Using Photo Reference for Background Art Painting

Monday, February 3, 2014

Went back to hometown during the holiday and saw a nice looking corner in the back alley. I took some photos, stitch them together, and do some paint over to make it look like an anime background art.

photos reference
I took multiple photos with my Nokia 808 phone. Here are just some of them.

stitch photos together
Then, stitch them together in Photoshop. Also use the transformation distort function to match the perspective of different photos.

Alley anime background

This is the artwork “Corner”. Still look a bit “real” although I had spend quite sometime on it. I guess it is because the artwork itself still have a lot of “ambient occlusion” on it which add to the realism.

At first glance, it seem that I didn’t do much paint over on them. But if you look at the larger scale or zoom in image, you could see which area that I had work on, such as:

Below are some close up view of before and after painting.

anime background photos

anime background photos

anime background photos

anime background photos

anime background photos

anime background photos

anime background photos

Please refer to my other blog entries for more detail about painting:
Makoto Shinkai Style Background Tutorial (Nov 2013)
Paint Over Photo (Aug 2013)
Paint Over 3D Render (June 2013)
Anime Style Background Tutorial (Dec 2012)
Makoto Shinkai Style Painting Tutorial (Oct 2012)

Posted in Art and Design | Tags: , ,
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9 kind souls comment on “Using Photo Reference for Background Art Painting”

  1. 90mP says:

    Nice work!

  2. mclelun says:

    the stuff you asked is about “color blending” in digital painting, no wrong or right answer. 100% or lower, just find something you prefer.

  3. Ronald says:

    Thank you so much got this tutorial. I have a question. Now, the brush opacity and flow is set to 100% or what value???
    Thank you.

  4. hamza says:

    i wish if you could make a video tutorial and if possiably paint over a sketchup model

  5. Cail says:

    Need video Tutorial

  6. bakhtiar93tiar says:


  7. mclelun says:

    Mary, cant remember. But my artwork usually finish within a day. Could be between 2 to 8 hours.

  8. Mary says:

    This is so beautiful, can i ask how much hours you spend on painting this picture ? 😀

  9. Lydia says:

    This is so cool!! I like how you merge the photos and repaint it. At last i know what you usually do when re-painting a picture!
    😀 have a nice day

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