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Delofasht
04-03-2015, 01:20 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first attempt at painting anything in ArtRage after getting my brushes where I wanted them to be and figuring out a basic approach. So after figuring out how everything worked (amazingly pretty close to how I used to paint traditionally years ago, though I never got very good back then), I decided I would so something that is comfortable to me.

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I actually had to make some very specific brushes to get the effects I wanted. I generally work from thin light coats of paint to thicker more textured coats and then blend it back and add some thick stuff at the very end to get some texture back into the painting. Started with a pretty thin Block in Brush, 100% loaded so I could scribble it out, I'm in the middle of the Build up stage right now throwing some basic lighting and attempting to build some interesting colors in the clouds while keeping them somewhat transparent in some spots. I really thought this would be a bit easier in some areas but oh well. The lighting is done with super cheaty digital steps (color dodge layer and an airbrush :D ), and I smudged a bit of the foreground with a blur palette knife.

Moving forward, I will be attempting to keep this in as much traditional methods as I can except that I'm not mixing every color on a palette. Can't seem to find a color palette with a mixing tray. Oh well. . . color picker it is for now.

- Delofasht

Delofasht
04-03-2015, 02:35 PM
I FOUND IT!!!! Open up References window, make a scrap page, throw the colors you are using as your palette on to it and mix away with a palette knife! YAY! Don't need to use the color picker now!

This is by far the best feature I've found about this program. . . now I wonder if I can tone my palette so I get mixes consistent with my canvas color. Hmm...

Enug
04-03-2015, 04:18 PM
I'm always interested to hear how real media artists make the adjustment to AR and how they customise the tools to suit. Keep us posted on your discoveries. Looking good so far. :)

BushcraftOnFire
04-03-2015, 05:44 PM
Very nice.. I like the textures that you have gotten.. terrific use of your tools!

D

DarkOwnt
04-04-2015, 03:19 AM
I actually had to make some very specific brushes to get the effects I wanted. I generally work from thin light coats of paint to thicker more textured coats and then blend it back and add some thick stuff at the very end to get some texture back into the painting. Started with a pretty thin Block in Brush, 100% loaded so I could scribble it out, I'm in the middle of the Build up stage right now throwing some basic lighting and attempting to build some interesting colors in the clouds while keeping them somewhat transparent in some spots. I really thought this would be a bit easier in some areas but oh well. The lighting is done with super cheaty digital steps (color dodge layer and an airbrush :D ), and I smudged a bit of the foreground with a blur palette knife.

Moving forward, I will be attempting to keep this in as much traditional methods as I can except that I'm not mixing every color on a palette. Can't seem to find a color palette with a mixing tray. Oh well. . . color picker it is for now.

- Delofasht

One way to work "less cheaty" is to replace your use of the airbrush with a very faint oil brush: loading 100, thinners 70-90, keep InstaDry ON. Play with the rest of your settings to taste. You can play with stiffness to make the effect look more or less "brushy" and use of the stylus can make your strokes very subtle like an airbrush effect. Useful for lighting or simulating smudging or blur without digital cheaty tools. I also have found this particular kind of brush useful for creating manual gradients; simply pick up colors as you go.

Delofasht
04-04-2015, 06:23 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

@Enug: Well I learned most of my methods from traditional standpoints but I have no lack of computer software knowledge. I'm about 2 years into heavily studying various software, looking for that perfect blend of tools that feel like traditional media. The feel of ArtRage is amazingly close actually, especially when you can recognize how some of the names of things might not quite be what they are in traditional (pressure and stiffness seem a touch odd to me but I've managed to make them work pretty close).

@BushcraftOnFire: Thanks! I'm working on maintaining and furthering those stroke textures as I go forward, smoothing the clouds and getting the grass to have some little tiny upward strokes in later on.

@DarkOwnt: Interesting tip, trying to figure out how to make the strokes I make with super thin paint like that controlled. . . I'm getting a bit closer but I will probably fall back on putting my lighting on a separate layer and blending out from the point of lights as best I can to allow me to erase back to the dry layer underneath. Edit: After messing around a bit more with it on a scrap I figured out how to make that work in a way that feels close to like an old Bob Ross method of painting a thin paint on top of a thick one (I think he said, "As we know a thin paint will stick to a thick one"). Pretty cool technique, unfortunately I won't get the cracking of that thin paint as it dries. . . digital paint doesn't dry out at different rates. That said this is a really helpful and cool technique for productivity! I had to make the brush really thin as well as stiff (100%) with really low pressure (35 ish%), instant dry, auto cleaning optional completely, 90% thinner and I like a very small aspect ratio of 8% with some rotation 25%. This has yielded a very nice result for me.

