pointillism example

Summary: This tutorial is still under construction! Please excuse broken links, incomplete references and other formatting errors!

Sphere with Volume in Photoshop

    ●   This lesson focuses on using the illusion of Volume to create the 3-D depiction of a Sphere or ball using different shades, tones, or colors.

    ●   You will only use two tools in this project, the Paintbrush and the Eyedropper.

Learn About:

Brush ToolEyedropper ToolKeyboard Shortcuts

  •   This tutorial is part of the Shadow Life Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

Step #1: Open a New Blank Document in Photoshop ~

Open Photoshop & create a new canvas. Hit Cmd (⌘) + N + or go to: File > New

… and set the width to 800px and the height to 600px with a resolution of 300 dpi.

Step #2: Create a Circle ~

Draw a circle using the Elliptical Marquee Tool.

Hold the shift key down while you drag out a circle.





What does the shift key do? Try it without …


Step #3: Fill the Circle ~

To create this volumetric sphere we will apply a drawing technique called Cross-Hatching using the Paint Brush tool in Photoshop.





Cross-Hatching is basically a process of building dark areas in your picture by crossing many lines vertically, horizontally, and diagonally until you have achieved the darkness or shade you desire.


Step #4: Shadow and Light ~

The goal is to build volume by adding shadow and light. 

Select your paint brush tool and select a very low opacity and flow (around 20% of each).  The low opacity and flow allows you to slowly build up the shade and volume of the forms.  Try using a bigger brush than you are used to as well, I recommend the brush diameter to be around 80px.  This will help you build the volume much faster and the cross-hatching will appear to have more controlled and uniform lines.

By cross-hatching in black and white the 3-D volume of your sphere will start to appear. 

Create a light source.  As you can see in the example there is more light (white paint) on the left side of the painting.  The painting also appears to be darker in the background, which means there is no back lighting.  One would guess that there is a light source coming from the middle of the foreground pointing slightly to the left of the object.

Black And White:  After you build up your shade in black, build areas of light with white using the same low opacity brush and cross-hatching technique.  Move back and forth between the black and white to adjust your levels of light and shadow the way you like them.  When you are done turn the visibility off your original contour layer.  You will be left with a volumetric sphere void of any line.



Last Step: Save and Attach ~


Attach it!

  •   ALWAYS save your projects using the following naming convention:

  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.

  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.