• Yang Xuequo
    EXPOS? Master Artist - Tutorial, 12 April 2009

    Looking through the Vaults, CGSociety revisits Yang Xueguo's EXPOSE 7 Master Award winning piece. Download the free custom brushes.
    CGSociety :: Special Feature
    From 16 June 2009, by Yang Xueguo

    Hi there, my name is Yang Xueguo. I created this furnace-like 'Tower of Evil' image in a little over five days. I don't normally like the creations of shapes, but this became the direction of my painting, whether I liked it or not. In many ways I like it when creative art takes you in directions not predicted.

    Thank you Ballistic Publishing for the Master Award in EXPOSÉ 7!

    Firstly, I'd like to briefly introduce you to my professional brush set called 'Blur's Good Brush' which I used for 'Tower of Evil' and all my works. 'Blur's Good Brush 4.0' is a brush set for digital painting in Photoshop I created.

    Using 'Blur's Good Brush', you can easily paint a large number of painting effects, such as for traditional painting, VFX, textures and others. Suited to those who are engaged in concept design, illustration, 2D/3D animation and 2D design.

    Good brush set includes different common brushes in digital painting, in which the "good" series is the common-used brush. Please pay attention to the notes attached to the brush names (e.g.: screen/color dodge/multiply). The right set according to the note shows the best results.
    The note of numbers (e.g.:90-99) shows the brushes are not brush tool
    they are smudge tool ,
    specifically used to mix colors and causes special effect of paint, and the number means the best scope of brushes' strength. All kind of brushes’ set must follow this.

    The Stylize Brush set includes different Special brushes in digital painting, which can help you to paint abstract style or special effects works.

    It is also suitable for those who to personalize their brushes into styles that leave a unique mark.

    The Oil brush set includes various oil effects, helping you to simulate traditional styles, such as oil painting, gouache, acrylic painting, etc. In the Good Brushes pack, please pay attention to the notes attached to the brush names (e.g.:90-99F). When using these blended Oil brushes, you must check the option and then paint with real color mixed effect. The Finger painting] option must be canceled when you use other blender tools.

    FX brush set includes different effect brushes, such as smoke, fog, cloud, fire, glow, snow, rain, magic, etc. which you can use to adjust and improve your works or paint effect maps for your piece.

    The Shape brush set includes different nature shape brushes, such like plant, rock, hair, fur, tube, etc., which help you to paint natural elements or structures.

    The Texture brush set can generate a large number of texture effects, such as rust, concrete, skin, splash, noise, etc., which help you to add texture effect to your works and integration to an animation workflow.

    Now, let’s begin my 'Tower of Evil' image tutorial. At the beginning, start the concept. I usually like to use the ordinary things to begin, such as the daily necessities, transport, devices, plant and so on.
    I think when you turn some normal things into another way to show them, that can bring more fun.

    For this image, I combine a tree, a bell, a tombstone and skull together. This expresses an incredible scene and contains some metaphors of evil.

    Using "Good-Brush 5-7" to draw some simple strokes with the ideas in your minds, the most important thing is to decide on the layout and basic color values, keeping some empty spaces. Usually the ideas are not always done well at first.

    Using the fill color tool to fill a layer of red color in Multiply mode. A simple rule would be not to paint with single brushes, so we can get a unified color tone.
    Then use small strokes to add the light and dark areas. During this phase we need to differentiate the front view and background.

    I used to choose “Good Brush-5” to paint main colors and contrast. ”Good Brush-5” can easily paint the blocky strokes, which is very helpful to build details.

    Don’t forget to add some cool color to the basic warm color. We can keep the unified color tone but make it rich in variation.

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  • I backed up the colors by using the "Glow Brush" to add some bright area to enhance the expression of the image. Don't forget to switch the brush's mode to Screen or Color Dodge, so we can make it look like light effect. The Smudge tool is one of the most important tools in Photoshop, we can use it to blend the color or create many special effects. In this step I use Scratch Blender to make some textured details.

    I am drawing some tombstone shapes on the ground. The large perspective is decided by the size of shapes, far shapes are smaller and bright than the closer ones, and in this fashion, we can perform grand scenes indeed.

    The detail in the painting totally depends on infinite patience. Don't miss any small shapes because each shape has its own structure and place. Yes, even the smallest shapes. You can use the small brushes to paint them and magnify if you need.

    Using the Blend and Smudge tools to mix the colors. I often choose the Smooth blender to blend the background color. The blender can easily and quickly make the rough strokes smoother.

    I use Good Brush-5 to show details of the main front shape. Pay attention to the light's direction. The light source is from the left, so we need to put the shadow to the right and all the elements must follow.
    Be careful about the light angle, which can be different depending on the shapes' position. For the small texture we can use the Texture Brush to add it.

    With the Glow Brush, I fade the shapes so they seem further away for my eyes. This is a good way to define the level of the scene and enhance the atmospheric and light effects.
    I have added some light elements in motion, otherwise the image will be very flat and rather still. Using the FX Brush we can easily add large effects on the image, like lighting, some energy and magic. Don't forget to switch the brush's mode to Screen or Color Dodge to accentuate these brush effects.

    In order to make the image look more extensive, I use the Fog Brush and Cloud Brush to create some cloud or fog between the foreground and background.

    Finally, I am adding a new dark gray yellow layer and changing it to color dodge mode to adjust the whole image's brightness, which is a easy way to correct color in the spectral direction you desire.

    Hi, my name is Yang Xueguo. I was born in Kunming, a small city in Yunnan, CHINA. I liked painting very much when I was a little boy. Now I have become an art teacher in the local university and am engaged in 3D animation and digital painting. The surreal arts and digital painting in my city is an unusual thing, but I love it very much so I always do it by myself. Most of my ideas have all come from my imagination. I use different materials to express the world I live in.

    Many people often ask me 'what did you create?' I think my works to a large extent, differ to the popular, mainstream CG arts and they are difficult to understand for many people. I just want to say that I'm using art to honestly face my life, and I always think the work with dark connotations can more deeply touch people's heart than bright colorful works, so that is my main art's direction. I do not have a site for my 'Blur's Good Brush 4.0' yet, but Click the link HERE and below, to download the pack. There is also an English language manual as well. Thank you.

    Yang Xueguo
    EXPOSÉ 7

    Blur's Good Brush 4.0 [Direct download link]
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