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Thread: A Question About Digital Painting Technique

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Question A Question About Digital Painting Technique

    As I write, I'm looking at the thumbnails at the top of the Community page. They reinforce my question: How is the appearance of detail obtained? Does one paint on a large canvas and then reduce it for printing or viewing? I'm trying to paint on a 9 by 11 inch page and my strokes look crude, even with care. I am an intermediate watercolorist and I could easily handle this size with conventional brushes...but not with digital tools. I've looked at YouTube videos, but I can't grasp the scale of the work and tool size I'm seeing.
    Pencil sketches look fast and loose, but when the paint goes on, the precision comes in. Do any of you have a "formula" for tool size vs canvas size. For instance, I am currently working with a 20% oil brush and it seems very big on the canvas. In the videos a lot of zooming is involved, but when that happens do you need to pull the brush size down even more?
    In a nutshell: Is there an important (standard?) relationship of canvas size to tool size?
    p.s. : What does the percentage size of tools relate to? Canvas size perhaps? I know real brush sizes well, but I'm puzzled by a percentage (of what).
    Thank you very much
    GregS
    Last edited by Kupuna; 3 Weeks Ago at 04:08 PM. Reason: clarify about real vs. digital brush sizes

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kupuna View Post
    . Do any of you have a "formula" for tool size vs canvas size.
    The size of the brush mark I wish to make determines the size of the brush I use. It doesn't matter what size canvas I'm using. Of course if I want to cover a larger area I will increase the brush size - up to 500% if necessary. For detailed work I will increase the canvas zoom percentage up to 200-300%
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kupuna View Post
    I'm trying to paint on a 9 by 11 inch page and my strokes look crude, even with care.

    For instance, I am currently working with a 20% oil brush and it seems very big on the canvas. In the videos a lot of zooming is involved, but when that happens do you need to pull the brush size down even more?
    It sounds like you may be working at very small canvas sizes. 'True' digital sizes are measured in pixels, the inches/cm measurements are just estimates based on your print quality settings (DPI/PPI - pixels printed per inch). If your canvas size is less than 3000 pixels across, it's probably a bit too small for your needs (less than 3,000 - smaller quick works for practice or smaller web graphics; 3,000-8,000 is about right for most detailed paintings; 8,000-15,000 for serious projects and larger scale prints; 20-30,000 for people with insanely pixel perfect projects and super computers ;P ).

    You can work at any size you like, the trade offs are speed (more canvas size = more memory) versus print quality and how much detail you can add. If you find that even small brush sizes are too large and you cannot zoom in and add enough detail, increase your canvas size. If you need to be able to print at a specific size, you will need to work out the number a bit more closely, but larger is always safer. You can always print at a smaller size!

    1% is usually one pixel, but different tools behave differently so sometimes the actual stroke will not perfectly match a single pixel (e.g. pressure can drastically change the actual size of an oil brush stroke). You can increase tools up to 500% on the desktop (press SHIFT and drag left/right on the canvas, or click on the number and type) and then just find the right size range for your current canvas size and desired effect.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    As a transfer from the world of "real world" watercolor, I haven't yet grasped the utility of zooming and changing brush sizes. Your comment clarifies several things for me. Thank you very much.
    GregS

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