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Thread: Canvas lighting question

  1. #1
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    Canvas lighting question

    Hi, my name is Sue

    I've only had Lite for a week, but already I have a question.

    I paint landscapes in real oils on real canvas, but I'm also into digital cartography - the art of drawing fantasy maps (these are in high demand in the RPG industry, and for book illustrations etc). Just lately I've been using GIMP to do what I call 'painting in textures', where I use about 20 layers each of a different texture which I mask to produce a sort of painting that's a bit like a seamless collage. Here is the latest example of that technique if you are interested/curious.

    I'd also like to paint some of my maps (which is why I bought ArtRage), and I was initially very pleased with my purchase.

    However, in order to keep the paint texture I have to keep the canvas lighting on, and the lighting is uneven across the canvas.

    Is there any way of adjusting the lighting so that I can keep the paint texture, but also have an even light across the surface of my map?

    Any help much appreciated - thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Hello Sue (Apodemos) and welcome to the ArtRage forums
    Very impressed with your map making skills

    Sadly I’m afraid it's not possible at present for the user to adjust the canvas lighting in any version of AR.
    I too would like to see AR’s canvas lighting not use any fall-off which mimics a spotlight hitting the canvas but rather mimic Sunlight coming from one direction with no fall-off.
    Indeed with the Sunlight model, if a user really then wanted light fall-off on the finished painting it would be quite easy to fake it using a gradient mask with a darkening blend mode across the picture.
    I tried experimenting some time back with using a lightening gradient mask, sort of the revers of the above, to counteract the current lighting model but found it difficult to get consistent usable results.
    But now you've reminded me I might have to revisit those experiments again when time permits…
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw View Post
    Hello Sue (Apodemos) and welcome to the ArtRage forums
    Very impressed with your map making skills

    Sadly I’m afraid it's not possible at present for the user to adjust the canvas lighting in any version of AR.
    I too would like to see AR’s canvas lighting not use any fall-off which mimics a spotlight hitting the canvas but rather mimic Sunlight coming from one direction with no fall-off.
    Indeed with the Sunlight model, if a user really then wanted light fall-off on the finished painting it would be quite easy to fake it using a gradient mask with a darkening blend mode across the picture.
    I tried experimenting some time back with using a lightening gradient mask, sort of the revers of the above, to counteract the current lighting model but found it difficult to get consistent usable results.
    But now you've reminded me I might have to revisit those experiments again when time permits…
    Thank you, Mark!

    That particular map won last month's Main Challenge over at Cartographer's Guild, which is the Guild's professional level monthly challenge (so as an amateur cartographer I'm chuffed to bits about it, and probably showing off quite badly right now! Sorry!)

    I can understand why most painters would quite like the fall-off, since that's how most of us work with real paint on real canvas. The light is never even all the way across the canvas in the real world - not even if you're working on-site in the open air with a crowd of curious onlookers whispering comments they don't think you can hear just a few feet behind you. The angle of reflection of the sky light is different from side to side and top to bottom, even if you don't have the sun shining down on your spread of variously wet/damp/mostly dry paint work.

    Unfortunately for me, its a lot harder to work with differing light levels when I'm trying to do a map, where I need the pine trees I paint on one side to look the same colour and tone as the pine trees I paint on the other side of the map.

    I know its an artificial way of looking at a painting, but I would really love it if someone could find a solution to my cartographic lighting problem, and I thank you in advance - in anticipation of your research and experimentation providing just such a solution

  4. #4
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    Nov 2011
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    “…I thank you in advance - in anticipation of your research and experimentation providing just such a solution”
    So, no pressure there then! he, he…

    Ah Dorset, I once lived in Weymouth back in the 80’s. Will never forget the Autumn/Winter walks on Chesil Beach…
    Maker Of Replica Macoys

    Techie Stuff:
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apodemus View Post
    the lighting is uneven across the canvas.

    Is there any way of adjusting the lighting so that I can keep the paint texture, but also have an even light across the surface of my map?
    Hi Sue:

    The lighting should not be uneven across the canvas... If you want the canvas texture to go away you can reduce the canvas texture roughness to 0 (at least with the full version you can)

    Cheers!

