Stuck with digital painting
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  1. #1
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    Question Stuck with digital painting

    Hi, I'm finding myself quite stuck with digital painting, I have used both Photoshop and Painter but find them very difficult to work with.

    I'm good with traditional media, but when it comes to painting in either of these programs everything just gets so difficult.

    Starting paintings from scratch in Digital is also a nightmare for me. with traditional I'm very hands on and get a good feel for the marks I make. I feel like I'm in control a lot and produce some rather nice artworks but with digital I have a sense that I'm not in control.

    I see the professionals that use digital and their work is very beautiful, I sense that they know how to handle digital very well, perhaps the way they feel about digital is the same feeling I get from traditional. I'd love to feel like i'm in control and there are no restrictions with digital, unfortunately every time I pick up the pen and try drawing on painter its so different from the way that i feel with traditional

    The reason i'm trying to pick up digital is because I looking to get into game or film production art one day, and everyone in this scene uses digital (or so it seems) and I get the feeling someone working in traditional media does not have a chance at getting into those particular industries

    I'm not exactly to sure what solutions i'm looking for, I am hoping that if someone reading this has been through a similer situation they might be able to help me out.

    so..
    I'm good with traditional media,

    I'm trying to get into digital but finding it frustrating and difficult to get into it

    I can't seem to be able to produce the art i want to be able to produce with it (semi realistic concept art) whereas with traditional i'm able to get the look i want, (i also enjoy it a lot more, at the moment the difficulty at painting in digital has completely sucked the fun out of it)

    I know how to use the programs, I know how to paint, but can't seem to get the painting and program to work together

    anyone else been here or not? am i just not getting something that everyone picks up on when it comes to these programs?

    Cheers

    Joe

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  2. #2
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    2 points-

    -I assume you have a tablet, yes? Because painting with a mouse is most unpleasant.

    -Have you tried scanning your pencil or pen sketches and then painting over/under it in digital? I ask because I've had a tablet for a couple of years and I still can't draw with the thing. Coloring is fine but actual line drawing = no.

    btw if you post some of your traditional work people might be able to suggest brushes and settings that may feel more "natural" to you.

    Last edited by Flake; November 30th, 2007 at 12:51 PM. Reason: typos
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  3. #3
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    My advice is to find some reading material on the subject. I got my start with Don Seegmillers lines of book(s). There are countless educational podcasts, dvd's, and books on the subject. But basically, LEARNING the software seems the be the issue and probably getting used to the tablet. Stay at it and you'll be fine. When I started out, creating a painting from scratch directly digital was tough for me too but about 2 years later it's almost as good as using a pencil but i believe will never be exact.

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  4. #4
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    I agree with what Jason Ross said- it takes a long time to get totally comfortable, and it might not ever be the same as pencil & paper or brush & paint. And there are lots of resources. Even just online- search YouTube, see if your library has any videos, download the Jason Chan painter tutorial ($10). There are tons of tutorial threads & resources here (i.e. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=109937 ). Break down the specific things you're having trouble with and search for threads on them here, and if you don't find them start new threads. But be specific, i.e. "mixing color digitally", or "getting texture in Photoshop", or "controlling edges in Painter".

    To a certain extent learning to paint digitally is like learning another medium- it has strengths and weaknesses and is conducive to certain things. You can reproduce the look of a lot of different physical mediums, but rarely by employing the same methods you would use for the physical medium. You could just as easily be saying "I can paint nicely in oils, but when I try watercolors I can't get the same look. I'm doing the same things with them that I do with oils and it's not coming out right." And sure, you can actually get watercolor to look & behave sort of like oils, but they are more conducive to other things, and you have to get some experience under your belt to really get them to behave differently than what they are conducive to. You have to learn to roll with the medium a bit.

    That being said, I'm in the process of overcoming the same problem, so I can give you some specific pointers which may or may not help. These all refer to painting in Photoshop (still can't get into Painter):

    - If you don't have a tablet, get one, and get a Wacom. If you have one, make sure that you check the "Force Proportions" checkbox in the Mapping section of the Wacom Settings. Otherwise, lines you make on the tablet will have a slightly different angle on the screen from what you drew. If you were to trace a perfect circle, it would come out an oval. You can learn to compensate for it (and I think a lot of people do without being aware of it), but I wouldn't recommend it.

