features for semi-realistic illustration


Welcome to my tutorial, I will be giving important information on clip studio painting features that is important for you when painting a semi-realistic illustration.

The first series of this tutorial will focus on semi-realistic illustration. There are a lot of painting features on CSP that you can use to achieve a semi-realistic style illustration depending on your work flow, I will explain how I use this painting features to achieve my illustration so that you will know how to use them while painting.
I will list the step by step process for the illustration and explain the features I use for each process.

Line art

I like starting my illustration with a clean line art to reduce my workload and concerns when painting. The purpose of the line art is to define the shape of each part of the illustration to ease your painting process.

Base color

Now that am done with the line art, I started adding base color to the illustration.
I used the magic wand tool to auto select the area I want to add my base color.

**Note: when using the magic auto select feature simply tap the area you want to apply your color, it will select it automatically. These feature is very efficient and makes your process faster.

I painted the base color of each part of the drawing on a different layer, this will make it easy to correct any mistake made on the layer and it will also make rendering easy.

I erased some of the line art bcus I want to achieve a semi-realistic illustration.

The reason for erasing the line art is to check if there are areas that are yet to be painted.
I used the guassian blur feature to blur the edges of the painting a bit

**Note: the guassian blur feature will make the the edge of your illustration look smooth and realistic.


It is important to know the right tools for rendering , soft brushes for example have different function compared to hard brush. I will explain when and how to use this tools when rendering different materials.

Skin painting

I used soft brush for adding soft shadows to the brush and I also assume that there is no directional light source therefore I didn't add any cast shadow while painting the skin.

I didn't use hard brush since it is only useful when adding cast shadows.

I created a new layer and start adding few highlights to some part of the skin, like the nose and eyes.

Now that I am done with the shading, I wanted to adjust the colour of the skin a bit because it looks kinda dull to me so I created a correction layer and adjust the brightness and contrast of the layer.

I created a new clipped layer set it in overlay mode and painted the skin with a warmer Color.

Here is the result of the process.

Hair painting

I painted vlthe the hair in my own style though but I believe the process I still helpful.

**Note: I didn't erase the line art of the hair so that I can understand the flow of the hair

I started by shading the hair with an air brush to give general form to it

I created a new layer an d I use hard brush to add darker shadows to some part of the hair though l later use the default blur brush to blur the edges

I added highlights and few details like strands to the hair

Cloths and gloves painting

There is nothing special about the cloth rendering, l shaded the soft shadows with soft brush and the folds with hard brush to get this result.

I shaded the edges of the collar to make it look three-dimensional.


The glove is also easy to shade though I used a default material pattern to add texture to the glove.

**Note: image materials are also some of the important painting features in CSP they are important in adding textures to your illustration, aside for the default ones in CSP you can download various others on CSP asset store.

I started adding shadows each part of the finger to make it more realistic.

I lighten up the palm a bit and adjusted some other part of the glove to get my final result.

Armor painting

Unlike other part of this character that i have painted, I used metal texture brush for painting this sci-fi armor.

**Note: texture brushes are brush that have the texture of the material you want to render.
CSP have countless texture brushes for different materials on their asset

I used a metal texture brush to add texture to the armor by painting on top of the base layer. you can see the difference below

Am not aiming to paint a shinny metal so I didn't add too much reflective light to it instead added shadows of the cloth that casts on the armor.

Goggles painting

For the goggle, I painted with it with a warm green color and decreased the opacity to a suitable amount to give a transparent effect.

The goggle should cast shadow on the skin so I duplicated the layer for the goggle (with the blending mode set on multiply) and transformed it on the skin to acts like the cast shadow of the goggle.

I then painted the edges of the goggle with hard brush to make it look three-dimensional.


Now that am done with the character I tried to change the character's vibe by darkening the image, there are two ways to this; the first one is by creating a correction layer and editing it through level correction but I chose the second one which was; creating a new layer on top of the other layers and filling it with a completely dark color and then lowering the opacity.

You can see the change in vibe of the character.

I used a 3d file for the background and also darken it using the same process.

I created a new layer with the blending mode set to add glow, l drew something like a pop-up window using the direct line features and an hudx brush on asset store.

**Note: the direct line tool is very important for drawing something with perspective or for drawing quick shapes on your illustration.

I used the distort transform tool to transform it along with the character's perspective.

The sc-fi pop-up window will surely emmits light to the character so I painted some soft light on the character.

Here is the final result of the illustration:



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