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Photoshop and V-Ray top tips

Gina Nelson and Daniel Bloecher share some top Photoshop tips, while Andrei Lazar shares a video tutorial for dealing with V-Ray's lightmeter...

Gina Nelson and Daniel Bloecher share some top Photoshop tips, while Andrei Lazar shares a video tutorial for dealing with V-Ray's lightmeter...

Good planning = less mess

Software: Photoshop
Create your concepts before starting on your final character. Remember –concepts can be fast and rough! Our characters get animated in 'Spine' and then go into 'Unity'. They're not just illustrations, so good planning means there's no need to get messy when we move onto creating the actual character, saving time while we work.

Plan first! Be rough with your concepts

Plan first! Be rough with your concepts

Easy lines with Lazy Nezumi

Software: Photoshop and Lazy Nezumi
Creating smooth line work in Photoshop can be a pain. Luckily there are some amazing (and cheap) tools out there to help! Lazy Nezumi's line smoothing can really make a difference to the amount of time you spend trying to get smooth lines. Give it a try!

Lazy Nezumi is a Photoshop plugin that will help with your linework

Work smart

Software: Photoshop
Smart objects can save you time and keep your PSDs tidy and small when working on complex projects. Group all the elements you want to turn into a smart object together, right-click the group and select 'Convert to Smart Object'. To edit the smart object, double-click on it, the changes you make will update in your original PSD.

Group, right-click, 'Convert to Smart Object'

Group, right-click, 'Convert to Smart Object'

Scale down but stay big

Software: Photoshop
Scaling down smart objects in your PSD does not affect the actual size of the contents of the smart object. This is really helpful if you're preparing characters for animation and need to export them at a certain scale, without ever having to scale your PSD down and risk losing your high resolution files.

The contents of smart objects can be bigger than your PSD

Rotating smart objects

Software: Photoshop
The position and rotation of smart objects within a PSD has nothing to do with what is in the smart object itself. For example - you could rotate your character's weapon in the PSD but carry on painting it head on in the smart object.

You can rotate objects in your PSD but work head on in your smart objects

You can rotate objects in your PSD but work head on in your smart objects

Check your Values

Software: Photoshop
I use a hotkey for "Proof Colors" to quickly check the values of my image, looking at it in black and white only. Therefore change the Proof Setup as shown:

View > Proof Setup > Custom

Device to Simulate: Dot Gain (type does not matter)

Proof Setup

Proof Setup

Exposure

Software: V-Ray
I'm always using the V-Ray lightmeter to measure the exposure of a scene in accordance with the correct scale of the scene and real-life light values such as Watts. So no generic units; this way I can accurately predict how the lighting behaves if I add new light sources or switch them off.

The V-Ray lightmeter can be found in the Helpers tab in the V-Ray section

Related links

Download Photoshop
Download V-Ray
Grab a copy of Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Sci-fi and Fantasy