Edit: I've started to make notes on many of these techniques on a pad of paper beside me and when I get moved into my new place in a couple months I'll try making a video about them.

I'll post an update in the next few days; want to get through as much of phase 2 as I can before posting again.

Enug
04-04-2015, 03:07 PM
This all sounds wonderful - it will be a great help to people like me who have had no training and only dabbled in acrylics in real media. So glad you joined us. :)

Rondo
04-04-2015, 04:02 PM
Sorry but i don't see how to pick up mixed color from my scrap paper without the color sampler? i tried it but i can't pick up my mixed color with oil brush nor water pensel, you have to use the color sampler. Or do i miss something?

Delofasht
04-04-2015, 04:22 PM
@Rondo: Well you DO have to pick up color with the picker to load the brush, unless you did the mixing with the brush or knife and didn't have the auto clean on. I mean much more that I am not picking colors from the mixes on the canvas, which is an important difference. In most software when you pick from the canvas you inevitably end up desaturating your color choices, this is much less of an occurrence in ArtRage than in say Photoshop or Painter. The key about picking up color from a palette is that it takes your eyes and hands away from your painting for a moment, you are more likely to pick the color more carefully and end up with livelier blends of color and color variety than if you were to use a perfect gradient from the color panel or from the mix right next to the color you were using on the canvas. Very often what ends up making digital art look so digital is a lack of interesting color because it's a perfect gradient from one color to the next with no variation in saturation and value. My love of using a color palette and mixing on a separate canvas has been something I've been using for ages (even in other software). I actually used to do this on a separate layer on my painting, which is actually another way of having a large Mixing palette, but the scrap reference sheet is nice in ArtRage as it let's me hide it or keep it up on the screen pinned away from my painting yet accessible.

@Enug: A lot of this has been learned from books and such over years of reading and practicing too, I'm more than happy to share my notes, many of which are being recorded as I describe this painting coming together. I'm almost done with my second phase of the painting too, another hour or so of working out some compositional things and I'll probably post an update. :) It's really awesome to know it could be helpful to others, I'd never really considered that before.

So update soon! I'll give some notes on what I'm doing in the second stage and thinking of when I'm building each phase of this painting. :D

- Delo

Delofasht
04-04-2015, 10:21 PM
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I'm getting close to done with my second pass on this using my more detailed brushes and all. . . not liking how my little boat is positioned at the moment will probably paint over that at some point. I'll be going into 3rd pass in the next day or so after I put a bit more work on a few of the mid ground elements, specifically the bushes up against the cliff wall need some sort of cast shadow on them to put them in the right kind of placement with the rest of the painting, and a lot of elements here or there that I'm going to shift as I go, nothing major just yet but I might put a dock in there for the boat. . . a small pier of some form maybe. Could even throw some kids fishing on it or something.

So in this pass I was establishing the lighting and trying to make sure to spread some of the colors from each area into other areas so it doesn't look unbalanced in color or saturation, I feel like the left side of the painting is a bit heavy and more saturated than the right but I can fix that as I move into later stages because I'll start really digging in with more detailed brushes in the next couple passes. This stage is about lighting and breaking up shapes while putting a bit of textures and such in here and there, suggesting the kind of trees and plants that might be in the area. Looking at it now I feel like there needs to be some variation at the top of the closer cliffs and perhaps a bit more variation in saturation and value to push some of the area where the waterfall is located back in space a bit, the entire painting is still reading as too flat to me at the moment.

Next Pass will be bringing in my "Broken Color" brush setting to get some further color variation and texture while I apply some more interesting lighting and just start really refining away. Before I start going into that though I will increase the resolution of this painting by roughly double it's current resolution (which is quite low. . . 1200 by 675 pixels) This is a tiny painting and I never thought I could get so much grit and texture in such a small space. . . I'm used to needing 3 to 4 times this resolution to get crisp edges that seem to come for free in ArtRage.

