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Photo-Art Resources Photo manipulation/digital art tutorials, books, plugins, software, cool websites, etc., and info on the Impressionist plugin: troubleshooting, custom settings, tips & tricks, etc.

Tutorial (link): Watercolor, Wetcanvas

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  #1  
Old 03-01-2005, 02:25 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Tutorial (link): Watercolor, Wetcanvas

Watercolor basics.

This is not a Photoshop tutorial. The content addresses using "real" watercolor paint and brushes. The purpose of posting this link is to give you an idea of what to shoot for when using digital tools.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/47691/556/

~Danny~
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Old 03-20-2005, 12:24 PM
obiron obiron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyRaphael
Watercolor basics.

This is not a Photoshop tutorial. The content addresses using "real" watercolor paint and brushes. The purpose of posting this link is to give you an idea of what to shoot for when using digital tools.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/47691/556/

~Danny~
Danny,
Thanks for this link. I've been working with Trimoon's Artistic Expressions cd for about a month. This link addresses some questions that I've wondered about for a little bit now; what makes a real watercolor, among others? Years ago, I dabbled in watercolor but I now know (thanks to you, or rather the link you provided) that I never progressed past dry on dry for the most part. I did attempt a very light semi-wet on dry. Then the kids came along and all that went by the wayside. I'm now picking this back up as perhaps a retirement activity when the time comes. This link helps put some perspective on what I should be targeting as a result. I tend to like the more detailed look rather than the washed look.

Anyway, this is getting a little long. I just wanted to thank you for providing the link and to say that this link is the kind of thing that might get the 'lurkers' like myself more involved. I think you asked this question in another area of the forum and I apologize that I cannot find that now and respond there.

One more item if you don't mind. I've been looking into Corel Painter. As I understand it, Painter provides better brushes for more artistic work. I'd like your opinion concerining Painter as a means to achieve photo-art. Would you recommend it instead of CS or in addtion to, or not at all. If you've addressed this somewhere else already, my apologies once again.

Thanks for all the work you do here.
Ron
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2005, 02:42 PM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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...Jumping in and answering the question you earmarked for Danny...

By all means, in addition to rather than one or the other exclusively...but then I didn't know what I was missing until Painter came along. Having both is like the perfect frosting for the perfect cake.

Janet
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:21 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet Petty
...Jumping in and answering the question you earmarked for Danny...

By all means, in addition to rather than one or the other exclusively...but then I didn't know what I was missing until Painter came along. Having both is like the perfect frosting for the perfect cake.

Janet
No problem jumping in Janet. Your points are good ones.

- - - - - -

Ron:

I'm glad the Wetcanvas link was useful and thank you for the kind words. It's comments like yours that inspire me to seek and post information of this nature.

Regarding...
Quote:
I'd like your opinion concerining Painter as a means to achieve photo-art. Would you recommend it instead of CS or in addtion to, or not at all.
Even though it was some time ago you indicated that you've at least dabbled in "real" watercolors. That puts you miles ahead of me and probably a lot of people seeking to create digital art. I'll assume back then you were doing preliminary sketches and/or using photos (or even an actual scene) for a visual reference. Creating art from that perspective (drawing / sketching / painting from scratch) is a different ballgame (and in my opinion requires a much higher degree of skill) than photo-art, which to me is digitally manipulating existing pixels from a photo.

So, before I blather on ad nauseum and miss the boat completely, tell me a little more about the types of works you hope to pursue. Do you envision, for example, taking existing photo images and manipulating them into "art" or sitting a photo next to your monitor and free-handing a digital sketch and a watercolor that way? Landscapes or people-type portraits? Oils? Watercolors? Are you going to print the results or display in an Internet gallery?

This information will help me (and others) give (hopefully) more informed opinions on your questions.

~Danny~
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2005, 06:35 PM
obiron obiron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet Petty
...Jumping in and answering the question you earmarked for Danny...

By all means, in addition to rather than one or the other exclusively...but then I didn't know what I was missing until Painter came along. Having both is like the perfect frosting for the perfect cake.

Janet
Thank you for your response Janet. I do a lot of reading (and lurking) so I kinda gathered that Painter is a means to a 'painterly' end for some photos. I also gather that it has a pretty steep learning curve just like PS. I think what prompted my questions is more my lack of real painting experience; like what brushes to use when and how to stroke with them.

