Losing my mind (Re: Opacity)

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Old 05 May 2009   #16
That's how Adobe works in Photoshop, one worthwhile feature at a time.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #17
Originally Posted by JohnMalcolm1970: Thanks.... that was a good explantion of the issue. I use Photoshop way more than Painter... but when I do use Painter I try and switch my way of thinking towards more traditional techniques. I tend to try working on one layer preferably, or if I do create a new layer to try things out I flatten it as soon as possible. Working on one layer means you can use things like the tinting brushes that are reasonably good at laying down washes of colour. Working on two layers with oil type brushes can represent working with wet paint on top of already dried paint.
Yes, I tried before to use Painter in a more traditional way, but it was a waste of time to not use what computer can do when I need to make big adjustment on my image or just adding details behind characters hair. In the past using natural media, I used a lot stencil with airbrush (natural media) and layers now are much more powerful. Finally I don't care anymore about using Painter traditionnally.
What I hate now, it is when software try to emulate natural media even when it is just stupid and unproductive. I hate the way ArtRage developers integrated rulers trying to emulate a tool you normally use with two hands but with the limitation now of using only one hand with your stylus. So it makes the use of ruler much more complicated than using a natural media method. Other developers have made a much more efficient use of what computer can do using a smart way to help user in that task (videos of Manga Studio rulers) and finally it makes the use of ruler easier and faster than using natural media (those lovely perspective rulers). Even the sketchbook pro developers integrated in their last version a poor system...(workflow comparison)...

So now I am one of these irritating guys who is saying, please, stop to emulate things at any price!! I don't want to be able to sharpen my digital pencil! (forgive the caricature).
Originally Posted by JohnMalcolm1970: In an ideal world Corel would fix this issue - But in that ideal world perhaps Adobe would add Painter like blending to their brush engine? It's been a while since they've made any significant changes to the way one can paint in Photoshop.... CS5 maybe?
As Adobe is not doing a digital painting program, I can forgive them to not add more features in this area. But Adobe is trying to make Photoshop more and more a non-destrutive program with complete non-linear system and it is a really difficult task I thing even if digital painting users don't care about that.

About Painter, it is mainly a digital painting program and if they want to force any of their users to use only workflow with just a little use of layers (like the new transform tool that can manipulate...only one layer), they will lose any of us who are just tired to not use a much more efficient system. I know lot of people are considering than a better layer system has nothing to do inside digital painting program (in fact a natural media emulation program which is not Painter), I have read some of us would like a more realistic brush engine. The question now, are the pure natural media customers will be enough to make Painter financially viable?

In my opinion, instead of adding more emulation that does not necessary emulate really well all these natural media things, they may integrate more and more tools helping user to make things in a easier way like all these amazing Manga Studio rulers. This kind of feature we will surely never see in Photoshop may be a top feature that will force Photoshop users to use also Painter... I can also add the instant mirror thing inside PaintTool SAI, a thumb view system to not be forced to zoom out to see how detailing is changing our image and so on....lot of useful stuff could be added that can make our life easier because finally, when I am in front of two programs, I prefer the stress less program instead of the "one thousand ways program to do the same things"...
Now we are not in an ideal world and I will be happy to see a true transparent blending system in Painter 12 and a perfect opacity system in Painter 13... not sure I will wait for these versions anyway, Painter is not anymore our only choice.

I am hoping I am not too annoying about my opinion.
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Old 05 May 2009   #18
Hey Hecartha, While I appreciate your strong opinions about ALL of todays digital programs, I am starting to realise you are really picky, it isn't an ideal world, and like everything there are pros and cons, you must come to accept this, it is becoming more and more evident that an ideal and streamlined workflow doesn't consist of just one software package anymore, because Painter can only do so much, and the same applies to every other software package.

I like Art Rages rulers, they are light weight (no OpenGL shit) intuitive, and really easy to use, I prefer them over sketchbook pro's rulers, but have not tried Manga Studio's.

