Digital Imaging

6 – Painting Transparent Objects

Lesson Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Determine a direction for exploring a favored painting technique based on previous lessons.
  • Paint a transparent object using a digital software.
  • Use previously studied painting techniques.
  • Make choices for deepening process.


This week we have a pretty simple Exercise involving taking a few screenshots of your work in progress, which some of you have already been doing. And you’ll be working on your first assignment, which is the cumulation of the three weeks of painting.

transparent objects painting

Painting transparent objects

This week, choose anything you like to paint as long as it has something transparent. This could be an interesting clear colored bottle, a clear glass paperweight, a lightbulb, or a glass of water. Choose something fairly simple to work on but put your time into using any of the techniques you have previously tried over the last few weeks to make it work. You can use a photograph or paint from life, it is up to you. Also up to you is whether you want to use Photoshop or not. If you normally use Painter or Procreate (on the iPad) for example, feel free to use that software. I do want you to do it from scratch though so no auto-painting apps. If you use Procreate, export as a layered PSD file for example.   If you would like to try an auto painting app in addition to painting, that’s great, upload an example along with your hand-painted version. We can discuss how they might be different professionally!

Watch the following video about the process this artist goes through when painting a transparent object in Photoshop:



Exercise #6

While you are working on Assignment 1 image, take a few screen shots and upload it in your Journal for this week.

How to take a screen shot (Google the answer for your specific operating system if these don’t work for you and if all else fails, take a photo of your screen.):

  • Macintosh — press Command key, Shift key and number 4 key together
  • Windows — Press PrtScn, create a new blank document in Adobe Photoshop, paste the image and save it
  • Use the same post for Assignment #1 below, just give the post both categories ‘Exercise #6’ AND ‘Assignment #1

Assignment #1

David Riffey 2013

David Riffey 2013

Find a transparent object (or objects). Take a photo of your object. Paint the object(s) in Adobe Photoshop or other painting software. Use your drawing tablet.

  • the objects could be anything as long as they are transparent (for example, a glass with water, water drops, bottle of mouthwash, wine glass etc.)
  • place something behind the object (for example, place newspaper or fabric with pattern behind a glass)
  • transparent means you can see through to the things behind the object
  • you can paint from observation or photographs. Either way is OK, but painting from observation would give you more unique and original result than using a photo.
  • if you use a photograph,    please take one for this assignment. do not use photos from the Internet or taken before this assignment
  • Your image doesn’t have to be photorealistic. Stylized painting is OK, as long as the objects are transparent and identifiable

Make your PSD canvas size at least 2000 x 2000 px   (or thereabouts).   Keep your painting/idea simple if you feel you are not confident about painting.

Your image should be at least 8.5×11 inch with 300PPI (2550×3300 pixels), or thereabouts. At 300ppi (dpi when printing), you will be able to print it out at the 8.5 x 11 inch size and it will look nice!

After saving the completed image as Photoshop (PSD) format, resize your image to about 900 x 1200 pixels, save again with a different file name. Please keep your layers. Share the smaller Photoshop file with Jennifer on Google Drive.   Please also save a JPEG file and post to the class blog.

Upload Instructions

Create a new post  for your journaling on the course website and  give it the category ‘Assignment  1’ and ‘Exercise #6’, include screenshots from the exercise in your post, also include a snapshot of your transparent object so we can see what it looks like in real life (doesn’t have to be super realistic painting though!).   Make sure to read the instructions for Journal #6 below.

Journal #6

For Journal this week, upload a few of your process snapshots from the Exercise along with your Assignment.

  1. Reflect on the process of creating the image, tell us what tools/process you used.
  2. Are you happy with how it turned out? What would you like to improve, given more time?
  3. Answer the question – Who is one of your most favorite painters (digital or analog)?

Discussion *new

Let’s recap the last few weeks with a short discussion on painting from life vs painting from photos. Respond to this post in any way you like, from one of the prompts at the bottom or other considerations you think of based on the topic or something that a classmate brings up.