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Painting with the Retouch Tool - Part 3
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Painting with the Retouch Tool - Part 3
The Lake and Foreground
Created by: theProf

Part 2 - Mountains & Trees

In this four (4) part tutorial series, we will be creating and painting a Mountain Scene using the Retouch tool and in particular the Smudge Option. The techniques presented will provide both an orientation to using the Retouch Tool for painting and how its various options affect images.

Part 1 both explores using the Retouch Tool and its options and creates a background of clouds on a blue sky. The basic painting techniques are described in this tutorial.
Part 2 creates the Mountains and background Trees.
Part 3 creates the Lake and a Foreground Scene.
Part 4 finishes up the Painting with enhancements and a Frame.

There are no downloads needed for this tutorial series.

Creating Lake and Foreground

In Part 1 and Part 2 we created the background, clouds, mountains and trees. We will create a new layer for the Lake and another new layer for the Foreground. We use much the same techniques as we have done previously.

In painting the Lake with a goal of also showing the reflection of the trees, mountains, and clouds in the lake, we need to first divide our canvas at the Lake Line, then create two new layers: one layer will be the top scene and the other the bottom scene. The Bottom Scene will become our Lake.

When we finish the Foreground we will have finished the basic painting which we will enhance
in Part 4.

Mountain Scene
The Mountains and Trees

Creating the Lake

Load your PSP Image from Part 2

Use: Windows > Duplicate. Then, Close the Original PSP file to save it should you wish to rework those layers.

Prepare Canvas for Creating Lake

We want to duplicate the mountains and trees, flip these images so we get a reflection effect. We will do this by dividing the canvas at the lake line.

Mountain Relection

Create a Mountain Reflection

Turn off the Tree Layer
Highlight the Mountains Layer
Using the Layer Palette, Duplicate the Layer
Use: Image > Flip
Use the Mover Tool: Move the Bottom of the Mountains up to base of the Top Mountains. Leave some of the Blue showing between the two mountain images.
Turn on the Trees Layer


Guide Line at Base of Mountains

Draw a Shore Line

Turn off all layers except the Top Mountains Layer.
Create a New Layer at top label 'Guide'
In Styles, Foreground = Black and Background = Null.
Use the Draw Tool on the Top Layer with these settings:

  • Type = Point to Point
  • Width = 2
  • Line Style = Default Line
  • Antialias = Checked
  • Create as a Vector = Unchecked
  • Close Path = Unchecked
Draw a curved Shore Line at base of mountains starting at either end and across the canvas.
  • Click a point at one end of canvas.
  • Click a point to the side of first point and hold down mouse button. (This action creates a vector node which you can now manipulate to get a curved line.)
  • Continue holding down mouse button: Note that if you drag up you create a curve downward; If you drag down, you create a curve upward: if you drag to the side you can change the appearance of the curve. (You can also grab the node and move it to lengthen the curved line after you have released the mouse button.)

    When finished with the curve, release the mouse button. If you don't like the curve just drawn, use [Control+Z] to undo it and start again with a new node.

  • Continue along the shore line adding a node (click mouse button where you want the node), holding mouse button and shaping that curve. Repeat until you have created a curving shoreline along the base of the mountain. Allow some transparency to show through the curved lines.

  • Also, you can click on a node, hold the mouse button and drag as well. When finished, make sure your left and right nodes are almost off the canvas to make a solid line.

  • When finished with drawing the shore line, Right Click on the Line for a Menu and select 'Quit Node Editing' and the line will be drawn.
If there is open areas at either end of the line, just draw another short line to connect with the main line. You do not want any open areas on this line across the canvas as we will use the Magic Wand on this layer to divide the canvas in half.

