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Thread: Digital media vs Traditional paints

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    Digital media vs Traditional paints

    Ok, drawing from photos sucks in comparison to real life objects. But what about media? Is it o'k if I place a still life on my table, light it with lamp (hmm... incandescent lamp or fluorescent Lamp?) and paint it in Photoshop? Is practicing digitally good for understanding color and volume? Or oil paints are better anyway?
    Thank you for answers )
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    Do whatever you want.

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    He-he
    Ok )
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    You will learn more doing it traditionally. There is nothing wrong with digital media. I'm just a firm believer in learning traditionally first.
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    The point of doing still life/painting from life is not the media that you use (Although that helps). It's being able to clearly see color reflections, edges, shadow colors, etc correctly.

    I do a lot of practices of just setting up a lamp against something on my coffee table. When doing this, I mainly use watercolor pencils.

    For a lamp, I typically use a standard lamp with daylight bulbs. It really don't matter. as long as you can see some sort of color in the reflections.

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    My suggestion is work the medium that you want to eventually work in. If you want to be an oil painter, do your studies in oil. You'll learn a lot doing them in digital too, but there's enough to learn in oil painting, that you may as well learn oil technique along side the color and form.


    Quote Originally Posted by HackTardist View Post
    You will learn more doing it traditionally. There is nothing wrong with digital media. I'm just a firm believer in learning traditionally first.
    I think this really depends on what you want to learn. If you know digital software that the interface doesn't get in the way, then I'd argue that digital is faster and easier to make solid progress. If you have no interest in doing actual paintings eventually, there is nothing better or easier about traditional media over digital.

    With digital, you largely only deal with the fundamental aspects of art. Drawing, line, shape, color, value, etc. You have an infinite amount of paint, and starting a new painting takes only moments (no priming a new board, buying canvas etc). You can also easily copy your results to a new file and do variations, trying different approaches, very very easily. Also, I find people are more likely to be bold and try new things when they know it can't "ruin" the art they've spent hours on. Go ahead and try that effect, if it doesn't work you can always undo, or delete the layer.

    With traditional you are juggling a lot of other stuff to get good results. You need to learn the specifics of the medium you are using, and for a beginner that can be a large leaning curve. Learning the handling properties of many different colors, different supports, brushes, prep and clean up, and technique (not even going into the expense of some of paint that can make students form bad habits to save money). These are all potentially additional obstacles present in traditional media that aren't there in digital.

    I'm far from anti traditional art, but the simplicity of digital (once you know some very basic stuff), make it ideal I think for quick easy studies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    I think this really depends on what you want to learn. If you know digital software that the interface doesn't get in the way, then I'd argue that digital is faster and easier to make solid progress.
    My problem about starting with digital is that as a beginner you'll be way more likely to get caught on stuff like eyedropper tool, hue and saturation adjustments, photo filters and other neat layer modes that makes stuff look good, but teaches you nothing about drawing, painting or choosing colours.

    Well, of course learning what looks good through experimentation is learning, but if you never learn to do it without digital adjustments (as it may happen) you end up with a crutch, and returning to traditional will be even more frustrating because then you have to learn everything again.

    But yeah, an ideal balance of traditional and digital would be beneficial...
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    I usually recommend traditional because I tend to prefer how it looks when it's done well. I remember a talk I had with Stephen Schierle while he was studying (briefly) at the FAA, where he said he first learned to paint digitally and saw a significant benefit from that experience as he transitioned to traditional. The medium doesn't matter that much as long as you make sound decisions in the course of your learning process.