Ron
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2005, 07:04 PM
obiron obiron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyRaphael

...

So, before I blather on ad nauseum and miss the boat completely, tell me a little more about the types of works you hope to pursue. Do you envision, for example, taking existing photo images and manipulating them into "art" or sitting a photo next to your monitor and free-handing a digital sketch and a watercolor that way? Landscapes or people-type portraits? Oils? Watercolors? Are you going to print the results or display in an Internet gallery?

This information will help me (and others) give (hopefully) more informed opinions on your questions.

~Danny~
I appreciate your effort to try and pin down some details. Even though I did dabble in the arts, I don't have any formal training. What I did and learned was self taught; so, as I mentioned to Janet in her response, I don't know what brushes to use when or how to properly stroke with them. That's really the heart of what I'm trying to get at; how to actually 'perform' the art. And is that effort easier or more straight forward in Painter or CS, etc.

Now, as for what I'm interested in, I'm planning on transforming digitial photos into some kind of digital art. I'm aware that each photo will be unique and experience (and trial and error) will tell me when to go for a watercolor effect, or an oil or a pencil sketch. Now, I know what I think a watercolor or an oil look like, but I have no idea what other people think or even if what I think falls in the 'traditional' realm of those media. Again, I attribute that to my lack of art experience.

My interests tend toward the natural world; landscapes, animals, pets, etc. I will do an occasional portrait type of family or friends. My output will mostly be for an internet gallery but I plan to print any I consider of print quality. My print capabilities are limited to standard ink jet printer so anything larger will have to be done by an outside house. I will stay mostly with watercolor or oil effects; at least what I perceive these to be.

I am in the process of creating a web site for my brother and myself. He's into 'real' wildlife art, generally colored pencil and maybe acryllic. He wants to sell his work on the internet; hence the web site effort.

Thank you again, Danny, for your interest; I do value the opinions of everyone here and very much appreciate the effort it takes to help us newbies. Sorry for the long post.

Ron
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2005, 08:28 PM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obiron
I think what prompted my questions is more my lack of real painting experience; like what brushes to use when and how to stroke with them.

Ron
I don't know any of that stuff either. What serves me now that I'm dabbling in digital painting is to zoom in closely and try to recreate the way things flow with the brush strokes, i.e. hair or fur. The brush strokes would follow the natural flow of the fur rather than having the strokes at a lot of different angles, the same for water, cliffs, etc. I tend where there is a lot of detail to think about the big picture and eliminate the minute details in favor of an illusion to motion or detail, if that makes any sense.

As for brushes...I'm the last person to ask. I tend to choose a brush based on IF I like it and what it does rather than what someone tells me. Some guidelines might be that a chalk brush would naturally be assumed to give a rough textured or dull appearance whereas an oil brush would be smoother, slicker, or shiny. A watercolor brush would tend to look wet and be somewhat translucent. But then, like I said, who am I to use a brush for what it was intended.

Janet
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  #8  
Old 03-21-2005, 07:33 AM
obiron obiron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet Petty
I don't know any of that stuff either. What serves me now that I'm dabbling in digital painting is to zoom in closely and try to recreate the way things flow with the brush strokes, i.e. hair or fur. The brush strokes would follow the natural flow of the fur rather than having the strokes at a lot of different angles, the same for water, cliffs, etc. I tend where there is a lot of detail to think about the big picture and eliminate the minute details in favor of an illusion to motion or detail, if that makes any sense.
Janet
Great input Janet, thank you. Your response got me to thinking in more detail about how I use a brush. I don't think I'm consistent with the natural flow of the image. I need to improve there.
I've recently been using a large oil brush; I like the wide stroke and it looks good with a canvas texture. I'm curious how you handle the overlap of strokes. Do you leave them obvious or try to blend them in to where they are not so obvious. Look in the upper left of the attachment for an example of the overlap I'm talking about. If you look close you can see this throughout the image. Does one leave these so the outcome looks more painterly or should one try to blend them in better but still leave the look of a paint stroke. I'm sure it's a judgement call but I'd still like to hear what others think.
BTW, I used long diagonal strokes throughout this photo. I didn't follow any flow in the image.
Ron
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File Type: jpg sepiacamellia.jpg (97.5 KB, 37 views)
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  #9  
Old 03-23-2005, 01:22 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Hi again, Ron:

Didn’t mean to take so long to get back to this one.

