hi- I was wondering if u had any process gifs of your background art? like how do you go about adding the textures? is it at the final stage that you do it? I'm also interested in working as a bg artist after I graduate and you're a really big source of inspiration!
hello! i dont have any process gifs but i put together a little tut for you, i feel like im overdue for a proper one :8) i want to make a more in depth tutorial on background painting (maybe a video?!!?!) but for right now i’ll just address your questions on texture if that’s okay!
here is an ultra basic bg we’re gonna spruce up. keep in mind i’m not going to talk about lighting and composition really so, try to put that out of your mind for now. anyway, there is no texture or edge difference in this yet. everything is smooth and samey (but there is a little bit of atmospheric perspective in the color). the most important thing at this stage is that every unique shape or plane is on its own layer. this is because all texture and lighting will be clipped to the corresponding layer.
sorry this is kind of ugly but this is how i arrange my layers LOL. everything is arranged on planes. i think of it like cut paper stacked on top of each other.
make a clipping mask for the texture you’ll put on each shape. i talk a bit about clipping masks and how to use them here. normally i’d have a clipping mask for texture, shadow, and light, so it can get a little crazy when you have a lot of layers but it’s invaluable for experimenting and getting things just right.
ALRIGHT SO LETS TALK ABOUT ACTUAL TEXTURE. i think about texture as having two functions: 1. to draw the viewer’s eye to where you want it to be, and 2. to describe the material/feel of objects. for our very first texture, we’re going to put some snow on the front tree. im using a variety of brushes, please check my FAQ for a full list. since i want the viewer to focus mostly on the front tree, i’m going to put the most texture on it. to answer your question about when i add texture, i usually just kind of follow my intuition and use it when i feel it’s needed. i will almost definitely go back and add/take away throughout the process of the image. a lot of things change and it’s cool to change your mind throughout. i don’t really follow solid “steps” for every piece, they’re always different for me!
now i am just continuing to add texture here and there. the middle ground trees get a bit of snow, but it’s subdued enough to not be the focal point. as well, i added some texture to the snow because i wanted the front plane to be the one you look at the most. everything behind the middle ground trees is wholly untouched. now we have a nice contrast between smooth/textured going on! and contrast/opposites is the key to guiding a viewer’s eye.
after all that i decided at last minute that the front plane could use some texture to differentiate it. but looking at it now, i’d probably go back and rethink it. that’s life.
finally! i added some color corrections and some gradients to push back the mountains and trees. i also added some falling snow and an overall paper texture to simulate a snowy feel without having to paint it all. the paper texture is behind the front plane, again to push everything behind it back. i would be very careful about putting a texture over everything, it can really flatten everything or make it look fake/gimmicky. clip it to shapes or erase where necessary.
lastly, a short word about more contrast. here, i am trying to push the contrast between soft and sharp. the only difference between this image and the last step is that i blurred and sharpened some planes. there are multiple ways to think about this, but for me, the photographic approach is easiest to understand and it’s just how i like my art to look. basically, i try to always make my focal point sharp and in focus, and blur other elements.
this felt a bit all over the place….sorry!! but, i hope it helped. i would like to do more in-depth tutorials in the future so please hang with me til then. thanks for the ask!!