Opacity, yes/no?

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  1. #1
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    Opacity, yes/no?

    I've been doing some digital work mostly for fun for a while now, and when mixing colours, and creating form, I always use about 5-10% opacity and different shades of the same colour to create darks/lights

    Recently I was told on another website that I shouldn't use opacity at all and I should be using flow at around 50%, I tried messing around with it, but it just doesn't seem to work as well, can anyone help explain if this is correct, or what are the advantages of flow over opacity?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong section or has been asked before I couldn't find anything

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    Well, I always use 100% Opacity and Flow, and if you don't feel 50% flow works for you, don't use it. A lot of artists have their special tweaks, brush presets etc they prefer to use so work what feels comfortable to you, but don't be hesitant to test different stuff.
    If you know how to paint and use Photoshop, little tweaks in Opacity and Flow aren't likely to make or break things.

    Last edited by TinyBird; December 16th, 2011 at 03:34 AM.
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    Not to avoid helping with your question, but based on your sketchbook my advice for you would be to focus on your drawing. Work mainly from life and reference and the technicalities of the medium will work themselves out of your trying to achieve likeness.

    Working from ref will also teach you not to compartmentalise so much; you draw isolated background-less subjects and even then you separate the various parts with black lines or other artifacts. The separations draw attention to themselves and prevent cohesion.

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    There is no one way to approach problem solving when you paint in Photoshop or traditionally. If you always do things the same way for every instance you aren't paying attention and you are a formula painter. That is never a positive thing.

    You wouldn't go around fixing everything in your house with a chainsaw just because you were really good with it. Different settings give you different effects and a different avenue of expression, so explore what works best and gives you the best results. You learn how to use the tools not when to use them.

    There is too much copying what other people do nowadays which makes everything have this sameness to it in concept art. Its an ignorant way to approach any type of art. You want to understand the fundamental principles of painting then apply them in your own painting in a unique way to solve the problems of illustration. If you are copying someone else’s style you are a second rate hack. That means using someone elses preset brushes instead of making your own or using someones settings for brush pressure, brush sizes and brush shapes and all the other lazy approaches people do with digital painting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You wouldn't go around fixing everything in your house with a chainsaw just because you were really good with it.
    That would make the best SNL skit!

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You wouldn't go around fixing everything in your house with a chainsaw just because you were really good with it.
    When my wife and I are ready to move, I'm going to use a chainsaw to carve an entire house out of a giant block of wood.

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    If your method works for you, use it.

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    Thanks for the replies, I'll be sure to try out more settings and features to get my own feel for the program, and I said before, I really only do digital stuff every now and then for fun and to change it up a little, I'm planning on taking a 3 year Fine art course next year when I finish my graphic design course in sixth form.

    I actually made a thread in the education section about recommendations but no replies yet, out of curiosity, anyone here studied in the UK or know anyone who has? any places to look for/avoid for fine art?

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  13. #9
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    I think sometimes it depends on what type of edge you want. I like working low opacity and building it up and not necessarily with the same colour, but if I'm looking for a tight edge, upping the opacity helps.

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  15. #10
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    if youre able to control pressure well while drawing use flow... if not use opacity.

    there really are no dos and donts... use what works for what has to be done... hard edge > hardbrush/high opacity, soft edge > softbrush/low opacity. but since an edge can be softened with a hardbrush by applying an intermediate value, where softbrushes only work to a certain extent for sharpening edges, id rather practise hard ones. yet that might be personal preference.

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    Sounds to me like you don't have you tablet driver installed. 5% to 10% opacity? That would barely show up in my work. Set your brush to pen pressure and use a light hand to achieve the same effect without toggling your settings back and forth.

    My digital illustration professor back in college explained that reduced opacity will create dark spots where two translucent areas overlap whereas reduced flow will create a uniform amount of color. Experiment and do what works best. There is no right answer.

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    If you use low opacity it will encourage equivocality.
    High opacity encourages statement.

    Equivocality: mystery, occlusion, ambivalence, possibility, inference, unfoldment...
    Statement: clarity, instruction, finality, solution, non-ambiguity, arrival, resolution...

    They are the two conditions forming a dialectic.
    Excusivity of either gives you the cloud on one hand or the cartoon on the other.

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; December 22nd, 2011 at 07:16 AM.
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  20. #14
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    It's kinda like saying Alla Prima or Glazing...which one should I NOT do. Some paint is opaque and some is not. Paint the way that yields the results you are looking for.

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