Digital Realism: Fur

The following tutorials will cover how I render realistic fur in Photoshop 6.

Tools you will use

  • Airbrush
  • Smudge Tool
  • Paint Brush Tool

Settings

1px brush size

1px brush size

2px brush size

2px brush size

Disclaimer

While alot of people like my Digital Realism technique, it is strongly advised that if you do not have a graphics tablet, you should refrain from doing Digital Realism fur. The repetativeness of this technique can lead to wrist strain and eventually, carpal tunnel, if done with a mouse, and done too frequently. If you attempt this technique with a mouse, and do not take 15-20 miniute breaks every 30 minutes or so that you work to relax your wirst, I can not be held responsible for any strain/damage to your wrist from the use of this techique. If you do not have the tools (in this case, a graphics tablet) it is best that you just stay away from this technique.

Long Fur

Step 1

Sketch out your image, either in Photoshop, or with a pencil. I will not go over cleaning up scans, as I assume you already know how to do that. If you choose to sketch in Photoshop, your sketch should be somewhat clean, like the one above, though it doesn't need to be perfect.

Step 2

Now, using the paintbrush tool, with a brush size of 13px, block in your fur colors. Now, use the smudge tool to smooth the area where the colors meet. This will help when you build up your fur, since you will then have an 'under coat' of sorts, with color variations.

Step 3



Now, using the airbrush tool, with a size of 2 px, select a a slightly darker brown, and begin drawing the hairs. Do NOT scribble them in. Draw each individual hair, the same way you would if you were painting it.

Step 4

Using an even darker brown, add in the darker parts where the fur has 'holes', or deeper regions.

Step 5



Using a lighter brown/beige, continue building up the fur.

Step 6

Now pick a very light cream color, and add more hairs, makes sure there are stray hairs in there, and not every hair follows the same path. This will help you fur look shaggy. Then using a light grey, almost white, add a few highlights here and there.

You've now finished your fur!

Short Fur

Step 1

Sketch out your image, either in Photoshop, or with a pencil. I will not go over cleaning up scans, as I assume you already know how to do that. If you choose to sketch in Photoshop, your sketch should be somewhat clean, like the one above, though it doesn't need to be perfect.

Step 2

Now, using the paintbrush tool, with a brush size of 13px, block in your fur colors. Now, use the smudge tool to smooth the area where the colors meet. This will help when you build up your fur, since you will then have an 'under coat' of sorts, with color variations.

Step 3

Now, using the airbrush tool, with a size of 2 px, select a a slightly darker greyish brown, and begin drawing short hairs. Do NOT scribble them in. Draw each individual hair, the same way you would if you were painting it. Make sure they are short, and do not draw them in a line, but rather, scattered. This will keep your fur from having an odd, stripy look.

Step 4

Using an even darker greyish brown, darken the spots.

Step 5

Using a light cream color, detail the lighter regions, and extend it into the spots.

Step 6

Now add in other colors for variety. This is optional, but usually yields nice results.

You've now finished your fur!

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