I normally like to start with an idea in mind when I start a painting but because I didn't expect to turn this painting into a full on painting it's kind of boring as a subject matter. . . just some nice day on a little "lake" surrounded by greenery. I'm sure I could make it much more interesting if I try by the end of it all but I like the general flow of the land as a whole.

If you have any questions regarding something specific in the painting thus far that you would like to know feel free to ask I haven't put too much thought into this other than where the light would be coming from and basically what kind of light it would be and time of day, clouds give some nice variation in values in several areas. Also I posted a screenshot trimmed a bit so you can see my palette in the reference window zoomed in, also I run an extra window of the painting to allow me to see it at a smaller scale, useful for when I am zoomed in pretty far but still want to see the effect some of my work in one area is having on the whole painting, also if I really needed to I could color pick from that window as well.

- Delo

Delofasht
04-06-2015, 05:10 AM
So I'm in my 3rd pass here, adding some textured lighting and adding interesting gritty textures to areas like the grass and trees. This pass is generally pretty short for me as I use my 3rd brush preset that uses 100% stiff bristles with thick paint and a heavy load to apply textures and rough stuff. I use this brush setting mainly to relax off some of the details I might have been getting too involved with and also to put some good thick paint on the surface for brushing in on my next pass. Traditionally I would do one area at a time with both the 3rd and 4th pass in the same day, like I'd work the sky with heavier loading of paint then swap to an appropriate sized round sable loaded up and paint into the areas with the same colors I've already worked into those areas.

Because I have this broken down into days traditionally I will have different color mixes from the Pass before, as I would clean my palette between days. This allows me to have fresh color and reinforces my color mixing skills and understanding of color relativity, harmony, and unity in an image. I tend to throw a few marks around the canvas with each color I mix in various places to try to keep the harmony between areas. When I'm a bit further into this I will try to swing back in and share again.

These red circles are done on a separate layer and just tell me where I felt needed work (traditionally I would put my plexiglass panel in front of the canvas and circle the areas and maybe paint directly onto the clear panel to be scrapped off the next day. A way of being able to mark the areas I will need to work on without writing notes on the side or forgetting an area. As I am working digitally I will not be keeping to my traditional approach completely, I will be finishing up these lighting areas before I start from the top and work from the clouds down. (because traditionally I'd just leave these notes on my glass and continue working from top to bottom)

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Last thing of note is that I have increased the resolution by double upon entering the 3rd pass, I will be doing this again later one more time when I am either in the 4th pass or before I start it. I do this to keep the painting running smoothly with the large brush strokes used in the earlier passes, now as I'm using a smaller brush and zooming in further to work on details and textures I can afford to have a higher resolution to work with, I notice that the texture of the canvas seems a bit off as I rez up the image so I've adjusted the canvas grain elements a bit to compensate. Coming along now! See everyone in a while.

- Delo

BushcraftOnFire
04-06-2015, 05:32 AM
Good idea to make notes like this on the painting Delo.. I always like to write things down so I don't forget them.. and sometimes I see 2 or 3 things that need to be fixed.. and get caught up in one and forget about the other one later on.. usually until I print it out and put it up on the web.. THEN I see the glaring error.. LOL!

I will definitely start using this.. a layer dedicated to correction notes!

David

DarkOwnt
04-07-2015, 09:43 AM
Hello Delo:

If you happen to discover any brushes, techniques, or any settings which you find particularly useful simulation of or in great harmony with your natural paint techniques and experience please let me know. I would greatly appreciate any insights you as a real media artist may have.

