Watch how I created this highly stylized composite portrait
I always tell everybody that with only 30 minutes of practice a day you can become a master at Photoshop, all you need to be is consistent. And I honestly believe that. Most people will probably put more time in than that, I know I did for sure! But as a bare minimum, 30 mins a day would still work.
Taking a leaf from my own book, and because since becoming a full-time Photographer and Digital artist I have more time. I have made it one of my goals to sit down with either my own photos or stock photos and create a new image each week. But I have to throw in a technique I haven’t used at all, or not very much. Or it has to be a genre or subject I am not known for.
One of those techniques is painted rim lights on models. There are many digital artists who do this, but only a handful can do it to a certain level of awesomeness!! And they are usually Russian. If you follow people like Pavel Bond or Max Asabin, you know what I am talking about.
Both these guys use a brush on normal mode with a little mix of screen or color dodge. How do I know this… because I watched their YouTube speed edits in slow motion. Yes, I am that guy! Haha
Anyway knowing this I set off to create my own composite model portrait with painted rim light. I used a model stock image from Vince Voltage of Deviant Art, and a Mouse ears hat from Seann Jewall.
All I did was paint in the highlights using a brush on various blend modes. Mainly normal, color dodge and screen. One tip I will give you is to use the selection from your cut out model to keep within the borders of your model when painting them on. To do this just hold down CTRL and the marching ants will appear around your model. You can then paint along without bleeding over the edges. If you watch the video above you will see what I mean.
If you are creating an image with these kind of rim lights then you need the image to be fairly stylized as the rim light effect works best on hyper-real images. Although if you are good enough, you can try it on photo realisitc images. As you can see from the before and after I definitely went the hyper-real route.
As you can see, the image isn’t perfect, but for a first attempt im pretty happy with the outcome. All it is now is a game of hours spent refining the technique until you I better. And that is the way to master anything. Just put the hours in. Practice does make perfect, so if you dont practice, dont expect to get anywhere.
Now go out and learn something new!
Clinton Lofthouse is a Award-Winning Photographer, Creative Director, and artist based in the United Kingdom, who specialises in creative retouching and composites. Proud 80’s baby, reader of graphic novels and movie geek!