I found this one I had labeled "Oscar's Portrait Painting Techniques" (saved from the old forum -- I presume Oscar was the original poster).
The portrait needs a bit different way of painting - it is more like an image processing than painting because portrait painters need to capture the detail shades of the face.
Right now you can decrease the size of brush, choose Portrait or Photographic palette and let it run for a while.
But more elaborate process is needed: You practically need to be accurate on the face itself and then give more style outside and even more on background.
So a detail masking is a way to go, this is why it was added in first place:
Some steps would be like this:
- start will well light portrait photo, a random photo with lot of shadows in face will never make good portrait.
- use defocus mask to blur background, you don't want much details there
- run default palette with large brushes briefly to cover whole image, but not let it go to details too much
- use detail mask to mask out the background - so it will paint only the portrait body - clothes, hair etc..
- put the details bar to max so it will start painting right in the detail brushes
- paint so the whole body is reasonably painted, yet still keep a good paint style look - don't care much about the face at this moment, just look at the clothes and hair - it should still look like painting. If having trouble move the expression bars under palette more right
- change the detail mask to include only the face and hands, also perhaps a special associated object to those like tie, necklace, ring etc...
- change palette to Photographics or better Portrait - this increases the shades a great deal
- paint and let it run till the face looks very detailed. You may lost some paint feel on the face - that is ok
- you can decrease brush size during painting
If you want to know more about portraits, study the experts like John Sanden
look at the gallery and you will see that he keeps the same ballance between being ultra realistic (face) and being more artsy (outside face) and often giving only hint of background detail (not always rule)
Also note important fact, if those would be photographs, they would still be a great portraits, so you always have to start from a good photo. You can't make good portrait on a badly lit photo or photo with lot's of shadows etc... This is the problem of portraits from photos.
If you study the above you will see that he keeps a lot of detail in face and hands, it is almost like you would use a simple image processing from a very good photo, then he puts a good amount of attention to chest area (often put emphasis on some type of necklace, tie or other garment with lot of small details) But then everything is progressively getting less detailed. He doesn't put nearly as much attention to hair - keep it often large brush strokes especially if there is lot of hair.
So if you put a face as a centre his image details would be like an decentric ellipse or perhaps a tunnel that ends up in face and so focusing the viewers eye there. You look at it and say - what a great portrait, yet the paint technique is actually irrelevant, it is a great portrait regardles of a technique used.
Another good sample portrait works would be Everett Raymond Kinstler (note the same principle apply):
http://www.everettraymondkinstler.com/p ... raits.html
Or look at Steven Levin, this image shows exactly that if you look at the face - it is nearly as a retouched photo:
http://www.gandynet.com/art/Masters/Lev ... /Siena.htm
So for digital painters - sandwitch a processed photo with painted photo through face mask in Photoshop.
Also excellent study material is on portrait society of america:
http://www.portraitsociety.org/conferen ... inners.htm
It is possible to create an excellent portrait digitally, but be prepared to combine various techniques on different parts of the image (masks) and most notably study what makes a good portrait.
And at last - presentation - you can't make even the best portrait stand out if it is printed on a letter sized page or sized down on a web page. For all that the best medium is photography.
What I would suggest, go to flickr, grab some professionally made interesting portrait photos and try the digital technique on it, you will see that it isn't that hard on a great photos as it is nearly impossible on bad photos. Then try to adjust your photography technique to produce good portraits. (hint, 3 point lighting is the key)