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Computers and software are really good at repetitive tasks. Why not let Photoshop do some of the hard work for you? This video tackles a specific storyboarding-related challenge with a photoshop "action". Even if you're not a storyboard artist, you'll see the way that I identify a challenge and figure out how to get Photoshop to solve it for me. Best of all, once you've created the action, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to it!

Custom Hotkeys - Like the buttons and dials in your car, keyboard shortcuts are the "user interface" with which you control Photoshop. Have you customized these commands yet? The whole point of keyboard shortcuts is to save you time and avoid wasting energy. With this in mind, it's worth considering your personal needs when working with keyboard shortcuts.

Sketchup for Complex Backgrounds (3 of 3) This wraps up the sketchup mini-series by putting the scene together and exporting a render. I find this stage extremely fun, because all of the hard work is complete. Now all that remains is arranging your houses - very much like building a toy city out of pre-painted models.

Why, and How, to 'Paint Over' - As a followup to the Sketchup for Backgrounds mini-series, I want to explain the concept of a 'paint-over'. This is not an excuse to skip learning to draw, but rather a shortcut for experienced painters. Before digital art was possible, commercial artists have done plenty of tracing in their work - and it was totally acceptable.

It's easy for artists to get into ruts as they learn and in their professional work. Our brain craves familiar territory, and will default to the 'comfort zone'. When was the last time you did a painting experiment? I'm not talking about picking a new subject-matter, or designing a new character. I'm talking about strange, unexpected, daring, experimentation. ★ || CHARACTER DESIGN REFERENCES • Find us on www.facebook.com/CharacterDesignReferences || ★

Sketching With Line: A safe approach to most drawing is going from general to specific. Large scale before details. This video shows how apply that general form to sketching line-work in Photoshop using layers. Of course, drawing is a personal process and your technique might differ. This is the method I derived over time from my experience as a Comic Book student in art school, and a concept artist after college.

Quick Pencil Texture - Sometimes the basic hard round brush leaves your lines feeling... flat. If you want to throw in some quick pencil texture at the end of a digital sketch, Photoshop makes it easy! This video is not a replacement for custom brushes, but it works well in a pinch. ★ || CHARACTER DESIGN REFERENCES • Find us on www.facebook.com/CharacterDesignReferences and www.pinterest.com/characterdesigh || ★

Chop up Your Paintings - One of the real benefits of working digitally is the ability to be flexible. Want to change the color? No problem. Want to move something around? No problem. It takes a different mindset than traditional drawing, but if you can wrap your head around it your work will improve. This video explores the use of "copy merged" to modify a piece of nearly-finished concept art. ★ || CHARACTER DESIGN REFERENCES • Find us on www.facebook.com/CharacterDesignReferences || ★

Selecting Hardware - What type of computer should you use? Is it ok to draw with a mouse? What about the iPad? I answer these questions and more in this video. It's worth noting that these are my personal views based off of personal experience, and we'd all love to hear additional viewpoints in the comments! ★ || CHARACTER DESIGN REFERENCES • Find us on www.facebook.com/CharacterDesignReferences and www.pinterest.com/characterdesigh || ★

Intro to Google Sketchup - Have you ever tried 3D modeling before? Many digital painters answer "no" to this question, though even a small amount of 3D experience can make a huge impact on your paintings. This video introduces Google Sketchup as tool for drawing. As it states in the video, the word 'drawing' can mean many things - so if you're going to paint over it anyway, why not use some 3D modeling as a foundation for your work?