What is Digital Painting? A rant and a cry for help.
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Thread: What is Digital Painting? A rant and a cry for help.

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    What is Digital Painting? A rant and a cry for help.

    Allow me to begin with a copypaste;

    "Digital painting is an emerging art form in which traditional painting techniques such as watercolor, oils, impasto, etc. are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, a digitizing tablet and stylus, and software. Traditional painting is painting with a physical medium as opposed to a more modern style like digital. Digital painting differs from other forms of digital art, particularly computer-generated art, in that it does not involve the computer rendering from a model. The artist uses painting techniques to create the digital painting directly on the computer. All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects. Included in many programs are brushes that are digitally styled to represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. There are also certain effects unique to each type of digital paint which portray the realistic effects of say watercolor on a digital 'watercolor' painting.[1] In most digital painting programs, the users can create their own brush style using a combination of texture and shape. This ability is very important in bridging the gap between traditional and digital painting."

    Relict citation numbers included, this is the introductory paragraph to the Wikipedia entry on Digital Painting.

    I think it's utter bullshit.

    Why should digital painting be the pursuit of simulating traditional means? Doesn't this seem agonisingly conservative?

    "All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects." This part isn't even true! There exist programs, rarely very good programs, that make no effort to simulate traditional media.

    Y'know what I do whenever I pick up a new painting program? I try to find a simple digital brush. Something which doesn't simulate grain, bristles or liquid-layer blending to make my work look OH SO AUTHENTIC. Something which doesn't arbitrarily decide 'black' is in fact a vague grey tone, or introduce infuriating complications of untoggleable multiply layers or turn pitch black the moment one stroke crosses another.

    I look for the simple ability to paint, digitally.

    I hold a white plastic WACOM stylus in my hand, not a fine horsehair bristle, not a pallette knife or a 'Real Green Crayon' - not an AUTO VAN GOGH tool, either. No, it's a simple digital stylus, and I'd like to digitally paint with it, please.

    I own traditional paints and paint-brushes, I own chalks, and oil pastels. I own a selection of conte crayons, and a huge variety of pencils and graphite sticks, charcoals. Many paint-brushes. I own these tools as I own a camera, or modelling clay, they're my art supplies with which I make things.

    ... I also own a computer, and a digital tablet to enable me to freehand draw and paint directly into digital without the time-consuming complications of traditional means.

    Why would I want to replicate those complications, poorly, on my computer?

    ...

    I pause, and reflect upon my words.

    I bear no ill will to those who do want to simulate these real-world tools for some reason. Perhaps they want to mix media, or replicate a famous style. Maybe they like that faux-genuine art atmosphere, however nauseating I might personally find the notion of 'faking real art', as though digital painting in itself cannot be a wholly authentic form of creativity, as though we're apologetically trying to show we're still real artists.

    Maybe they just think it looks pretty, and that's just fine. Sometimes, you know, if I had the choice I might actually use some of them myself, to add a little flair to a work after roughing it out.

    For now, all I ask a simple digital painting program.

    Rant concluded. Can anyone help me? Does anyone have a suggestion? I want something designed to PAINT, I want the relevant tools such as layers, canvas rotation, selection and transform tools and some blur/smear blending options. I want pressure sensitivity with customisable functions such as opacity, min/max size and pressure gradients.

    Yes, I could illegally crack the overpriced Adobe photoshop and grind my face into its unintuitive clunk, I could wade through its heaps of photo editing and graphic design features I don't want to use right now. I could even go back to GIMP and enjoy the free and ethical INFURIATINGLY UNINTUITIVE HORRORS of open source development and cry salty tears as I struggle to get the more useful plugins to play nice together there while trying to reprogram my mind to use the most deranged hotkey scheme conceived by man or beast.

    ... I could even use that old free version of OpenCanvas, if the bastard thing didn't turn every layer exclusively into Multiply Add or Subtract.

