Balloons carrying away Elephant

Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
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This looks digital.

With actual watercolors, when you paint over existing color (even if it is totally dry), there will be a little bit of smearing/blending as the brush pressure/friction moves some of the previously laid down pigment.

Watercolor pigments have no substantial adhesive binder unlike oil, acrylic, tempera, etc. They are a suspension in water, hence the name.

Often the overlapping of two pigments results in a murky brownish or greyish tone (partly because light needs to travel through extra pigment molecules) but this image is totally devoid of that. All of the overlapping areas here appear to be mathematically calculated averages of hue.

This is also a fundamental optical principle: additive color versus subtractive color. Red, green, blue light sources combined will result in white. Red, green, blue paints combined will result in a muddy grey.

With actual physical pigments, some combinations have unexpected results/don't play nicely because of chemical reaction between the pigments. In the real world, when you blend two pigments together, they won't just meet together in the middle.

The classic painter's example is tinting the three white pigments: flake (lead), zinc and titanium with the same amount of any given colored pigment. Each tint blend will behave differently. The tinting power will also vary; this is the amount of colored pigment needed to provide a tint of the same value.
 
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Arran

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Mar 7, 2008
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Absolutely digital. I'd expect more run/bleed in the overlapping colors if this was real watercolor.

Edit: Erehy said what was thinking (binder) but was too lazy to write! :)
 
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Texas_Toast

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Feb 6, 2016
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@Erehy Dobon,

You must be an artist - thanks for the explanation to a geek!!

Looks like I cam to the right place for help! Thanks: @glenthompson, @Erehy Dobon, and @Arran

So what software do you think they used, and how hard would it be for a non-art type to recreate this illustration, and/or make similar ones?
 
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throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
6,211
3,534
Perth, Western Australia
With actual watercolors, when you paint over existing color (even if it is totally dry), there will be a little bit of smearing/blending as the brush pressure/friction moves some of the previously laid down pigment.
Various art programs will do this as well. also can emulate paper texture, etc.

But yeah in reference to the OP, creating that image would not be difficult for a lot of consumer grade software out there.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
883
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You must be an artist - thanks for the explanation to a geek!!
You don't need to be a trained artist for much of this.

A five year old who has played with fingerpaints will quickly learn that mixing seven different color paints will not result in super bright rainbows.

Even the conceptual difference between additive and subtractive color dates back to the mid 19th century.

- - Post merged: - -

Various art programs will do this as well. also can emulate paper texture, etc.
Well, whatever this artist used for this image, it wasn't one of those programs for sure.

Can you name a few? I'd be interested in trying them myself.

As for simulating paper texture, that's old hat. Digital compositing tools twenty-five years ago simulated film grain.

In the OP's posted image, there is no paper texture. That's another big clue that this image is digital. Watercolor works best with uncoated and textured paper than can hang onto the pigment molecules.

Hot press, cold press, texture amount, cotton rag percentage, sizing amount. Those used to be criteria that artists used. For Watercolor Painting A, it might be Fabriano paper ____; for Watercolor Painting B, it might be Arches paper _____. Because of the nature of paper production, the two sides were occasionally not the same.

Fine paper usually has a "top" side and a "bottom" side, typically identified by the watermark or manufacturer's embossed logo (*cough* Fabriano *cough*). Sometimes the sizing was only applied to one surface.

Sometimes the "wrong" side would provide better results for a given project.

One company's hot press paper might be closer to another company's cold press paper. There was never just one "watercolor paper" [sic]. Most of the watercolor artists who cared about such details are dead.

This is partially why painters still create works on fabric canvas (cotton, linen, etc.): so the pigment vehicle will adhere to a rough surface.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
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The more I look at this image, the more the fakeness is apparent.

Nothing adds up.

This is bad software or someone who is unskilled used good software inadequately. Either way, it screams "I am phony."

The balloon string "pencil" lines look completely fake. The pressure level for an individual line is nearly constant for the entire length of the line.

I don't even want to look at this any more.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
883
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If you zoom in, it looks even more fake. And I’m not just looking at the balloon string lines.

Like I said, nothing adds up. There are too many bizarre incongruities.

This is a cheap mashup of poorly realized digital shortcuts.
 
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Successful Sorcerer

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2019
82
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If you own an iPad with pencil support you can try Adobe Fresco which emulates paint pretty well (both oil and watercolour). Procreate is also nice but less focussed on these water colours, it's great for drawing though. This is also a fun tutorial to create your own watercolour brushes in Photoshop:

 
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TiggrToo

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2017
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Out there...way out there
The more I look at this image, the more the fakeness is apparent.

Nothing adds up.