    - Play with all the brush settings & presets. For me adding different textures on the brush and primarily adjusting flow instead of opacity made it behave more like I expect paint to. There are also tons of other settings in the brush palette which are very interesting. However some people just use the plain old round hard brush and opacity.

    - Try using the swatch palette in combination with the Lab color sliders to mix color. Others prefer HSB or CMYK, but for me the swatch/Lab very closely matches how I mix paint. YMMV.

    - I can't draw really precisely, even on my Tablet PC. So treating the drawing more as if I was using charcoal rather than pencil seems to work well for me. Slowly I'm getting more accurate, but I agree with Jason Ross that I'm not sure it'll ever be quite the same. Maybe a Cintiq would do it, but even with that I hear you have to think a little bit differently. If I need very careful precision I scan in a pencil drawing.


    I might have some more specific advice, but I have to get back to work. If I think of more stuff I'll post it here.

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  5. #5
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    I actually deleted my tablet from my computer today, I just get depressed when using it, hehe. I'll just work on my traditional skills more and later give digital work a new try.

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    Try a tablet PC, Cintiq tablet, or the Cintiq. Wacom pads suck donkey balls. Man was not made to draw here and have it display there.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R View Post
    Try a tablet PC, Cintiq tablet, or the Cintiq. Wacom pads suck donkey balls. Man was not made to draw here and have it display there.
    Most professional digital illustrators would disagree.

    And on a much more important note, Cintiqs are about 2500 bucks.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R View Post
    Try a tablet PC, Cintiq tablet, or the Cintiq. Wacom pads suck donkey balls. Man was not made to draw here and have it display there.


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  9. #9
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    Another quick wacom tip that helped me a ton was to tape a piece of heavyweight drawing paper with some texture to it over the active area of the tablet. This helps get the friction that we're used to when drawing with pencil on paper.

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  10. #10
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    askingsomequestions - It takes some time to get used to tablet. Sketch with it every day no matter how big challange it is and you'll ultimately make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R
    Try a tablet PC, Cintiq tablet, or the Cintiq. Wacom pads suck donkey balls. Man was not made to draw here and have it display there.
    Yeah. I wish I could try some day.

    EDIT: Some very recent thoughts - For some reason my openCanvas digital sketches turn out better than pencil sketches on paper and I was trying to figure out why. The most reasonable argument that came to my mind is that when I sketch digitally, I do very big drawings that take almost whole screen size while pencil sketches are usually small doodles. It seems that doing good drawings is not a matter of tablet size but screen size. With smaller tablet you just work more with wrist but the precision is the same. The information about tablets on Ryan Church website confirm that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Q&A - Ryan Church Website
    Q: Is a 12x18 tablet crucial to creating the wide vistas shown on your site?

    A: 12"x18" Wacom tablet is not necessary at all. That's just what I use at work. It’s better for your health and protects your wrists and tendons if you are doing it continually for 10 hours a day as I do. At home, I have a 6"x8" tablet, and all my personal / freelance work is done on it. When I'm on vacation, I even use a 4"x5" on my girlfriend's laptop. A larger tablet is a great investment if you work long continuous hours. You're using more of your shoulder and elbow, so it's much easier on the wrist. It will not affect the quality or accuracy of your painting.


    Last edited by Farvus; December 1st, 2007 at 05:02 PM.
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  11. #11
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    you just need to practice and understand what the tutorials are sayings and sometimes its better to mix ideas , also you need to know how surfaces look and how to create good color combos.

    just practice , it makes it easier

    its all about using the knowledge you have and just applying it to get the rsults you want

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by drd View Post
    Most professional digital illustrators would disagree.
    O.K. let's have a thought experiment - if the Cintiq were the same price as an Intuos, which do you think most professionals would be using?

    Quote Originally Posted by drd View Post
    And on a much more important note, Cintiqs are about 2500 bucks.
    And on an much more important note still, it's worth every penny. I don't consider $2500 to be too much to invest in my business.

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