Nikki's Marking Tutorials & Tips


  • Banned

    Thats so helpful and cool! Thank you! <3



  • Absolute legend :clap_tone2:



  • This is very helpful! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!!


  • Administrators

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    Mind Your Edges

    It is my personal opinion that when making markings, you shouldn't do anything the slow, manual way if you can make Photoshop do it for you. That's why I've put together a couple tips for making the edges on your markings pop - because really, a marking's beauty is almost entirely based on it's edges and how natural it looks on a horse's coat.

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    Here is a very basic tobiano shaped-marking that I threw together in about 3 minutes. It's got some potential, the shape is decent enough- but the edges are too smooth, it has some unnaturally-rounded areas, and it's missing character. You could spend an hour painstakingly going 'round the edges and adding some flavor to them to try and make this marking stand out- or you can spend a few minutes doing it a much easier way.

    Method 1: Shape Dynamics, My Very Best Friend

    Take a peek at your brush menu. Try to find a brush with some interesting edges- the basic round brush will take you far in the marking world, but today we want something with a bit more going on. deviantArt has a large catalog of brushes if you're stumped- get creative, just because something doesn't look like a marking brush doesn't mean it can't be used as one.
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    I'm using this brush- it's not thrilling but it has just enough character to add some visual interest to a marking. I also like my brushes to have a slight blurry, fuzzy, or transparent edge- markings on horses rarely have razor-sharp edges.

    After selecting your brush, navigate to the Shape Dynamics submenu on the brush panel. There, you have a lot of options for making your brush do some Pretty Interesting Things. A personal favorite of mine is Angle Jitter- and as you can see I've turned it up all the way. Go big or go home.
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    Some other things I've changed: Selecting the Flip X and Y Jitter boxes will allow your brush to do some real gymnastics. Size Jitter, Minimum Diameter, and Roundness Jitter can all add some excitement to how your brush will behave.

    Another submenu to use to your advantage is Scattering. I like to use this one a little more subtly than angle jitter, but that's just me.
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    The name of the game here is visual interest. You want your brush to be creating a unique-looking stroke as you paint (or erase) your edges to make them look natural and attractive. The combination of these brush presets can create a massive variety of effects, and you can adjust them to your needs depending on the look you're after for your marking.

    Returning to your marking, go along the edges with your new, exciting, dancing brush to add a lot more character to the flat marking you've already painted. My preference is to paint a rough outline of a marking and then erase away at the edges until I'm happy- but work in the way that best suits your pace and art style.
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    With only a bit of effort, your marking now has much more interesting, natural looking edges.

    The flavor of your edges can change pretty drastically by using different brushes and settings.
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    This brush has much softer edges and lower spacing than the settings used on the brush above- and it gives a smoother, almost mapped effect on the edges of the marking.

    Which brings us to method two:

    Using Outer Glow For Instant-Mapping

    Find the layer your marking is painted on. Right click it, and select 'Blending Options' from the menu that pops up. In the window that comes up, select Outer Glow from the list under Styles.
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    These are my basic settings for mapping, but I usually mess with them for about every marking I make- some markings I might want the mapping to pop a bit more, others I may want it to be subtler and thinner. I encourage you to mess with them and learn your own tastes. When you are satisfied with the outer glow on your marking, right click the layer again and select Convert To Smart Object, then right click again and select Rasterize Layer to finalize it.

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    And there you have it- a visually interesting marking with elegant edges in only a few steps.

    Enjoy and go make some markings :kiss:


  • Banned

    When I use Outer Glow at a blaze (with two channels), then the whole Outer Glow effect has a pinkish tone in CAS (because of the pink from the snip), how can I fix that?



  • I have always admired your marking skills. Thank you so much Nikki for sharing these with us :heart:



  • The last tutorial was the tutorial I was missing. Thank you for sharing <3


  • Administrators

    @Hilda-Wilson said in Nikki's Marking Tutorials & Tips:

    When I use Outer Glow at a blaze (with two channels), then the whole Outer Glow effect has a pinkish tone in CAS (because of the pink from the snip), how can I fix that?

    That will be because your outer glow is not on the correct channel. The best way to handle channels with outer glow is to use clipping masks- the model I linked in the first tutorial in this thread has clipping masks pre-built into it.

    When you first apply the outer glow, it will look something like this. On a 2-channel marking, that white will show up on the second channel if left white.
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    And your layers will look like this (if you're using clipping masks)
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    Clipping masks will not work on layer effects, so in order for your clipping masks to work, the layer effects need to be rasterized, or finalized.

    To finalize a layer effect so it will respond to clipping masks, you need to right-click on the layer with the outer glow, and select "Convert to Smart Object" and then right click it again and select "Rasterize layer". After doing that, your layer will look like this:
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    With the Effects list no longer showing up under it.
    After that, your marking should respond to the clipping masks, with the mapping showing up on the correct channels:
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    If you're not using clipping masks, you can now lock the transparency of your marking layer and paint the second channel for the snip, which will paint the outer glow along with it. (I very much recommend using clipping masks for channels!)

    Hope this made sense and helps you out :heart:


  • Banned

    Thank you Nikki! <3


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