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By several requests, here is the digital painting tutorial for “Pushing Color” using a digital painting software program of your choice for painting brush strokes and then using Adobe Photoshop or Element to push the colors with the “Liquify Filter”. It gives more dimension, texture and depth to your digital painting.

Download the following sketch to work with in this tutorial — right click your mouse and save to your computer


(Image above) To create your own “pushing color” technique, start with a sketch or drawing of an image. For the tutorial, we’ll use the image above that you can right click your mouse to save on your computer. Once you save it, open it in the software program you prefer best for digital painting. I like to use Corel Painter X because this program has the widest variety of brushes.


In Step Two (image above), select the brush and colors you want to use for your painting. I used Corel Painter X Oil Pastel, Variable Oil 30. For colors, I chose a soft pink hue for the background, deep violet purple, lavender, and bright purple for the center of the flower that I simply stroked without worrying too much about where the color was bleeding. Then, I used three shades of yellow from soft to bright for the outer edge. I added a white and pink edged tip for the petal on the left. I also feathered the edges of the purple center of the petals for a natural appearance.


In Step Three (image above), I added a few muted shades of plum in with the soft pink at the bottom right corner. I also added soft yellow tip to the largest petal.


Step Four (image above), I saved the file and re-opened in Adobe Photoshop CS2 in order to use the first ”Liquify” filter in Adobe Photoshop, which you find by selecting “Filter” and scrolling then selecting “Liquify”. If you use Adobe Elements, I believe you have to select “Filter” then “Distort” and then “Liquify”.  

For the first filter, I use the warp tool and push the color from the outside into the center to create distinct movement and lines.

Here’s a quick look at the other tools available in Liquify:

  • Warp  Pushes pixels forward as you drag.
  • Reconstruct  Fully or partially reverses the changes you’ve made.
  • Twirl Clockwise  Rotates pixels clockwise as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Pucker Tool  Moves pixels toward the center of the brush area as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Bloat  Moves pixels away from the center of the brush area as you hold down the mouse button or drag.
  • Push Tool  Moves pixels perpendicularly to the stroke direction. Drag to move pixels to the left, and Alt-drag to move pixels to the right.
  • Mirror Tool  Copies pixels to the brush area. Drag to reflect the area perpendicular to the direction of the stroke (to the left of or below the stroke). Alt-drag to reflect the area in the direction opposite to that of the stroke (for example, the area above a downward stroke). Use overlapping strokes to create an effect similar to a reflection in water.
  • Turbulence  Smoothly scrambles pixels and creates fire, clouds, waves, and similar effects. To adjust the smoothness, drag the Turbulent Jitter pop-up slider in the Tool Options section, or enter a value between 1 and 100 in the text box. Higher values increase smoothness.



In Step Five (image above), while still in Adobe Photoshop, I select “Filter” and then choose “Artistic” and “Watercolor” to add depth. (You may not see the difference until you do it in your own painting or download this image and enlarge it to see the texture added.  pansy6a1.jpg 

Step Six (image above), I added various shades of green brush strokes around the upper right corner. I added deeper orange color near the tip of a couple of the petals. Next, I selected “Filter” and “Liquify” again using the clockwise tool to create an interesting center, pushed more color in different directions within the flower.


(image above) To complete this simple painting for the tutorial, I saved the file and re-opened in Corel PhotoPaint in order to add my infamous dots, a raindrop element in the far left and the smudge tool to soften some of the edges.


(image above) Same final painting — however, changed the “Hue” to darken the color to show more blue purple instead of violet. I show this so you can see that you can alter an image just by working with “Adjustments”.

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Digital Atelier is an official Soul Food blog promoting digital art.

May 2020

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The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups. Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, and The Digital Atelier is just one niche within Lemuria. If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ .


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