    I want something that works.

    Help an artist out. Share your thoughts on digital art as its own independent medium, and throw me a link to any program you think respects that independence and *works*.

    Muchas gracias.

    ... sincerely enraged,

    Jack

    Last edited by Jakkar; August 13th, 2012 at 05:03 AM.
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    http://sai.detstwo.com/sai/
    http://www.artrage.com/
    http://www.corel.com/corel/product/i...20038&segid=78

    Now I'm not going to say much about digital painting itself, but can't one just do digital art because they can save their wallet and save the trees?

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    Thanks for the links, I do have a grudging fondness for SAI but something turned me off it last year, and resumed my search for something better.

    Painter is the tool that led to this rant. Artrage is worse. Consider the topic at hand; the overemphasis of simulated traditional techniques at the expense of a well-presented, efficient tool dedicated to true digital painting - and you link me ARTRAGE AND PAINTER?

    They're the worst offenders, crossmirage!

    I'll download SAI again and see if I can click with it this time, though. Thanks.

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    "True" digital painting? Come on. You could have just said "I'm looking for a digital painting program that's simple and doesn't put too much emphasis on emulating traditional media" and left it at that. The pretentiousness is entirely unnecessary.

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    It's in the topic, ma'am; It's a rant. Struggled for two hours with Painter's bullshit then closed it, giving up on the painting. Angry. Frustrated with this conversative attitude prevalent in the digital art community both among the software programmers and the artists themselves whose desires define the profitable angle for the makers.

    If I were simply asking for programs, and that alone, I'd have posted in the Other Software forum - I'm here to have a good ol' fashioned internet rant and hear some opinions, see if I'm the only one who feels this way =)

    An entirely genuine 'digital art discussion'. Woohoo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    Thanks for the links, I do have a grudging fondness for SAI but something turned me off it last year, and resumed my search for something better.

    Painter is the tool that led to this rant. Artrage is worse. Consider the topic at hand; the overemphasis of simulated traditional techniques at the expense of a well-presented, efficient tool dedicated to true digital painting - and you link me ARTRAGE AND PAINTER?

    They're the worst offenders, crossmirage!

    I'll download SAI again and see if I can click with it this time, though. Thanks.
    Don't be a douche.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    It's in the topic, ma'am; It's a rant. Struggled for two hours with Painter's bullshit then closed it
    If you want to have a discussion in this section of the forums, then
    please try to actually voice a coherent opinion.

    What bullshit?

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    Star Eater: The original post, above =) Not meaning to be douchy here, I was just surprised/amused that the first reply to a request for 'digital art programs that don't emphasise traditional media simulation' included the two most famous traditional art simulators, ArtRage and Corel Painter. A little bizarre. I don't think mirage actually read the thread, so I'm not sure why she felt compelled to reply.

    Although while SAI does traditionals it does have some better raw tools, so it's a fair suggestion.

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    I'm not complaning about your rant being a rant, just that it smells pretentious. I posted those because they're pretty much your only options left for painting when you leave out PS and GIMP, but want similar tools.

    Is trying to emulate traditional art via digital means bullshit? I say no. Why would it be? More importantly, why does it matter? Just get to know your programs better.

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    I paint with Artrage. It's my program of choice. It's a tool like
    any other. I'm not biased towards any art program. But labelling
    painter and the like as bullshit, -thats bullshit.-

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    crossmirage: I think it's bullshit, you don't - this is good, this is food for discussion =)

    Do you agree that digital art can aspire to be more than just an attempt to simulate traditional art? That it can hold its own, supporting new techniques, independent of traditional art culture?

    If I'm not the only one who thinks so, that Wiki page could be seen as rather biased.

    However, per the secondary purpose of the thread I have found some good options for pure digital artwork - I'll be testing the OpenCavas 5 trial, Speedypainter and a few others shortly. Also chatting with someone developing BlackInk, who says they hope to have a public beta running within the next two weeks. Exciting stuff =>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    crossmirage: I think it's bullshit, you don't - this is good, this is food for discussion =)
    You're an idiot. I'll leave you to the wolves.

