View Full Version : A water (not watercolor) brush?

04-14-2011, 06:45 PM
When painting with watercolor (paint) on paper, I often use plain water to "lift" color back out and finesse blended areas. I have been trying to simulate this technique in AR but so far unsuccesful. Any ideas on how this might be accomplished? The idea is sort of like this. Put a small drop of water on a painted area. The drop thins out the paint and spreads it into the surrounding colors. lightly touch the wet area with a piece of tissue paper which soaks up the water leaving a lovely bright area with nicely blended colors around it. This is very controllable as to how much color is lifted, how much spread occurs, etc.

Thank you,


04-15-2011, 11:12 AM
You can take the 'thinners' setting up to a high value with the watercolor tool to the point that it will just place wet colorless watercolor, but I can't think of a way to specifically do what you're asking in ArtRage.

It's possible that another user has come up with a way to acheive a similar effect. I'll move this to the Tips and Tricks forum in case anyone has some ideas for you.

04-15-2011, 11:51 AM
Thanks Dave, I have tried that and find it useful but not what I had in mind. I will keep working on it and if I find a way to make it happen I'll post it.

Been looking through tutorials and find one by a senior member name of Jules who had the following in one of her posts. She mantions a "just water" brush. Does that exist?

"OK, ive been faffing... Ive attached a screenshot, I used the the delicate on dry preset, each individual color on a separate layer, then overlapped the colours and blended them with the just water brush.. I like the desired wet on wet effect...hope its something you resemble as wet on wet?"


04-15-2011, 08:09 PM
As far as I used watercolors (and tried to follow some real watercolor step-by-step tutorial) I didn't find a way to get that simply (obviously You may set up very complex and time consuming procedures to do almost anything). The same applies to some grainy effect specific pigments produce etc.
Anyway I just made a try with either the watercolor on watercolor and the gloop pen on watercolor along a boudary where a red and yellow blended. At the end of the story You just either lay a more or less transparent white spot (with fully thinned color) or superimpose the gloop drop. I'm sorry.
As a matter of fact no gravity effect at all, either of water flatting down and expanding or canvas rotation in a virtual gravity field (sheet upward or inclined), may be simulated this far on ArtRage, but after all, no tool can perfectly substitute any othe one, either in the real and the virtual world and whatever evolution ArtRage will have, its great, distinctive and unique features are that it's both a much natural painting software, reasonably similar to real painting, and the simplicity of its use not requiring an IT PhD to be used very profitably.

Mike Severoff
04-16-2011, 12:41 AM
It would be nice to see the effect you desire to achieve. Or have already achieved by other means/media.
Yet: still water in a glass or waves in the ocean?

ps. Peter Pinckney (http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums/member.php?u=931) paints the sea well, IMHO

04-16-2011, 01:58 PM
Yes there is a just water brush. It's in the preset list. I have used it and it may give you the desired effect you want. Hope this helps.

04-18-2011, 06:11 PM
Thank you very much. I will try this out and see what happens.



04-19-2011, 01:48 AM
Could you post an example of the effect you're trying to achieve? It would help in trying to find a way to duplicate it.
Just so it's clear, "Just Water" is a preset for the Watercolor tool, and is not an actual tool on the tool panel. With the Watercolor tool selected, you'll find it listed under the Presets panel. Selecting it hikes the Thinners setting up to 100%, and puts the other settings for the tool back to the defaults. From my current understanding of what you're attempting, you'll probably want to push the Color Bleed setting down to 0%. It sounds like the opposite of what you'd want, but doing so increases how it blurs (rather the pushes) color, which will probably come closer to the edge I think you want. You'll likely need to swirl the tool in little circles to get it to work.

05-02-2011, 05:01 AM
1. Paint using your desired watercolour brush and pigments. (I find it doesn't matter what I use to lay down the colour... The 'Just Water' preset makes all the pigment behave like watercolour paint.)
2. Use the watercolour brush with the 'Just Water' preset. Pop the colour blend up to 100%. Choose a suitable ink colour, as it tints it just slightly.
3. Use this brush to push the boundaries of your colour, with the lift coming at the centre of the stroke.
4. Now use the 'Low Blending' preset to dab gently over the wet areas, to create the pigment buildup at the edges.

I *think* that's the effect you're after?

