Transitioning from real media to photoshop?
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  1. #1
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    Transitioning from real media to photoshop?

    I am really used to real media. I like having something I can hold in my hand. I started doing an environment of ruins and vines..with colored pens and water color pencil. I got perspective help on it and a criticique and I scanned it in to work on it digitally...I figured it would be good to use layers to clean it up...but jeez photoshop can be so annoying for painting.

    Yes I use photoshop to paint characters and people sometimes.. but i always stay away from it when im doing environments because I really hate building up rendering in photoshop. My environments are really detailed.. I have always kind of lowered my opacity and painted gradually because i had a teacher suggest this a while back.. But im not getting used to it. the rendering is wierd and splotchy and your really CANT control it with pen pressure unless you are constantly hitting numbers on the keyboard to change opacity.... Yes, I lower the hardness of my brush btw.


    i have gotten used to keyboard shortcuts, but I am freaking frustrated by how tedious it is to change the brush specs. Even with keyboard shortcuts.-- Its like every time you change colors or values you have to painstakingly find a new color .. or swatch and decide the opacity it should be. if its too high it looks ugly. if the brush is too big it looks ugly... it makes rendering a bitch.

    I have to get this done by next tuesday for a class.

    Yes I start with the darks and gradually ad lights. to my forms.

    Advice? (Especially if you have used real media and then gone to photoshop)

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    Hi Penzilla,
    This probably isn't going to sort you out in time for Tuesday I'm afrraid, and is only my personal experience. Also I'm more of a figurative artist than environments, so feel free to disregard this as irrelevant.

    I started seriously making the transition from real media to digital about 8 years ago, coming from a background in watercolour and line. Though Photoshop was the software everybody touted at me, the one that felt much closer to my experience and made more sense was Painter. I got hold of a free version 5 - Faaaaaar from perfect in many ways, BUT just felt truer to real painting and drawing than Photoshop - which always felt more like a technical software to me, if that makes any sense. Excellent but too different.

    It sounds like you want something that feels more like real media, so that you can use the hand skills you've developed in that media, in digital. Painter is much better at that, but may be out of your student price bracket - unless you go for one of pared down versions like Painter sketchpad or Essentials, neither of which I've tried so . . . . ).

    If you think it can handle the filesizes you require, take a look at other software - like ArtRage2.5 (version 3 coming out soon) or Sketchbook Pro2010 (although still £90, UK). They both respond really well to stylus pressure and may reflect your painting skills better. Something to look into over the next months perhaps.

    Yes Photoshop is the industry standard behemoth. Doesn't mean everyone has to use it if they don't like it though. You can output psd and various other accepted formats through other software. Just a thought.

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    Hi.

    I have used corel painter before. You're right the brushes are much more organic. I like that i can mix my colors in the side too.

    I am just wondering do you know any tips and tricks .. or maybe tutorials to help with rendering with a lowered opacity?

    This is my biggest roadblock currently.. I keep looking for tutorials that explain a way to approach that subtly and delicately.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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    Maybe I jump around to much? Or maybe its just the interface that feels confining.. I dont know.

    Most computer painting programs annoy me to an extent but im pretty serious about getting used to them..

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    Have you tried fiddling with the brush dynamics? Try turning on opacity jitter and linking it to pen-pressure (under "other dynamics", brush controls are F5). Opacity at 100% with opacity jitter set to pen pressure makes rendering pretty easy; much easier than manually adjusting the opacity, anyway. Turn on flow jitter too, and link it to pen pressure as well for even smoother opacity transitions.

    Changing colors can be a pain in PS, but you know holding the alt key changes the cursor to a color-picker, right? This can speed things up enormously; one method I like is to bring up another document, paint some colors on it for a palette, and use the color-picker to reference it when you want to switch colors.

    Hope this is clear; let me know if I can clarify anything.

    EDIT: You might find these handy: the brushes I use in PS, including several in different shapes pre-set to the specs I mentioned. I uploaded them a couple of days ago for some people on another forum, but you might find them useful also.


    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=15PY2KX3

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    Thanks i had no idea alt was shortcut for the eyedropper!

    I had been using shift+i this whole time. bah.

    edit: by ya i am currently playing with brush dynamics.

    Last edited by penzilla; September 26th, 2009 at 02:48 AM.
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    I found it helpful when I was first starting digital to watch some videos of people working--be it the MB downloads or whatnot. I learned so many tricks and working methods by doing that. That and just fiddling around in Photoshop.

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    Photoshop isn't built to replicate natural media and that's probably why you find it difficult. Last time I looked Adobe didn't list painting as a function of any of their software. Nick's suggestions, especially ArtRage and Painter, are well worth following up for the longer term. Of course many people use Photoshop and produce great stuff but if you want to emulate usage of natural media I would advise you use something else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by penzilla View Post
    Hi.

    I have used corel painter before. You're right the brushes are much more organic. I like that i can mix my colors in the side too.

    I am just wondering do you know any tips and tricks .. or maybe tutorials to help with rendering with a lowered opacity?

    This is my biggest roadblock currently.. I keep looking for tutorials that explain a way to approach that subtly and delicately.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    I very rarely work at 100% opacity in a brush unless I'm blocking in a base colour or trying to cover something up. This may well just reflect my watercolour background. In that my preferred technique was to build up richness of colour and tone using any number of overlaid washes of varying intensity. In digital that can equate to having a number of layers at lowered opacity, which is what it sounds like you may be trying to do.

    The suggestion about checking your brush settings is a good one. Make sure that the stylus opacity is set to respond to pressure, but then maybe combine it with working on a layer of reduced opacity as well. That should give you more control of your subtlety. As the number of layers builds up you should notice more richness and variations as they combine.

    Look also at what layer blending modes you are using. I tend to use multiply and overlay the most, but it's worth checking out the other options now and again, to see if that helps. One of my favourite things to do to unify a piece is to overay a 'shadow' coloured layer set to multiply at reduced opacity, and then cut back into it either on a layer mask, or more usually for me, paint with a much lighter and comlementary color to illuminate the scene. It can almost feel like shining a torch on the image to reveal the forms at times. If it goes right it can be very satisfying.

    Hope this helps.

    __________________________________________________ __________

    Nick Harris illustration http://nickillus.com/ SKETCHBOOK GALLERY
    __________________________________________________ __________
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