So here's a question for y'all.
I was browsing dA today, and caught sight of one of their featured pieces. Nice little autumn tree scene, looked pretty cool. So I clicked on the picture. Wow, nice colors, I thought. Cool detail, and.... oh.
That's when I noticed. All the leaves? Done with the leaf brush.
Now, when I was first learning about digital art and using Photoshop, one of the first rules I learned was, don't use the grass brush for grass, don't use the leaf brush for leaves. Render them properly, because the preset brushes 1) don't look anything like leaves or grass, they're just texture and 2) destroy your credibility by making you look like a total amateur. It's right up there with "DO NOT use Lens Flare. Ever." as a basic rule of digital painting, I thought.
So I commented on the piece (the picture in question is here: http://angela-t.deviantart.com/art/Autumn-Tree-96315711 ) and told the artist this, that I originally liked the piece but couldn't respect it because dude, you just don't use the leaf brush, it makes you look stupid.
This prompted a discussion of whether it was the tool that mattered, or the use of it. I personally really don't think you can get away with using obvious filters or brushes like that in a digital piece, and still have it be a quality piece. If someone used the cloud filter, or the lens flare, or anything else obvious instead of rendering the picture properly, they'd be laughed at, or at the very least corrected, right? Yet this artist argues that it's the use and not the tool that matters-- so as long as your picture looks good, it doesn't matter that you used the leaf brush or whatever.
What do you guys think?