Steve B
07-11-2011, 06:09 AM
Just to double-up on what Roy said-- yes, this works very well. Frankly, stupendously well. I've also found that using a stencil to develop a bit of granular texture can help out too. I've been very very pleasantly surprised at how well MrPaint's stencils of galaxies and stars works for WC bleeds. Same goes for stencils made from things like loose wool with "filigrees" and "tendrils" of material.

07-12-2011, 02:17 AM
That looks awesome Steve. Once you know how, does it approach the "simpleness" of using real watercolors?

If you know of a video demo of this feature I'd love to see it.

Steve B
07-12-2011, 08:26 AM
Is it as simple as putting watercolors on paper? Hmmm, that's up for debate to me. But then, I might counter that the simpleness of realmedia watercolors is an illusion in and of itself.

When you put paint to paper, and then more paint to paper stuff happens on its own when the two interact. This is the illusion. It seems as simple as a chemical reaction. But, of course, you've got to get it all in place to let those processes take over.

In real media Watercolors--
You've got to wet your paper, stretch it, perhaps wet it before you start where you want the bleeds to stop, create your color with more or less pigment, lay down color, dab it where you want to to lift color and wetness, or dry it with a hairdryer, or add salt or rubbing alcohol and then manually tilt the board (another man-made input) for such and such length of time, etc; then apply a second coat, etc etc. If you make a mistake you might try and life the color too (much like lowering the opacity of a layer).

Frankly, I find doing it digitally is ending up being as complicated (or uncomplicated, as one might see it) as real-media watercolors, just in different ways. Many people seem to want to just lay down digital color and see it interact, but it's not like that in Artrage, and it's not like that in real life, IMO.

So, in Artrage, with watercolors--
I've got to lay down the color first, then put Just Water into it and push the pigment around or out, then I put in the Low Blender with a higher blending percentage to build up pigment on the edges. Then I went over that in a new layer with a light blue, using a stencil from the "from the sky" set by MrPaint for some of the texture. I then erased a bit, lowered the opacity, and voila. :P The results you see here. I found it pretty straightforward, once I recognized the steps I needed to use. For my avatar, I continued the process and added a new layer with a stamp from a Photoshop Watercolors splatter brush, which I then rotated, stretched, and relocated, erasing some of it here and there to make it specific to the painting. I also added in one additional layer with the plum colored wash.

My new mindset for digital watercolors--
I think the secret to me for having a better mindset was that I just needed to thinking of digital processes as the clear equivalents to the many processes you go through (but forget about) when making real media watercolors. Layers equate to drying paint with a hairdryer; moving and rotating PS stamps to tilting my board a certain direction to create a drip; erasing through a stencil (or stencils) as laying down salt or rubbing alcohol, etc etc. I've also found that working with stencils and layer textures has helped bring to digital watercolors that element of surprise and discovery that I missed so much from real media, because I'm never quite sure what affect they're going to have when I apply them. I have an idea, but I'm not positive. THAT, for me, has probably been the biggest thing of all, because it's made it fun again-- a little more about discovery and less about total control (although there's clearly still quite a lot of control digitally). That, in essence, is why I've always loved watercolors. Thus, exploring and finding and thinking a little about cool stencils and textures and then just trying them out for the hell of it has been, for me, very central to the pleasure I've been taking from my new process with digital watercolors in Artrage.

So, all in all, I feel like this process has helped me replicate, in many ways, the feeling as well as many of the results of real watercolors. My two cents anyways. I'm actually really interested in seeing how others are playing with this stuff. Everything I've learned I've learned by reading and watching the work of others on here and on youtube-- just making a kind of amalgamation of info to create some of these styles/affects. That's why I'm interested in seeing more people respond with thoughts. :)

Steve B
07-12-2011, 02:48 PM
Today I tried out something a bit new-- I layed down a first color and then, using the new real color blending mode and the Low Blending brush, I mixed in a new color over the top using a stencil (as discussed above) with some sort of veination or interesting texture. The result? A kind of true to life color bleed of one very wet color into another. Very cool! I also tried doing the same thing but with the second brush being Just Water (over a stencil). Worked too.

I've attached two sections of a larger painting that I'm posting in the gallery.

07-12-2011, 03:35 PM
Great effects, thanks for sharing :)