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This seems to be the most appropriate group for this. Tips and ideas please.

Design
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I've been teaching myself and practicing hand painting clouds. The attached is my first real attempt. I'm using GIMP, but Photoshop has equivalent tools and I also have PS5 as well. I'm primarily using dodge and smudge. My initial attempt does not look bad for such a low resolution, but I know it can look better. I would eventually like to be able to create a cloud portrait (I'm a long way off). Any advice, methods, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
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I think it looks really good ^_^ maybe attach them together a little more or add an odd shape/form to the bigger cloud. Otherwise it looks really good so far :D
Remember nature is never perfect so with that in mind try to make your future drawings a bit un-proportional. <--that's what my art teacher told me once :)

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Something more like this @tester97? I'm still experimenting with a technique. I think I can tweak it to get more natural shading and depth, but I'm still just trying to do it trial and error. I thought someone might have some ideas that can get me there a bit quicker.
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That looks more natural.
Honestly, I would have thought you took a pic of the sky.
Still having trouble finding a good shading technique.
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there are also cloud brush sets for gimp
Yes, the second and third one looks more natural versus the first one. Keep at it and eventually you will get it :)
@e.mccormick I'll check them out. I don't want something that does the work for me (i.e. Filters>Render>Clouds), but I'm not opposed to tools that might make the stokes easier. I think the technique that I'm working on is pretty good for creating the white (and off-white) parts of the cloud. So I don't think brushes will necessarily be of help there, but I just can't seem to get natural looking shadow. Here is what I'm looking at when it comes to shading (upper left):
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It doesn't look right and I can't figure out how to get it looking more natural.
It actually pretty much depends on what kind of cloud you are making. First of all, to make natural looking clouds, you need to understand clouds per se. What you are doing is simply a Cirrus (misty/foggy) cloud in the form of a Cumulus cloud. This is the reason it's not looking Natural, cirrus clouds which are thin and alot like your cloud are wispy whereas Cumulus/Cumulonimbus clouds are like a popcorn and dense. Your cloud has the form of a Cumulus cloud but density of a Cirrus cloud. You can either keep the density same (as you have now) and make the cloud more wispy, or you can make the cloud more dense whilst keeping the form of a Cumulus cloud which you have now (popcorn).
Well, the tools can come in handy to see different results. Also, they are nice for if you just need a few background clouds. Are you working in more than one layer for those? With the dense clouds that Disco is talking about, you may need to do work on more than one layer. For example, this is 5 or so:
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I don't see any Harm or Difficulty in working on more than 1 layer. I mean, you do want to make it natural so yeah...
I always use multiple layers on everything. It's usually easier to delete a layer than to undo out of a bad situation. These clouds are really only requiring 2 or three layers though. Density is achieved through opacity levels, but it's finite. There is only so many layers of depth that you can manage to achieve before you run out of opacity settings (using this method). I'm still experimenting, but I'm starting to get the beginnings of some shadow here.
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Nice, now it's looking quite Natural. If you could not add some shadow or better yet light rays from the top of the Cloud, it would look like a complete Cloud. Right now it looks like it's keeping it's form from the bottom while becoming mist/fog from the top of the Cloud...
It was a friend of mine's birthday yesterday and he's a huge Deus Ex fan so I made this wall paper for him. This is a low-res version (720 × 452). The one I gave him was 1900x1200. It's called, "The Creation of Adam [Jensen]".
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Here are some interesting samples you can try and match: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/12/artist-berndnaut-smilde-brings-the-weather-indoors-with-his-temporary-nimbus-clouds/ Course, his are not done in an art program.
@jagatuba are you in my com tech class? O.o i saw someone doing exactly what you're doing.. it's for a movie poster though
@jagatuba How are your clouds coming along?

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