    Worst. Thread. Ever.

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    I think the problem is in the term 'digital painting' - of course digital painting mimics traditional painting, or else it simply would not be called painting at all. There are plenty of digital work that don't (fractals for example) but they are obviously not referred to as painting. I think if you want a program that doesn't force you to mimic traditional painting, Photoshop is your best bet because it is so broad and caters to so many different approaches. You don't have to "wade through" graphic design features - just use the features that apply to you and ignore the others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    Do you agree that digital art can aspire to be more than just an attempt to simulate traditional art? That it can hold its own, supporting new techniques, independent of traditional art culture?
    I don't see why not. It's been that way for a while as far as I'm concerned, unless you don't count art in like, say, video games as "real" art. I get the feeling that the 'faux-traditional' look is a response to digital art usually looking disturbingly sterile.

    e: Or, you know, because digital art still has roots in traditional art, so it's only inevitable/natural that there'll be artists who want to emulate that traditional look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dierat View Post
    I think if you want a program that doesn't force you to mimic traditional painting, Photoshop is your best bet because it is so broad and caters to so many different approaches. You don't have to "wade through" graphic design features - just use the features that apply to you and ignore the others.
    Have to agree, I've been using Photoshop for years between CS2 and CS5 and I've barely even noticed them being there (not sure about CS6 which I've heard about some questionable things but the couple things you need for painting are still there, almost right in your face).

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    crossmirage:I know what you mean about sterility, and it could actually be the game design scene that led to that feeling for a while - the zeitgeist was cool grey-blue science fiction for a while, then we moved to dry, dead-brown World War 2, and from there to a huge wave of post-apocalyptic deserts.

    It has become a joke in the gaming community that you can't tell the difference between games in the mainstream due to the 'grey-brown-grittily-realistic' aesthetic that took everything over for the last five years or so.

    Life is coming back. People are realising digital art can have the most vibrant colours and due to great control of opacity can achieve a great sense of motion as well.

    dierat: Aye, the wording troubled me as I considered the problem. Painting refers to the use of paint, a substance. Even 'digital paint' still evokes the idea of textures bestowed upon the work by the canvas or the media itself. We can hardly call it sketching though, when that evokes a rather colourless mental image.

    Freehand 'painting', digitally, without any attempt to actually simulate the traditional tools... What could we call it? Discussions like this, questions like this are what will form the future of the artform.

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    As for using PS, I simply find the interface cluttered, and even the task of customising it to be more time-investment than I want to be making before I start work. I want to get down to making something already, not making canvas, so to speak - if I had that kind of patience I wouldn't be here, I'd be in another room making a watercolour

    The fact Photoshop includes some painting tools is a nice addition to a program with a wealth of clever features - I appreciate that. I'd simply prefer a dedicated painting program with less clutter and a more focused feature-set. They do exist, I've just not clicked with any of the ones I've found yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    The fact Photoshop includes some painting tools is a nice addition to a program with a wealth of clever features - I appreciate that. I'd simply prefer a dedicated painting program with less clutter and a more focused feature-set. They do exist, I've just not clicked with any of the ones I've found yet.
    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you just can't have it all. If you want a painting-focused program, well, pick up Artrage and have fun. But if you want an open program that allows different approaches, you're going to have to accept that it will have features that don't necessarily apply to you and therefore the interface may be clunky. I personally really like the Photoshop interface; having previously used Painter it was a breath of fresh air to me. And having used Maya as well, I have to say it could definitely be worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Have to agree, I've been using Photoshop for years between CS2 and CS5 and I've barely even noticed them being there (not sure about CS6 which I've heard about some questionable things but the couple things you need for painting are still there, almost right in your face).
    Stop it, you're scaring me! I've been stubbornly clinging to CS2 for years because I think the newer versions look weird. But I'm going to have to upgrade sometime.. nyuuhh.. I heard CS6 performs better at least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    I'd simply prefer a dedicated painting program with less clutter and a more focused feature-set. They do exist, I've just not clicked with any of the ones I've found yet.
    So basically you already have found what you want, but you just didn't like them from some reason?
    It just kinda sounds like you're after something you're not sure about even yourself, if it's not even about suiting all your mentioned technical needs but finding one that also "clicks".

