View Full Version : Rebecca Kimmel's Anatomy Review 003: SHADING TUTORIAL AND HUMAN SKULL EXERCISE

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01-06-2006, 01:58 AM
Oh, very fast reply!
Thank you Rebecca, appreciate it!

Ill do some more tomorrow, clean it up a bit, add some more details etc. Its 4 in the morning right now so Im a bit tired atm, guess ill deram sweet after your reply ;)

Have a lovely day, see you soon!

01-06-2006, 02:03 AM

Yep, I'm fast on the draw. :D I was just reading your comments on the Post a picture thread ~ thank you so much. I'll definitely reply there later as well, but just wanted to quickly say that your comments are very much appreciated. :)



01-06-2006, 03:52 PM
Rebecca, hey, telling you how much we appreciate what you do for us is the least we can do ;)
Here is an update, Im gonna call this one finished. Seams like the more time I spend from this point on the uglyer it gets, so I better stop in time before I ruin it completely.


Good enough? (pretty happy with the details within the nose area)

01-06-2006, 04:12 PM

Thanks. :)

From a quick look at your piece, I'd say you're doing a beautiful job! I can't really make extensive comments just at the moment as I'm at work, but will give it a better look when at home. :)

Great to see your update! Did you have in mind something which you would like to tackle next?



01-06-2006, 05:17 PM
Rebecca, thank you. Please do check it out again if you have some time over and tell me what I could be doing better.
Actually I would like to do the stuff in your "drawing on the right side" thread. The thing is that I dont have the book, but I have the video and so far the exercises are the same, so it might work. (I googeled for vase-faces and found it, made the picture into a path, made it bigger and prited it.

I was also planning to do all of your tutorials, I started with the third, but Im planning to go back and do the first and second one. They are there for a reason afterall, dont want to miss the opportunity just because Im behind schedule.

Does this sound good to you?

01-07-2006, 01:07 PM

This is a really beautiful start, and I hope to see more of your work like this! :) I always recommend filling in the background with a solid value, as it will establish the value relationships with the foreground, but I rather like the tan / toned background you have established here.

One thing to note perhaps is that you can work to establish a bit more edge variation in terms of edges which are hard / vs. edges which are more soft / smooth. But that's actually quite easy once you have the basis established as you have done quite well here. :)

Actually I would like to do the stuff in your "drawing on the right side" thread. The thing is that I dont have the book, but I have the video and so far the exercises are the same, so it might work. (I googeled for vase-faces and found it, made the picture into a path, made it bigger and prited it.

I was also planning to do all of your tutorials, I started with the third, but Im planning to go back and do the first and second one. They are there for a reason afterall, dont want to miss the opportunity just because Im behind schedule.

Does this sound good to you?
That sounds great! :) No worries about being 'behind' ~ wherever you start is fine, this being an open forum, everyone naturally starts at different places.

Looking forward to seeing your continued partcipation here on the Anatomy Forum!

Cheers, :)


01-07-2006, 01:52 PM

Thank you for your kind words, glad you liked my first attempt. I will definitively keep posting and hopefully over time we will be able to see improovment together. About the background, I first made a light background with some texture brushes, but as the skull is pretty bright it kind of blended with the background. So I just took a dark-brown chalk brush and made the skull pop out more, kind of liked the effect of the loose brush strokes contrasting the somewhat detailed skull. But regarding your tip about solid value backgrounds I will certainly keep it in mind for my next peace.

Thank you for giving my skull some more time and bringing up the matter about hard/soft edges. Im pretty sure I know what you are talking about but Im posting an image to be certain. Are you talking about the edges within the painting, like the blue mark being a hard edge, and the red being a soft edge, or are you talking about the outer edges (the green arrow)?


Ok, since you have given me thumbs-up, I will continue as planned. Thank you for your help Rebecca.
Regards, Boris.

01-07-2006, 02:35 PM
Boris / noShame,

Yep, you're right about the edges! Both interior and exterior edges can be either soft or hard, depending.

Here is an example of edges which I think you might soften:


Additionally, I've done a simple tweak to your image, which is just to go to (in PS) Image > Adjustments > Levels > Auto Levels. This increased the contrast a bit, which you may or may not think is an improvement ~ it's only a suggestion for getting greater value contrast in a piece. :)

Hope this helps.

