One of the great things about working in a large art department is the ability to walk around and see what other people are working on and how they do it. Everybody learns little software tricks and techniques from each other. Now that I don’t work in a big department I have to learn these things on the street.
My all time favorite colorist, maestro Dave Stewart appeared at a panel of colorists at #ECCC. (Full disclosure, I can’t name any other colorists.) He’s the go-to guy for Mike Mignola and Darwyn Cooke. Like them, his aesthetic is rooted in mid century print design and analog brushwork, even if everything is done in Photoshop.
Two photoshop tricks I learned from the panel.
1. Anybody who is trying to achieve natural, painterly strokes in Photoshop uses Kyle Webster’s brushes. That was unanimous among the 7 colorists at the panel. The brushes are very affordable but require CS5 or higher.
2. This one may be embarrassingly common knowledge but was news to me. In Photoshop: Window > Arrange > New window for… This creates a duplicate version of the image you’re working on. If you have an extra monitor you can leave it up there at full screen while you work in closeup on your main monitor. The other image will continually update so you can see how your work is affecting the whole image.