View Full Version : A Million Questions

01-02-2006, 04:44 PM
I've been lurking here for a while & wanted to ask some questions if you don't mind:

1: How do you all get your color transistions to look so sharp & not blurry? I especially noticed the skin tones in the portraits by JC Coop & Smokin.

2. I understand painting just for the sake of painting, but do you ever print your work &, if so, how, or do you take it somewhere? Is there specialized equipment or what?

3. I told a watercolor friend that I was experimenting with digital painting & she was very disparaging & said to stick with my watercolor. Is there a big resistance to digital art or do you just paint for fun & not care?

4. Are there a lot of places to learn more about this? Do you all have any kind of classes or anything?

I'll probably have a billion other questions but I have so little time to use my watercolors any more that I'm really interested in this computer painting. It saves a bunch of time when you don't have to stretch paper, get out paints, brushes & stuff so might really be a good thing for me.


01-02-2006, 06:47 PM

I'll take a stab at a couple of your questions.

3. There is still some resistance to digital among traditional media only artists, but I wouldn't worry about it. IMO, the medium that you choose to work in doesn't matter; none are more valid than any other. My office at work has been nicknamed "The Gallery" because I hang small prints of my work (Nothing fancy, just bond paper and a laser printer.). I have yet to get a negative reaction for the work being digital in original. Subject matter is sometimes a different issue! :D
I've sold some works, which I print on canvas (others will have better info for you on large scale printing and such). I get offers for commissions on a wide range of subject matter on a fairly regular basis just from the work displayed in my office.

4. If you've worked regularly in traditional media, you should have little problem in transistioning to digital painting. There are some variations, but all of the basic artistic principles apply. Composition, color theory and drawing are just as important in digital as they are in other mediums. I mostly read books dealing with traditional media techniques then adapt those lessons to the digital medium. You'll want to find tutorials (lots of them on the web) that help you to understand how to use the various software (Painter, Photoshop & PaintShop Pro being the "big three."). There are also plenty of "How I work" demonstrations online by digital artists that show how they use the medium.


01-02-2006, 07:37 PM
Welcome ABA! I'm purely a hobbyist, but I agree with Digi....those who come from a traditional background bring a wealth of experience with them. The principles are the same.
JCOOP has a lot of experience with some of your questions, so his answers will be interesting.

01-03-2006, 01:39 AM
ABA, Im flattered that you noticed my work :D.

I agree with Skinny, and digi, the best digital works come from those with traditional knowhow. I dont have a traditional background at all, infact i only started drawing again since i got my tablet, but in trying to learn to do some good digi painting, I find that I turn to traditional "how to's" to learn the majority of the time. Even purchased a few books on oil painting even though I've never touched a brush cept to paint a room, dont expect ever to touch one either.

Im not sure how to answer your question on color transitions, im really still learning myself, but here are a few tutorials/link where I got ALOT of info to guide me.



There are a few blending techniques, too many techniques to go into really, I use one similar to the one found in 3dluver tutorial, but i think the more important than the actual technique of blending, is the value of colors. Im still trying to understand this, its very tough for me to see the value in color, but if this is right, i think the form/color of a shape will be more crisp or aparent.

01-03-2006, 02:30 AM

What I say below is based on having read a dozen or more digital art newsgroups, e-mail lists, and message boards on a daily basis for the past decade where there are frequently discussions on this subject. Several of these digital art forums are frequented by hundreds of members, many of whom earn their living doing digital art, or try to earn their living .

Unfortunately, yes, there is still a lot of resistance to digital art, from:

Many traditional arists
Potential buyers
People in the general public who don't know much about digital art but think they know a lot about it

There's also resistance within the community of artists who use digital media, to understanding and accepting (let alone becoming interested in) the fact that computer graphics programs offer a whole new and extremely wide range of ways to create art, often things that can't be done with traditional media. While we often compare it to traditional media, in the big picture, the reality is that it's new, it's different, and it takes willingness to think in new and different ways. In other words, it takes an inquisitive and creative mind to accept and fully enjoy the possibilities available when creating digital art.

Digital artists have been struggling for years to find ways to describe their art accurately so that those who don't "get it" will begin to "get it". Discussions, debates often go on for weeks in various forums and there hasn't yet been a concensus on what to call it and how to describe it. Some of the more familiar one or two word descriptions are:

"computer art"
"digital art"

.... and more creative terms I can't recall at the moment.

Frequently digital artists report that when they attempt to describe how their digital art was created, the "listener's" eyes glaze over and they walk away.

One artist, when asked what she tells people when they ask her "How did you do that?", replied with something close to, "Lots of talent!".

The good news is that:

Computer graphics programs are being used by artists who are paid, and most earn their living, for their:

Fine art
Graphic art
Web art
Childrens book illustration
Architectural illustration
Medical illustration
Matte painting for movies
Game art
Paintings from photographs (Photograpers)
Photo retouching

.... to name the fields that come to mind.

This forum alone is a testament to the many hobbiests who accept and enjoy digital art and there are thousands, maybe millions, more who don't frequent this forum who also accept and enjoy digital art.

My own take on it is that digital art is becoming more and more accepted each year. Certainly digital cameras have done their part to bring new people into the fold. Some who began as photographers are becoming pretty darned fine artists, doing beautiful paintings based on their own photographs and earning some fine fat income for each of these commissioned paintings. Fairly recently I read some figures from a few of these photographers, ranging from $380 up to $1600 for a single painting, depending on the painting's size, number of figures, and of course the photographer/artist's experience and confidence. (The range of skill and talent is wide and the most talented photographers, with an obvious good eye for color, lighting, composition often turn out the most beautifully done paintings that show the hand of the artist and do not look at all like smudged photos, or even photos at all... just beautiful paintings.)