Cheers, :)


01-07-2006, 02:55 PM

Thank you for explaining it to me in detail, I now fully understand what you mean. I will pay stronger attention to soft vs hard edges in my next piece. A quick observation about soft exterior edges: If one would soften an exterior edge, wouldnt it appear blurred / out of focus then? (Or is there some other type of soft exterior edge?)

Wow, such an easy adjustment but such a big improvement, thanks for that great tip!
(I actually edited the image a bit by pressing Ctrl + L (levels) and Ctrl + M (forgot the name), but clearly it was'nt enough.) Now when looking at the animation it looks like you have removed a thin layer of gray fog, and even the light-brownish background comes to life, good job!

Again, thank you Rebecca for your help, it is very appreciated.

Regards, Boris

EDIT: I updated my previous pictures, applied the Auto Levels adjustment.

01-07-2006, 03:05 PM

You're welcome, glad to help! :) With respect to outer edges being a bit blurred, yep, softening edges is basically the same thing as blurring ~ in fact, you can use the blur tool (judiciously, mind you) :) to blur edges a bit to soften them. However, I rarely use the blur tool ~ I tend to use just the paintbrush, and more similar values (like light gray / medium gray) to get softer edges, and more dissimilar values (like light gray / black) to get harder edges.

Things which recede in space will be softer. You'll see this in photographs. If you want to draw attention to a particular area, give it a sharper edge and more value contrast; if you want an area to recede, then used a softer edge and less value contrast.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, :)


01-08-2006, 06:38 PM
I hope you won't mind if I join the thead, as late as it is, but was interested in going back a bit to the basics, found your tutorial and thought it would be a nice way to start ^^

so here is my rendition of the front view :
Photoshop CS ~1h

Btw I had a question about the shading :
You said about the shading with pencil and pens that we should always have strokes in the same direction to keep the consistency.
I'm a bit confused about that, I though you had to change the direction of the strokes depending on the volume of the shape, to have them follow the volume, especially when it comes to hatching and cross-hatching with a pen ?
(don't remember from where I got this and it's probably wrong, but I wanted to make sure ^^)

01-08-2006, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by aelwine: I hope you won't mind if I join the thead, as late as it is, but was interested in going back a bit to the basics, found your tutorial and thought it would be a nice way to start ^^
No worries aelwine ~ it seems there is still interest in these threads, so I am happy to try to help. :) Welcome to the Anatomy Forum! :)

Btw I had a question about the shading :
You said about the shading with pencil and pens that we should always have strokes in the same direction to keep the consistency. I'm a bit confused about that, I though you had to change the direction of the strokes depending on the volume of the shape, to have them follow the volume, especially when it comes to hatching and cross-hatching with a pen ? (don't remember from where I got this and it's probably wrong, but I wanted to make sure ^^)
No worries, I understand the confusion. It's best explained, I think, with an image ~ notice how when shading (digitally or traditionally) you want to do cross hatching / shading in patches, where the strokes in a given patch of shading are consistent with one another. However, these patches can curve and morph according to the form you are trying to describe. What is 'bad' is when you see artists using crazy, completely inconsistent shading / cross~hatching which neither follows any kind of form nor is consistent with itself. Hope that makes sense. :)


The thing I recommend anyone pay attention to is VALUES. Once you put your image into Grayscale Mode (as I have recently learned, is NOT the same thing as Desaturating an image, thank you, Mr. Mu!) you can see your values more clearly. The main thing I think you need to incorporate into your painting is a sense of the roundness of the form:


Hope this helps. :)



01-08-2006, 07:28 PM
You can also switch to Lab mode and select the luminosity (L) channel to have the correct values from the image.

Can anyone confirm that this is a valid procedure ?

Ps. for the knowledge hungry...I use to unsharp mask the luminance channel in lab mode to get a better/professional feeling on my photoretouches (On cs2, it can be also done with smart sharpen)

01-08-2006, 07:33 PM
Heya Xillion, :)

We were just discussing these things in the OFDW 010:

Here are some posts on the matter of Grayscale vs. Desaturation:

Mr. Mu's thoughts:

drawMonger's thoughts:

Corvax's thoughts:

Hope this helps! I really need to edit that bit about Desaturating the image in the beginning of this thread. :D

Cheers, :)


01-08-2006, 07:39 PM
yeah...I just read Mr Mu's linked article and it also speaks about my method. Thanks for posting references! It's always hard to keep track of all these messages!!!

