Face Parts Basics




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    I did this tutorial in PSP version 9, but I am sure the technique would work in other versions as well.

    I wrote this tutorial at the request of a friend who is new to PSP and is having some problems trying to build up her skills on some basic vectors for face parts. I hope this tutorial will help her as well as anyone else wanting to improve their skills in this area.

    Open a 400x400 transparent image. This will give us plenty of room to play on. Add a new vector layer, naming it face.

    Activate the Presets Shape tool and open the ellipse shape. The settings in the upper tool bar should have the Anti-alias box checked, as well as the Create as vector box checked. Line style should be a solid line. Use a Width of 1.

    In the color palette, make the stroke/foreground box black, and the fill/background box white. From now on I will just refer to these boxes as stroke and fill.

    Draw a circle about 250x250. Go to Objects/Align/Center in canvas. This tool can only be used on vectors. Since we are not going to do any changes to our face/circle, you can now convert it to a raster layer.

    Add a new vector layer, naming it "L eye" or something similar. Since I am left-handed, I almost always start all my drawings on the left. For this practice, I would suggest you do the same so that you don't get lost.

    Again using the same colors and the same settings for the ellipse shape, draw a small oval about 30x55. Move it to about where you think you will want it to be - remembering that eyes are usually just above the half of the face. When I am drawing out my vectors, I don't always try to get the placement while drawing, as I can always move it once drawn, and again as I am finished with it.

shot 1

    We won't be doing any changes to this layer, so convert it to a raster layer. Add a new vector layer, naming it "inner eye".

    In the color palette, turn off the stroke color box, and change the fill color box to black. Using the same settings, draw a small ellipse about 24x32. To check my size and to move it into place to check how it looks, I now click on my Mover Tool. This will turn off the vector box and you can move the small ellipse with the Mover Tool to where you want it to be within the eye oval.

shot 2

    If it doesn't look how you want it, click on the Object Selection tool on the bottom of your side tool bar and enlarge or reduce the size. Once you have it as you want it, convert it to a raster layer.

    Go to Effects/3D effects/Inner Bevel. Use the round preset. If you don't have the round preset, use the following settings and before you click ok, click on the save icon, label it round, then click ok. You will now have the round preset for future use. Some of the older tutorials online, just call for you to use this preset as it used to be one of the basic presets within the program.

shot 3

    You can change where the highlight shows in your image you are "rounding", by changing the angle. Rather than play with the numbers, I just move the handle within the angle circle. Just click on it and move your mouse until you get the highlight where you want it.

shot 4

    To vary the look of your eye, you could also use an Inner Bevel on the base eye - if I do this, I use the same bevel from another of my presets that gives a gentle bevel. I have it named "baby cheeks" and use it on a lot of images. Before you click ok on this, save the settings as a preset, even if you don't want to use it on the base eye. You could now right click on the inner eye and go to Merge/Merge down, but we are going to use the base eye for the base for our right eye.

shot 5

    Normally, you could just duplicate this eye and then move it over to where the right eye should be (don't mirror or it will have your highlight on the wrong side!); however, I am going to show another eye to give you more options and practice.

    Duplicate the "L eye" layer and mirror it, then move it into place with the Mover Tool. Move the layer in the layer palette above the inner eye layer for the left eye and rename this layer "R eye". Add a new vector layer, naming it "inner eye" - you can name it "R inner eye" to help avoid confusion if you want.

    Use the same settings for the ellipse and have the stroke null and the fill black, and draw a small ellipse about the same size as before - 24x32. Now click on Ctrl and d to deactivate the vector. Duplicate the layer in your layer palette. Rename this layer "iris". Turn the visibility to this layer off by clicking on the eye icon on the layer in the layer palette.

