I was reading a few tutorials and they mentioned Over Painting (Or Paint Over), something like painting on top of the reference picture (like tracing but with colors instead of lines).

As described in this video tutorial (start at 9:44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHfJCvAPqlw ), he basically uses Matte Painting and then paints on top of it.

There are also these anime background tutorials, using a similar technique: http://www.mclelun.com/2015/11/anime-background-paint-over-photo.html And here: http://www.mclelun.com/2015/10/anime-background-tutorial.html

The problem is that neither author specifies how to do that.

I tried to create a new layer on top, use the color picker tool to pick the colors from the lower (reference) layer and apply the colors with various brushes with different settings (opacity, flow, wetness), but it's always confusing, since the top layer end up covering the lower layer (reference), and I can't tell which is which.

I tried to reduce the opacity, but it makes it even more confusing and also messes the colors since they become different with lower opacity.

Does anyone know how to do that in an easier way?

Thank you very much :)

1 Answer 1


Imagine doing this with an actual painting – you would not be able to look under the new layer at all, so don't feel discouraged by the confusion. Work with it just as if you were painting without layers, going from what you can see, being careful not painting haphazardly over any details that you wish to keep.

To actually make this easier, try binding a shortcut for hiding a layer (see this question) or for showing the original, so that you can quickly switch between your new creation and the underlying picture, and see your progress.

Note that you don't need to paint over everything, the point doesn't have to be to completely cover the original, but maybe just to enhance certain parts, make them blend more nicely, or add some elements to it.

  • 1
    Thank you very much. You are right. It's intimidating and confusing in the beginning, but maybe I'll get the hang of it with time :) And the shortcut for hiding the layer is very nice as well! Thanks for the tip, bro. Best regards and have a good week!
    – user22515
    Sep 17, 2018 at 10:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.