Before giving an opinion on the $64 K question, I’ll digress a bit (and after having reread this, QUITE a bit).

These are some of the common ways to generate photo-art.

(1) Filters. Many programs, not just Photoshop, allow you to apply built-in filters that will take a photo image and make it look “arty.” No physical brushstrokes (or artistic ability) needed. Little/to no drawing/painting skills needed.

(2) Plugins.
As a suppliment to built-in filters, many popular “arty plugins” are available, e.g., Virtual Painter, Buzz, Impressionist, offerings from Redfield, Andromeda and Flaming Pear, etc. Again, no physical brushstrokes required.

(3) Cloning.**
Photoshop, Painter and perhaps Paint Shop Pro 9.0 have the ability to “clone” images. Imagine for a moment two planes, one above the other. The bottom plane is your original photo image. The top plane is blank. You have the ability to choose a brush that mimics a certain medium, e.g., oil painting, watercolor, colored pencil, whatever. As you move your pen (if you have a tablet) or mouse, the brush pulls the color from the bottom plane and applies it to the top plane in the selected artistic style. It’s kind of like tracing, except the results looks like oils, watercolors, charcoal, etc. -- whatever the brush effect setting. Some painting/drawing skills can be helpful when using this technique.

** This is not to be confused with Photoshop's Clone Stamp tool, which is typically used for image repair. Image cloning in Photoshop is typically performed by using the Pattern Stamp tool or the Art History Brush.

I prefer the Painter implementation of this function over Photoshop's because Painter has more style options and better brush control.

(4) Dedicated programs.
Virtual Painter is offered as a standalone program as is the popular Buzz simplifier in the form of PhotoArt Master. They provide a means of generating photo-art without the need for a program to host the plugin versions.

(5) Creating art from scratch.
This is the equivalent of a sheet of paper or blank canvas and your drawing tools. Have at it. Shape, form, shadows, texture, edges — the whole bit is done by you. Maximum drawing/painting skills are needed for the greatest benefits.

(6) Some combination of the above.
There’s no “right way” to generate photo-art. If you are satisfied by the results, then it really makes no difference what tools you use. The resources necessary depend on the results desired and how much money you want and are able to spend.

Quote:
“…the heart of what I'm trying to get at; how to actually 'perform' the art.”
The skills necessary to 'perform the art' are independent of the software used.

It’s like asking, “What car should I use to learn to drive? A Chevy or a Ford?” It doesn’t make much difference. The same thing applies to PS or Painter. Either could be used to develop digital drawing / painting skills.

Neither (by themselves) should be considered means for teaching one how to paint or draw.

From an effort perspective, it’s probably a tossup. Both are unintuitive to learn, but once you understand their respective nuances, neither is difficult to use.

Quote:
I don't know what brushes to use when or how to properly stroke with them.
A very, very good book that I highly recommend you check out is The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book, by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. ISBN: 0321168917. It not only goes into exceptional depth illustrating how to use and design brushes from each program to get various effects, it’s like "an art class in a book.”

Quote:
Now, I know what I think a watercolor or an oil look like, but I have no idea what other people think or even if what I think falls in the 'traditional' realm of those media. Again, I attribute that to my lack of art experience.
I’ve found the best way to assess digital results is to compare them to traditional paintings. In my opinion it’s very, very difficult to achieve comparable results digitally unless one has considerable traditional art / drawing skills.

But keep in mind it may not be “that important” for your digital watercolor to precisely resemble one created by traditional means. If you like what you create, that’s probably more important than achieving a result that would fool an expert.

Painter vs. Photoshop – functionally.

* A lot of functional overlap
* A lot of operational similarities, e.g., layers, layer masks, palettes, brushes, filters, effects, textures, etc.
* A lot of tools similarities, e.g., brushes, zoom, hand tool, move
* Each has strengths: Painter: Brush presets, brush options/settings, textures. Photoshop: Actions, overall ease of use, training options.