So I'll end this with a suggestion that we all keep our minds open to learning and accepting, and do our part to help educate those who aren't yet "getting it".

It's an exciting time, for sure!

01-03-2006, 01:08 PM
Welcome to Digital Fine Arts!
A1. jcoop and smokin can help you with the color transitions.
A2. I print my work for my own enjoyment and to share with others, I use an Epson Stylus C60 printer which mostly does 8.5x11 paper ( I sneak in the occasional 9x12 but the printed area remains the same.) Epson has some fine printers that do larger formats.
A3. Digital fine art is still relatively new beast to traditional artists and the fine art fields, though it shouldn't be. I has some acceptance and that improves each year. The ability to make many prints of a single work scares some people into devaluing the process and the pieces themselves. But if you treat it like doing limited edtions it can work out.
A4. What programs are you using? Finding training depends largely upon what type of programs and what computer platform you are working on.

My 2 cents. :)

01-03-2006, 02:00 PM
Hello ABA, and welcome to WC!

You've already been given some excellent advice by very good artists, so I'll try to keep my responses simple.

1: How do you all get your color transistions to look so sharp & not blurry? I especially noticed the skin tones in the portraits by JC Coop & Smokin.
I can't speak for Smokin (who's excellent by the way), but for me the key to good transitions is to blend "edges" and not "areas". Meaning, if you want to blend two areas, do so where the edges meet... avoid pushing entire "areas" into another.

More importantly...

In my mind smudging and blending are two different animals. Smudging to me is "pushing" areas of existing paint into another, which often results in blurry and messy transitions. The better route is to "paint" your transitions... meaning, put some paint on your brush at lower opacities and "blend" that color into neighboring colors.

3. I told a watercolor friend that I was experimenting with digital painting & she was very disparaging & said to stick with my watercolor. Is there a big resistance to digital art or do you just paint for fun & not care?
I see you've already survived your first negative reaction... that's good!:) Now build on that and toughen your resolve by learning as much as you can, and striving for excellence in your work. Don't fall into the trap of creating fast food digital art, when instead, you could have spent a little more time and observation to create the best art possible at your skill level. The majority of artists who post here take their results seriously, even if they are just creating for the joy of it.

One of the best ways to get ahead of the learning curve is to post your work and ask for serious critiques. We all try to be very constructive in our comments... rarely will you receive a negative constructive comment.

I will be redundant and tell you to read traditional art books. They contain the successful ingredients needed to create good digital artwork.

Hope to see you posting work soon. :)

01-03-2006, 03:13 PM
Welcome to the digital forum ABA. Joel has given you some great advice about blending! I would emphasize the " lower opacities and "blend" that color into neighboring colors." So often we see digital paintings that just look burry instead of blended.

Sometimes I paint just for the fun and relaxation of doing it. I also paint with the intention of printing them. I can only print out 81/2x11 size so I will both print my own and send out what i can't print. If your intention is to print then something very important to remember is to paint at a 'printable resolution'. IE at least 150 ppi/dpi for a home printer, and 300 dpi/ppi for a pro printer. If you send them out the printer will let you know what the minimum ppi/dpi is for them. I find that 150 dpi prints great on my home printer. For example, If I paint an 8"x10" at 150 dpi I can print it out at the 8"x 10" size. But if I paint an 8"x10" at 300dpi/ppi, then I could print it at twice the size, 16"x20" and still have a very nice print.

3. I told a watercolor friend that I was experimenting with digital painting & she was very disparaging & said to stick with my watercolor. Is there a big resistance to digital art or do you just paint for fun & not care?
I think the majority of resistance to digital art will come from those who think it is created by clicking on filters, and effects, in other words that the computer is doing the artistic work and not the human. While this is often true, it often is not true. An artist/painter can paint very much the same on the computer as they would do traditionally.
I don't see that resistance changing until there is a distinction understood between the different forms of digital art the same way there is about traditional forms of art. LOl, and frankly, there is so much resistance amoung digital artists that I don't see that ever happening but one can hope.

As far as where and how to learn more I always think the first thing to do is open your program and start clicking all the tools and giving them a test drive is the most valuable. Then read the forums, study the posted pictures, ask questions, and practice, practice, practice.

Traditional art books have been suggested and they are very valuable. You can do most anything (and more) much the same way in digital.

01-03-2006, 03:47 PM
I agree with everything that's been said so I am not going to repeat it. But I would like to recommend you the following books:

1. Painter IX Creativity, Digital Artist's handbook by Jeremy Sutton, ISBN#0-240-80669-7

2. Painter IX for Photographers, an Ideal Companion to Photoshop by Martin Addison, ISBN#0-240-51982-5

3. The Painter IX Wow! Book by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, ISBN#0-321-30532-9

4. The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book, Creative Techniques in Digital Painting by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, ISBN#0-321-16891-7

01-03-2006, 05:02 PM
All the advice you need there, ABA.
All I would add or emphasise is always be true to yourself, and try to produce good art. Then the process matters less.

01-03-2006, 05:30 PM
One thing to add real quick (someone may have said it and I missed it) And this is just my oppinion. If you are going to sell your digital art it is usually best to make sure you are using archival paper and ink when printing. You can take it to a print shop and get it done there it looks fabulous and you dont have to fork out a ton of cash for that gigantic printer. We have a huge 36 in 6 color printer and smaller epson printer that is awsome, and can make even something you arent super happy with look rather good. Good luck! ... I am getting a digital tablet soon and a new computer so I can start posting from home and not just work... that means I can post my pics too.. yay!!

01-04-2006, 09:49 AM
Thank you all for your welcomes & responses. You've given me a lot to think about.