March 8, 2017

Digital Painting with Photoshop: Painting it Painterly

Photoshop has been a great digital drawing, painting, and drafting & design tool, since eons ago. I taught myself to use Photoshop 4 on a very old machine when I was in my late 20s. Little did I know Photoshop 5.5 has been launched. At that time I was trying to design a simple invitation card for my wedding in church. Photoshop 4 did not allow edits or undos. Each time I made a mistake on typing something, I have to redo everything from top. v5.5 allowed layers and I was delighted. Finally after much pain, I finished design my card and got it printed to be distributed to friends. I was proud of it. In early 1999, I managed to invest in my own system and started my freelancing stint. Photoshop has come a long way since. CS3 went very well and for a long time I felt that hardware is way ahead of software and everything ran fast and smooth, until the new updates of the OS gave me lotsa of trouble. Many digital painters have moved from the smooth digital airbrushing to making their works to look more painterly, like they have been painted on canvas with traditional mediums. I have done that since 2003 and decided to revisit again in recent years. The result, pretty satisfactory. Knowing traditional mediums like oil and acrylics does help pretty much.
I can't remember where I got this set of Photoshop brushes but they give quite good painterly effects that also come with canvas texture. I applause this guys who made these so well. Everything you see here is the result of these brushes.
Digital painting with Photoshop
It gets easy to paint in Photoshop because we can vary the brush sizes from really large to really small to just 1 pixel. In reality, there isn't such a function as we are limited by the number of brushes we have in our container. Most artists don't have a wide range of brush sizes, and most of the time, they paint with not more than 3 brushes or some could finish a painting with just one type of brush. We can get greedy when we paint in Photoshop, and spoilt with choices. By limiting the number of tools you would use, we could in fact emulate the effect of painting with traditional medium. I illustrated this point by painting the above by limiting my brush sizes and I would only use 2 brush sizes in fact, thus resulting in a less crisp finished digital look. But of course the brush tool set I was using help a lot too.