It is a software companies soul purpose to develop software that improves a users workflow, and in general just makes things easier, and if the company fails to deliver this, users simply more on. Painter, with the release of 11, is notorious for their shit customer support, and lack of community relations in terms of taking on board user feedback and suggestions, so most of the things we want, or need, will not make it into Painter because of this fact.

I agree about wanting a streamlined workflow and having less ways to do things is probably an easier way to go about designing a application, however each to their own, because I'm sure some people enjoy have options when creating.

I think at the end of the day, once you realise what your package of choice can, and cannot do you make it work for yourself, sure theres a compromise there for certain features (photoshops opacity system, manga studios rulers) but at the end of the day, each application has their work arounds and like you said, using a computer is to be unrestricted, digital painting software is no different, when theres a will, theres a way.

Your not annoying anyone with your opinion mate
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shap00pi
 
Old 05 May 2009   #19
Mickael's sentiments are exactly the same as mine. I have been using Painter for years, but I've never pulled any punches when it comes to discussing its shortcomings because I think being a blind cheerleader is counter-productive to the growth of a product. In order to help shape a product, we must be totally honest about how we feel.

I absolutely agree that emulating traditional medium to the point of throwing all the benefits of digital workflow out the window is a bad idea. The less well-known painting softwares out there are proving that you can have your cake and eat it too, but to be fair, their brush engines aren't as elaborate or wide-ranging as Painter's, so it's easier for them to implement certain features. Smaller developing teams are always more agile, and often they are the ones that come up with innovative features, while the larger developers will eventually adopt them into their products.

While I agree that often we have to accept how thing are and use combination of different softwares to achieve our goals, it is a necessary evil, and whenever a product achieve the goal of doing it all (and doing them well instead of badly implemented), I immediately ditched all the others because using just one software makes life that much easier.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #20
The point about going too far in emulating natural media is a valid one, to an extent. Look at Moxi - an incredible brush engine but I doubt anybody could paint anything worthwhile using the features demo'd in the video. However, the oil brush in ArtRage demonstrates that there is a happy medium (pun indended) between digital and slavish traditional emulation. Yes, certain functions such as smoothing are more difficult to achieve but the effect - and the feel of "actually" painting - more than makes up for it. Not to mention that the brush engine is significantly ahead of the Painter one, not in scope but in function.

I'm afraid I've never fathomed why workflow needs to consist of a single application. I don't even see it as being a benefit. Specialisation is always a better solution IMO. If every function anyone can ever want is shoe-horned into one product you end up with a bloated, slow, buggy, prohibitively complex, massively expensive piece of software that's essentially a jack of all trades and a master of none. Which is what Painter is rapidly becoming. I don't want to end up paying £1000 for a package that suits my needs less well than my £20 software.

Of course, one option would be to provide a s/w package that acts more like corporate packages. You want a function, you buy the module and bolt it on. I don't know why this isn't done.

Hellfire, people are evening asking for animation in ArtRage now and it's not even on v3! IF YOU WANT ANIMATION BUY A F***ING ANIMATION PACKAGE! What next, a link to Twitter and a LOLcat generator? Sorry, but jeez.

Last edited by BaronImpossible : 05 May 2009 at 09:30 PM.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #21
Originally Posted by BaronImpossible: I'm afraid I've never fathomed why workflow needs to consist of a single application. I don't even see it as being a benefit. Specialisation is always a better solution IMO. If every function anyone can ever want is shoe-horned into one product you end up with a bloated, slow, buggy, prohibitively complex, massively expensive piece of software that's essentially a jack of all trades and a master of none. Which is what Painter is rapidly becoming. I don't want to end up paying £1000 for a package that suits my needs less well than my £20 software.

Of course, one option would be to provide a s/w package that acts more like corporate packages. You want a function, you buy the module and bolt it on. I don't know why this isn't done.


