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Wings Tutorial by liiga Wings Tutorial by liiga
Wings Tutorial

For this tutorial, I use two programs - Ulead Photoimpact 8, and Corel Painter 8. It's possible to make pretty wings just with UPI or any other similar vector program, and it's actually advised if you're stuck with mouse or don't want your hand to fall off from drawing an excessive amoung of little lines. ^^

1. It all starts with some sketchy lines to mark the basic shape of the wings. That way, you keep an eye on the anatomy and all that, because otherwise it can get very confusing later on.

2. Then, you start drawing in vector feathers. For a fill, it's best to use a gradient that has colors different from your background. You use gradient so that you can easily tell apart between individual feathers, so that you know what you're drawing. It's not a bad idea to use a reference to check how feathers overlap each other. When drawing them, you start with the longest feathers, because they will be underneath all other ones. Then draw the middle row, then draw the 'hand' part, then the upper rows of smaller feathers. Okay, now you have a pretty basic wing, with nice vector feathers. They look very boring though, and not all that realistic (depending also on how lucky you were with your gradient).

3. Now you tinker around with the gradients till you're happy with the general color, because it'll be the basis of everything else. Now, group the feathers - the number of groups depends on how many places the wing will be bent in. In out example, the bunny's left wing (our right) has 7 groups - 3 of them are the 'hand' part - long feathers, middle feathers, and smaller feathers, and another 4 are the rest - long feathers, middle feathers, group1 of small feathers, group2 of small feathers. The reason for this is being able to tinker with the lighting in a more effective manner, and prevents clutter of objects if you're bringing the file into Painter. Now, if there's something about those gradients you want to modify in groups, it's the right time to do so. Done? Good. Next step!

4. Select each group, rightclick on it, and pick 'merge as single object'. That merges the feathers in a group into one object. That means, you'll no longer be able to edit them as paths or each separately! Now, save the file as Photoshop file (.psd), and close it. Say buhbye to Photoimpact, we won't be needing it anymore for this.

5. Fire up Painter and open the file there. Each of your objects will now be a layer of its own, with a name 'obj-(some number)'. If you want, rename them into something more manageable. Now, select some group - might want to start with the long feathers first - and duplicate the layer. Place the new one exactly over the old one. Now, click on 'create mask from transparency', and then 'negative'. This lets you see exactly where the new layer is. Now, get a big happy eraser and delete it! The reason for doing so is getting a mask in the shape of the underlying group on a new layer. (If there's an easier way to do this, let me know!) The negative was used to make sure you have deleted ALL of the color in the duplicate layer. Why do you want to do this? See now we're going to do all sorts of detail, and if you screw something up, it's easier to just delete the faulty part or check with what there used to be, than start it all over again.

6. Okay, now get a blender. I suggest using 'grainy water 30', because it blends the underlying colors as well - most other blenders will only blend the colors on the current layer, even with the 'pick up underlying color' checked. Now, keeping in your mind where your lightsource is, draw two parallel lines on each feather, parallely to its length. It should mark the upper and lower part of the feather - and they needn't be 50/50 either! The line between those two blending lines, will be where the middle line of the feather will go. Now do this process for ALL the feathers. (Not kidding.)

7. Get some pretty light or dark color - best of all, both, so you can make a little shadow as well - and draw in all the middle lines. My favorite brush for all those things is 'wet detail brush 5' from the acrylics, because it both blends and draws very small detail quite well. If you're using Photoshop or something else at this stage, DON'T EVEN THINK of only using dodge/burn lighten/darken tools! What you'll get will be rather monocrhomatic feathers, that won't look as interesting as they'd get if you use actual color. Check reference for where they are located for different types of feathers.

--Warning! The following part should only be done if you have no attachment to your wrist, because it may become very detached to the process.--

8. Now get a few nice colors laid out, and draw a big bunch of tiny little lines going at an angle against the middle line on each feather. Make sure the lines on both sides of the middle line are perpendicular among themselves. Use lighter lines where the light hits your feathers, and darker lines where there's shadow. Mix colors, too, so that your feathers look shiny. Do this till you have detailed out all the feathers in the layer. Save.

