that I’m painting. Sometimes you see me painting and then you’re wondering how
I manage the layer in there. Cuz sometimes you don’t really notice. So in this video, somebody asked me on a channel: “How do I usually manage my
layer when I made a character?” So here it is. And, it’s not universal. People do have different way
of managing their own artwork and how they do things. This is my way of doing things. It’s not the only way. There’s so many way of doing it. So in here, as you can see I separate the character
from the background. But this is the final product
so everything’s separate out. The reason being because
it’s pretty convenient. You can just cut it out, make a selection if you
wanna change something. And then you can change the background, cut her out and changes the background. That’s pretty convenient. And that’s why I manage
the layer that way. But, before that, while I was working, usually, taking that sorta effect, if you want some kind of a stronger light then you have the Color
Balance layer on there. That’s not really an essential, it depends on your preference. But, for the most part, taking this out, that. Usually I’ll have the body. Actually, the body and… It’s a wrong file. Let me get another one. There we go. Now we have another file that
we just pollied another one. I usually save multiple version. So, usually I would have… I would layer from the back to the front. With the back since it’s
here, the background, and I have the shield, if just in case you
might wanna take it out, then I could. Or if I wanted to make a
selection and paint on it so it doesn’t paint over some other layer or a part of the character, I can just add pattern
or add a texture brush without bothering any other
part of the character. Or, I could even, if you wanna tweak a perspective then, I mean make it bigger
or something like that, I could also do it without
even bother the other or effecting the other part. So in here, I’m gonna explain that
later why it called fog, it’s just particles. Hair, I could separate it out. If you take all this out
they’ll be hair and shield and I’ll have the body on top, right? So when I paint hair, I could just paint the hair. If I have the body and everything else up, let just do that. Armor, and hair on the front. I could just decide ‘Oh I wanna’ve hair over
here’, add more hair. It doesn’t affect the body, right? And then, I have mid
part, which is the body. Which is behind the armor, right? And then I have the armor here. If I wanna change color on the armor, then my skin would stay intact and I wouldn’t have to, like trying to paint and
not getting over the line. I could just make a selection. If I wanted to change the
skirt to be like gold, then I could probably just
do another layer and just… See! I could just paint that without effecting the other part of the body. So, let’s get with that. Yeah, so that’s the benefit
of making a separate layer. Also, if I want to, say I wanna push this arm
and the hair in the back, cuz now the hair look a
little closer than it should. So I just add some kind of particle to push the hair and the shield back, away from the body a little bit. So that’s another reason, you could… You know, making that layer, I guess. Uh, that shouldn’t be there. And then, in this part I push her
arm a little bit out. Right there. I have a sword here. Actually, I could push… Like say if I want to have
her sword coming upfront, then I could just make
another layer here, right? Sort of making… this way. And, let’s make it bigger. I’m gonna push this whole
body behind the sword. Then make it easier. Make sense? So there. So that’s a benefit of
having the layer separate from back to the front. And then, once you have that… This is another part that I just merged. Then I have a layer that I add rim light and everything else onto the body. And that sits on another file. But this is the base, the base that I start off with. I basically start off with this and then rim light and
everything else I added later on. And it doesn’t take that long and it make your work
flow a lot faster too. Because you can just go to the layers, ‘Oh I wanna repaint
this part a little bit’ you can just paint on the body
without affecting any part, and it doesn’t go over the line. Make sense? Alright so.. And same thing with here. This is one of the character
that I made long time ago, not long, last year actually. So again, I can just cut it out and make a background white if I want to. And then, on here, I have ax over here, right? And then, you have the metal
part that you can eve… They want a different design, say if you want a plate
over on this metal stud, then you can just change the metal stud to be some kind of plate. Or if you want to change certain
part on top of that later, you can change that
without effecting anything. Or if you want to take like the chain out, because nobody like the
chain here, then you can… Oops. You can just… Uh, wait, metal. Okay, wrong layer. You can just erase the chain out, right? You have the layer underneath it, this is the other part, that
the armor and some of the fur, and you have the leather. And the you have… And you don’t to paint the whole body or skin underneath that. You can just leave it as crude, because nobody is going to see it. So basically the base is that one. And then, if you wanna take that coat out, I could take that coat out, right? So, that’s pretty much
my layer management. But before you get to this point, sometime I paint in mostly normal layer and sometime I do paint on, what do you call those? modifier. But, modifier are tricky
but it can really help you. Anyways, I might make a tutorial on that. Anyway guys I hope you
enjoyed this tutorial. This week, I mean this month, the month of April 2016, I’m giving away a tablet. It’s easy, just become a
subscriber and leave a comment under the video that I
upload in April 2016. And then, I’m just gonna
pick one of you guys, so you guys can win a tablet. I’m gonna announce it at
the end of this month. And also I have a digital painting class, character design class,
and one-one mentorship. Just click on the icon on the right, top right corner of the video, and then you will find the class. May class is starting in May, so you can just register
and you’ll be in May class. I record this video kinda
early so I’m not sure if the class we’ll be already full. Most of the time it’s
filled up pretty quick. And I’m teaching it myself. Anyways, well, I hope
you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope this will
be useful to you guys. And I will see you next week. Have a great day. Buh-bye.

