Learning to Digitally Paint?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by zerocustom1989, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. zerocustom1989 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    #1
    Hey guys Ive seen posters here give great digi-art advice before so I come bearing some questions.

    I'd like to start learning how to digitally paint in photoshop. I'm a computer engineering major so taking classes pertaining to painting theory or color theory isn't possible atm. Never the less, I treat digi-art as a hobby and I'd like to explore this other digital medium.

    My questions pertain mostly on how to begin. Im not sure how to manage pallates or colors properly in photoshop. I'm not sure how to manage a digital workflow that may be more useful to painting with.

    I dont have time to take classes, but I'm willing to learn from books and tutorials(though tutorials rarely explain theory well).

    I've taken an intro drawing class so I know about perspective, line weight and shading. (The class was taught around black and white though)

    Could you guys recommend a few books/resources that could help introduce me to the theories involved with painting and the technical execution of those practices?

    It would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,

    -J
     
  2. thebrain74 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #2
    If you really wanted to digitally paint. I would look into Corel Painter. While it is going to be quite different that photoshop, I feel it is much more powerful in the painting sense. Also if you are a student, it is much cheaper.

    Also. Tablet. Now.
    Even if it is just a cheap Wacom bamboo or something, nothing will make your digital painting faster, more fun or successful than a tablet
     
  3. zerocustom1989 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    #3
    Painter eh? I'll look into it. I've got a small wacom tablet(the generation before the bamboo) that I've tinkered with before. I'll certainly use it.
     
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #4
    Visit your local library. Browse the art section. Ask a reference librarian.

    Or visit a good bricks-and-mortar bookstore, esp. one that emphasizes arts or humanities. In a university or college town with an arts program, visit the college bookstore, and look for obsolete textbooks. If you're on a budget, then borrowing or buying cheaply is what you want.

    There are plenty of books that explain basics of painting, so finding the info isn't the problem. Finding a book you like that you can afford is the problem, and only you can determine whether a given book meets those goals.

    If you want a specific title and author, try "A Treatise on Painting" by Leonardo da Vinci, published by Dover. The language takes some getting used to, but the content is superb. Dover has a lot of other low-cost art books, so browsing their site would be worthwhile.

    http://www.doverpublications.com/
     
  5. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #5
    I can't recommend any Photoshop painting books, because I don't use Photoshop to paint.

    I do a fair amount of digital painting using Painter X. I prefer its brushes over those available in Photoshop, and I have several technique books based on Painter. The two books I refer to the most are:

    Painter X Wow! Book

    Advanced Painter Techniques

    That said, there are a few frustrations with Painter that most users have. Among these are: stability; interface; learning curve. I believe Photoshop is way ahead of Painter in terms of stability and interface, while the learning curve for both is about the same, in my view.

    I also agree with others who recommend a Wacom tablet. It is absolutely required for painting.

    By the way, I generally like to suggest that anyone interested in learning to draw/paint on a computer should at the very minimum first explore the same skills the old-fashioned way. It is easier to learn drawing and painting with paper and pencil/brush/pen without the hindrance of a computer interface and software learning curve. Once you have those skills, it's easy to transfer them to the computer.

    Edited to add: after re-reading your initial post, it looks like you have some grounding in drawing already, so that's a good start.
     
  6. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #6
    Quoted for truth.

    I would also consider a Wacom Cintiq. They are expensive, but give an experience very different than that of a traditional tablet. You respond to them as you respond to working on paper, there is no offset between the movements your hands make and the marks that appear on your "drawing".

    I work with a professional illustrator, and he raves about his. I also know that the illustration program at the art school I teach at has a lab of these for their digital illustration classes. The animators and industrial designers use them as well.
     
  7. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #7
    First try to paint with traditional media. Maybe acrylics or gouache. Even watercolor is nice and not too expensive to get.

    However I can recommend you another interesting program: ArtRage 3 Studio (or the Professional version).
    It just came out and the price is right for what it does.
     
  8. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #8
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Corel Painter is unparelleled as far as digital painting goes. You must have a tablet for that program though to understand why. Just using the mouse does not do that program justice as you cant rotate the mouse like you can a pen.
     
  9. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #9
    Traditional techniques should be applied to digital art. The biggest mistake digital artists make is they go crazy with layers and blending modes. Resist the temptation to create a new layer for every object or have the program do things for you like using multiply layers and filters (multiply is NOT how you make shadows, this is the most common mistake people do in digital painting, you will come across this if you look for tutorials and when you do just stop reading), even resist undo and paint over your mistakes (reserve undo for the big screw ups). It all comes down to color theory and how good you are at basic skills like drawing. Just dont do anything an oil painter wouldnt do unless it makes sense.

    No its not. Photoshop is an excellent tool for painting, a large majority of professional digital artists use Photoshop for most things. Painter has its uses and its something every serious digital painter should have around but its not better than Photoshop for all-around painting, if you had to choose between only using one or the other then I would go with Photoshop.
     