    Open the "R inner eye" layer by clicking on the small plus sign, and double click on the ellipse layer. Change the fill color to #4040ff.

shot 6

    Convert to a raster layer. Turn the visibility on for the "iris" layer, and activate the layer. Go to Image/Resize and resize it 75%, making sure the box labeled "Resize all layers" is NOT checked. Then convert to a raster layer.

shot 7

    Now use your Mover Tool to move the two inner eye layers where you want them placed. I have mine moved up a bit.

shot 8

    These next series of screen shots show different ways to apply a highlight - well, the result of the ways. The first one is just using the Paint Brush set at 2 and the stroke at white and drawing a small spot on the black iris - this has to be done on a new raster layer added above the iris layer. Once you have it drawn, go to Adjust/Blur/Gaussian Blur - 1 to 1.50.

shot 1       shot 10

This next variation is just using the Round Preset in the Inner Bevel on the iris.

shot 11

    For this variation, I merged the "iris" layer down onto the "R inner eye", and then applied the round preset in the Inner Bevel. Makes a really different look, doesn't it? I use it for some of the animals I do, for it looks like an animal eye to me.

shot 12

    This variation, I merged the "iris" layer down onto the "R inner" eye, and then added a new raster layer. I then used the Paint Brush, set at 2 and drew a small line across both the blue and the black. Next a Guassian Blur of 1.50 was applied. I didn't intentionally draw a zagged line, my hand just shook a bit and that was what appeared!!

shot 13       shot 14

    A final variation that I am aware of is to add a new raster layer, after merging the iris layer down, and using the Paint Brush with the same settings, apply two small dots. You can blur it or not as you wish. I don't usually blur it when I do it this way.

shot 15

    One other way I do eyes are to do them as I did for my Snobaby and Penguin. I just draw a small black circle, or ellipse, and then use the round preset on it. I also add lashes to it - but not always. It depends on the image I am doing. I usually make the circle about 12x12. If I feel it is too large or too small once I get other parts of my face done, I resize it at 85% or 75%, or to enlarge it, I use 120% or whatever I think it might need.

    You can merge your right eye layers now - I start with my top layer to be merged and merge it down, and do that until they are all merged with the bottom layer I want merged. If I have more layers to merge than about 5, I will close off my other layers' visibility, and do a merge visible, but if it is less than 5 layers, I do the merge down. Plus this way, I don't have to rename my eye bottom layer!! LOL

    Now I will show you some eye lashes and brows. Do the merge down to the "L eye" layers, and then keep it activated and add a new raster layer, naming it "lashes 1".

    Activate the Pen Tool and the straight line, width 2. Draw a few short lines angling away from the eye.

shot 16       shot 17       shot 18

    Variation - curled lashes - activate the Pen Tool and the Point to Point/Bezier Curve icon - it is next to the straight line icon in the upper tool bar. (Even though the Connect Segments box is checked in the screen shot, make sure yours is NOT checked.) Place a point (node) on the black line outlining the eye. Place another point (node) a short distance away, and holding the button down, move the mouse up until you get a curve you like. Remember, you can always use the Undo if it doesn't look like what you want. This takes practice and even then you might have to Undo a couple of times - I know I have often!

shot 19       shot 20

    I only did two lashes, but you can add as many as you want.

    Eyebrows can be straight or curved and very short or long, depending on what you want the brows to look like. I don't always put brows on. The straight line is basically just drawing a line, straight across or at an angle. The curve line can also be straight across or angled. Just place a dot for the one end and then place a dot for the other end, and pulling down until you get a curve you like. Practice and play until you feel more comfortable with them.

    Noses - these can be round, elliptical, heart shaped - and that can be the heart right side up or upside down. You can adjust the nodes to make the round or elliptical look more like a dog or cat nose. Most noses look best if an inner bevel is applied. For large animals like bears, some dogs, etc., you would use the round preset inner bevel. For others you can use one like the "baby cheeks" or one I call "balloon effect".