DO

Delofasht
04-07-2015, 11:00 AM
@DarkOwnt: I have shared my standard oil brush presets in the Art Supplies subforum of the Forums. You can download all my brushes with names noted for what they feel like and notes in the thread regarding their usage. Understanding what each of the adjustments actually do (pressure, stiffness, thinners, etc) really helps with emulating a standard workflow. These presets are only based around my workflow which generally builds from thinner paints to thicker paints traditionally. As I get to thicker paints I get more blending on canvas with my colors and tend towards more saturation as I move deeper in a painting and try to start off less saturated at the beginning. (I fail at the less saturation part very often) About half way through a painting I tend to go full thick paint with a very rough brush and somewhat obliterate much of my early work in some ways, but the thick paint is meant to be pushed around with a palette knife or a finger to create areas of the color underneath showing through, this allows me to use my canvas texture to create interesting textures and also prepares the next pass. (this is 3rd pass which is pretty short normally) The fact that the paint is thick allows me to leave it if needed and come back without worrying too much about if it dries, more than likely it'll stay pliable and usable the next day if needed but normally later in the same day when I start the 4th pass. In the 4th pass I use a slightly more thinned paint brush that is very small with a medium load (unlimited in digital) and keep this brush dirty and just go through adding precise color picks to each areas and blending it out and around with the brush and a palette knife (same as I would traditionally), generally reserving my palette knife for areas where the paint is too thick or I need to create a specific kind of texture. The 4th pass is generally where I stop but if you want to go one extra step you can glaze in some extra atmospheric effects and lighting in a 5th Pass on a dry layer (new layer in digital) and then blend that out with a palette knife or finger to get various subtle glows or warm or cool various under layers of colors. Often glazing a painting would be done with a single very diluted color to unify the painting's color harmony and was used by many masters, now days I see glazing used often to put some very subtle reflected lights in and things of that nature (I try to paint those in during the 4th Pass personally).

That's a break down of what the brushes are and how I use them. They are numbered according to the "Pass" I use them in. 1 for sketch and block in, 2 for build up and basic lighting, 3 for texture and thickening the surface, 4 for refining. The 4th Pass is by far the most time consuming, but 1 and 2 are probably the most important, you can build details and texture by hand in 4 and can skip 3 all together if you really prefer. Also included in my package of brushes is my Alla Prima brush preset which reflects how I approach painting Alla Prima, it's super thick very careful strokes right from the beginning and I adjust the size of the brush almost constantly (use edges of my brush in traditional) and build up my image with wet paint building wet into wet as I go through the entire painting, mixing every color choice on a separate palette so I can be very careful with my mixes on the canvas. This is an entirely different method of painting and none of my other brushes except the 4 Hard get used in conjunction with this method of painting. You can try either method that seems to appeal to you, I like the build up method over days, but painting Alla Prima is undeniably fun and can be very fast with spontaneous looking results. The Alla Prima method of painting has also had the benefit of really making me consider my strokes before I put them down more which has lead to much better use of my time in my 4th pass of my normal method so swapping between them can yield a very strong result on your skill in a fairly short amount of time (about a year for me so far).

Good luck and I hope I'll have an update to share on this tonight or tomorrow at the latest, 4th Pass takes a long time as I have to work on one area at a time generally.


Edit: Here is the link to my post with my brush presets,
Brushes (http://forums.artrage.com/showthread.php?49063-My-Oil-Brush-Presets)

- Delo

scribbledsoul
04-07-2015, 07:11 PM
Beautiful!

Delofasht
04-07-2015, 07:45 PM
Okay so I'm in the middle of my 4th Pass and have got it to the max resolution I will be working at for pretty much any painting in ArtRage of roughly 5k pixels on the longest side. This one is 4800 by 2700 now, I always scale it down and export it out at 1275 pixels by 675 pixels for web viewing though. There are a few reasons for why I paint like this digitally, first is that it allows my brushes to be much bigger on a low resolution painting and fill more space more quickly with less work on my computer's CPU and GPU, this makes painting smoother and less lagging at any point (giant brushes will really make my computer chug sometimes). Next up is that every time I increase the resolution the brushes are basically giving me better detail and control on smaller areas without trying to work one or two pixels at a time (which makes blending on the canvas extremely difficult. Lastly I increase the resolution so that when I go to print these they will look freaking awesome! There is a high likelihood that I will adjust the lightness of the entire image by 5 to 10% before printing as I find images printed tend to be darker than that which I painted them at, I will probably have to use Photoshop or GIMP to do that edit along with verifying the CMYK compatibility and such, at this point it's not something I'm terribly concerned with however as this is all about the painting.

