Digital Art Creation: Adobe Photoshop Tips & Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Adobe Photoshop Setup Tips
  2. Layers and Masking Techniques
  3. Brush and Texture Tips
  4. Color Correction Techniques
  5. Retouching Techniques
  6. Use of Blending Modes
  7. Creating Custom Brushes
  8. Smart Objects and Layers Styles
  9. Tips for Saving and Exporting Your Artwork
  10. How to stay organized in Photoshop

Entering the realm of digital art can feel like stepping into a new universe, especially when you're armed with a powerful tool like Adobe Photoshop. With its myriad features, Adobe Photoshop can transform a simple photo into a stunning masterpiece. Whether you're dipping your toes into digital painting or exploring the wild world of photo manipulation, this blog is here to guide you. So, let's dive into Adobe Photoshop and uncover its potential together, shall we?

Adobe Photoshop Setup Tips

Before you start your journey in adobe photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation, it's important to set up your workspace properly. Think of it as preparing your canvas and paints before you start creating your masterpiece. Here are some tips to get your Adobe Photoshop ready for action:

  • Workspace Layout: Photoshop allows you to customize your workspace layout. Make sure to arrange your tools in a way that suits your style. For digital painting and photo manipulation, you might find it helpful to have your Layers, Brushes, and Color panels readily accessible.
  • Resolution Settings: The resolution of your document greatly affects the quality of your artwork. A higher resolution will give you more details but can make Photoshop run slower. If you're working on a piece that requires fine details, consider working in a high resolution (300 DPI or higher).
  • Color Mode: For digital artwork, RGB color mode is your best bet as it provides a wide range of colors. However, if you're planning to print your artwork, you might want to use CMYK mode as it aligns better with printing color schemes.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Time is art! Learning keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time. For example, 'B' for Brush, 'E' for Eraser, and 'V' for Move tool. Trust me, your fingers will thank you later.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to setting up your Photoshop workspace. What works for someone else might not work for you. The key is to experiment and find out what feels most comfortable and efficient for you. Now that we have our Photoshop set up, we are ready to dive deeper into the world of adobe photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation. Stay tuned for more tips and techniques!

Layers and Masking Techniques

Imagine having a magic eraser that lets you undo any mistake without affecting the rest of your artwork. Sounds amazing, right? Well, in the world of Adobe Photoshop, this is not magic—it's called layers and masking. Let's explore how these techniques can enhance your Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation experience:

  • Layers: Think of layers as transparent sheets stacked on top of each other. You can draw on each layer without affecting the others, making it easier to edit or remove parts of your artwork without affecting the whole piece. Remember, organization is key here—always name your layers. It might seem tedious at first, but you'll thank yourself later when you're not spending hours trying to find that one layer.
  • Layer Masks: Now, let's take it a notch higher with layer masks. These are like secret agents of Photoshop—they let you hide parts of a layer without permanently erasing them. Say goodbye to commitment issues! You can paint on a mask with black to hide, white to reveal, and gray for something in between. It's a non-destructive way of editing that gives you the freedom to experiment without fear.
  • Clipping Masks: Ever wanted to fit your artwork within a specific shape or text? Enter clipping masks. They're like a cookie cutter for your art—you can clip a layer to the layer beneath it, and it will only show up within the shape of the lower layer. Perfect for those times when you want to keep your art within the lines.

By mastering these techniques, you're not just adding more tools to your Adobe Photoshop toolkit, you're also reducing the fear of making mistakes. Remember, in the world of digital art, every mistake is an opportunity to learn something new. So, don't be afraid to experiment with layers and masks—they might just turn into your best friends in the journey of Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation. Happy creating!

