How To Paint In Photoshop

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  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by Stahlberg: Yes exactly, jfrancis. Is that part of a tutorial? I'd like to link it in the Art Theory thread.

I don't have much more than what's at this link

"The two most important brushes in Photoshop are the hard-edged circle and the soft-edged circle. The most important tool is a tablet with a pen.

Set your brush's opacity to respond to pen pressure.

Most things in the world have hard edges. You'll use your hard-edged brush a lot.

Many color transitions on or within objects are soft. You may find your soft-edged brush comes in handy in those cases -- but not as handy as you think -- don't over rely on it.

You can get a huge amount (maybe even most) of your work done with with a pressure-sensitive hard-edged circle.

How do you blend one color into another with a hard-edged brush?

Use a light touch (low pressure) and paint this color into that, and that color back into this.

Your two best hot keys are the size changers, ] for bigger size and [ for smaller size, and the eye dropper key (alt on Windows)

Don't eye-dropper colors from photos. Try to estimate them by eye. Feel free to sample your own colors from elsewhere in your own painting."
Addt'l notes:

Personally, I prefer not to let pressure control brush size; only opacity.

If you are using pressure sensitivity, DO take the time to go into the Wacom software and adjust the pressure sensitivity of the tip. There is a slider that remaps pressure values through a curve. I like to set my pen tip to be one notch to the right of (firmer than) the default setting. I find this brings out the subtlety of the light touch, and helps prevent the tip from slamming from barely on to fully on without a smooth transition.

----- I read back I see it's very similar to what you said (which I probably read on your site sometime in the past) except that I don't use a smudge brush for blending; I paint back into the blend area with the original colors and a light pressure touch, or with intermediate colors sampled from the developing blend area.

Last edited by jfrancis : 05 May 2005 at 04:24 PM.
  05 May 2005
Thanks, consicely stated, maybe I'll just link this thread into the sticky one, calling it Photoshop-painting FAQ or something.
  05 May 2005
I myself have only been using photoshop for a few months. I tend to jump from painter to photoshop throughout the process of my paintings, I find somethings I can do in painter that I can't in photoshop and vise versa.

The way I started was from searching tutorials on google and looking for tutorials on other artists websites. It's all about playing around with the different tools and not being afraid of making mistakes. I have also learnt so much in the past couple of weeks since I have become a member here at cgtalk. I'm constantly picking up tips and tricks whilst I'm browsing the forumns
  05 May 2005
I've had the same problems many people in this thread have talked about. I've been fairly decent at drawing for most of my life, but I just got my Wacom a few months ago (after taking a class with an instructor who recommended it), and my progression has been incredibly slow.

My biggest problems — being intimidated by all the different features of the programs I'm trying to learn (Painter IX and Photoshop CS, though I'm vaguely familiar with Photoshop for most other purposes, just not painting), becoming frustrated when I can't figure out how to get an effect I've seen someone else create, and giving up too easily on a drawing or painting I'm trying to do that isn't turning out well. I also have a major weakness when it comes to colors: even in traditional media, color was always my weakest area, though I have a decent grasp of things like anatomy and perspective.

I searched for some books too, but the one I ended up getting (Painter IX Creativity by Jeremy Sutton) hasn't been very helpful. I was able to figure most of that stuff out by trial and error, and I still really suck at using the program.

This thread has been a great help, though, and I'm eager to start trying out some of the things that have been suggested. I'll definitely look into getting one of the D'Artiste books; is there one in particular that would be suited to a beginner in digital painting who has a strong traditional-media background?
  05 May 2005
hello all and thanks everyone for this very interesting thread...
i am not a newbie but today reading all this thread i got some very useful trick to improve...

it could be sound silly but this thread with links like digitalartform one, really made my day
  05 May 2005
Originally Posted by flyingP: naaaahhh PS drives me nuts too, much prefer Painter for drawing or painting to be honest

The same here > I almost use Photoshop for adding details and working on texturing of the images I´ve done in Painter. Without rotating the paper I stuck in Photoshop. Maybe a Wacom Cintiq would solve the problem.
  06 June 2005

If you do use opacity falloff to blend colors, you are not really "mixing" colors -- you are just blending them in the form of a linear gradation from one to the other.