    Edit:
    TinyBird, there's still the option of only sticking to the brush tool, which is way harder and much less satisfying...to some. In general, I think most people will agree that trying to do more with less is a good thing for any beginner.
    Last edited by AndreasM; April 19th, 2011 at 04:41 PM.
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    I actually feel like painting traditionally has taught me more about color, since you're mixing your own colors you'll learn more about additive color mixing. And that can be helpful later when you're working digitally too.
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    Thank you for your answers, guys!
    At the moment my main goal is digital stuff and all traditional sketches and studies I consider just as support. Just wonder if lack of traditional oil paintings will affect my digital work not in a good way.
    I asked this mainly because oil paints are not cheap, so I wanted to know does it really worth it...
    I do also some studies using water-colors, pen, pencil - but those don't give natural look of color. So I hoped digital madia could replace expensive oil paints.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    My suggestion is work the medium that you want to eventually work in. If you want to be an oil painter, do your studies in oil. You'll learn a lot doing them in digital too, but there's enough to learn in oil painting, that you may as well learn oil technique along side the color and form.




    I think this really depends on what you want to learn. If you know digital software that the interface doesn't get in the way, then I'd argue that digital is faster and easier to make solid progress. If you have no interest in doing actual paintings eventually, there is nothing better or easier about traditional media over digital.

    With digital, you largely only deal with the fundamental aspects of art. Drawing, line, shape, color, value, etc. You have an infinite amount of paint, and starting a new painting takes only moments (no priming a new board, buying canvas etc). You can also easily copy your results to a new file and do variations, trying different approaches, very very easily. Also, I find people are more likely to be bold and try new things when they know it can't "ruin" the art they've spent hours on. Go ahead and try that effect, if it doesn't work you can always undo, or delete the layer.

    With traditional you are juggling a lot of other stuff to get good results. You need to learn the specifics of the medium you are using, and for a beginner that can be a large leaning curve. Learning the handling properties of many different colors, different supports, brushes, prep and clean up, and technique (not even going into the expense of some of paint that can make students form bad habits to save money). These are all potentially additional obstacles present in traditional media that aren't there in digital.

    I'm far from anti traditional art, but the simplicity of digital (once you know some very basic stuff), make it ideal I think for quick easy studies.
    I think the downside to digital from the "not being able to worry about ruining a drawing" is the fact that people rely on Undo too much vs learning how to make those accidents work for them. You're SUPPOSED to make mistakes and learn from them. People need to learn when to make decisions and not create 200 layers because you're afraid. (That's not saying making too many layers is bad - it has its uses).

    I think it's still possible to do both but I find digital is still limiting where you want to go draw. I find that traditionally painting still has some limitations but it's not as bad. (like lugging equipment is a drawback to many media).

    I also see really bad habits from digital like, not turning the canvas and drawing a certain way. It's odd since you have more of an opportunity digitally to flip a canvas, rotate it etc to check for mistakes.

    Also, people squint to see corrections and in another thread I mentioned eye strain injuries people get when looking at monitors too long. You're not likely to stress your eyes out getting close to a piece of paper to look at your work, but you are if you start leaning into your monitor.

    With a tablet you're likely to keep in one position creating RSI (often not noticing till its too late). With paper you can move it and position it better.

    That's why I support if one is going to learn digitally use a stripped down program like Open Canvas to learn foundations. Later they can go onto Photoshop because the basic method is easily transferable. That being said, I know OC is only for Windows users (less someone runs Windows off a Mac).
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreasM View Post
    TinyBird, there's still the option of only sticking to the brush tool
    But the temptation is always there... It starts slowly, as you think "a one overlay layer won't do harm, right?" but then, it's not enough. Soon you'll be searching DA for tutorials, little gaussian blur here, bit photo filter there...
    Next thing you know you're using eight texture and filter layers per image and you can't even get a passable contrast to your traditional pics as your fingers desperately try to search and press Ctrl+L while doing watercolours *cries*
    It's a vicious circle, man. A vicious circle :V
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Also, people squint to see corrections and in another thread I mentioned eye strain injuries people get when looking at monitors too long. You're not likely to stress your eyes out getting close to a piece of paper to look at your work, but you are if you start leaning into your monitor.
    Speaking of which: turn that bleeping brigthness down!
    Many people just leave it at 100% which is, considering manufacturers tend to use brigthness as a selling point, about as smart as staring into the sun. I mean, if you have 400cd/m2 that's alot of light hitting your eyes. Combine that with slouching forward, as you mention, and it's asking for trouble.
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