Opacity vs translucency

Dashboard Forums Weekly Member Message Opacity vs translucency

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    Alan Franceschini

    Hi Matt,

    Often in the critiques you mention that my paintings are all opaque, so I was wondering if you could show me how to get that translucent effect. It could be just a quick painting of a simple sphere in photoshop or pointing me to a video that displays the technique if you already have one. It would be great if you could also show me some examples of paintings that have this vs some that don’t so that I can develop a better understanding of what you’re talking about.

    Thanks a lot,

    Arjun Khode

    Alan come here I will show you, haha. I’m just kidding. You remind me so much of myself because I was exactly where you are now and I asked these same questions.

    One solution I found was subsurface scattering lessons on the net. Matt suggested to me the artist Roberto Ferri. He has these reds and greens in the skin. Then I bought a tutorial by Craig Elliott, I think it was called space princess.

    Might I suggest using 30-40% opacity on your brushes? Rendering with form lines and then blending. Some of this stuff is recorded on my podcast. Subsurface scattering also exists on marble sculptures just like candles. Both tend to become a warm brown when lit.

    I have derived so much from Matt’s PTO videos! I literally owe all of my innovations to them.

    Arjun Khode

    This is what I mean

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    Alan Franceschini

    Hi Arjun!

    Thanks a lot for your reply, I’ve taken a look at some videos on subsurface scattering as well as Ferri’s paintings and now I feel like I have a better grasp of the issue. I think your suggestion on lowering the brush opacity to less than half is definitely sound, I’m going to try it on my next piece.

    Thanks again,



    Listen to tonight’s podcast.


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