Tutorial: Painting Hair

Painting hair is a big problem for many folks, whether it is in a 2d image, or if you are putting some hair on a poser baldy in post work. This is just a little trick I have discovered, and wanted to share. Since a picture is worth a thousand of my mumblings, see the picture attached. I am using Painter 7 here, but I know this works in Painter 6, and I think 5 too, maybe way on back, but I do not have all my old Painter versions loaded, so I have not checked :-) (For you Photoshop users, I am pretty sure you can capture a gradient, but your brushes will not do all the wonderful things Painter's will, sorry)

So, knowing I want to paint some hair, I go looking for a source. You have to have something to look at and steal the colors from, so go hit the web, and find some nice hair, in the color you want. I found this intense young man in a hair care catalog. If there is a nice area with just hair, that has the full range of tones, make a selection around it. Sometimes, you have to edit the picture a bit to get all the colors you want near each other, and away from unwanted colors. The clone tools are good for this.
Now, when you have your selection, go to your art materials tray, and in the gradient tray, click on the triangle on the right. A drop down menu will appear, chose "capture gradient".

gradient_hair1.jpg (150498 bytes)

now, a pop up window will appear, asking you to name your gradient. Give it a meaningful name, and save.
gradient_hair2.jpg (148333 bytes)

now in your gradients drawer, you have your newly made hair gradient. It will be there for you next time you need it, and you can just start painting :-)
gradient_hair3.jpg (149009 bytes)

Now for the fun stuff.

Pick a brush. I like to use the variable round, camel hair, and nervous pen for panting hair, they give a loose natural feel. Pick what you like, then in your art materials tray, open the "Color Variablity" tray, and choose "from gradient". Your newly made gradient should now be loaded in your brush. Each bristle in your paintbrush will be a different shade, pulled from the gradient. This is like double loading in analog painting, only better, because you are loading many colors at once. This is wonderful for painting hair, it gives each strand of hair some life.

gradient_hair4.jpg (151519 bytes)

Now, start painting. Try to paint in long continous strokes, starting at the hair line nd ending with the tips of the hair.

I will go into this more, at a later time, but some other tips to hair:

Make hair on it's own layers, seperate from your figure. Use many layers.

Use dodge and burn to define shadows and highlights.

Use Painter's lighting fx to add ambiant colors
gradient_hair5.jpg (198061 bytes)