I’m seeing a lot of first time entrants to the Brightshine Jubilee contest, so here’s some helpful skin/accent tips
1. Color your Shadow and Line layers. As long as the lines and shadows are visibly distinct from the other details of the dragon, they can be any color. By default these layers are transparency locked, meaning you can paint on it without going outside the boundaries of what’s already on the layer. Some programs also to use the Hue/Saturation thing to colorize it. Coloring your lines and shadows make your colors a lot more vibrant.
2. Be careful with your use of default photoshop brushes.
You know how in movies you occasionally hear that stock scream that so many other films use? Doesn’t it take you out of your immersion for the moment where you think “Hey I’ve heard that before..”? Well there’s a similar effect when you use the most common photoshop brushes. These brushes still have a place, but I find they’re good for the sketching process or a small part of texturing. You need to add more to them if you don’t want the Wilhelm effect.
3. I’m about to make your life so much easier if you didn’t know this tip.
You aren’t allowed to go outside the bounds of the dragon, so you need to make sure there’s no stray lines. This is something you can do when you’re totally done with your design, and you can do it in two seconds.
Photoshop works just about the same, but I’m using Sai for this explanation.
First, CTRL+Click your Skin Parts folder to select the whole dragon’s silhouette. (If you only use the Base layer, the linework is excluded, and that’s a problem for some species like pearlcatchers and imps since their whiskers are included there.) You may have to turn off layers you made, if you put any in that folder. In photoshop, you might have to merge the folder first.
Once you have the dragon’s silhouette selected, find your layer(s) with your designs. It’s easier if you have them all in a folder because you can just apply the next step to the folder. Find the Layer Mask button and simply click it. BAM, now there’s nothing outside the lines. As long as you don’t edit your mask, you can even draw new stuff and it won’t allow you to draw outside the lines.