Hopefully, during the course of this tutorial you'll learn how I turned this...into this...... and without the use of a single source photo of honey. I used Photoshop CS2, but every step can be achieved through older versions. I'm spiffy like that. So let's get started.
The first thing I tackled was mapping out where my honey drips would eventually go. I studied the petals, the stem and the fingers. One by one, I created and saved separate selections for each drip. You can do this any number of ways - I prefer the polygonal lasso tool, myself. Once I created a selection, I saved it (Select > Save Selection) and named it something like "petaldrip1" or "stemdrip3", depending on where it was. I did it this way so I could have the flexibility to load all of the honey drips together to edit them as one, and I would still be able to load each one separately for special, individual tweaks. I'm anal like that. It's dreadfully tedious now, but it pays off later.Eventually, this is how all of my drip selections looked when I loaded them together. (Tip: you can add selections to each other by loading a selection, and then going back to the Select > Load Selection option, check the "Add To Selection" box first, and then choose a new selection to add to it.) When I had all of the drips selected together, I saved this selection as "alldrips" for ease in loading them as one entity later on.
In order to cover my whole flower in honey, I created a new selection around all of the petals together; I saved that selection as "allflowerpetals" in case I would need it later. Hey, I'd never done this before so I had no idea what I was doing. I copied and pasted the selection on top of the original image and named that layer "honeycoat1". Working with the honeycoat1 layer, I adjusted the color balance (Image > Adjustments > Color Balance) to a nice, bright yellow-orange shade. I kept the "Preserve Luminosity" option checked, and moved the slider towards "Yellow" for each separate Tone Balance (Shadows, Midtones and "Highlights"). This is what I ended up with:
To smooth things out, I opted for the Smudge Tool. Before I began all my smudgy-goodness, I duplicated the honeycoat1 layer so I'd have an untouched copy to go back to in case I royally screwed things up. My smudge tool was set to about 65, and I generally smoothed along with the way each petal was shaped, until it all looked like this:
I wanted to give the appearance of the flower being drenched in honey, so I began adding some highlights with a small white paintbrush, 2 pixels wide and set at about 70% opacity. I added the highlights where they'd naturally fall. Zooming in at 400% made this a great deal easier. I followed that up with my smudge brush set at 6 pixels wide, and 60% strength. I continued to do this over the entire flower, until it looked like this:
So, you know, it looks a little shiny and all, but there's no real substance to it. What we need are some air bubbles and additional highlighting to give it some added dimension. When you look at the object you're covering in honey, think about where the liquid would seem thicker, the areas where it would naturally gather - this is the guideline I used when I chose where to apply the bubbles. I still applied a few sporadically here and there, but the clusters I applied were chosen because of a specific location (underside of petals and dripping downward, for instance).As for the bubbles themselves, I recommend you try out Molf's excellent tutorial for creating a bubble paintbrush tip. Because that's what I used to make the air bubbles in this image. I created a new layer and named it "bubbles". I opted to use a light orange color for the bubbles in the darker parts of the flower (the undersides of petals), and a near-white shade for the bubbles in the brighter portions of the petals (where the light hits them).
I wanted to add some very soft, glassy highlights to further the honey effect. I brushed these in with a soft brush in varied sizes and opacities, directly onto the honeycoat1 layer, smudging them out a bit as necessary.But that wasn't quite enough. I needed to add some shadows to make those highlights really pop. This was done in a similar technique, I used dark reddish browns (primarily #590200) and applied them with light sweeps in multiply mode (20% opacity or so), and then spot-darkened in burn mode (5%).With the shadows added, some of the highlights looked a little too cool-white to be natural. If this seems to be the case with whatever you're working on, a simple fix is to adjust them through "Selective Color" (Image > Adjustments > Selective Color). Adjust the whites and neutrals by increasing the yellow balance only (with "Relative" method checked).
With the really hard parts done, it was time to move on to the gooey honey drips. I applied similar techniques as those used on the flower, and finally got to utilize those tedious little selections I made earlier. Select > Load Selection to load "alldrips" as a new channel. I used the paintbucket tool for a quick fill of color; my honey base color was #be5900.To add dimension to this very flat-looking piece of weirdness, I used the dodge and burn tools (on the midtones) to add shadows and highlights where I figured they'd fall. To make it pop even more, I applied the same highlighting technique I used on the flower petals: white/light orange paintbrushing followed up with the smudge tool. Light orange was used to highlight areas with darker tones, soft white was used on areas with lighter tones. I did add a few small spots of bright white here and there in the areas where the light would be reflected the most.
It was time to clean up my drips a bit. I wasn't really feeling that one glob running towards the right on the palm of the hand, so I cut it off. I was pretty happy with everything else, so I blurred the edges of the areas that needed it, just to soften them up and make them look a bit more refined. Notice the one thing that's missing from the drips of honey? That's right - the same air bubbles that are on the honey-covered flower. To make it easier to apply them without going out-of-bounds, I reselected my "alldrips" selection then applied my bubble paintbrush in various areas.Now it was really looking spiffy. A few minor things to add a bit of realism: adding a slight shadow beneath the honey drips, decreasing their overall opacity to about 85 percent, and then *selectively* erasing a few areas with a low opacity eraser, to allow for a little more transparency. Like the big drip on the ring finger, where I also added a little extra highlight and shadow. I needed to darken some of the honey in the palm of the hand; I did that using a dark brown brush set to "multiply" mode (30% opacity), and followed it up with a quick sweep in "color burn" mode (5% opacity). I also bumped up the saturation on that layer just a little bit. A bit of cropping and a bazillion little tweaks later, this is what I had to show for it:And that's all there was to it! You can probably use similar techniques for any type of syrupy stuff; the big difference will lie in the colors you need to work with to achieve the look you're going after. Hopefully this helps you out some. So go forth with this knowledge and make some sweet images of your own. :)
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