Where to start digital painting?
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Thread: Where to start digital painting?

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    Where to start digital painting?

    Okay, first off im not trying to sound like someone who is trying to find an easy way around learning how to paint.

    However, I am willing to put the time in to learning I just have a wacom tablet and photoshop instead of multiple kinds of traditional paints and brushes.

    This makes it difficult because when I open photoshop there are so many tools and settings that I have a hard time finding where I should begin focusing my learning.

    I feel like understanding the brushes tool in photoshop should be the first thing to learn in the program.

    Does this sound correct?

    If I should just get back in photoshop and hope Im using the right tools Ill get back to it if thats whats I need to do to be better painter then someone please say the word.
    I feel like there is some technical knowledge with photoshop though that I am missing.
    I appreciate and help and honesty.



    sorry for the double thread post. after i submitted the thread the first time it didnt seem to appear on the page so i thought i did it wrong :/

    Last edited by ManHands; February 28th, 2012 at 11:05 PM. Reason: double post
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    Well...use something like Open Canvas 1.1 instead (if you have a PC running windows).
    http://wistinga.online.fr/opencanvas/
    Simple but effective You just need a hard round brush set to pressure sensitivity in opacity.
    Read other threads on the forum. Don't just run to Art Discussion for your problems I mean, there's an awesome forum about Photoshop in itself



    But you're missing out trying other traditional means - not to mention it's a lot less headache imo.

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    It's actually much easier to learn to paint digitally if you learn to paint traditionally first.

    Good digital painting isn't about all the fancy tools and options, it's about knowing the basics of painting. And it's easier to focus on those basics with traditional media, because it's just you, a brush, a surface, some paint, and maybe a medium (like water.) Not even a medium if you use oils, because you can use them straight if you want...

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    The place to start is with study and awareness of the fundamentals. If you understand the fundamentals of drawing and painting you won't care about what brush you use in Photoshop.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Sadly in this case im running a mac :/

    I think I might try Painter as well since it seems to emulate traditional media better.

    I suppose if I did give it a go with traditional materials I would have to start with oils or watercolor..

    Thanks for the help.



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    Quote Originally Posted by ManHands View Post
    I think I might try Painter as well since it seems to emulate traditional media better.
    You know what emulates traditional media really well? Traditional media..

    Seriously though, if you find PhotoShop overly technical and menu / checkbox heavy, you'll probably not enjoy Painter at all..
    Grab the demo and see for yourself.

    You could try ArtRage, it's got a pretty straightforward interface and it'll work on a Mac.
    http://www.artrage.com/artrage-demos.html

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    thanks for the tip about art rage too.

    i guess ive always shied away from traditional media because its seemed to have a much larger price or mess associated with it.

    tomorrow i am going to michaels!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManHands View Post
    i guess ive always shied away from traditional media because its seemed to have a much larger price or mess associated with it.
    Considering the price of the computer, monitor, tablet, software, and endless software upgrades, traditional can actually be much cheaper overall.

    Try it, anyway. It's not as intimidating as it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Considering the price of the computer, monitor, tablet, software, and endless software upgrades, traditional can actually be much cheaper overall.

    Try it, anyway. It's not as intimidating as it seems.
    That's one of those weird things I keep noticing on CA, the whole traditional = crazy expensive idea.

    Art school, Quad core workstation, Intuos / Cintiq, PS/Painter, IPad, ImagineFX subscription, TAD downloads, Gnomon dvds, second 24" monitor, 20MB cable line etc are all "acceptable expenses"

    Suggest buying 50 quids worth of paint, paper, charcoal, brushes and some things to paint on = "OMG I AM NOT MADE OF MONEY1!!"

    Not directed at OP, just an observation..

    Last edited by Flake; March 15th, 2012 at 08:26 PM.
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    Get a stack of cheap newsprint or printer paper and some #2 ticonderoga pencils. To learn to paint, you first have to learn to draw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManHands View Post
    Sadly in this case im running a mac :/

    I think I might try Painter as well since it seems to emulate traditional media better.

    I suppose if I did give it a go with traditional materials I would have to start with oils or watercolor..

    Thanks for the help.


    Well that's the problem. Digital is another medium. I don't mind people wanting to learn digital if they supplement it with working with traditional methods.