    DO

  6. #6
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    Nov 2011
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    The thing is the light fall-off will still be there on the painted areas and this is the problem, as the paint texture is only visible with the Lighting On.
    If you cover a canvas entirely with paint it will be lightest top Left and darkest bottom Right. Not by much it’s true, but it can be problematic for some workflows.
    Maker Of Replica Macoys

    Techie Stuff:
    ArtRage 5.0.5 ~ 15" Macbook Pro
    + 22" HD Monitor ~ macOS 10.12.6 ~ 4 Core i7 3.1GHz CPU ~ 16GB RAM ~ Wacom Intuos4 M and a Spyder4Pro (to keep the colours true!)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw View Post
    “…I thank you in advance - in anticipation of your research and experimentation providing just such a solution”
    So, no pressure there then! he, he…

    Ah Dorset, I once lived in Weymouth back in the 80’s. Will never forget the Autumn/Winter walks on Chesil Beach…
    Oh sorry! I didn't mean it to come out quite as demanding as that! LOL!

    I'm not usually such a demanding person!

    And the weather is baking hot down here at the moment, and walking the beaches is much more fun in the summer

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOwnt View Post
    Hi Sue:

    The lighting should not be uneven across the canvas... If you want the canvas texture to go away you can reduce the canvas texture roughness to 0 (at least with the full version you can)

    Cheers!

    DO
    Thank you DarkOwnt

    You would be surprised at just how important the background texture is to fantasy cartographers. We collectively spend hours, days and weeks perfecting our little scraps of artificially aged, stained, burnt and torn virtual parchment (especially for pirate treasure maps, which are enormously good fun to do - even as commission work), and we overlay our line work shading and tinting on these precious sheets to let the grain of our paper show through the map - as if the map is a scanned original

    So you see - I really like the canvas and paper textures that come with ArtRage, because that's half my job done before I start work on the rest of the map. I also very much like to see the brush strokes when I'm working in a painterly style - which in combination means that I require the lighting to be on, and the paper texture set to something above 0. Unfortunately with these settings I'm getting a flare of bright light mid left, and quite a steep gradation to comparatively saturated darkness on the right hand side.

    I will probably do a couple of general paintings with ArtRage, since I am also a landscape painter, and if I am pleased enough with them you may see a couple of them here. But if I can't have even lighting with the paper and paint texture visible, then ArtRage's usefulness as a mapping app... no matter how wonderful the software is for everything else that isn't cartography... is sadly rather limited from my point of view

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw View Post
    The thing is the light fall-off will still be there on the painted areas and this is the problem, as the paint texture is only visible with the Lighting On.
    If you cover a canvas entirely with paint it will be lightest top Left and darkest bottom Right. Not by much it’s true, but it can be problematic for some workflows.
    (I write slow)

    You've understood my problem exactly - thank you

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apodemus View Post
    Unfortunately with these settings I'm getting a flare of bright light mid left, and quite a steep gradation to comparatively saturated darkness on the right hand side.
    This must be part of the lite version because this behavior does not occur in the full version. I have a 9000x6000 piece, painted grey, canvas texture roughness at 100% and I see no steep gradiation or saturated darkness...

    Maybe you could try the ArtRage 5 full demo?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    The Layer Effects in ArtRage 5 might help you get the effect you want, or the Custom Brush; you can also add the visible texture as actual images. I think what I would probably do in your situation is either find a custom brush I really liked or paint the map itself and then import it as an image on top of a background created separately, so I could have the lighting in the painting but not the backdrop. It's also worth thinking about how much you *need* the lighting for the brush strokes, as the texture may be smoothed out anyway from a distance or after it has all be blended together, so sometimes it's easier to work with it on (so you can see the amount of paint) and then just turn it off at the end. It will take some experimenting, but you can try the following:

    Layer Effects (manual light/shadow/emboss).

    - disable the canvas lighting and add custom lighting with the layer effects. It won't retain the texture inside strokes, but you might be able to get close to what you want. You can adjust lighting strength and direction.
    - specifically, try out Emboss. You can add a custom texture to it, so you could add a canvas or stroke texture to flat paint on a layer.

    Work with/around the canvas lighting

    - Adjust the background colours and textures. The lighting gradient is much more visible with some shades and textures than others (metallics are the most visible).
    - Export the painting as 'flat' PNG or PSD layers and reimport them as flat paint on top of a canvas with no lighting. This way you get the look of the texture, but it isn't actually live in the painting, so you can combine textured and non-textured areas more easily. You'll lose the paint data, so you may want to keep the originals around as insurance in a separate file, or hidden layers.

    Custom Brush/Photoshop-style textures - basically, ignore ArtRage's built in paint and canvas depth and go full digital, using the same techniques you might use in another program.

    - Use a custom brush (AR5 only) with a grain that mimics a canvas or bristle texture. There will be no depth so canvas lighting will be irrelevant, and it will still respond to actual canvas texture if you want to leave that live and hide it later.
    - Create a stencil (any desktop edition) with a texture pattern and use it to erase/paint in areas.

    There's also a help page over here that covers most of the same options: https://www.artrage.com/manuals/gett...xture-effects/
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