Brush and Texture Tips

When it comes to Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation, brushes and textures are like the salt and pepper of your digital kitchen—they can add that extra flavor to your artwork. Here are a few tips on how to use them effectively:

  • Master the Basics: Photoshop comes with a wide range of default brushes. Take time to try them out and see how they feel. A round, hard-edged brush is great for sharp, precise lines, while a soft-edged brush can give you smooth gradients and transitions.
  • Experiment with Opacity and Flow: Opacity controls how transparent your brush stroke is, and Flow controls how quickly the color is applied. Play around with these settings to achieve different effects. Lower opacity can give you a more subtle effect, while a high flow rate can make your colors more vibrant and intense.
  • Explore Textures: Textures can give your digital painting and photo manipulation a touch of realism. You can use texture brushes or apply texture images on a new layer. This can be especially useful when you're trying to mimic real-life materials like skin, fabric, or stone.
  • Don't Forget the Brush Settings: The Brush Settings panel is your playground. You can control the shape, size, scattering, texture, and even the pressure sensitivity of your brush. It's like having a magic wand that can be anything you need it to be.

Remember, the key is to experiment and find what works best for you. The right brush can feel like an extension of your hand, and the right texture can bring your art to life. So, don't be afraid to play around and make a mess. After all, Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation is all about having fun while creating something beautiful. Happy painting!

Color Correction Techniques

Color correction: It's what turns your digital artwork from good to great. And, thankfully, Adobe Photoshop has some powerful tools that can help you master the art of color correction in your digital painting and photo manipulation projects. So, let's dive right in:

  • Adjustment Layers: The beauty of adjustment layers is that they're non-destructive, meaning you can go back and tweak them any time you want without affecting the original image. They're perfect for experimenting with different color balances and contrasts.
  • Levels and Curves: Both of these tools allow you to adjust the tonal range of your image. Levels is a bit simpler to use, but Curves offers more control and precision. When you want to add a bit of drama to your artwork, these are your go-to tools.
  • Hue/Saturation: This tool is like the mood ring of Adobe Photoshop. It allows you to change the color of a specific area of your image without affecting the rest. Want to change a red apple to a green one? This tool has got you covered.
  • Selective Color: This tool lets you change the amount of primary colors in your shadows, midtones, and highlights. It's a bit of a hidden gem, but once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.

Color correction might seem a bit intimidating at first, but as with anything, practice makes perfect. The more you play around with these tools, the better you'll get at using them to enhance your Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation projects. So, don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your art. Who knows, you might just stumble upon your new favorite technique. Happy color correcting!

Retouching Techniques

Retouching is like the magic wand of Adobe Photoshop, it's all about refining and enhancing your digital paintings and photo manipulation projects. It's the process of making those little tweaks that can turn a good image into a great one. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Clone Stamp Tool: Imagine you could take a part of your image, make a copy of it, and use it to cover up another part of your image. That's what the Clone Stamp Tool does. It's great for removing unwanted elements from your artwork.
  • Healing Brush Tool: This tool is like a digital band-aid. It takes a sample from one area of your image and uses it to "heal" another area. It's perfect for smoothing out textures and removing minor imperfections.
  • Dodge and Burn: These tools allow you to lighten (dodge) or darken (burn) specific areas of your image. It's a great way to add depth and dimension to your artwork.
  • Liquify: This tool lets you push, pull, rotate, reflect, or distort any area of your image. It's sort of like digital sculpting and can be used to make some pretty dramatic changes to your artwork.

Retouching is a key element of Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation. But remember, less is often more. It's easy to get carried away and over-edit, but the best retouching is usually the kind that you don't notice at first glance. So, take your time, be subtle, and make your artwork shine.

Use of Blending Modes

Blending modes are one of those hidden gems in Adobe Photoshop that can take your digital painting and photo manipulation to a whole new level. Think of blending modes as mixers. They decide how the colors of one layer will interact with the layers beneath it. Let's explore a few of them:

  • Normal: This is the default mode. It doesn't blend colors. Instead, it simply replaces the existing colors with the colors of the new layer.
  • Multiply: This mode makes everything darker. It's like adding more paint to a canvas. It's great for creating shadows or deepening colors.
  • Screen: The opposite of Multiply. Screen lightens colors, making them more vibrant. It's a great way to add highlights or brighten an image.
  • Overlay: This mode either lightens or darkens colors, depending on the base color. It's great for adding contrast and making your images pop.

Remember to experiment with different blending modes to see what works best for your artwork. The right blending mode can add depth, create interesting effects, and bring your Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation to life. So don't be afraid to play around and try new things. After all, that's what digital art is all about!