Top and Bottom Scene

Divide Scene into Top and Bottom Parts

  • Use Magic Wand with RGB Value, Tolerance = 0
    and Sample Merged = Unchecked. Click below the line.
  • Use: Selections > Save to Alpha Channel.
    Do Not Deselect
  • Delete the Top Layer as it is no longer needed.
  • Turn on all layers
  • Make sure All Layers are visible
    Use: Layers > Merge > Merge Visible.
  • Relabel the Merged layer to 'Scene Top'
  • If your selection is not showing, use: Selections > Load from Alpha
  • Copy the lower part of Canvas: [Control+C]
  • Use the Delete Key to Remove the Bottom part of scene.
  • Add a New Layer to the Top labeled 'Scene Bottom.
  • Drag this layer to below the Scene Top Layer.
  • Use: Edit > Paste > Into Selection
  • Deselect [Control+D]

Smudge Trees and Mountain in Lake

Create the Lake Effect - Step 1

  • First, Create a New Bottom Layer labeled 'BG'
    • Use the dropper tool on the Scene Bottom Layer and pick up a light blue color and Set the Foreground to this Blue Color.
    • Highlight the BG Layer and Flood Fill it.
  • Next, we will Smudge the Scene Bottom starting with the trees and pulling down and slightly to the right over the rest of the layer.
    • Turn off the Scene Top Layer.
    • Highlight the Scene Bottom Layer.
    • Use the Retouch Tool with these settings:
      • Set to 'Smudge'
      • Shape = Horizontal
      • Size = 255
      • Hardness = 25
      • Opacity = 50
      • Step = 2
      • Density = 50
    • Begin with your cursor just above the trees and slowly draw down and slightly to the right once.
    • Move the cursor to the area needing to be done on the right and again draw down and slightly to the right slowly.
    • Use Layer Palette: Set Opacity to 50%.
    • Turn on the Scene Top Layer.
    • Note: There will be a blue Shoreline showing.
    • If satisfied, Save your work as a New PSP File.

    • If not satisfied, use [Control+Z] to undo and redo until satisfied and then Save it.


    Smudge Top Tree Line

    Create the Lake Effect - Step 2

  • In this step, highlight the Top Layer. Use the Smudge Tool again on the bottom of the trees.
    • Use these settings:
      • Shape = 'Right Slash'
      • Size = '20'
      • (No other setting changes needed).
      • Start at the bottom of the trees grabbing just a bit of them and draw the cursor slowly down and to the right.
      • Repeat over the rest of the shore line.

    • Finish up by starting at the left side of the canvas and draw horizontally across the shore line one.


    The Wavey Effect

    Create the Lake Effect - Step 3

  • Create a Wavy Effect in the Lake
    • Highlight the Scene Bottom Layer
    • Use: Effects > Geometric Effects > Wave
    • Horizontal amplitude = 3
    • Wavelength = 25
    • Vertical Amplitude = 0
    • Wavelength does not matter
    • Click on ok
  • Now, use Layers > Merge > Merge All (flatten) and then in
    the 'Background' Layer, Promote it to a Layer and
    name it 'Scene'.

    The Shore Line

    Create the Lake Effect - Step 4

  • Streak the Lake with small white streaks along the shore line and into the lake with small zig zag lines to give the lake some small white waves and create a more realistic effect.

    • Select the 'Retouch Tool' with these settings:
      • Set Retouch = 'Lighten RGB'
      • Shape = Horizontal
      • Size = 5
      • Hardness = 100
      • Opacity = 100
      • Step = 15
      • Density = 50
  • Create the Shore Line using a horizontal motion. Drag the cursor right and left making small white lines at the base and just above the base into the smudge area of the trees. Do not over do this effect. Just create a number of small horizontal lines along the shore line to differential between the water and land.
    Lake Effects

  • Now, make a bit larger horizontal lines down from the shore line into the Lake. Zig zag them back and forth drawing down toward bottom of the canvas. Don't over do this step. The appearance is to see some light white lines (reflections) in the lake.