100 Replies to “How many layers to use in digital painting – character design”

  1. I finally started using names and color for my layers to keep it all organized. But I do try to work in as few layers as possible. Usually when I do line art heavy work, I;ll have many layers. When doing paintings, I'm usually straight up one layer.

  2. When learning to draw characters is it better to learn and get good att the anatomy and proportions before moving on to faces/clothes and other details?

  3. Here's a question for your q n a

    what ways do you overcome drawing block when it happens?

    do you draw from your favorite character from a movies/TV shows or do you go outside or meditate to get over the funk when it happens?

  4. QnA : How long did it take you to get better at drawing?
    I personally just started but i want to draw so like you! i love your drawings! ♥

  5. I love that some of your work has a more traditional look with heavy brush strokes even though it is digital. Who are some of your favorite oil painters?

  6. Do you think painting everything on one layer is a bad idea? Are layers and how easily they can be edited just a good practice in the industry where changes are constantly being made? Thanks! ^^

  7. T_T I never name my layers and then I swear (a lot) when I can't find the one I'm looking for.. I hope this video will motivate me to do so

  8. question: if i'm a 3d animator/generalist, compositor, graphic designer and i'm sick of the technical side of computer graphics and i want to do more art but i do not draw .. will it be more easier to start creating acceptable pieces with my background?

  9. Okay so I would love to see you do some art work on the new characters from the Star Wars Rogue One movie.

  10. What software do you use? I have an Intuos Pro Large, but the only software I could afford is Manga Studio 5. I was thinking of trying the economy version of Corel Painter 2016. I would love to be able to do stuff like I see here!

  11. You have awesome tutorials!
    I wonder if you have any favourite artists to recommend to keep track and get some inspirations
    Your job is really great! Keep it up!

  12. your tutorials always help me a lot and keep me motivated drawing. when ever i feel my drawing isn't going how i wanted be, i always come back to your channel bc usaully, there are solutions in your vids. thanks

  13. With the final wonder woman I can feel the fierceness from her look. This is a helpful on using light to push certain body parts to the background.

  14. Okay, first let me say I am a huge fan of your channel. Out of all the art channels I've seen on youtube, yours stands above the rest. Now with that out of the way I have a question. Digital painting is a passion of mine, but I have a challenge that some others may not have. I'm slightly color blind. I still see color, but it is very hard to distinguish between certain ones…for example blue and purple can sometimes be a problem. Even green and brown can seem very similar sometimes. I don't want to be stuck only doing black and white art, but I also don't want to paint skin that I think is normal tone, when in reality it is green or something…..I'm sad to say that happened in one of my first attempts at color. My girlfriend at the time was impressed with the overall design, but seemed confused why I painted her green. lol. Man that was very irritating, and embarrassing. I played it off of course….she was an alien. But I'm getting off topic. You've asked for suggestions for your videos, and I thought this may be a good one. I'm sure I'm not the only person who watches your videos, and wants to grow at illustration and suffers from this limitation. Thank you for your time, and the great instruction you give.

