PI6 Bird's Nest
When you finally see a bird's nest, you know that winter is over and spring is here! I'm jumping the gun by a few weeks and showing you how to use one of the Paint tools' most unusual presets, in Paint as Object mode, to make this little bird's nest, complete with speckled eggs.
Start with a new True Color image 400 X 400 pixels with a white canvas. Select the Bristle Paint tool. In the Attributes toolbar, select Grass from the Preset dropdown list. Edit the brush Size to 20. Click in the Color box and select the dark brown-red color from the standard colors. Click the Mode button to enter Paint as Object mode.
Click the Layout button and choose Brush Panel, or just hit Ctrl+F3. From the Shape tab, edit the brush Density to 40 (arrow).
Start by painting a series of upward arcs for the top edge of the nest. Then paint the lower curve. Note that the lower curve is deeper than the top one. Leave the center open. Click the Color box and select a tan color, RGB=218, 196, 175. Paint just around the top edges of the nest with the lighter color. Click Mode to exit Paint as Object mode.
Click in the Color box and select a medium gray color. Edit the brush Size to 14. Click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode again. Scribble gray curly strokes to fill the center of the nest. Click Mode. Switch to the Paintbrush tool. Edit brush Size to 1, Soft edge=1. Click Color and select tan, RGB=216, 196, 175. Click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode. Paint thin, squiggly lines over the gray part of the nest, as shown here. Click Mode to exit Paint as Object mode.
While the tan squiggles are still active, Shift+Click the gray object underneath it, so both are selected. Right click, Merge as Single Object.
Select the Paintbrush tool again. Leave the same settings, but click in the Color box and select the dark brown-red from the standard colors. Click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode. Paint some curved, bristly, skinny lines here and there to add texture and detail. Click Mode again to exit Paint as Object mode. While the new object is active, Shift+Click the large nest object, then right click, Merge as Single Object.
With the Pick tool, select the gray middle part of the nest object. Switch to the Burn Retouch tool. In the Attributes toolbar, select the Wide Burn Preset. Edit the brush Size to 50 and the Level to 50. Burn along the top edge, creating depth. Click on the nest to select it, and then apply the Burn Retouch tool along the very bottom of the nest, darkening it slightly. Burn along the inner top edge, next to the center of the nest.
Select the Path Drawing tool. Click Shape and select Ellipse. Click in the Color box and select a pale blue-gray color, RGB=213, 213, 234. Mode=2D. Draw an egg shape like this one. Choose Object, Convert Object Type, From Path to Image.
Select the Airbrush Paint tool. Do not select a Preset. Click the Color box and select black. Edit Size to 50, and Transparency to 75. Soft edge=0. With the brush more off the egg than on it, airbrush lightly along the upper left and lower right sides to contour.
Select the Paintbrush again. Click the Color box and select dark brown-red. Edit Transparency to 25, brush Size=2. Click on the egg to create speckles. Try not to make evenly spaced "polka dots." Change the brush Size to 1 and make a few more spots.
Duplicate the egg 2X. Rotate 2 of the eggs slightly, so they are not all standing straight up. You should have an arrangement something like this one.
Click on each egg to select it, then add a faint shadow around each one. Use the "glow" shadow around all edges, black, 25% Transparency, 10 pixels.
Select the Paintbrush tool. Use the same brown-red and tan, Transparency=35, brush Size=1, Soft edge=1, to add a few more detail strokes to the nest. Use pale gray to add some bristly, straw-like material to the inside of the nest.
Next we'll make some feathers to go around the edges of the nest. Select the Bristle Paint tool, Grass Preset. Edit brush Size to 8. Click Color and select dark brown-red from the standard colors. Click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode. Paint a narrow feather shape. Click the Color box and change to bright orange-yellow from the standard colors. Paint over the brown here and there.
Click in the Color box and select pale gray from the standard colors. Paint a few light strokes at the base of the feather. Click Mode to exit Paint as Object mode.
Select the Paintbrush tool. Click Color and select the dark brown-red. Brush Size=1, Soft edge=1, Transparency=35. Draw a few long lines on top of the feather object to add definition. Select the Burn Retouch tool, Wide Burn preset, and lightly burn the edges of the feather to darken it. Copy the feather into the Clipboard and paste it back into the image 2X. Rotate the feathers and position them along the edges of the nest. Paint in a little more straw, if you want to.
Right click, Select All Objects. Now right click and Merge as Single Object. Your nest is complete now. Anything else you add is pure embellishment. You could try placing it in a photo of tree branches, or you can do as I've done below here, and use the Paintbrush, in Paint as Object mode, to draw branches to support the bird's nest.
A super-easy way to add a few dark leaves, creating a kind of bonsai look, is to select the Crayon Paint tool. In the Attributes toolbar, click the Color box and select a very dark green, RGB=0, 64, 0. Select the Waxy Preset. Click Mode to enter Paint as Object mode. Rub lightly in circles around the edges of the branches to make "leaves." That's how I did the painting at the top of this page. When you're done, click Mode again. Right click, Select All Objects, then right click, Merge as Single Object. You can add a small shadow around the entire object to help it pop out of the background.
This tutorial uploaded 2/23/01
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