  • To Undo lines you don't like, use [Control+Z] and then redo any part to get the appearance you like.
    The Lake Effect

  • In this final step, use the Retouch Tool Smudge Option again to lightly smudge the lake area and soften the white lines just a bit.
    • Use Retouch set to Smudge with these settings:
      • Retouch set to Smudge
      • Shape = Right Slash
      • Size = 100
      • Hardness = 5
      • Opacity = 25
      • Step = 1
      • Density = 25
    • Start at left edge of picture with point of smudge tool just above the shoreline marks. Draw straight across to the right of canvas.
    • Repeat in those areas yet to be smudged until you have done the whole bottom of the canvas.
    • Do Not over do the smudge effect. Just lightly soften the lines.

  • Save your Work as a New PSP File.
  • The lake is now completed. In the next step we will add a foreground of land.

    Land Background

    Creating the Foreground

    In this final step of Part 3, we will create the land for the foreground of our Scene. Using the Spray Can, after first setting the dark background, the technique is to spray lightly alternating between the dark brown and the light brown colors on the bottom part of the canvas. If some blue shows through that is no problem.

  • Set the Colors:
    • Foreground = 'Brown' (160, 112, 16)
    • Background = 'Dark Brown' (96, 64, 0)

  • Create a New Layer labeled 'Land'
  • Use the Spray Can with these settings:
    • Shape = Round
    • Size = 100
    • Hardness = 25
    • Opacity = 50
    • Step = 100
    • Density = 50

  • Create the Dark Brown Background for the Land
    • Use the Background Color.
    • Begin on the Left hand corner, about 1/2 way down the Canvas and about 1/2 inch below the Lake Shore Line.
    • Draw across the Lake creating a down curve (half moon) ending on the right showing some of the Lake on the right.
    • Finish the background by painting the rest of the bottom part of the Canvas below the Curve Land Line just drawn. There will be lake blue showing through this whole area.

    Land Smudged

  • Add Color and Contrast
    • Alternate between Dark and Light Brown Colors. (Use just Single Clicks of the Mouse Button rather than hold and drag. Move mouse where you want more light or dark color.)
    • Add more texture and color to the Bottom Land Area
    • The objective her is to get some varied coloring and eventually shaping of the land.

  • Add New Color to the Land
    • Set Foreground Color to light Brown (210, 145, 6).
    • Spray with Single Clicks along and just below
      the Land/Lake Line.
    • Finish up with very light sprays along the bottom part of the Land leaving more dark showing through.

  • Smudge It
    • Use Retouch and Smudge with no changes in settings.
    • Slowly draw across the Land from Left to Right once.
    • Repeat drawing across the Land until all areas have been smudged.


    Land Streaked

    Land Smudged

  • Add a Textured Look to the Land
    • Duplicate the Layer.
    • Use Colors > Adjust Brightness/Contrast
      (Brightness = 10 and Contrast = 30).

  • Use Retouch and Darken RGB with these settings:
    • Shape = Horizontal
    • Size = 10
    • Hardness = 100
    • Opacity = 50
    • Step = 20
    • Density = 50

  • Draw horizontal lines across the land which produces dark streaks. Use a back and forth motion and zig zag it.
  • Use Retouch and Smudge with these settings.
    • Right Slash
    • Size = 50
    • Hardness = 5
    • Opacity = 70
    • Step = 1
    • Density = 70

  • Start with slow relatively short strokes to the land in a diagonal and downward motion, almost as drawing downward arcs. This action will create a rolling motion to the land as well as smoothing out the dark lines created above.
  • Finish up by Changing the Shape = Horizontal and Size = 10 and then drawing very fast, short horizontal lines back and forth over the whole canvas. This action will create a more realistic look to the land.
  • Turn off bottom Layer, highlight a top layer and use: Merge > Merge Visible. Then, label this Merged Layer 'Land'.
  • If you want more 'Lake' Showing, use the Mover Tool and just move the Land layer down a bit.
  • Save your Work as a PSP File as we have finished Part 3.


    Part Three is now Finished

    We have painted Mountains, Trees, Lake and Foreground (Land). This completes the basic painting. In Part 4, we will enhance the foreground and the picture to finish up this series of lesson.

    Until then, enjoy -- Prof --