This is bad software or someone who is unskilled used good software inadequately. Either way, it screams "I am phony."

The balloon string "pencil" lines look completely fake. The pressure level for an individual line is nearly constant for the entire length of the line.

I don't even want to look at this any more.
Me, I just see a happy picture that looks pleasing to my eyes. That's the great thing about art, to some folk it sings, to others it snarls.

But yeah, I'd figured it was possibly fake and I've not got an artistic bone in my body.

Doesn't stop it from being pleasing to my eye though.
 
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Texas_Toast

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 6, 2016
1,146
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Texas
If you own an iPad with pencil support you can try Adobe Fresco which emulates paint pretty well (both oil and watercolour). Procreate is also nice but less focussed on these water colours, it's great for drawing though. This is also a fun tutorial to create your own watercolour brushes in Photoshop:

Thanks for the link - Not knowing Photoshop that is interesting.

Unfortunately, it looks more like he is spray-painting graffiti than using watercolor.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
50,755
34,290
The Far Horizon
This looks digital.

With actual watercolors, when you paint over existing color (even if it is totally dry), there will be a little bit of smearing/blending as the brush pressure/friction moves some of the previously laid down pigment.

Watercolor pigments have no substantial adhesive binder unlike oil, acrylic, tempera, etc. They are a suspension in water, hence the name.

Often the overlapping of two pigments results in a murky brownish or greyish tone (partly because light needs to travel through extra pigment molecules) but this image is totally devoid of that. All of the overlapping areas here appear to be mathematically calculated averages of hue.

This is also a fundamental optical principle: additive color versus subtractive color. Red, green, blue light sources combined will result in white. Red, green, blue paints combined will result in a muddy grey.

With actual physical pigments, some combinations have unexpected results/don't play nicely because of chemical reaction between the pigments. In the real world, when you blend two pigments together, they won't just meet together in the middle.

The classic painter's example is tinting the three white pigments: flake (lead), zinc and titanium with the same amount of any given colored pigment. Each tint blend will behave differently. The tinting power will also vary; this is the amount of colored pigment needed to provide a tint of the same value.
You don't need to be a trained artist for much of this.

A five year old who has played with fingerpaints will quickly learn that mixing seven different color paints will not result in super bright rainbows.

Even the conceptual difference between additive and subtractive color dates back to the mid 19th century.

- - Post merged: - -


Well, whatever this artist used for this image, it wasn't one of those programs for sure.

Can you name a few? I'd be interested in trying them myself.

As for simulating paper texture, that's old hat. Digital compositing tools twenty-five years ago simulated film grain.

In the OP's posted image, there is no paper texture. That's another big clue that this image is digital. Watercolor works best with uncoated and textured paper than can hang onto the pigment molecules.

Hot press, cold press, texture amount, cotton rag percentage, sizing amount. Those used to be criteria that artists used. For Watercolor Painting A, it might be Fabriano paper ____; for Watercolor Painting B, it might be Arches paper _____. Because of the nature of paper production, the two sides were occasionally not the same.

Fine paper usually has a "top" side and a "bottom" side, typically identified by the watermark or manufacturer's embossed logo (*cough* Fabriano *cough*). Sometimes the sizing was only applied to one surface.

Sometimes the "wrong" side would provide better results for a given project.

One company's hot press paper might be closer to another company's cold press paper. There was never just one "watercolor paper" [sic]. Most of the watercolor artists who cared about such details are dead.

This is partially why painters still create works on fabric canvas (cotton, linen, etc.): so the pigment vehicle will adhere to a rough surface.
Two terrific posts, which are interesting, informative and educational; above all, they are enjoyable to read.
 
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Successful Sorcerer

macrumors member
Nov 23, 2019
82
21
Thanks for the link - Not knowing Photoshop that is interesting.

Unfortunately, it looks more like he is spray-painting graffiti than using watercolor.
Yes it was meant more to show the options and technique, you can change so many parameters. Of course I'm not sure if you can create exactly the same as the opening image.

If you want watercolour behaviour you need painting software like Adobe Fresco, which I used myself. There are more.

 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
664
181
I'm tinkering with Rebelle and a Wacom Intuous Pro S for a while. That combination is quite intensively using my computing resources (MBP 2019 i9, Vega 20).

 
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Texas_Toast

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 6, 2016
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Texas
Yes it was meant more to show the options and technique, you can change so many parameters. Of course I'm not sure if you can create exactly the same as the opening image.

If you want watercolour behaviour you need painting software like Adobe Fresco, which I used myself. There are more.

That is very cool to watch - not that I have any real artistic talent, but it is still good to know what resources are available.

Thanks!
 
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