01-08-2006, 07:40 PM

I know! :D No prob. :) I'm amazed no one called me out on this before Mr. Mu did a few days ago ~ I'm happy he did! I'll add a note at the beginning of this thread with a link to the article.

Cheers, :)


01-08-2006, 07:41 PM
Note to those who are interested:

The following article describes the difference between Desaturation and Grayscale:


Sorry for the booboo. :D

Cheers, :)


01-08-2006, 07:44 PM
I remember reading your thread in the beginning and thinking..."It's not the same thing but..."...I thought I might be wrong :) so kept my mouth shut ! :D

01-08-2006, 07:46 PM

LOL, never keep your mouth shut if you think someone is wrong on something. :D I'm pretty humble, I certainly don't think I know everything. :) If I did, that would be scary. :scream:

I've added a note at the beginning of the thread here:


Cheers, :)


01-08-2006, 07:54 PM
hey Becca funny that, i just stumbled here to see what u were up to
and happened to look on that skull pic u posted and it helped me instantly,
u see i gots problem drawing human heads and had been strugglin drawing
one for a while now and so thanks :)


01-08-2006, 07:55 PM
Thanks, Squibb. ;)



01-08-2006, 08:48 PM
Wow! didn't expect such a quick reply ^^ it gave me some time to try to touch up my skull, thanks a lot.
That little gif of yours is much appreciated as I tend to forget those kind of things ^^;; especially when it comes to drawing from references. It really helped

There is still a lot of room for improvement, but I hope you can feel the cylindrical shape of the skull a bit better in this one.

Anyway thanks a lot for the feedback ! :thumbsup:

01-08-2006, 09:37 PM

No prob. :)

I think it does look a lot more cylindrical now! :)

Here are some areas where I think you need to smooth the shading and make it a bit more uniform:


Hope this helps.

Cheers, ;)


01-08-2006, 11:06 PM
I gave it a try and it seems better now, thanks again, Rebecca, for the kind advice. :)
I think I'll try another view now to put everything into practice


btw I forgot to thank you for the explanation about pen strokes, I understand much better what you mean now, and I get what's wrong with those "random strokes" and why you insist about the way the strokes should be consistent., thanks for taking the time to explain :bowdown:

01-08-2006, 11:20 PM

You're most welcome, happy to try to help someone when they're willing to put in the work. :) That's quite a nice improvement:





Nice job ~ look forward to seeing more of your work. :)



01-14-2006, 05:55 AM
this is a skull in my lab. it was kinda titled on the mustard bag, so the skech cae .. wierd.
please comment and thanks.
rebecka i m really sorry about being so irregular a poster( technically correct term i think)
but my master s course is killing me.



yours sincerely

01-14-2006, 01:37 PM

Hey there! :)

The first thing I would recommend is to take a look at the following Tutorial:

TUTORIAL - Shading Techniques (Various Media) - by Rebeccak (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=273928)

It will show you how to really focus in on doing tighter shading.

Also check out:

Slux's Shading Tutorial on his Anatomy Thread: (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=281480&page=3&pp=15)

Both of these tuts will really be of use!

Let me know what you think after reviewing these 2 Tutorials.

Cheers, :)


01-14-2006, 02:25 PM
thanks will do that!


01-23-2006, 05:19 AM
SPECIAL NOTE - posted 1/23/06:


Here we explore the Concept of Gesture ~ anyone is free to join in! :)

Beginners' Lounge (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=297229)
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=297229 (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=297229)

02-01-2006, 05:42 AM
I went through these tutorials and Rebeca thank you so much...

Looking forward to learn from you...

02-01-2006, 10:56 AM
Stefan Stavrev,

Thank you! I hope you post your work here and / or participate in any of our many threads on the forum. :)



03-20-2006, 07:50 PM

i had a rough sketch to figure out an ortogonal view from your image links than had a better outline and a coloring attempt. Not a master piece but we can rate this as "not bad" i think.

03-20-2006, 08:03 PM

Hey, nice stuff! :) I'd say that this is a good start, but that you need to refine and tweak the values. Keep going, and post your results!

Cheers, :)


03-21-2006, 01:34 PM
Holy chips i didn't know it was still possible to post here. Awesome. i'll be drawing some skulls tonight :)

post some later.