    For our first nose, we will make it a small round one. Stroke null, fill a shade of pink - I used #f5c5c5. I drew my circle to about 20x20, converted to a raster layer and applied the "baby cheeks" Inner Bevel.

shot 21

    Turn off the visibility to "nose 1", by clicking on the little eye icon in the layer palette. Add a new vector layer, naming it "nose 2". Use the same settings and the same color, and draw a small ellipse at about 32x22. Convert to a raster layer and try a different Inner Bevel - try the "baby cheeks" to see how it looks, then Undo and try the following settings. I call this one "balloon effects" and use it the most often. Depending on what I am using it on, though, I often lighten up the darkness by changing the elevation number up to 23 or higher, depending on what I want it to look like. Try it with the base settings and then try it with some of the variations in the elevation number.

shot 22

    Here are some variations for you to see with the different numbers for the elevation:

shot 23

    Now we will do a pink animal nose. Use the same settings and color, and draw a small ellipse about 34x24. Activate your pen tool, and click on the very bottom node of the ellipse. Using your down arrow key, tap it about 6 times to move this node down slightly. This move is shown as 1 in the screen shot. Pull the end of the right handle up and inwards as shown in screen shot as 2. Then pull the other handle up and inwards, as shown as number 3. Number 4 shows what the nose looks like after these moves of the handles.

shot 24

    While you are moving nodes, if you want to see what the image looks like without the nodes showing, you can deselect it by clicking on Ctrl and D. Or you can do it the faster, easier way, by clicking on the Mover Tool. That will turn the visibility to the nodes off so you can see the image clearly. If you feel more adjustment is needed, just click on the Pen Tool again and the nodes will appear again. Once you have the shape you want, convert to a raster layer. Sometimes I want the top of the nose to appear more rounded, so I activate the top node and tap on the up arrow about 4 times to get the appearance of a more rounded top - if you feel you need or want the top to go higher, change the node style to symmetrical and continue tapping.

    Note: To change the node style, activate the node you want to change, then right click on it. The following screens will appear and click on symmetrical.

shot 25

    Time to apply the Inner Bevel. I usually use the "balloon effect" preset and raise the elevation to 23 or 25. Play with the settings to see what you get and what you like. Then you can turn the visibility to this layer off.

    Add a new vector layer, naming it "nose 4". Change the color pink to black and draw a new oval about 34x24. Do the same node adjustments that we just did and apply the round preset Inner Bevel.

shot 26

    You can also make a round or oval black nose and use the Round Preset Inner Bevel. This is something again, to practice and play with.

    Now for the mouth and "nose line". Add a new raster layer and name it "mouth". Activate the Pen Tool, width 1 or 2, stroke black, fill null. Draw a straight line from the tip of the nose to about where you think you will want your mouth to begin. To play a bit with the length of the line, I always put my mouth layer below the nose layer.

shot 27

    Now, to make it easy on yourself, zoom the image to about 200%, and add a new raster layer above the mouth layer. Using the Pen Tool and the Point to Point/Bezier Curve, place a dot/node at the base of the straight line you just drew. Then place another about the same level to either the left or right, that also lines up with about the middle of the eye on the side you are drawing to. Without lifting your finger from the mouse, draw it up and over to the side to get a good curve that will look like a smile.

shot 28

    Now you can either duplicate this layer and mirror it to be the other side of the mouth, or add a new raster layer and do the same curve again. With mirroring it, you might have to use the Mover Tool to move it into place. Then you can do the Merge Down to get the other raster layers merged onto the mouth layer.

shot 29

    Another way to draw a mouth is to use an inverted heart. Add a new vector layer, naming it "mouth 2". Stroke black, fill null. Width 2. Use the other settings as before with the ellipse, but this time use a heart shape. Start the heart under the nose, but as you move the mouse to one side, instead of moving your mouse down, move it up - this will invert the heart so it is upside down.

shot 30

    As you can see it is not easy to get it placed where you want it when you draw it out. So once you get the size you want, move it into place. Then you can convert it to a raster layer.

shot 31

    Once you have it converted, activate your Freehand Selection Tool, and apply it as seen in the screen shot. While your marching ants are around the portion of the heart, click on Delete. Then deselect by clicking on Ctrl and D.

shot 32       shot 33

    You can vary the size of your mouth by varying the width of the heart. You can also cut it wider so that the curves aren't as deep. Play around with the shape and size of the heart to see what variations you can make for a mouth. You can use the ellipse shape, either drawn in an oval or a circle to make a mouth that isn't separated like an animal's would be.

    Here is a sample of how these "parts" put together can create a cute little face.

sample face

    I hope some of this information will help you with playing with PSP and will help to improve your skills.





      This tutorial was written March 20, 2008.


      Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. Send email to susie



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