Painting Backgrounds for TV Animation!

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Painting Backgrounds for TV Animation can seem dauting, but if you use value to focus your subject matter, use atmospheric perspective, and use a pallete that reflects the mood and tone of your scene, you can improve your background painting today! In this Episode, Brent and Max paint backgrounds for characters that YOU summited!

You might think painting backgrounds is easy…. green for grass and blue for sky… but in truth is its much more complicated.  In the video we are going to teach you the basics of light, value, color and atmosphere along with some practical tips for painting backgrounds for TV animation in…Photoshop!

Although they can share similar techniques. I would argue that the goal of any background painting is actually to manipulate and stylize representational art in such a way that they helps tell a STORY. Backgrounds can transcend styles from realistic to stylized, abstract to Multimedia, but no matter the style, They tend to use color, lighting, and atmosphere to emphasize characters, or story telling elements.

Donut Shop Animation Background!

This scene to takes place at GOLDEN HOUR! Which is a time period of the day when the sun is setting, and as it recedes through the atmosphere the it becomes very soft and flattering, casting long shadows. and Especially in LA it blends with all the pollen and pollutions and turns everything Pink and Magical. It is a classic staple in Cinema, and you can see it everywhere in movies like, TOP GUN, DIE HARD and TITANIC.

Medieval Village Background!

I want this to feel sort of like a misty overcast day, So I will first start off by choosing a lot of flat colors in the brown, yellow and muted green tones.

This background is fairly detailed and has an entire city back here. So my main goal will be to deemphasize all these buildings and mountains and try to make them seem far away.

I used a few of KYLES BRUSHES and painted some dry brush texture on a few edges. I used a brush as an ERASER, and I erased parts of the shadows to give them a somewhat imperfect edge. Thus, adding to the charm.

And then on top of all of that, I added some grainy filters, and some water color textures to kind of distress the entire painting.

Alien Landscape!

Backgrounds without line art, tend to also be a pretty popular style. Unikitty, Pinky malinky, Tangled, all have this shape driven lineless style.

To do this, I would Turn down the opacity of my line art, and then very precisely fill in each shape.  These shapes have to be really clean since they will hold the forms of the painting. Then I can add more details with new layers on Clipping Masks. I tried to use very eccentric colors for the ground and vegetation while still keeping in mind the rules about color composition.  And I also tried to vary the hue a bit for all these plants.

Basic Background Painting Line Art!

So, everything we just said about light and color will be absolutely lost on any who has never really painted digitally before. So you should practice first on a BASIC PAINTING. Here is some line art you can use. which we have provided in a link below. And then all you will need is a digital art program.

If you want to see us redraw your art, Send it to