Tips of the Trade - Digital Art

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briari hallow

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Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« on: January 18, 2017, 06:29:55 PM »
I picked up seven books from the library yesterday, and after only reading one chapter of a very simple book, I understand so much more about using an art program than I deciphered from watching online tutorials.

For instance, I didn't know I could lock my layers so that they wouldn't react to other layers.

This whole time, I'be been coloring stuff and cursing the stars when the color got muddy because the background color interfered with it or whatever, and I thought I was just about the biggest idiot in the world.

I also didn't realize that decreasing the opacity for coloring in an area (instead of having it the same opacity as the outline) looks a lot better and wouldn't force me to lighten, say, black against a black outline).

So tell me your trick and tips! This whole time I thought it was that I had a bad program, but I have SEEN what people make in it and I know it's user defect.

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JayLee

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2017, 07:34:29 PM »
What program do you use? I use Gimp... and unless I'm super, super wrong, I don't think I can lock layers, but I wish I could :) Locking layers is such a wonderous, lovely thing.

Before I start coloring (I do line art by hand still) I put a gray background so I never have to worry about light dark contrast, then I draw where the light source should be coming from on its own layer. I roughly sketch on where the light will touch directly, and where there will be deep shadow. It helps me keep things in mind for later. Put that layer at a low transparency and have it on top, and you can always pop it back on to make sure you're on the right track. Another huge thing for me for portraits was learning that specular and reflected light exist....

Other than that, I'm still really new to digital art, and I kinda suck. But those things have helped me so far  :D
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2017, 07:42:10 PM »
I use Gimp... and unless I'm super, super wrong, I don't think I can lock layers

You are super super wrong :P you can lock layers! Click the button next to the eye in layers :D

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JayLee

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2017, 09:15:35 PM »
You are super super wrong  you can lock layers! Click the button next to the eye in layers
Oh no!!! I have been foiled by my own ignorance... you mean the little button that ends up looking like a chain link when you click it? That's the only other one I've got (Gimp 2.8). Either I don't know what a lock is supposed to do on Gimp (will not be ashamed to admit that), or it doesn't lock my layers. Away to research I go!!!
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
 http://paperweighteditorial.tumblr.com/

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JayLee

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2017, 09:40:30 PM »
I found it! Both how to lock pixels and transparency... Today is a good day. I also learned that I can just click a little button that says "move active layer" and it won't pick everything else in existence up... the things research helps with :)
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
 http://paperweighteditorial.tumblr.com/

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2017, 06:46:50 AM »
There you go :P I would have responded earlier but I'm UK time so I was asleep. I am 99% self taught with gimp and I have used it for 10 years now. I sometimes use inkscape if I want vector images but I have a love/hate relationship with it.

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briari hallow

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2017, 08:37:26 AM »
@JayLee - See I'm trying to get the hang of drawing where light is and where shadow is. I tried it last night and it looked ridiculous. I think I went too dark and too light. I tried it again using a watercolor brush under a skin tone in a grayscale, but it still looked wonky. =___=

It doesn't help that I haven't figured out my style. I used to have one, but just when I started getting a real knack for my drawings, I stopped drawing for a few years. I don't know why. I just didn't find time to write or draw.

Are there certain tools/brushes?

I'm using Corel Painter Essentials. I'm testing out photoshop (because you can subscribe for $10 a month!) but I got really frustrated immediately, as I tend to get with most things.

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2017, 09:05:51 AM »
You can download more brushes etc for a lot of programs :) I dont know about Corel but you certainly can in gimp and photoshop

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JayLee

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 10:37:45 AM »
@briari hallow I don't actually use any brushes other than what came on GIMP. Nothing Fancy... just a quick reference to help me visualize things, like this one which had  a really strong reflected light I wanted to keep in mind...



I completely hide it in the end, but it is helpful for me to see what is going on during coloring stages, especially since coloring can take me up to 30 hours, and I totally forget what I'm doing about halfway through.

@Sheepy-Pie I'm still so excited! GIMP has become a better place, thanks!  :D
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
 http://paperweighteditorial.tumblr.com/

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briari hallow

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2017, 10:53:55 AM »
Oh I just meant WHICH ones do you use? Right now all I really use is the Fine Tip pen and the Just Add Water blender.

Do you guys use one? Several?

Your lines are so much neater than mine!

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Sheepy-Pie

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2017, 12:46:49 PM »
I havent used lines in a while because I didn't like the brushes I had, however have you tried ink? (I'm assuming Corel has ink) It takes a while to get the hang of it, but the lines are clearer

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JayLee

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2017, 01:05:41 PM »
Oh I just meant WHICH ones do you use? Right now all I really use is the Fine Tip pen and the Just Add Water blender.
Ahhh, I see :) sorry. I only use four brushes... the patchy looking nonsense that calls itself acrylic (blend a bunch of that together and you get wonderful pastel-looking backgrounds) and the three standard rounds (soft to hard). I need to expand my borders... but without pressure control and only manual changes in opacity, I've been pretty content with few brushes. I don't know what photoshop or corel would call the equivalent of GIMPs smooth-stroke... but that's always helpful for less wavy lines.
Writer's Arithmetic: Cup of tea + blanket + book/sketchpad = Heaven
 http://paperweighteditorial.tumblr.com/

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briari hallow

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Re: Tips of the Trade - Digital Art
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2017, 12:19:39 PM »
I just need to practice and stick to it.

I think there's a pen brush, but I'm unsure. I'll have to check because that for sure would clean up my lines. The one I use doesn't give the cleanest lines.