  15. What are your brush seetings? : D Every time I draw in photoshop my brushes look very thick and unclean D :

  16. I'm up for the tablet give away ? Btw, could you advise on the use of density brushes, I feel like its cool for some metallic effects but it seems to denature colors and gets fucked up as soon as it is covered by another layer. Any help on Metallic items coloring ?

  17. very good management, I liked the way you keep many options, in different layers to customize your characters! I'll try this im my studies to character design!

  18. Love the wonder woman painting! I dont think you took it too far, tbh i like it better than the original.

  19. Do you know I any good way for practising proportion? Or is just something you have to wait let catch up through general drawing?

  20. I've always had an issue with layers when drawing (both traditionally, with any mediums, etc.) but you find common mistakes there with lots of people. I was surprised to find a video about this.. But I'm even more surprised more people don't touch on this subject.

  21. oh man im so annoyed, this video is so appropriate now. Im on my second piece of work, my first initial piece of work I was careful about what layers I was drawing, shading on etc like (base drawing guide) (hair) (facial features) (shadows) etc… My second piece ive by accident drawn and shaded all on one layer with my guides…..

    Is there a way of separating what is meant for 2 layers from one? Basically ive shaded over my guides which was meant to be on a separate layer?

    One layer being the guide, the other being the detailed shading? And the problem is even though the shading is dark enough, the guide marking where the eyes and nose are, is still coming through, I want to be able to turn off the guides?

    At the moment im using an eraser to take away the lines i can see but depending on how hard you look, you can see a faint line through the middle of my drawing….. Would be a great help if someone can help.

    I did my guides using a different colour and tool to the shading if that helps? What im trying to say is, is there a way of isolating a certain colour or part of my image and then just separating or deleting? thanks

  22. If you could paint a painting from start to finish highlighting how you make and manage the layers throughout would be even better! like so we see how you add the new layers while managing them from the sketch. thanks for the informative video

  23. Do you think starting a drawing with pencil and paper is better/same/worse than starting right from photoshop?

  24. I like the realistic one, you did well to make it look even better : D
    Btw wasn't your name, Xia, also the first Chinese Empire? Which is pretty epic if it is.

  25. I haven't started in digital yet, since I don't yet have a tablet, but this is very useful information. Thank you

  26. Usually when i draw i start with several layers maybe about 30 and then later i combine them so that i can start blending 😀

  27. YOUR SO FRICKIN AMAZING AT ART!!!!!!! Random question: what brushes do you use for things like background, skin, hair, etc.?

  28. My question to you is:
    What is the best way to transition from paper and pencil to tablet and pen? I am having trouble with feeling the texture of the tablet surface. Do you have any advice on this issue?

  29. Hi again! Are you planning a book with all your art in it? Or, is there a book with concept designs (made by you) in it?

  30. I'm not really fan of using many layers but I also had messed up really bad sometimes __"…some day I'll learn thanks for the vid

  31. I wasn't sure from the video but do you normally setup your background layer temperature at the end or beginning of your painting? I'm assuming the local value is set when you first start but it appeared that you added temperature after establishing your character.

  32. This is quite helpful. I find if I'm painting I used very few layers but when I make comics, there is a very specific layer system I use: Pencils, inks, flats, panels, text, shades, backgrounds.

  33. Hey Xia, I've been following since you had the website, and maybe only or 6 Tutorials you were selling. I may not have been very active but I really enjoyed all your help in getting other artists to improve.. and now you are on youtube and doing giveaways which is great! I've already subscribed but I'm just going to go ahead andpost a comment on every video because that tablet looks awesome. Good luk to everyone else.. and you!

  34. With the layers, the selection tool trick you showed is helpful, I didn't know you could do that, so that's something that I learned 🙂

  35. this is such important and valuable information, and i will certainly use it in the future when attempting digital paintings

  36. I was expecting this tutorial for so long. Sadly your explanation was very mixed up and unorganized I couldn't understand it quite well. I was expecting to watch your process from the begginig to the end, some kind of a brief step by step, to get those spectacular results. Sadly not… 🙁

  37. Hello @Xia Taptara, Im starting as illustrator and digital painter. I work as graphic designer and I was wandering if I use one layer for each part is it a good idea to do so instead of merging everything?

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