Friday, December 7, 2012

Shortcut and Shortcomings: Digital Art, Part Due

Okay so for my other website I tried to make another fully digital painting using Corel Paint Shop Pro. I took longer than I hoped - I was up till three, good thing school's out now - but it also reminded me of the point I made in an earlier post about digital painting: it is not easy as pie, or a piece of cake, or any sort of dessert related cliche. (Speaking of which, making those from scratch is hard too, but the site's not Baking with Pixels, I digress)

I still agree with that, but I'm also going to qualify it with my own experience, not that I'm not so abysmal at painting myself. To illustrate (pun intended) I'm doing to show you how I digi-fied this picture I drew.

Adorable right. But she'd be more adorable with colors, so I am first going to paint the outline. And by first I mean second. To start I need to make something called a layer or a raster over my original picture. It's transparent so it looks like I'm just tracing over my pencil outline (and, in a sense, I am) but look what happens when I click on the eye and turn my drawn layer invisible.

Next (note, the checkered pattern means nothing's there)

Magic! Except not. Anyways, with the oil paint tool at 5px (note: you can use another tool if you want, I just like this one) I kinda-sorta trace my drawing. Then I make a new layer to start coloring in with the paint brush. Note that it's impossible to color over your lines, you can color out of the lines like a Kindergartner, but never over them. In fact so long as you don't go outside the lines you can be a bit sloppy with the coloring because this:

Ends up looking like this:

So in a sense, you can be a little less careful with digital painting than with traditional painting, where two colors meeting on a portrait can mean it's time to get out the thinner. And unlike with pencil erasers, there's no grayish residue afterwards with digital painting.

Not to mention that the paint makes shading pretty easy, when using the paint tool all you need do to to get a slightly darker color than the base color is paint over it. No palettes required.

Not to mention that since I can copy the wing design on one side, flip it, and place it on the other side, the need to learn how to draw symmetry is moot.

However, that still doesn't mean digital painting is a walk in the park (yeesh, Walking with Pixels now?)

This is just the basic level of digital painting, to add mid-tones and highlights you'll need more layers, for awhile it'll seem like you're painting the same thing ten times over (which, in a sense, you are). Once you've added everything then you need to figure out how much of which layer to blend with one another, what should be the visibility of the highlight layer, if you mess up your painting could look like a complete mess.

Not to mention again, that paint brush tool. You have to hold your mouse down for the entire time while coloring a shape in or else you get slightly darker blotches all over your character's skin, clothes, etc. Not exactly strenuous but at least it's a pretty annoying setback.