There's actually a very good reason for it--interactivity. When importing/exporting between different packages, you will lose interactivity because the features of one software is not supported in the other, and going back and forth between them will end up in you losing all the specialized features of all of them. For example, Painter's watercolor or ink layers cannot be imported in other painting softwares, and Photoshop's adjustment layers cannot be exported to other softwares...etc. If a software can do it all and do it well (the key word is to doing it "well"), then that's always the best solution. It may be possible to come up with a workflow that can utilize different softwares with minimum loss of idiosycratic features/behaviors, but if at anytime you do need to break the workflow due to a mistake or revision and jump to another software in unforeseen ways, you run into trouble again.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #22
Compatibility could be - and is being - overcome simply by developers making adjustments to their code to support other formats. Sure, there will always be certain features that aren't currently portable and have to be worked around but IMO that pales into insignificance at the effort needed to use an unwieldy piece of software that allows all operations.

That said, even if such software were feasible (and I don't believe it is - not even close) I doubt anybody would produce it. PhotoShop is already split into heck knows how many different flavours and look what happened to Painter 11 when Corel decided they'd chase the market rather than develop the original vision. I don't criticise them for that, after all it needs to be commercially viable, but I do criticise them for ignoring the core functions and usability at the expense of glitz and fluff.

And there's still the price for a piece of software that virtually nobody would use to its full potential. No pro artist I'm aware of would use the full gamut of photography tools, natural media, digital effects, animation, CAD tools, vectors, magic paintovers, etc. and the amateur artists wouldn't want to pay the £1K+ price tag a piece of software like this would cost, assuming it really did justice to each area.

I think whilst it's a fair stance to want a single piece of software to do everything (although I don't agree on it's practical benefits) it's easy to miss that if you factor in the needs of every artist it quickly becomes unworkable.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #23
In that case then the modular approach would be best. You only pay for the module you need. I don't know why software developers don't do that--maybe it's hard to program clean codes that allow the modules to separate efficiently?
 
Old 05 May 2009   #24
Quote: In that case then the modular approach would be best. You only pay for the module you need. I don't know why software developers don't do that--maybe it's hard to program clean codes that allow the modules to separate efficiently?


From my knowledge, some 3D apps have optional modules in their releases (Cinema 4D, Cloth Module, Bodypaint etc.) it only seems practical that software package with a code line as deep as that of Painter and Photoshop would go with a modular approach, I mean, there are so many more markets they can target, Corel can dance around their 'hey lets paint a photo' idealogy and Photoshop can target a digital painting market, without obstructing photographers and other markets.

Great idea Baron.
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Old 05 May 2009   #25
Quote: The base costs would be higher, to pay for the added development, but ultimately the vast majority of users would save money because they're not paying for functions they don't use.


I agree, I would be happy to pay a higher price if the package had the functions and features I needed.

Modules just sounds so practical, and it really makes the package your own. From a developer point of view, developing small modules or small add-ons for current modules would bring in some revenew inbetween software releases anyway.. I don't really see a whole lot of negatives with this idea.. haha
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shap00pi
 
Old 05 May 2009   #26
(^ EDIT: How did that happen - time warp? )

Yeah, as I say corporate software is very modular and it's common to bolt on specific modules, and 3D too as you say. The initial development overhead is greater but I think there are so many disparate needs from the user-base that it would make sense for the s/w companies to look at this. It needn't be very granular but I could see it working if the modules were divided up at a high level into, say, Photography, Painting, Animation, CAD, Tracing Tools, etc. The base costs would be higher, to pay for the added development, but ultimately the vast majority of users would save money because they're not paying for functions they don't use.

Last edited by BaronImpossible : 05 May 2009 at 12:23 PM.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #27
Originally Posted by theanswer07: Hey Hecartha, While I appreciate your strong opinions about ALL of todays digital programs, I am starting to realise you are really picky, it isn't an ideal world, and like everything there are pros and cons, you must come to accept this, it is becoming more and more evident that an ideal and streamlined workflow doesn't consist of just one software package anymore, because Painter can only do so much, and the same applies to every other software package.
You know Luke, I am trying lot of programs so I have no problem in using them if I really need them. I have seen lot of different UI in 2D or 3D programs, so it is not really a problem. I Have no problem using two or more programs, if only it is justified. I mean, if I want adjustment layer, Photoshop will be the solution, I see no reason having this feature in Painter. But Painter is a painting and drawing program, I don’t think I am picky (I can understand for any other reason) because I am asking for a simple decent ruler system, especially because we have more advanced tool with the ‘align to path’ feature. What is incredible, it is this tool is used only few times where a good ruler system would do the job for any basic operation.
Originally Posted by theanswer07: I like Art Rages rulers, they are light weight (no OpenGL shit) intuitive, and really easy to use, I prefer them over sketchbook pro's rulers, but have not tried Manga Studio's.
Maybe you should click on the videos (6 videos and 1 minute max per video) I posted in my previous post (reposted here). It will allow you to see what these rulers can do without trying the program.

