Texture: on small brush strokes ?

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  02 February 2012
Question Texture: on small brush strokes ?


I am painting on a 16bit canvas, 300dpi, 5100x3400 px.

I do have some brushes with texture. Unfortunately, the texture itself is only visible if I paint really large strokes. As instance, I use 800px and I can see the texture very well.

But if I decrease the brush size to 20, 40 or even to 100 px - I can't see the texture anymore.
Hmm... I really don't know what to do.

My goal is to see a nice oil-canvas texture all over the place, even if I paint small details.

Here is an image from the website I've downloaded the free brushes. Like I said, if you paint huge, you can see the structure or texture very well. But if you go small, it's all gone.

Here is the link to the website:

Link to download the brushes:

preview of the brushes:

Isn't there any way to see the texture even on small brush-strokes ?

Thank you so much for any little help !
  02 February 2012
The only thing that matters is the resolution/size of your final display format. Everything you do is catered to that final display format/size. So for example, if you are printing it at normal document size, then you need to use brushes sizes with textures that will be visible at that size. If you are displaying it on the web only, then you need to use brushes sized that will be visible at that display resolution. If you are using too small of a brush size that cannot be seen at the final display format/size, then you need to simply use bigger brush size.

Display distance also matters. If you want people to be able to see the brush textures from 10 feet away from the final display version, then you need to make sure you choose large enough brush size to have the brush texture seen from that far away.
  02 February 2012
If your canvas texture is part of your brush pattern its scale will change as you change the brush size. If you want your canvas texture to remain at the same scale (size), regardless of brush size, you need to use the ‘Texture’ option in your brush settings. Go to Brush>Texture>click on the image icon>click the little black arrow>load Artist Surfaces (or your own pattern).

Tutorial here:
  02 February 2012
Smile hmm..

Thank you very much, I see what you both mean.

Ok... but what you think ?
Wouldn't it also make sense to paint without any texture and later, after the painting is done.... create a new layer and create a kind of procedural texture that would simulate kind of a canvas effect ?

Hmm... when I use the brush with a kind of canvas texture, it projects the texture pretty much from the front view.

Would be great to know your thoughts about this.
My goal is just to get finally a really cool canvas look/style.. plus I would like to print the image on a kind of canvas paper.

And before I start painting my next portrait, I just would like to start with the right brush or texture - or like I said, maybe not using a texture at all and do that after the painting is done.

Since I have no experience with this at all, especially the printing... every little idea, hint and suggestion is highly appreciated.

thank you so much !
  02 February 2012
You’re better off working in painter to create that fake 'oil paint on canvas' look. You can actually impart light and shade on the stroke to enhance the 3d impasto effect.

Personally, having a real oil painting background, I don’t like faked digital oil paintings on fake canvas backgrounds. I don’t like art printed on canvas either. It always looks bad—though, maybe not to a Walmart shopper.
If you like the look of oil painting on canvas—paint in oil on canvas. There’s no substitute.
  02 February 2012
Here’s an example of a quite crafty digital artist experimenting with a faux oil on canvas look in PS:


Nice try.
  02 February 2012
By adding procedural textures after the fact is sort of missing the whole point of painting. Brushwork is an integral aspect of expressive painting, and the expressiveness doesn't come from any canvas texture--it comes from your artistic interpretation and creative choices regarding selective detailing, what kind of brushwork to use to describe any given surface type, whether you paint along or against the form, the kind of brush you use to introduce various textures, and so on.
  02 February 2012
Smile I agree

Hi everybody,

yes... I guess that was one of the best explanations... and I totally agree... cause when ever I tried to add any kind of procedural texture on top of it, well.. to be honest... it just doesn't look good and it doesn't really express the brush work.

I think the example you posted is really great. Do you know how the artist did achieve that result ? I mean, do you think it's just one brush or a variety of different brushes ?

I'll try to contact the artist and maybe he will be as nice and explain a bit.

so far so good,
thank you for all your comments & links - that's great !
  02 February 2012
Originally Posted by bernhard: Do you know how the artist did achieve that result ?

It looks like he’s painting over a canvas image using PS CS5’s Mixer brush to get some of the color blends, along with an assortment of custom brushes and blend modes.
The key to pulling off a successful faux oil-on-canvas digital painting is in your skill as a ‘painter’ and experience as an artist, not the procedural digital tricks.
  02 February 2012
It's also very important to keep in mind that emulating the texture/look of traditional oil painting is not the only way to make a digital paintings expressive/painterly. Just look at all the digital artists who manage to create very expressive paintings by simply painting with expressive brushwork--artists like Craig Mullins, Justin Sweet, Paper Blue, Jaime Jones, etc.
  02 February 2012
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