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In this tutorial I will teach the Photoshop beginners an easy way to paint ribbons.
The tutorial has been written by using Photoshop 7, some differences may appear with the tools used if you use a previous version.
An advice : work on a large render. The more large it is, the more having smooth ribbons will be easy.
Start by sketching out your ribbons on a new layer with a smooth brush.
Pay attention to have smooth ribbons, not too jagged, otherwise you will have more correcting work afterwards.
The color isn't important now, you can easily modify it afterwards.
Carefully erase the parts of your ribbons that goes out of your character with a small smooth brush. Don't hesitate to zoom in to be the more picky you can.
This is the most important step. You will have to add shadows and lights on the ribbons in order to give them some depth. You will have to pay a lot of attention to the lighting of your scene / character.
Start by putting your layer's opacity to 70% so you can see the shadow zones on your character. Take the burning tool with a soft medium sized brush and add shadows on the ribbons. Try to make them fit to the character's shadows.
To give some more brilliance to your ribbons, use the dodge tool, with a small sized smooth brush and proceed in the same way as for the burning tool.