03-21-2006, 03:40 PM

Hi there, thank you for your really kind comment in my CGPortfolio guestbook! It's great to know you are getting back into drawing, that's what we like to see here! :)

Looking forward to seeing your work. :)



03-22-2006, 07:53 PM
Now, im sending an update, im gonna send a new update soon after i complete the jaw.


03-22-2006, 08:04 PM

Nice update! My recommendation would be to take a slightly harder edged brush to the inner edges of the eyesockets ~ [ for softer brush, ] for harder brush ~ to get a bit of nice edge variation. On occasion, take a look at your work in Grayscale just to see how things look in terms of pure value. Looking forward to your update. :)



05-11-2006, 02:31 AM
hi people.. good work here, really need to join this... hope star something tomorrow.


05-22-2006, 09:19 PM
I've been browsing the artistic anatomy posts for a while now but have only recently tried my hand at digital painting/sketching. I mainly work in 3d but figure a good anatomical knowledge will go along way.

So here's my first pic. skull sketch. All comments welcome.


http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachm...tid=95871&stc=1 (http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95871&stc=1)

and a 3d max/zbrush sculpt just to show a small bit of my 3d.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachm...tid=95873&stc=1 (http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95873&stc=1)

05-25-2006, 02:46 AM

Hi there, I did not see your post! Good to see your skull digital painting. My suggestion is to add more room to the top of the skull ~ the eyes should fall roughly in the middle, though a bit of accomodation should be made for the slight angle at which the skull in the reference photo is placed.

I think the main thing at this point would be to focus on blending your values ~ use a low opacity round brush and sample the value from your canvas by alt + clicking while in brush mode, which turns your brush temporarily into the eyedropper tool.

I think your 3 model is looking really great, the one thing I would mention is that the lower legs seem a bit long and the ankles a bit skinny.

Thank you for posting your work, and I look forward to seeing an update! :)

EDIT: here is a review which I hope you find useful:




10-01-2006, 07:10 AM
Well this thread has been without post long enough :D

here's mine:


And here's a small step by step for the sake of spectacularity :D


I'll do a coloured version at some point in the future. However, this won't happen until I am confident and experienced enough with values and even more with lines and proportions.

I would like to know if the reference picture is copyrighted? I mean can I post this on my eg own site? Shouldn't I credit the photographer?

10-02-2006, 10:34 PM

What a fantastic job you've done on your rendering! :applause: I'm really impressed with how far you've come in general in such a short time. Keep up the great work, your study is definitely paying off. :)



10-04-2006, 01:10 PM
Thank you Rebeccak

*bows gratefully*

I'm a bit busy lately with work and all - limiting me to browsing and absorbing artwork - but I hope to make a lot more exercises in the future. This is only the start ya know of a long long journey ;)

But yeah, I love it when a plan comes together... :D

10-28-2006, 12:49 AM
I'm only just getting back into drawing (and starting out in painting) and these forums are a wonderful resource - yourself included. Here's a quick sketch I did from a photo of a broken skull.


11-14-2006, 07:20 PM
Hi, this is my first post in this forum. I just got my first wacom a few days ago and I somehow found this place which I consider to be a great place to start learning drawing and painting. So here is my first try...

11-14-2006, 11:26 PM

My apologies for lack of response, I managed to miss this post - thank you for the compliments, and I really hope to see more of your work on your Sketchbook thread. :)


Welcome to CGTalk and to the Anatomy Forum. :) Very nice start here. I would love to see you further refine your piece, and to post your updates. Be sure to check out Bobby Chiu's video tutorials (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=410461) as well, where he paints in grayscale, and also just talks a lot about art and life. :)



12-15-2006, 08:28 AM
I don't know if this thread is still open? Anyway, here's my contribution, done in painter.


12-19-2006, 06:38 AM
Really nice one batte812lots of depth in there, great texture

Veji, for a first try... that's really nice you know.
I hope you'll be posting more studies and updates!

03-27-2007, 02:29 PM
I hope it's still OK to post here. I did the skull this weekend to learn how to use my wacom and shade properly in PS. Sure was alot of work :), but boy did I learn alot!!!
I was quite frustrated for a while because I felt I had no fine control over the brush, until I finally realized that the other dynamics function didn't "stick" when I changed brush sizes. I guess I have to make a set of my own brushes.
Well, I'm going to call this finished for now. This weekend I want to experiment with adding texture and color.