For the broadest variety of simulated natural media options, Painter is considered the top dawg. There are dozens and dozens of factory presets, plus you can define your own brushes. Each brush has numerous (probably too many) options and settings — more than Photoshop. Custom brushes (created by other folks) can be downloaded from the Internet.

Photoshop 7 and later has a considerable number of installed brushes and each brush has a number of options and tuning knobs too, but not as many as Painter. There are lots of Photoshop custom brushes and tool presets that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Another suggestion: Go to your local bookstore and browse any of The Painter Wow books for any version. These will give you a visual idea of Painter’s capabilities if one has the necessary skills.

Finally, in a conversation with the Painter Product Manager in September 2003, he told me at that time ~80% of Painter customers also had Photoshop installed. Make of that what you like. One of Corel's objectives was to continue making Painter "more Photoshop-like" from an operational perspective -- not for the purpose of Painter customers dropping Photoshop, but to entice them to continue purchasing upgrade editions.

- - - - -

Food for thought assuming one has yet to purchase Photoshop or Painter:

For $1200 - $1300 one can get the a combination of the most recent software versions (Photoshop CS + Painter IX) plus have money left over for books and/or training, which will be necessary to learn these beasts.

For about $600 less one could get Photoshop Elements 3 or Paint Shop Pro 9 and Painter IX. Elements has the same filter set as Photoshop and is very capable, as is PSP 9.

For those who have a relative going to school who is eligible to purchase academic versions of Painter and Photoshop, the potential savings could exceed 50%. Academic versions work exactly the same way as standard versions.

For $300-$400 or so one could get Photoshop 7 and Painter 8 (both very capable versions) through eBay or sites selling software that’s “not the latest version.” If it was me this or academic versions are the routes I’d consider. Books for older versions are substantially less expensive than for the latest versions, too.

For around $100 one could get Paint Shop Pro 9 or Elements 3. Add the free Impressionist plugin, some pretty impressive work are just a few keystrokes.

For $20-$30 one could get older versions of Elements or Paint Shop Pro.

- - - - -

So, Painter, Photoshop or both?

Painter has, in my opinion, the best tools for mimicing traditional media IF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THEM - or are willing to invest the time/effort in learning to use them. The cloning function is superior to the Photoshop alternatives.

If $ is no object, there’s no question that a Painter / Photoshop combination gives you the most capabilities and options photo-art-wise. Elements (or Paint Sho Pro) and Painter is an attractive functional and very cost effective alternative.

- - - - -

Also for future reference don’t ever worry about posts being too long. That’s never a problem.

~Danny~

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 03-24-2005 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Fixed a couple typos and clarified "cloning."
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2005, 05:09 PM
obiron obiron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyRaphael
Hi again, Ron:


A very, very good book that I highly recommend you check out is The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book, by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. ISBN: 0321168917. It not only goes into exceptional depth illustrating how to use and design brushes from each program to get various effects, it’s like an “art class in a book”
~Danny~
Wow, Danny, that's an impressive response. I know it took a great deal of effort to put that together. It is organized so well. I do appreciate all the time you spent getting it down.

Thanks for the book reference. I accidentally ran across a reference to it this weekend. I haven't ordered it yet but I will in the very near future. It appears to me to cover a lot of the things we've been talking about here.

Since my last post, I've run into dozens of references on Painter that also covers a lot of the technique. Guess my reading has not been as extensive as I first thought. Most of those references are from right here on RP forum. I didn't realize how deep this forum is until recently. I'm finding out what a fantastic resource it is.

Thanks for your explanation of cloning. I have CS that I upgraded from PSE2 at a real good price. I was confusing cloning with the clone tool. I didn't realize exactly what it was referring to until your explanation. Maybe you should consider using your post as one of the sticky ones for newcomers.

Your input (and that of Janet) has been a real eye opener. It certainly formalizes some goals I need to achieve. I recently got the Wacom Graphire 4x5 tablet. I love the thing. My plan is to continue honing skills in PSCS, get the book you recommended, get Painter 8 once I feel more confident of what I'm doing (maybe upgrade it to IX later), and, of course, keep reading here and posting some of my work.

Thanks again for all your input and encouragement.

Ron
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