Now, it isn’t fair from me bashing about ArtRage’s rulers. In fact there is a little story behind that. In last September, I tried to think about rulers, especially about perspective ruler. I have seen here many threads talking about the needs of good tools to do this task. Lot of trick was described using different programs. So I tried to find myself all the tools in many programs to do just a simple straight line… and wow! Almost none of them has a dedicated tool (I am meaning a direct tool where you can control pressure)!
At this time, ArtRage was the only one which allows doing that with true rulers.
Painter has the ‘align to path’ button but after trying it doing parallel lines it wasn’t a satisfying solution taking many time for nothing.
In Photoshop we can use the shift key which constrains the line and it is easy to make multiple parallel lines, we just need once it is done to use the transform tool (also possible in Painter anyway without the perspective transformation before Painter 11) to orient them…again, not really a direct and satisfying solution…
Now I tested the ArtRage tool…wonderful, at last, someone thought it can be useful to us! BUT, once I tried them, my parallel lines were really difficult to draw. With real ruler, I use one hand to move the ruler and my other hand to make my brush stroke. In CG one, I need to use the same hand to move and make my brush stroke. So it is slower!
Damn, what is the problem with them, if there is a domain where computer is good, it is especially in doing precision and now, none of the software solution were able to give a simple straight line ruler!! That is just crazy!

So, if I am really disappointed, it is because when I am seeing ArtRage’s rulers, they thought about the tools, the real one, instead about the needs! What is most important? Emulating real tools or doing cg tools which meet the needs?
So it is a perfect example of why it is stupid and unproductive to emulate at any price real media tools.

So I thought about a working tool…what is a straight line ruler? A straight line ruler is a tool which is able to constrain my line using a user defined angle. Is it really necessary to move the ruler (the slowest operation)? No, it isn’t, as the position of the ruler is always where I will make my brush stroke. So the ruler I needed was already inside most of program using the shift key. It is just needed to create a system which gives a user interface which allows changing the angle. As it is needed to make a straight line from point A to point B, it is necessary to use a ghosting system which allows orienting a line on the screen. Once it is done I can move the view of my canvas and make any brush strokes I want in a simpler way I can ever dream using natural media. I wrote many notes about perspective and radial rulers also… Everything was made considering concept art workflow because if the tool is able to be used in speed painting (the fastest workflow) it will be perfect for anything else….ouch, I will cut the story as it isn’t the point. So...

Months later I could try Manga Studio 4 rulers and it was magic, it was almost exactly what was inside my notes and a lot more with concentric and radial curve ruler. The tool is not adapted to speed painting workflow but it is the most efficient tool ever created for this task (it is mainly the difference with my notes which used a lot temporary key and a system to position and orient the ruler with brush strokes).
So yes, the ArtRage’s rulers are just poor one, they have the same unjustified issue like the real one (hiding my canvas) and with an added issue as we need to use the same hand to position the ruler and make the brush strokes. Anyway, they are colored and sweet (~irony there) but I feel so disappointed they wasted so many times doing this kind of tools…

