Finish Your Art with Filters




Do you ever finish an art piece but feel like it's not quite done yet? Well, you can try adding filters to finish it up!

Adding Filters to Your Art

Usually after I’ve pretty much finished an illustration, I'll use filters to adjust my art until I feel like it looks good. This includes things like Perlin noise, Gaussian Blur, sharpen, color adjustment layers, and auto actions such as RGB shift. So without much delay, let's go straight into the drawing demonstration for how to use filters.

For today's drawing demonstration I'm going to go ahead and finish a sketch I did earlier, and also use some photos that I've taken in the past for background and color reference. If you're following along with this tutorial, you can use any drawing that you've already done or draw a new piece!

Overlay layer

Now that I'm mostly finished with the illustration, I'll go ahead and start thinking about adding filters. So the first thing that I like to do is add an overlay layer. I like to use the overlay layers to darken and brighten parts of the illustration, where I want more or less viewer attention, or just improve the color contrast and visual appeal.

Here I'll use an airbrush with mostly cool tones to give a cooler effect to the drawing. I'll use a slightly warmer airbrush for the skin color, and also use some lighter colors to represent some light and bounce light. I'm imagining the sun to come from the left side of the image, and then I'll also go ahead and make a new layer and add some highlights from the top left and bottom right for some sunlight and bounce light.

For the overlay layer, when I turn this to normal, it looks like a kind of blob of random colors. But when I set it to overlay, it brings out colors that I like and changes the overall impression of the drawing a little bit.

Gaussian blur

Another thing I like to add to illustrations is blurring areas where I want there to be less focus, so that it increases focus on areas where it isn’t blurred.

So when I want to add blur, the first thing I do is right click on the topmost layer and then click Merge visible to new layer.

Next, I’m going to go ahead and use the Lasso Selection tool and make sure that the selection mode is set to Add to selection.

Next, I'll go ahead and lasso around the areas where I want it to be blurred and then go under Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and then play around with the values until I think I'm happy with it.

So the benefits of using the lasso tool is that you can get really sharp edges along the areas where you're blurring and not blurring. Next, since I drew this on a new layer, I'll go ahead and use an airbrush and set it to erase to erase some parts of it just to blend some of the blurred areas into the rest of the illustration a little bit better.

Perlin noise

Now that I've finished adding the blur effects, another effect that I often like to use is Perlin noise. You can add Perlin noise to illustrations by going under Filter > Render > Perlin Noise. Here it'll create a pop up where you can adjust the scale, amplitude, and a bunch of other things.

minimal, and I also sometimes adjust the amplitude, which essentially just changes the contrast of the Perlin noise. After that, I turn down the opacity on the Perlin noise layer to a low percentage, and then I change it to Lighten.

Color adjustment (Tone curve)

But sometimes I'm not completely satisfied with colors or values of the drawing. I can fix that by going to Layer > New Correction layer > Tone curve. Here I can adjust the overall tone and colors of the drawing. Under the dropdown menu, since I'm working in RGB colors, I can go under this dropdown and select the red, green and blue tone curves and adjust the values here. The colors on the left represent the darker tones in the middle of the mid-tones, and on the right the lighter tones.

So on the very right, if I drag that dot down, it decreases the values of the lightest tone and makes the whole drawing appear a bit darker. On the other side, if I increase the dot on the left representing the darkest values, it increase the lightness of the drawing. And if I drag the middle dot, it'll increase and decrease the mid values of the drawing.

You can click on any part of this line to create a new point that you can adjust and further correct the tone of the drawing. Here I'll go ahead and adjust some colors and increase some of the blue values, and also change some of the darker values.

Blur & Sharpen

Finally, a finishing touch that I like to add to a lot of my illustrations is to right click on the topmost layer, click Merge visible to new layer, and blur that entire layer.

Here I'll use Gaussian Blur and set the strength to 30. Next on this layer I’ll lower the opacity and then once again click Merge all to New Layer and then go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.

So now when I zoom in, you can see that there's a slight blur and sharpen effect applied. I like adding this because even though it's not very noticeable, it adds a little bit of softness and detail to the drawing, which I like.

Auto Actions

Also, since I use this effect a lot, I've created an auto action set to do this all automatically for me. I've uploaded this to the Clip Studio Assets store, so if you're interested, you can download it here!

Finally, for finishing touches, I love to add a chromatic aberration or RGB shift to a lot of my drawings. You can use an auto action for this by downloading one on the asset store. Below is the auto action I used.

After moving the topmost layer a little bit to the right, just to get that RGB shift effect, I'll go under Edit > Transform > Mesh Transformation and go ahead and adjust the points at the very edges of the canvas and stretch it out a little bit.

This increases the shift happening on the edges and bring more focus to the center. You can also do this with the liquify tool and push around some of the sides if you'd like more control over it.

And after adding our final touches, we’ve finished the illustration! Through using effect layers like Perlin Noise, blur, color adjustment layers, and more, we were able to change the overall impression of the drawing without too much effort.

If you’d like, please check out the video for a more detailed explanation! Thank you!



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