Painting “The Nightmare” in Photoshop

Painting “The Nightmare” in Photoshop
Painting “The Nightmare” in Photoshop

Step 6 - Creating the Layers

When I feel that the results of my sketch are okay, I put them into layers. The sketch is on its own layer named “sketch.” In the image below, you can see that I have six layers. Naming these layers will make my work easier and faster. Painting on different layers lets you make corrections a lot easier.


Step 7 - Arranging the Background

This is the color used for my background.


I start off using the Gradient tool to create the background. Here are the colors used for my gradient.


Step 8 – Working on the Background Color

In this step, I will work out the general look that I’m going for. I’m now adding colors to the sketch. At this stage, I’m just coloring and giving the basic background colors to the sketch. For the background, select the Gradient tool (G) and create a gradient like shown in the screenshot below.


Step 10 - Background Painting

Before we continue the painting, let me show you the layer order again. I made some changes to the layer order because the sketch layer must be on top of all layers with the blending mode set to Multiply. You also want to lock the layer so that you don’t paint on it accidentally. At this point, we can start coloring the sketch and paint the main shapes. Don’t focus too much on one area; just start applying some shading. When painting, make sure that your brush has a hardness of 100%. Using a brush with a soft edge will produce blurry results.


Now here as you see I have just locked the sketch. You must do same.


Step 11 - Changing the Canvas Size

Now I’ll change the image size of my painting so that I can add more details. Using Image > Image Size, I set the new canvas setting to:

  • Width: 1200 pixels
  • Height: 3010 pixels
  • Resolution:300 dpi

Step 12 - Quick Detailing

With the bigger image size, I can paint more details. I set the opacity of the sketch layer to 42% because I don’t need to see that much.


Step 13 - Background Detailing

Now I’m going to hide some layers for you to see all the background details. Look at the shape of the clouds. In the next step, I am going to add more detail to the clouds.


Step 14 - Adding Light on the Clouds

At this stage, I decided to add some details to the clouds. I selected the “cloud color” layer and after that, I began to add some light colors outline of the clouds. And here as you see I painted some rough shapes for the cloud and yet I’m not sure these are the main cloud shapes. Yet I'm not focusing on any one area, I just start throwing down some shading to bring the volumes out.

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4 comments on “Painting “The Nightmare” in Photoshop”

  1. The skies are just wicked right now. I've been glued to my winodw. It's amazing. Yesterday morning, we were graced with clear blue skies and an amazing rainbow which dissapated as soon as I found my camera. Within minutes, the entire cityscape was shrouded in mist. Even when it's ugly out, Taiwan is still so beautiful! I hope you're able to get some good pictures. Stay safe this weekend!

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