Digital Painting: Tips and Techniques for Beginners With David René, Matellis, LotekK


Now that we’re on the subject anyway, if you know what blend mode you want to use, you can use the direct hotkeys:

[b]Normal: shift+alt+N
Dissolve: shift+alt+I

Darken: shift+alt+K
Multiply: shift+alt+M
Color Burn: shift+alt+B
Linear Burn: shift+alt+A
[b]Lighten: shift+alt+G
Screen: shift+alt+S
Color Dodge: shift+alt+D
Linear Dodge: shift+alt+w

Overlay: shift+alt+O
Soft Light: shift+alt+F
Hard Light: shift+alt+H
Vivid Light: shift+alt+V
Linear Light: shift+alt+J
pin Light: shift+alt+Z

Difference: shift+alt+E
Exclusion: shift+alt+X

Hue: shift+alt+U
Saturation: shift+alt+T
Color: shift+alt+C
Luminosity: shift+alt+Y
If you have the brush tool selected, you’ll be changing the brush blend mode, if you have the move tool selected you’ll be changing the layer blend mode.



wooooow nice subject



Hi guys and thanks for the nice and positive responses to Digital Painting: Tips and Techniques for Beginners :). I really appreciate it and I still think that this thread has potential to become a great resource for digital painting, covering subjects that – as NR43 said – are often overlooked by other.
I am looking to update it more then have in past, and hopefully there should be some interesting reading for you all in the near future.

Also keep in mind, that we’re at all time taking suggestion for tips or tutorials, both from people looking for an answer and from people looking to share their knowledge of digital painting.

Asking questions takes away a lot of the pressure of us having to come up with stuff to write about, and in turn gets you the information faster and about stuff that you want to know – sounds like a bloody sweet deal to me!!.:deal:

So ask away guys - don’t be shy, and if you see people asking questions elsewhere that might be of interest to beginning digital painters, why not point them in direction of this thread, this will help to accumulate the knowledge in one place, instead of having it shattered allover in hundreds of little threads :). Collecting the information was one of the motivations for starting this in the first place.

Hope to hear from you.
David René.

PS: Matt Ellis


Hi everyone, these tutorials are great! I don’t know if you’ll be covering this in the future, but I’m having troubles with brush sizes. I’m working with Photoshop CS, and when I increase the size of the brush, the line stays small. What could I be doing wrong?


tell me whether u r using a graphic tablet
or whether u have changed any of the brush settings

some more information wud help solving the problem
info like what brush and the settings that u r using


Hi Seansea

I think iamawizard is right; more information would help nail what the problem might be.
Never the less I am going to take a stab at it.:slight_smile:

First of all, this is only relevant if you’re using a tablet.

Some of Photoshop’s brushes come equipped with dynamic setups – for instance, the basic round brush has its size variable set to pen pressure, and I think that this might be the source of problem.
When the size variable is controlled by the pen pressure, the absolute lightest pressure possible will result to 1% of you current brush diameter, and the hardest pressure possible will result to you current brush diameter.
That means that unless you’re really pressing down hard on your tablet you’re never going to reach the diameter setting.

There are two ways to remedy this:

Either set the size control to off.

Or if you want to keep the size controlled by the pen pressure, but want a more subtle effect, increase the minimum diameter variable - this will offset the result of the lowest pressure point.

Hope this solves your problem - if not, don’t hesitate to ask.



Thanks iamawizard, and corvax ! I am using a Wacom Tablet (Grapphire). I had the Shape Dynamics turned off, jitter off, and pen pressure @ zero. I’m gonna try turning off the size control and see if it works or play with the minimum diameter variableand see if that solves the problem.

Sorry I didn’t explain things better. I’ll let you know how things turn out! Thanks again!


corvax your suggestions worked thank you! I’m going to comb the Photoshop help thread because now I’m having problems with color not looking right (red looks like magenta, etc).


we’re in the same boat


Hi guys thanks so much this thread is great and I just want to add a simple trick i learned some time ago and boy does it help, you stick a piece of paper over your wacom tablet and the pen feels more comfortable just like drawing on paper, no more slips :eek:

cheers Bev


It really does, but as a caution it will wear out your nib more because it’s dealing with a harsher texture. And eventually you’ll have to replace that paper due to use as it becomes smoother. I still think it’s worth it though.


Suppose you have a custom palette with 2 or more brushes.
Is it possible to use hotkeys to quickly switch between the brushes in this particular palette?

Something I’ve been unable to answer myself for some time now.
Thanks in advance!


Hi just gained my second wacom, a intous3 this time. What do you guys have your express keys set to? And is the touch strip customizable?



Aaah Wacom puts a dreamy face on
be careful, your partner might get jealous of your wacom :wink:

My left side wacom keys are more for manipulation of the canvas (I am lefthanded) so I’ve got shortcuts to rotate the canvas and zoom to fit screen along with the touchstrip for zooming in and out.

On the right side I’ve got the touchstrip to change brushsize, then keys to switch to brush, eyedropper and the grabber (the hand icon) + the undo button.

This setup seems great to me for a good workflow. If you are righthanded, I would suggest putting shortcuts for your brush settings on the left side, so you don’t have to take your pen off the canvas to change your brush…


Ah, I set things up slightly differently. this is programmed for photoshop.
I will check yours out, as I only really programmed mine while I was sketching a skull, and obviously I had monochrome in mind.


you can create and save different setups for different applications. Mine is for Corel Painter IX.5


What I would like to know it is regarding the position of the tablet. Is that it’s necessary to put it next to the keyboard, or alone in the middle, the angle of its position, the height of your seat (because sometimes I feel pain in the shoulder seen that my office is high), or I saw an artist putting his tablet between the arm-rest of the seat and the office that. That’s all for me =)


Your position at your desk is extremely important, especially when you sit in the same position (or as good as) for many hours each day.

Make sure you have a good chair that can be adjusted in height and has a mobile back support. Most shoulder/neck/elbow/wrist pain is caused by a non ergonomic position at the desk.

Regarding your tablet/keyboard position I would advise to have the tool you are using right in front of you and making sure you have enough free space for your arms so you can sketch/paint comfortably. Even when you have to make the slightest compensation effort with your drawing arm to be able to draw what you want, it can have a serious effect in the long run.

If you wish, you could also get a small wooden board to put your tablet on while drawing, which will allow you to draw in a more natural position.


I’m more of a web design page layout person and whenever I try to use my wacom I find myself putting down the tablet to do the things I typically do in photoshop instead of trying to just paint/draw. I think I do this because I’m so used to constantly keeping one hand on the keyboard and using dozens of the keyboard shortcuts.

I can’t seem to find a comfortable position that allows me to use the tablet and the keyboard at the same time.

Would anyone be willing to post pictures of themselves at their desk using both so I can get some ideas to try (and suggestions for a brand new desk =) )


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