  10. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #10
    !? I'm sorry but I have to 100% disagree with this. Have you ever used painter? Photoshop can't touch it as far as natural media feel. There is not one brush on photoshop that can act like the brushes, especially real bristle brushes in painter can act.

    In fact, Adobe acknowledges this and is beefing up features of Photoshop 5 in order to compete with Painter.

    I'm not saying photoshop is bad by any means, I use both programs extensively, but for digital painting IMO you can't get better then painter.
     
  11. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #11
    Ive used Painter since way before Corel bought it, I know the differences between it and Photoshop. Painter "feeling" more like natural media doesnt matter, does it matter that gouache feels nothing like oil? or pastel feels nothing like watercolor? Photoshop feels like Photoshop, it doesnt have to feel like oil or anything else, its another medium as it should be.

    Professionals love Photoshop for painting because of its predictability and complete control over opacity. Painter is relatively unpredictable and has nothing like Photoshop's ability to control opacity for any brush.

    If you dont believe me then the most influential and innovative digital painter and the best matte painter in the world surely must use Photoshop for a reason.
     
  12. Beanlok macrumors regular

    Beanlok

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    Nov 28, 2008
    #12
  13. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #13
    Massive Black has a lot of educational youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwBcssDYJ3o

    They also sell DVD's which would be of help, likely way more detailed than the short youtube videos. You can find similar stuff by Ballistic Publishing, they are good at collecting a lot of the best digital artists in the world.
     
  14. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #14
    Sorry but the links don't sway me. (Although both artists do exceptional work!)

    For emulating painting digitally, nothing comes close to painter. In Photoshop, the brushes and "paint" do not act the same way.

    If the OP is looking to create digital art, then by all means Photoshop is the definite choice, but if he is looking to emulate painting digitally, Painter is the obvious choice.
     
  15. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #15
    Forgive me, but I couldn't locate the name of the "most influential and innovative digital painter" on the goodbrush.com web site. Who is it?

    Also, how does one go about obtaining the title of "best matte painter in the world"? I didn't know such honors exist.
     
  16. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #16
    Like I said, Photoshop is its own medium, it doesnt need to emulate watercolor to be good at painting digitally. Let digital painting be digital painting and oil painting be oil painting.

    Craig Mullins..

    Obviously there is no "official honor" but based on his work, awards, and recognition he has very little competition.
     
  17. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    near Spokane, WA
    #17
    Thanks. He is very good. I'm not sold on the "most influential" part, however. Influences are too subjective and very hard to pin down.


    Again. He's very good as well.
     
  18. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #18
    He created the style most seen in concept art as well as techniques involving textures and painting. He was very active in the community during digital painting's early days which helped popularize his style. If you ever apply for a job to do art for games you'll probably be asked if you can do the Craig Mullins style in an interview, I dont think its subjective, at least in the professional world his style dominates when it comes to full scene paintings.

    Hyung Taekim, Enayla, and Liquid! are also very influential with a lot of people copying their styles. Hyung/Enayla are very popular among fanart/amateur artists and a few years ago you could barely find a comic that wasnt in the specular-overload Liquid style (fortunately its not nearly as dominate as it was, I hated that style). All of them use Photoshop with the exception of Hyung Taekim who uses Painter.
     
  19. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #19
    You were undoubtedly referencing the world of concept/gaming art, not the overall art world generally. That's what confused me.

    In certain art circles, Graig Mullens is no-doubt a trailblazer, but he was, until today, unknown to me. If you were to ask me who I most admire and consider a trailblazer in art, I would probably throw out a few names like Holland, Fuchs, Baseman, Cober, and others that artists in other fields may or may not recognize.

    I guess I'm saying the world of art is pretty big, with lots of sub-categories, and there's room for all sorts of innovators and trailblazers. It's not an objective subject at all.

    Nevertheless, I'm not looking to argue the point. I have bookmarked Mullins' site. It's quite impressive.
     
  20. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #20
    Well I was talking about digital painting not art in general. There are many influential digital artists but you have to understand the history. Digital painting isnt very old, its pretty broad today but back in the late 90's it was just starting to break into peoples homes and gain popularity so there werent very many communities for digital artists. The biggest community was Sijun Forums, and the most well known member was Craig Mullins (went by spooge_demon and worthless_meat_sack) because he would do things nobody had ever seen before with Photoshop. Eventually everybody started copying his style which spread to other communities, it got so bad that he was considering taking his site offline because he feared it would affect his ability to get work (or something along those lines). Digital painting was very sterile and lifeless at first, most people figured computer art was supposed to be super clean and 3d like, him and the people at Sijun really helped evolve it into something gritty and interesting which surely caught the attention of other artists and got them interested in using computers for art which spawned more styles. Whether they know it or not, Mullins likely had something to do with the style a lot of digital artists use today since he was one of the first masters of the medium.
     

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