If you see (or expect or want) colors you are not getting, you can "help the blend" along by sticking a third color into the process.

Painter models color mixing better than Photoshop does, but you can get somewhat accurate color mixing from Photoshop if you use "multiply" as your brush or layer blend mode.

Here's a whole lot more on Digital Color Mixing in Photoshop

Last edited by jfrancis : 06 June 2005 at 10:35 PM.
  06 June 2005
That last thing is really great, one of the things i struggle most with in PS is the mixing of colors.
But i guess it comes down to pratice, like with every other tool (pencil etc) you would use.

Be sure to check out DeepPaint, even if it hasnt the functions you get with PS it allows you to paint and mix colors and has nice brushes.

It atleast allowed me to jump directly in and start painting, a bit more like with a brush.
Ciao Mario
  07 July 2005

Thought I would add my 2 cents worth. First, the term "good" at drawing and painting is pretty relative. My guess is that most of us mean we can replecate nature with a particular medium, whether traditional or digital. Beyond what makes a great image, (concept, composition, etc.) the secret I believe is a thourough understanding of light, and structure, value and edges). Ad into that the expressive manipulation of the chosen medium and you will have great art. Of course it is one thing to verbalize it, quite another to do it.

Let me say I am a professional artist that works in Photoshop. But even though some would say I am "good", all one has to do is go to to see someone who is great.

It is really hard to give advice without knowing where you are in skill level. On the one hand you don't want to talk down to someone who has a command of a particular medium but is struggling with PS. But you also don't want to assume PS is the issue.

The nice thing about PS is that if you do have a command of painting you will begin to rapidly improve in PS due to the ability to undo, layer, and experiment.

My advice is to look at as much good work as you can and start to analyze what the artist is doing. The internet is great for this. Then draw, paint and study as much as you can.

I have so far to go myself!


You can see some of my work at

or go to to see the billboard I just did for the History channel (in PS of course). The file was huge! It's in their portfolio under "print" and is of a cowboy being chased by some indians.
  07 July 2005
Hi everyone, this is my first post...please forgive me for not having read everything here on gc...I only found it a few days ago when doing a search on computer graphics. Right now I'm completely lost on the board, but hopefully will be much better the next time I post...

I just have one question. I've been an artist for about 15 years, and have no issues with art I'd like to try my hand at computer imaging...(I had this odd misconception that if I could one, it would be an easy process moving to the other...ugh)

so...(as I blather on, sorry) If I have images I've painted or sketched, do I scan them and use them, or am I drawing completely from scratch? I can see I'll probably need a pad of some kind (I'm hoping I can find info on that here too) but for now, for playing...(I have photoshop cs, and illustrator, and am thinking of getting painter) can someone please point me in the right general direction...(scan or new)...and maybe tell me the best thread to immerse myself into for the next week or so?

Thanks so much, I can't believe the wealth of information's amazing how helpful everyone seems to be....

  07 July 2005
Anyone know of online digital painting workshops for 2D?
  07 July 2005
I think there's online classes for Painter here:
  07 July 2005
Sorry , but i have a small question : Did all picture in garelly painted by CG ? And Did you paint it by mouse ?

Thanks !
  07 July 2005
Originally Posted by ZorroXZorro: Sorry , but i have a small question : Did all picture in garelly painted by CG ? And Did you paint it by mouse?

*Edit* the tone of the post has been softened and answers expanded */edit*

You could have read it elsewhere, but I repeat here for your convenience:

Al the pictures are CGI (part of the rules)
Most people use tablets (Wacom an all) but some use mice

Usually people tell what program and renderer, if that applies, they have used to create a picture. It isn't all that uncommon to start a 2D project with a 2D scanned image, since for many people it is so much more natural to sketch stuff down on paper, but some of the big names say they don't use paper anymore and have digitalized their whole pipeline.

Last edited by Blikkie : 07 July 2005 at 10:37 PM.
  07 July 2005
Blikkie: Considering ZorroXZorro's question and taking into account that this is his first post on CGTalk, we here at this community are expected to be welcoming not rude like that. What a petty !
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