And I am even more disappointed because the only program which is able to give what I need is not a digital painting program, it is a program made for creating comic book. I will never use this program because it is not made for this task, it is like I needed to buy Autodesk studio tools (a nurbs modeling solution) to use only the sketching tools… So it is why I am a bit angry about sketchbook pro developers, because their program has been released many months later Manga Studio, because they created a new ruler system which is already outdated.
Dear developers open your window and see what is possible around you before wasting time (and money) doing outdated stuff! You can see the last video posted here named ‘workflow’ and you can compare with the sketchbook pro workflow video…you will laugh…or maybe cry.
Originally Posted by theanswer07: It is a software companies soul purpose to develop software that improves a users workflow, and in general just makes things easier, and if the company fails to deliver this, users simply more on. Painter, with the release of 11, is notorious for their shit customer support, and lack of community relations in terms of taking on board user feedback and suggestions, so most of the things we want, or need, will not make it into Painter because of this fact.
About Painter and lack of community relations I agree with you. But I think there is something schizophrenic with Corel. There are the developers which try to do a decent program and the business men with short vision (yeah, everywhere but especially with Painter development), those who are responsible of early unworking release. This last category doesn’t know anything about reputation which is really important. I have seen many time that I can show an excellent program to someone, explaining it is enough or also better for the stuff this artist needs to do, but it is a useless cause, most of people will prefer to use the program known by everyone. And these business men are killing meticulously the priceless Painter reputation like a cancer.
In my opinion, I have also the feeling there is a lack of strong vision about Painter future when I am seeing the features of the latest release. But maybe I am wrong and it is just because I am not seeing the whole picture.
Originally Posted by Lunatique: I absolutely agree that emulating traditional medium to the point of throwing all the benefits of digital workflow out the window is a bad idea. The less well-known painting softwares out there are proving that you can have your cake and eat it too, but to be fair, their brush engines aren't as elaborate or wide-ranging as Painter's, so it's easier for them to implement certain features. Smaller developing teams are always more agile, and often they are the ones that come up with innovative features, while the larger developers will eventually adopt them into their products.
I read many times your opinion and everytime it was really close or identical to what I was thinking.
Yes, the Painter brush engine is far more elaborate and feature like instant mirror may be a lot more difficult to implement when you can control precisely brush orientation.

But it is also its weak point. IMO, there are two problems with the actual system :
-too many brushes !!
As I thought also about this issue, I wrote some notes how to simplify that. A solution could be in a filtering system based on attributes (inspired by search engine inside latest operating sytem). What happen when user is looking for a brush? Well, I can only talk about my own case, but I am more looking for a brush which is able to play with grain than for a brush inside a category like oil, gouache… And I would like to filter all the buildup brush because I want to use a cover method. And I would like the software avoid me to choose impasto brushes easily because when the impasto is on my canvas, I haven’t found any solution to remove it from the file even when the impasto is deleted (the size of my file is increased a lot). I will like also to be able to filter true bristle brush when I need them or filter image based brushes.
Now the filtering can make my life easier hiding brushes I don’t want, an icon and color system could be added. An icon could show in a quick view which brush is using impasto, bristle, grain and so on… and a overlay color should show you which brush is using buildup method, cover and so on… With a smart system, you could activate the filter system just clicking on the icon (and maybe using a click+modifier key to activate/deactivate impasto state, grain…). I think it will make our life a lot easier and we could explore without fear new preset brushes. About image based brushes, I am tired to use my imagination trying to find a smart name for what is in most of case a random shape. Anyway it is needed to give a name if I want to be able to find where this damn brush is. A good solution should be what we can see in file manager or image manager with floating preview of the dab using 256x256 pixels.

-Second issue is about too many settings with some brushes!
I am one of these guys who like multiple choices, multiple settings, but with Painter it became too extreme. If you take the latest real bristle you can move 3 sliders and nothing will change or just 2 or 3 pixels will be a little different for the same brush stroke. In fact you need to move a 4th slider to see that the change happen when this last one is at special position… And when you know real bristle are controlled by all real bristle sliders but also by artist’s oil sliders, you finally have something like 10 sliders or more for just the bristle brushes, that’s crazy ! So I would like to see a change when I am moving a slider, even if there is a good explanation why the change actually are imperceptible, I would like same system with less sliders.