    The problem is you trying to replace it for traditional methods is wrong.

    I mentioned simple painting programs because I find no harm in using them if you're just learning as long as you do not think digital is a replacement for traditional.

    But since you bought the tablet you may as well use it or sell it. But if you do not do enough drawing, no piece of computer equipment will save you, and be prepared to draw just as much without a tablet as you do with it.

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    Well digital painting as opposed to traditional painting has seemed cheaper because I had to buy a laptop for school so I already had the computer, and I got photoshop from a...friend, and all I had to really buy was the tablet, so I felt like paying 200 for an intuos that will last at least five years was a better investment than constantly buying more canvases and paint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    That's one of those weird things I keep noticing on CA, the whole traditional = crazy expensive idea.

    Art school, Quad core workstation, Intuos / Cintiq, PS/Painter, IPad, ImagineFX subscription, 20MB cable line etc are all "acceptable expenses"

    Suggest buying 50 quids worth of paint, paper, charcoal, brushes and some things to paint on = "OMG I AM NOT MADE OF MONEY1!!"

    Not directed at OP, just an observation..
    Most people already have a computer. There is free/cheap software to do art (and let's not kid ourselves, most kids know a way to get a pirated Photoshop- not that I'm condoning it, just acknowledging it as true). All that leaves is a tablet, and the Bamboo is less than a hundred bucks. Once you have those any further expense is purely optional. Not to mention when learning, there is something nice about not worrying about running out of a particular color, or worrying that you shouldn't use as much of a particular color as you should, because it's one of the really expensive colors.

    There are a lot of advantages to traditional, but it's also full of it's own learning curve, just like learning to paint with Photoshop. I know I could teach someone enough of the photoshop brush mechanics to get them painting, faster than I could explain to them about how you need to consider not only the color of the paint, but it's relative opaqueness/transparency and drying time. With digital you are almost entirely considering color and value rather than many other factors that come into play with traditional materials.

    Don't get me wrong, there is something very satisfying and good about learning the craftsmanship of good painting, and knowing the materials, but it's not for everyone, and I think learning the materials can be more daunting than spending an afternoon learning enough Photoshop (or other program) to get to serious art study.

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    Having a computer isn't nearly close to having a computer that will handle the size of digital files one needs to paint with. In ohter words a computer my mom has is about the traditional equivalent of what I recommended in my earlier post, its still not cheaper.

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    We have had this discussion before...

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=219227

    Actually, we've had it several times, but that's the first relevant thread I could find (blasted search mechanism...)

    What it usually comes down to is that a beginner trying to learn to paint will almost always get sidetracked by all the whistles and bells and shortcuts and fancy filters and junk that software comes with. We see it over and over and over and over. Kid picks up a piece of software, churns out a lot of "speed paintings" with fancy effects and no CLUE what they're doing, eventually realizes they're getting nowhere and goes back to basics. (Which usually involves grabbing some actual paint at some point...)

    If someone can actually focus on basics when starting entirely from digital, great, but I've never seen this happen.

    At the end of the day, the FIRST thing you have to learn, ALWAYS, is how to draw. And there is no cheaper and easier tool for this than a pencil and paper. Everyone learns how to use those in kindergarten.

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    There was also this long-ass philosophical thread if anyone really wants to go there... (I knew there was a ridiculously long wrangle on this subject somewhere...)

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=186590

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManHands View Post
    tomorrow i am going to michaels!
    Here, this might help.

    My Sketchbook

    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    I know I could teach someone enough of the photoshop brush mechanics to get them painting, ...
    Sure, but this has nothing to do with learning how to paint. It actually takes somewhat under two seconds for me to show my students how to hold a brush - I've timed it

    But yeah....hashed it all out before. Digital tools are great if you know what you're doing and a real stumbling block if you don't.

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    Why not try digital AND traditional? Much as I love working in oils, I'd recommend starting in acrylics. They dry faster, and so are more forgiving and it's easier to correct mistakes. Most painting works dark to light, but watercolours need to be worked light to dark, and that can make them tricky to work in if you're not used to working traditionally.

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    There is always goache.

    But at the very least keep some pencils and paper about. Colored pencils don't hurt either. There are also markers and inks. Trust me that sketching digitally is still a bit of a headache.

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