Postwork tip: blood, fire, and goo!

(Note: I owe some pictures for this, so you can see what I mean;  illustrations to be delivered later.)

I discovered that a 3-layer method with using brushes or any other translucent painting can do take the place of freehand painting of blood and other drippy messes. Ron’s Flames brushes has instructions for flames, which gave me the idea in the first place, but you can use reds for blood or green/yellow/blue for slime.

NOTE: work VERY LARGE. It takes longer to render but you just cannot do acceptable postwork on 600×800 pixel pictures. Not happening. Just not. What do I mean by large? Well, not print resolution, but try to get the longest side of your rendered area to be 2000 pixels. Go even larger if you can. You won’t be sorry.

In a bitmapped paint program that allows you to use brushes, such as Photoshop, load your render. We’re going to do three layers for the effect:

1. Lowest (first) layer: use flat black and click with your chosen brush on its own layer.

2. Next above the black layer: copy the black layer, lock its transparency, and fill with lightest color you’ll use. Bright yellow for flames.

3. Top layer over the lightest color: Now chooses a mid-tone saturated color in your swatches or someplace. Duplicate your yellow layer, keep the transparency locked, and fill with, say, bright orange for flames. Now, change the blend mode on this layer to Color Burn. (Other layers should be in Normal blend mode.)

4. You can add another orange/color burn layer if you like.

For blood, I used an almost-black dark red for (1), bright fire engine red for (2) and same for (3).

You can then go back to any layer and use your Color/Saturation tool (CMD-U) and fiddle with that to your heart’s content.

This method is better if you have no tablet or don’t feel good about painting.

Photoshop users: If your stamp is somewhat the wrong shape, besides using the brush direction/resize in the brush tool panel, use the Liquify filter on the black layer (1) and shape it first, then create the other layers.

And if black is a little hard to see on that first layer, you can use a medium color and then either lock transparency and fill with black¬† or use the Color/Saturation (CMD-U) filter to turn it black once it’s the right shape.

1 comment to Postwork tip: blood, fire, and goo!

  • Dennis

    Ok, so I’ve been trying to use this method as all other methods require me to not have a picture in the background, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “lock transparency”, does this mean the render is still visible despite the black layer?

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