    Quote Originally Posted by dierat View Post
    Stop it, you're scaring me! I've been stubbornly clinging to CS2 for years because I think the newer versions look weird. But I'm going to have to upgrade sometime.. nyuuhh.. I heard CS6 performs better at least.
    I've heard horror stories that it forces you to open all the stuff in Bridge, and then the Bridge itself crashes! *wavy ghost hands*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jakkar View Post
    As for using PS, I simply find the interface cluttered, and even the task of customising it to be more time-investment than I want to be making before I start work. I want to get down to making something already, not making canvas, so to speak - if I had that kind of patience I wouldn't be here, I'd be in another room making a watercolour

    The fact Photoshop includes some painting tools is a nice addition to a program with a wealth of clever features - I appreciate that. I'd simply prefer a dedicated painting program with less clutter and a more focused feature-set. They do exist, I've just not clicked with any of the ones I've found yet.
    Well, sounds to me like the problem is your inability to draw and paint with anything; it isn't the digital tools out there, since so many people have achieved professional results. Post some pictures of your traditional paintings to prove you have any ability to paint at all before blaming the tools other people use. Otherwise you're just a troll and someone should lock this thread.

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    A poor crastsman always blames his tools.

    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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    Wiki is not God. Generalist fodder for the general public. I wouldn't worry about a Wiki definition and start worrying about breaking new ground with a potentially limitless purely visual medium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dierat View Post
    Stop it, you're scaring me! I've been stubbornly clinging to CS2 for years because I think the newer versions look weird. But I'm going to have to upgrade sometime.. nyuuhh.. I heard CS6 performs better at least.
    I'm afrain you cannot upgrade from CS2 to CS6...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Yep. . .

    And, somebody needs to invent some watercolors that are easy to erase-- after they've dried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    I'm afrain you cannot upgrade from CS2 to CS6...
    By upgrade I just mean, you know, get the new version and stop using the old one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    Yep. . .

    And, somebody needs to invent some watercolors that are easy to erase-- after they've dried.
    Actually, if you use non-staining colors and hot press paper, this is pretty easy.

    And to the OP, go use MS Paint and stop bitching.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Actually, if you use non-staining colors and hot press paper, this is pretty easy.

    And to the OP, go use MS Paint and stop bitching.
    Dammit, wish I'd thought of that one.

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    Open Canvas 1.1 - Free - Windows
    AZ Drawing 2 and AzPainter - Free - Windows
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=246931 - Free - Windows

    I've used about all of them except for the last one

    I love when people complain about interfaces being cluttered when you can hit Tab in in a majority of these programs and stfu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Actually, if you use non-staining colors and hot press paper, this is pretty easy.

    And to the OP, go use MS Paint and stop bitching.
    Unfortunately, for the time being, I find myself using a fair amount of staining colors on cold press blocks or thin gauge faux-moleskine stuff-- so the issue, presently, is not damaging the crap out of the surface.

    But. . .

    I'm sensing an excuse to head out to Daniel Smith and get some more stuff to play with.

    (But, I understand the OP's angst: Why won't this stuff do what I want it to do, in the way I want it to do it, when I want it to do it, etc., etc!)

    But, that's where half the fun is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    I'm afrain you cannot upgrade from CS2 to CS6...
    Yeah, whats with having to upgrade every year now? CS6 is a 12 month license or a monthly rental.

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