This is the original, and the values are basically true to the original.
Then I played around with levels and found this to be better:


03-27-2007, 02:37 PM
Gorgeous work maritok!! :thumbsup: Very happy to hear how much you learned. :)

03-27-2007, 03:00 PM
Thanks, Rebecca, that was fast :). So I guess I can post my colorizing studies in this thread after all.

03-27-2007, 07:53 PM
Yep, no problem. :)

03-28-2007, 06:10 AM
wow indeed a nice one

looking forward to see you taking this to a next level

03-28-2007, 02:30 PM
Deleted duplicate post, sorry

03-28-2007, 02:34 PM
Thanks! Nice to see there's still something going on here. I love your skull! I just looks so ... skull-ish. I'm going to try to add some texture to mine this weekend to give it more skull-iness like yours, it's been an inspiration.
You did an excellent job on the upper teeth, where they go under the bone, that's what gave me such trouble.

03-28-2007, 02:36 PM
Hey thanks Maria,

I found the teeth the most difficult part of this skull to be honest...
took me quite a while to be honest

Thankfully... patience is my friend :)

btw, did you make a personal sketchbook thread? Would love to see you post work on a regular basis ;)

04-01-2007, 10:14 PM
Here's a try at a color version.


04-02-2007, 10:38 PM
Wow, how lovely! :) I really look forward to seeing how you apply your digital painting skills to more complex pieces. Great work!

04-04-2007, 04:33 PM
Thanks Rebecca. I am just amazed at how much I learned with this study. Thanks so much for this tutorial and exercise - the skull is just perfect to start with!

04-04-2007, 11:37 PM
So I finally have something that fits into a theme. :)

This was done in Graphite and Charcoal. (Did a little sharpen in Photoshop due to blurry pic). I have some problems pushing the values in the mid-ranges, but... here goes.


04-09-2007, 02:33 PM

I will see if I can get a 3/4 view done soon!

04-09-2007, 02:58 PM

Good start here - keep refining your shading - don't worry if this doesn't come out perfectly if it is among your first attempts to shade something this complex. Just keep looking for more and more subtle tones and shades of grey. Use your eraser - preferably a kneaded one - to softly press on the page and lift out areas of light if you go too dark. Don't rub the eraser back and forth on the page however as this will ruin the texture.

Keep going! :)


Good start here as well, but I would say to rely less on the tools / blender to do the job than just straight painting. For this exercise, don't add textures or effects until the very, very end as they will mask what you do and don't know about actual shading. Try to render this as much as you can without relying on any tools except the paintbrush. I think you'll learn a lot more that way. :)



04-29-2007, 06:57 PM
Here is my try at the apple:


05-01-2007, 11:33 AM
I just read the WHOLE tutorial! Looks like I made an ass of myself by drawing an apple and not bothering to look at other posts! I enjoyed it though. I'm going to paint the anterior aspect of the skull next.

05-01-2007, 12:30 PM
LOL no worries. ;)

05-01-2007, 01:50 PM
Here is a WIP (as it is taking some time to create) of the real exercise:


06-02-2007, 12:16 PM
Here is my best try I think the skull was too hard for me.http://imagehub.geekfury.com/files/15/5training.jpg

08-11-2007, 08:17 PM
Here's my first attempt at the front skull!


08-13-2007, 07:00 PM
Drawn with charcoal!


08-14-2007, 12:18 PM
Here's my try. I had a lot fun, but was too lazy to add more details at the end. The scene is a bit dark, but I'm quite satisfied with the result (compared to my other drawings^^). :)


Greetings, Floriam

10-04-2007, 04:49 AM
This is my first post here on CGtalk.... here goes!


I can definitely say I learned a lot. Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial!

10-05-2007, 09:43 PM
Great job Saralyssan (http://forums.cgsociety.org/member.php?u=293408)! I hope that you will participate more in the forum. :)

11-04-2007, 03:48 PM
Great job everyone! :thumbsup:

This is my effort, my first serious effort on shading i'd say. About 4 or 5 hours, on A4 paper. Used HB, 2B and 6B.
I've missed the cheekbones, but when i realised it, i started shading and didn't want to ruin it. Will be more careful on the next one:

Looking ugly on screen :D

And i think i'll move to the next skull, now

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