So what I've done in in this pass so far has been to add details and smooth some rough transitions that I didn't like so much, also I adjusted the saturation of the left side of the image a bit and the transition of saturation to the background there too. I've started to use the palette knife in many areas to imply grass and water breaks and other things. This is all the fun stuff now as I thin I've hit most the hard work already. I've actually deleted my notes layer for now until I figure out something else that needs working on besides details. From here forward I can tinker with this thing pretty much endlessly without making any major changes at all. A bit of light here or there, a touch of detail, smooth out some transitions with palette knife and paint, paint over something to add a bit more here and there. . . just tons of small changes. Before I go any further into this pass though I wanted to post it so the changes can be noted and learned from, both for you all and myself. (this is how I improve my skills too by making notes here for me to read later)

86096

So from here forward I'll be really working on creating color variety in the mid and foreground elements and trying to mix that blue I used in the water again because it's HARD to do with my current palette of blues and greens, I will probably have to do some kind of "real" color blending with the green and blue I'm using mixed with some pure white. . . or something. I need to make sure that blue is reflecting up into the bottom of the boat and the pier and figure out a way to make the transition of grass to water look better. . . doesn't read quite right to me at this point.

- Delo

Enug
04-07-2015, 09:07 PM
Okay so I'm in the middle of my 4th Pass and have got it to the max resolution I will be working at for pretty much any painting in ArtRage of roughly 5k pixels on the longest side. This one is 4800 by 2700 now, I always scale it down and export it out at 1275 pixels by 675 pixels for web viewing though.

This is most interesting to me as I like to paint on a small canvas similiar in size to yours but I didn't think I could resize to a larger canvas without loosing the texture. I usually choose 300ppi - can you start with 72ppi and then when upsizing change to 300ppi or should I go for 300ppi right from the start?

I ask this because sometimes when ordering canvas prints I am asked for a larger resolution.

Delofasht
04-08-2015, 06:01 AM
When increasing the resolution some edge quality and texture appears to be lost but what is actually happening is that there are additional pixels being added around each pixel on the canvas. What we often do as artists is zoom into and work with some small brushes, when the canvas size is increased and we zoom in even closer now we feel like some edge quality and color mixing is happening between the colors sometimes, this is the result of increasing the resolution. In many other software programs you would run a sharpen filter. I actually work traditional from big brushes where I'm less concerned about how sharp the edge is to small brushes where I tighten things up, this resizing I'm using is roughly the equivalent, though I do actually scale the brushes down even further sometimes to really tighten up the details in areas.

So I don't feel that I'm losing quality, maybe a tiny bit along some edges but generally it's not extremely noticeable, in turn you can go in and sharpen some of this up by hand (or take it into photoshop/GIMP and run it through a sharpen filter. Personally I don't mind the slightly softened edges most the time as it allows me to focus my edge quality around my focal points with carefully painted strokes. I'm still exploring all the digital elements of resizing pictures and layer modes and such though, and am not completely certain if what I say is correct, each program seems to utilize different methods for determining what something will look like after resizing.

Oh also for the actual canvas texture if it seems to have changed too much in scale or appears different to you after resizing you can adjust that by adjusting your canvas settings. ArtRage may pick up that lighting information in it's resizing method, I'm not entirely certain, if that is the case and you have some texture "artifacts" (random spots of color that didn't show up in your smaller version) then I would suggest trying to turn off your canvas grain and such then resizing and turning it back on. I haven't checked this closely enough yet myself to see if I'm getting any odd artifacts, as I really don't mind them in my work, because I will end up pretty much painting over everything anyhow (or smoothing it with Palette knife or something).

Hope that helps some, Enug.

- Delo

scribbledsoul
04-08-2015, 09:34 AM
Love the dramatic lighting that you've achieved here! :)

Delofasht
04-09-2015, 11:03 AM
86126

I've finished bringing this to where I think I wanted after applying all the details and changes. I took it to my last pass which I rarely if ever mention, glazing after a day of leaving it alone to balance out some of the values. I do this with a dry layer on top set to add bump mode and apply a super thin coat of paint (99% thinner with 0% stiffness, very low pressure, fully loaded) with an oil brush then blend that out gently to get it to fade into the surrounding area (using a palette knife and erasing out areas that are too large with a gentle eraser, there may be a more simple way to reproduce the same effect I would do traditionally but I just guessed with something that seemed to work okay). This keeps my bumps from my undercoat and allows me to add a tiny bit here or there if I want while also letting me fix some of the things or change very subtle things that I don't like.

So does anyone have critiques, questions, or comments regarding this piece or techniques used?

- Delo

Edit: I notice that posted as a PNG it's much smoother and doesn't seem to catch as much of the grain of the canvas interestingly enough, versus the JPG which picked up so much of the grain of the canvas.