There is also the brush tracking panel, everyone seems to love this thing, I hate it. In PaintTool SAI there is a little slider which allows setting the pressure per tool, and finally, I have a better control over pressure with SAI than with Painter with this big panel…and it is also accessible in an easier way. Anyway everyone else seems to have no problem with this feature so why not…
but I am sure everyone here would be agree that no one uses the same pressure control with oil brush and pencil. So a control per tool is needed, or maybe something close than this idea because there are now too many settings per brush.
To be able to use multiple pressure inside Painter, I am using multiple stylus. This system works pretty good and I have access to Wacom tool ID which allows Painter to keep in memory the tool and color set to main tip and also to eraser tip (resumed in this table and the requested one here). So this system allows to have per pen two tools and two colors registered. In practice you can use one grip pen with the main tip set to a black pencil and a smooth eraser set to the other tip and you can use the second pen to set a blue watercolor brush with a watercolor eraser, so two tools with different eraser per tool. This system is possible actually using two physical stylus but it could be easily made using virtual stylus. Imagine you have 4 boxes as 4 virtual stylus. You could set the brush tracking per box like this

(it is one of the image sent to Painter team last year)
So you could use one box for a pencil, one other for a brush, a marker or anything you like. And you could create predefined combined tools like black pencil+soft eraser, smeary wet sponge+an eraser sponge and so on...

I can add also a better system to capture dab type and............but I wrote too many things here.

I am happy Simon Dominic has joined the discussion because he is one of us who is trying something else and I have lot of pleasure reading his opinion at conceptart.org about ArtRage. I have the same opinion about PaintTool SAI considering my needs than him who is using ArtRage.
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Old 05 May 2009   #28
About your first issue with Painter, Custom Palettes take care of that, I imagine the point is to load an empty file, try every single brush and move the ones you like to the custom palette. I agree that there are way too many brushes, totally unecessary too, why put the same brush in different sizes: 10px, 20px, 30px? Pointless.
Most brushes are also nothing more than brush engines showcase and impractical in real use, what Corel should do is a new category in which it would include the very best of each brush category, basically you would have a few good watercolor brushes, a watercolor eraser, a pencil, an ink pen, oils, airbrush, etc... This is a complain I often hear that there's way too many brushes and it's hard to track down a brush you want for a given task.

Good luck trying to explain it to Corel, I gave up on them after Painter 9.5, a developer that doesn't listen to the userbase is shooting their own feet, specially in this day and age with the internet, it's essential, I guess Corel's just trying to get rid of Painter.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #29
I'm making this thread a sticky, since it's one of the most thoughtful and informative threads we're had around here in a while. I'm also hoping the Corel team will read this thread and really take it to heart--that Painter needs to improve and progress in order to remain relevant in the years to come, as smaller forward-thinking developers are coming up with intuitive and useful tools that artists really need, and some have superior approaches to how transparency and opacity is handled--in ways that are actually helpful towards an artist's workflow instead of limiting it. That ruler in Manga Studio is also a real eye-opener as well. Even my other thread about the blur brush in Sai and Open Canvas--that's another thing I wish Painter had. And those vector/spline-based inking tools--so flexible and fluid. I wonder if it's even possible for Corel to implement their version of all these awesome tools into Painter.
 
Old 05 May 2009   #30
Hecartha, your bringing up a lot of issues I have known about with Painter, but have sub consiously gone, 'meh, won't try that again then' you know?

Theres a fine line between wanting great functionality and balanced features and wanting an 'all-in-one' package, which is unrealistic by any stretch.

Sure, in a perfect world there would be a package that takes Painters robust brush system, Photoshop and SAI's Transparency and opacity functionalities, and Manga Studios rulers, among other things, but realistically it's a far fetched idea to even hint at wanting that from a developer, as each developer has an individual goal, and idealogy, that may not necessarily reside around creating traditional based tools, or by creating digital tools, this is another thing, as consumers, that we must come to accept, it's a pain in the ass, but that's life!

I feel like I'm repeating myself a little bit here, so will finish by thanking Lunatique for stickying it, hopefully this'll give Corel the boot in the ass they need to turn around Painter before it falls into an abyss of failed software.

Cheers.
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