9. And now - rinse and repeat for all the remaining layers! Keep in mind that the small feathers will definitely have their middle lines positioned differently than the large feathers at the end of the wing. The small ones usually require less lined detail as well, 'cause there simply isn't that much space on them, and their size alone creates a more detailed impression.

Well that's about all. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment area. Good luck and wind to thy wings! ;)
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmikadel:
Mikadel Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just got that PhotoImpact program you mention but I still  have no idea how to draw anything with the gradient tool, same problem with Photoshop. Your step 2 says, ok draw the feathers now, but how?
Reply
:iconajinu-okami:
AJInu-Okami Featured By Owner May 19, 2012
Beautiful tutorial :)
Reply
:iconlailita:
Lailita Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is perfect for the drawing that I'm trying to color on Photoshop! The details are incredible o.o
There's just so many layers on wings..It's a pain! But thank you so much for making this!
Reply
:iconarisunekonyan:
ArisuNekonyan Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2012
Impressionnant .. O.O
Reply
:iconaxl-zerberus:
Axl-Zerberus Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2011
awesome!!!
it is really good tutorial!!!
(sorry i'm not speak English)
Reply
:iconadilsama:
adilsama Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
the only thing you said wrong is that you cant speak english
Reply
:iconaxl-zerberus:
Axl-Zerberus Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
damn... that's the point... ^^U
Reply
:iconadilsama:
adilsama Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:nod:
Reply
:iconblacke-horse-design:
Blacke-Horse-Design Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011
AHH!! Photoimpact!!!! That's the program I started out using before I bought my mac and was forced over to Adobe >.< You're only the second person I've found on dA that says they use it lol! Running it through virtual box just isn't the same...I miss good ol' Ulead =[

Excellent tutorial too by the way =P
Reply
:icontheaqhagirl:
TheAQHAGirl Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh my goodness *.* Thank you! This is going to help me. BIG TIME! :) Thank you for posting this!
Reply
:iconsylvina626:
sylvina626 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010
hola muchas gracias
Reply
:iconsylvina626:
sylvina626 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010
hola
Reply
:iconalthaly:
Althaly Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful!
I will try and do it
Reply
:iconlyoth737:
lyoth737 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
cool tutorial
Reply
:iconorion-m-42:
Orion-M-42 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for the tutorial, was one of the better tutorials for wings. used it in for this gift art [link] crediting your tutorial. :)
Reply
:iconblackmage339:
BlackMage339 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing result, and it's really cool how it goes from just the feather shapes (amazing in their own right) to full on textures wings!

I need to create some angel characters just to try this out!
Reply
:iconcleopatra4yami:
cleopatra4yami Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2009
this turtorial is absolutely amazing, i can't wait to try this out.
Reply
:iconzerocool748:
Zerocool748 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Nice wings, but did you do all the gradients by hand??
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2008
Thanks! Um, no, that's why the description says: "you start drawing in vector feathers. For a fill, it's best to use a gradient that has colors different from your background. You use gradient so that you can easily tell apart between individual feathers, so that you know what you're drawing".
I'll probably sit down and make a less convoluted and ancient tutorial for drawing wings one of these days. xP
Reply
:iconihuatzin:
Ihuatzin Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
this literally looks like some of the new designs I've been making for wings o_o but this is more amazing cause it was done on a computer xDD I do all my designs traditionally
Reply
:iconihuatzin:
Ihuatzin Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
this literally looks like some of the new designs I've been making for wings o_o but this is more amazing cause it was done on a computer xDD I do all my designs traditionally
Reply
:iconfantasywillow:
FantasyWillow Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2007
That's brilliant!
Reply
:iconsketched-chibi:
Sketched-Chibi Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2007
wow :wow: I plan to use this in my next deviation :XD:
:+fav:
Reply
:iconbananawork:
BananaWork Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, how beautiful!! Very awesome!
Reply
:iconarychalimedes:
Arychalimedes Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Oho, jauki redzet ka ir vairak latviesu saja lappuse. (Ludzu piedosanu par gruti saprotamo tekstu bet sajam datoram nav istas zimes)