Creating Custom Brushes

Another feature that really stands out in Adobe Photoshop for digital painting and photo manipulation is the ability to create custom brushes. A unique brush can bring a specific texture or style to your artwork that's truly your own. Let's walk through the steps:

  1. Open a New Document: Start by creating a new document. A square canvas works best for brushes. Black and white images make excellent brushes, with white being the color of the brush and black being transparent.
  2. Design Your Brush: Draw or import the shape you want to turn into a brush. Remember, simpler designs tend to work better.
  3. Define the Brush: Once you're happy with your design, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. Give your brush a name, and voila, you've created your custom brush!

Don't stop there, though. Adobe Photoshop allows you to modify your brushes even further. You can change the size, shape, scatter, and even the color dynamics of your brush. The possibilities are endless!

Creating custom brushes is a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your digital painting and photo manipulation projects. So go ahead, get your hands dirty and create some brushes that are uniquely you!

Smart Objects and Layers Styles

Smart Objects and Layer Styles are two nifty tools in Adobe Photoshop that can make your digital painting and photo manipulation tasks a breeze. Let's dive into what they are and how they can benefit you.

First up, Smart Objects. Ever wished you could go back and tweak a filter you applied ages ago? Well, with Smart Objects, you can! A Smart Object preserves an image's source content, meaning you can perform nondestructive editing to the layer. In simpler terms, you can resize, rotate, skew, distort, apply filters, or adjust the layer without losing original image data. It's a real game-changer, especially when you're trying to nail that perfect look.

Next, we have Layer Styles. These are special effects that you can add to a layer, which change the appearance of whatever's inside the layer. Drop shadows, bevel and emboss, color overlay, gradient overlay - you name it! And the best part? They're completely nondestructive too. You can edit, remove, or hide them anytime without affecting the original layer.

With Smart Objects and Layer Styles, you can experiment to your heart's content without fear of messing up your original image. And in the realm of Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation, that's a big win!

Tips for Saving and Exporting Your Artwork

Let's talk about the final stage of your Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation journey—saving and exporting your artwork. You've spent hours crafting your masterpiece, and the last thing you want is to mess it up in the final stretch, right?

When saving your work, it's always a good idea to save an Adobe Photoshop (.PSD) version. This version will keep all your layers, masks, and effects intact for future editing.

For exporting, the format you choose depends on how you plan to use the image. If you're sharing your work online, JPEG is a popular choice due to its small file size and high-quality image. Remember to adjust the quality setting when exporting to JPEG; a higher setting gives you a better image but a larger file size.

For printing purposes, TIFF is your best bet. It retains high image quality and allows for lossless compression, ensuring your prints look exactly like your digital creation.

Remember to always save your work regularly while you're creating, and don't forget to give your files logical names so you can easily find them later.

With these tips, you're well on your way to mastering the art of Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation. Happy creating!

How to Stay Organized in Photoshop

When you're knee-deep in the world of Adobe Photoshop digital painting and photo manipulation, things can get pretty busy fast, don't you agree? Well, here are a few tips to help you stay organized and make your creative journey smoother.

First off, let's talk about layers. These are like the building blocks of your Photoshop masterpiece. Naming each layer as you create it will save you a lot of time scrolling through 'Layer 1', 'Layer 2', and so on, trying to remember which is which.

Next up is groups. Once you have more than a handful of layers, it's time to start grouping related ones together. To create a group, simply select the layers you want to bundle, right-click, and choose 'Group from Layers'. This way, you can collapse or expand groups of layers as needed, making your workspace cleaner.

Finally, don't forget about color coding. This feature lets you assign colors to layers, groups, and even individual channels. It's like having a built-in organization system right there in your Photoshop workspace. Awesome, isn't it?

So, whether you're creating a detailed digital painting or performing complex photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop, staying organized can be a real game-changer. Go on and give it a try!

If you're interested in expanding your digital art skills further, don't miss the workshop 'Transforming Sketchbook Drawings From Analog To Digital' by Darren Shaddick. In this workshop, you'll learn valuable techniques on how to bring your sketches to life using digital tools like Adobe Photoshop, truly bridging the gap between traditional and digital art.