Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Illustrating bubbles - Adobe Photoshop Tutorial

Say 'hello' to Norman!

Norman loves swimming, talking to fish and exploring sunken ships, but Norman is currently missing a few bubbles. 

Bubbles are one of those things that seem like they should be really easy to draw but actually are quite difficult. They're moving, reflective, translucent balls of air and trying to draw one without it looking like a white circle is definitely a challenge. Here's my tutorial on how I create a good-looking bubble using Adobe Photoshop! 

Step One - The Outline

Using the tools panel, select the paintbrush tool. I always use a hard round brush and set the size to 3 and the hardness to 100%. Your size might differ if your canvas is a different size to mine, so play around until you can create a line of similar width to mine.

It's worth noting that I draw with a Wacom tablet and keep the Opacity Pressure tool on so that the lighter I press the less of a line appears. 

With white as your colour, draw a circle. Don't worry if it's a bit wobbly as bubbles usually are! 

Step Two - The Centre

With the paintbrush tool again, this time select a soft round brush. Set the size a lot bigger at 95 and the hardness a lot less at 0%

At the top of the Photoshop panel there will be two options; Opacity and Flow. Set the opacity to around 50% but leave the flow at 100%

Now fill in the bubble. The tip here is to fill in about half of the bubble randomly, using two or three strokes. I let my strokes overlap and one of my strokes was more of a 'dot' than an actual stroke but you can play around to create a unique bubble for you.

Step Three - Delete the middle

It seems silly to delete what we just did, but this makes a nice round middle for our bubble and gives it some depth. 

In the tools panel select the Eraser tool and set the brush to a soft round brush the same as we just used but with a bigger size. The size wants to be big enough to delete the middle of your bubble in one click but not too big that it deletes some of the white centre we just made. You should end up with something like this;

Step Four - Add some highlights

Again, select the hard round paintbrush with a hardness of 100. My size is 72 here, a bit bigger than our outline. The Opacity should be around 50% again and the flow stays at 100%.

You might find slightly different settings work better for you, which is fine!

We are now adding some highlights to our bubble. I like to change the highlights on each bubble so they are all different, but usually the top has the most highlight and a few bits elsewhere. I also selected the eraser again and with a smaller size (but the same settings as I used before) I deleted some more bits of the bubble next to my highlights so they stood out a bit more.

Step Five - Add some colour

Using the same settings as we did for the highlights, just change the colour. 

I used pink because Norman is purple and the bubble is reflecting Norman's colour. you should select a colour which is a lighter or more washed-out version of whatever the bubble is in front of or near. 

Make sure you don't fill too much of the bubble with highlight and colours (we still want to see through it!) and don't forget to change the colour depending on the bubble's surroundings.

And there you have it! The more bubbles you create, the faster and easier it will be.

You can copy and paste the bubble and change the size to create lots of little bubbles, or just play around with the process to make oblong and wonky bubbles - feel free to be creative! They really look effective when placed over objects like Norman's body. If you put any bubbles in the background, try turning their Opacity down to make them harder to see. (They will have to be on their own layer to do this.)

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial - have fun making bubbles! Bye Norman!