Loti labs tutorials. Nesaprotu ka kadam var but pacietiba kaut ko tik detalizetu zimet PS.
Reply
:iconryookibunny:
ryookibunny Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2007
OMG that was crazy @_@
i wish i could do that, but even the beginning of step 2 was too elite for me to follow >_<
Reply
:iconzenstrive:
Zenstrive Featured By Owner May 27, 2007
gotta get me some Corel Painter
Reply
:iconaryan-dark:
Aryan-Dark Featured By Owner May 9, 2007
This is really awesome!
I applied it to actual free-hand drawing, but the technique still works.
(The shape of the wing, etc).
THANKS!
Reply
:iconraimeithunderchild:
RaimeiThunderChild Featured By Owner May 5, 2007  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Whoa! Amazing!

...faved, just for the beauty in the wings, even though I have Adobe Photoshop Elements. :(

Anyway, thanks!

:heart: Raimei
Reply
:iconhhb-bookmaster:
HHB-BookMaster Featured By Owner May 4, 2007
Wow, those are cool wings! This can be helpful. Thanks!
Reply
:iconlilabelle:
Lilabelle Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2006   Digital Artist
Wow. I'd love to be able to do such gorgeous wings, and though I know I won't pick it up in a few minutes, this tut has definitely guided me along the way! Thanks for making it, and I love the pictures!
Reply
:iconkaylectra:
Kaylectra Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2006  Student Digital Artist
Hey wow... I didn't know that was possible to do wings like that with a vector program =)

Very useful! I'll have to try it out one day =)

Thanks for sharing this!
Reply
:iconkeisha-kainn:
Keisha-Kainn Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2006
Yuor missing the 4th step
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2006
Wow congrats, you're the first to notice in almost 2 years. XD
Reply
:iconkeisha-kainn:
Keisha-Kainn Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2006
lol.. I;n anal about things like that... lol
Reply
:iconmelgama:
MelGama Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ohhhhhhhh this is soooo beautiful! :clap:
I canīt believe that I can do it... I donīt have UP8 and Corel... :(
Can you make a psd file for us? :D
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Thanks! Umm, a psd file of what? As for UP8 and Corel, I think I stated somewhere that you can definitely replace the Corel part with any bitmap editor whatsoever, and as for the Photoimpact part, a vector editor should do the same exact thing - I'm quite sure Illustrator could do it, for example. Something tells me it can be done with creative use of selection tool in Photoshop, too, although it won't be quite as convenient as using vectors.
Reply
:iconmelgama:
MelGama Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I use photoshop to make my compositions... with psd file we have transparency but itīs not the problem because if you make this one in jpg with white or black background we can change to transparent... :D
Of course Iīll give you all credits when I use the image... :hug:
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Um, hun, this is a tutorial, not a stock image. It is there to show you the technique, not to offer the finished thing.
Reply
:iconmelgama:
MelGama Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know this! And itīs really great! :worship:
I said that I donīt have the programs need to make this tutorial... this is the way I ask you if you could make a file... sorry if I bored you... :hug:
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Well I generally don't allow reuse of my images - particularly this one, because it has been turned into a finished painting already, afterall.
Reply
:iconrykos:
rykos Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2004  Hobbyist General Artist
Hadn't noticed this tutorial before. Again, awesome. I love seeing PhotoImpact being used in new ways. :)

:+fav:
Reply
:iconpodglet:
podglet Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2004
Wow!! This'll be really useful! I love your end result too!! THanks for postting this Liiga!
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2004
Thanks and you're welcome! I'm glad you found this useful! :)
Reply
:iconosandstorrm:
osandstorrm Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2004
Woohoo! I always wondered how you did your unique style of feather-making.
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2004
In the most excrutiating possible manner of course! :D
Reply
:iconvaltoria:
Valtoria Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2004
I'll find this very useful,
all hail you! *bows down*
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2004
:hug: I'm happy you found this handy!
Reply
:iconjimzip:
jimzip Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2004  Professional Digital Artist
Beautiful result!
Thank you very much for posting this!

Jimzip :D
Reply
:iconliiga:
liiga Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2004
:hugs: Thanks and most welcome!
Reply
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