Deconstructing the Image - What Effects Go Where, Shapes & Enlarging.

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Love Spreading Overseer
Hello everyone!
Isn't she pretty?
I've chosen this image for it's simplicity of shapes.
What the heck is a shape?
Shapes are the foundation of your artwork, the only way you'll ever achieve a photo-realistic result is through mastering your shapes and learning how to create them with a natural feel. This is done with subtle blends, fades & extensive use of dagger strokes (but we're jumping the gun a little here).
The easiest way for me to define a shape is any 1 or more airbrush effects used to create or 'frame' a (generally) small area of an artwork.
Take a quick look at Cameron's blown up iris - immediately I can decode 4 shapes. Do you see them?
They are the Pupil - a dark round circle, the perimeter of the iris - 1 line on each side and the area in between both these shapes (the iris).
Cameron's face provides some of the easier-to-decode shapes that you'll find in airbrushing, however what you're looking for in particular are groups of effects used to create a portion of the image.
When it comes down to it, the look of your end result is all reliant upon your ability to create natural looking shapes. Shapes don't stop in the foundation of the artwork either, they are carried through and mimicked with airbrush textures or when we are adding different color layers, you may find the shapes change somewhat, however through this thread, I'd like to give people a little insight on how to decode for themselves, allowing people to airbrush absolutely anything they desire!

How are you going to be able to learn?
We'll be setting out various exercises and we'll be asking for your input over the course of a month, the more people to respond the more helpful it is to anyone that ever reads this thread.
By the end of the month (or thread) you should have a much better understanding of how to attack an image. Where to start, what to look for, how to decode - what effect to put where, @ what height, angle & opacity!
This will all be done by first learning our new airbrush language, which you have all come up with together and we'll have a go at decoding certain parts of the image.
Sweet!! But I needed this last month.......well I have needed it the whole time, lol!!

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Sweet!! But I needed this last month.......well I have needed it the while time, lol!!


Teacher's pet, I suppose you brought along an apple the size of a football, lol, sorry Mitch I know I shouldn't be talking in class, but when I'm allowed out of the corner I'll will be following this attentively.

I suppose now I have to write "I must not bully Seamonkey" 100 times, oh OK then as long as I don't have to do it with my evolution, then I'd miss next moth's class.
Yeah.....bring it on teach......hey are you giving us homework...ah bummer!!!
well done,, this is going to be really interesting and informative.
First Exercise!

Here is the airbrush language - let's refer to this as Air-Lang! (let us know if you have a catchier name for this?)

If you don't yet speak Air-Lang, then take a few minutes to study the symbols and understand how to follow them. The principles are simple - from a given height, we are spraying effect 'x' @ 'x'% opacity and @ 'x'degree angle if required (90% of the time you should be at some sort of angle). Our ultimate goal here is to break the image up (or down) into single airbrush effects and identify which effect we are going to spray, from what height, at what angle & how dark does it need to be?
Take a quick look at the image below of the eye reference. Most people on this site should be familiar with this image and are probably sick of it - however it is taken from a portrait of Cameron Diaz and once again it was chosen for it's excellent shapes (high contrast).


The whole image has been highlighted orange, with one section left untarnished around the iris. What I would like you to do is to print off a copy of the following image and follow the instructions.
You are going to have a go at decoding the area which hasn't been highlighted in the image above.


Don't be worried about getting this right or wrong at this stage, there is always more than one way to airbrush an image and it comes down to a personal choice on how you're going to attack your artwork.
Please be sure to fill in a little instruction table in the same layout as shown in the airbrush language document - we'd like to know the order of effects and how you're creating them!
I'll give people a few days to respond and i'll scan in the 'answers' (which are my answers and how i would attach this image personally).
If a couple of people who have access to a scanner could scan their answers in and post it up in this thread, i'm sure it would be helpful to others as i would like to critique, praise or give guidance on their methods.
Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!
If any of this isn't clear.. please let me know and i'll do my best to explain!
Interesting and very helpful topic. This thing is often underestimated while it is imperative to make better portraits. The observer / participant can see things and experience the feeling the painting causes without being entirely aware of what (s)he sees, but the artist has to consciously apply all the detail in the painting to create those feelings.
I'll be following this but won't be participating in the first one. I want to see an example on one so I better understand how to do it.
I'll be following this but won't be participating in the first one. I want to see an example on one so I better understand how to do it.

Right I'm giving it a go as a real newbie, this will be entertaining for everyone else lol.

I'm on it like a car bonnet!
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