Has PhotoShop usage ever enhanced your painting abilities?
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Thread: Has PhotoShop usage ever enhanced your painting abilities?

  1. #1

    Default Has PhotoShop usage ever enhanced your painting abilities?

    I was wondering if any of you have felt that your experience drawing / painting / etc in PhotoShop has helped you any bit in your knowledge of painting miniatures?

    My initial thought was wether it would be a good place to try out airbrushing techniques. Now, of course, I know that PS will be a non substitute to the feel and action of an actual airbrush, but perhaps the techniques in blending, layering, etc. may be useful? And with that initial thought came the question of whether there were any other applications that PhotoShop may have helped you in your experience?

  2. #2

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    Having used Photoshop and other digital drawing programs (i.e. Painter), I don't find there is much transfer of technique from the digital realm to the physical one.

    The big difference is that the properties of the physical media operate differently from digital ones. Real-world paint has so many more variables in how it will behave (dilution, humidity, surface it's applied to, gravity, etc), whereas in something like Photoshop you don't have any of that. So techniques you can get away with in Photoshop aren't going to apply to real-world airbrushing.

    About the only thing I've found translate over from digital media to physical media are the higher level abstract art concepts (i.e. color theory, principles of lighting and shading, etc). Basically things that are not media-dependent. But for actual techniques, not at all.

  3. #3

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    I would say that both techniques (Photoshop and painting) are far away from one another in terms of 'feeling'. Someone who does good Photoshop image has the advantage of understanding basic concepts such as light, shadow, reflection, color matching, etc... that are the same as in painting. Artistically, the concepts are the same, and a Photoshop artist has a certain advantage here as he understands those principles. Once into real-life painting, it is a question of using different techniques (brush, airbrush, ink, etc...) which ask for some physical training and knowledge to get it right (hand-eyes coordination, right amount of paint in brush, color mixing recipes, etc...), the feeling is quite different from Photoshop. To sum it up, it is mostly a question of understanding the basic principles (and those more advanced ones too) and applying them to whatever medium you used for your art, and the most important part is to practice to get good!

    Hope it helps!

  4. #4

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    PS has only ever pointed out my mistakes! Although, using her to change to contrast on a picture has helped me to figure out where to put my highlights. We have a love hate relationship PS and I
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  5. #5

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    In answer to the thread title - yes!

    Converting pics to grayscale (1 or 3 layers) just recently has been huge. It gives a pretty big insight into contrast. Next stop is painting in grayscale
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  6. #6

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    Photoshop, for me, lets me quickly test out color schemes. Pick a painted model pic you like, spend a little time masking off each color and getting it into its own layer, then use the hue/saturation tool to view different looks.

    It will also help you a lot with color theory in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loydb View Post
    Photoshop, for me, lets me quickly test out color schemes. Pick a painted model pic you like, spend a little time masking off each color and getting it into its own layer, then use the hue/saturation tool to view different looks.

    It will also help you a lot with color theory in general.
    This^^

    Plus I can use PS during down time at work but breaking out the paints would be pushing it. I should use it more.

  8. #8

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    Here's what I do in Photoshop (mostly in order)- Resize, Levels/Brightness & Contrast, and then Color Balance. Even though I have my camera set to white balance, it always comes out yellow.. which is weird, considering I use a fluorescent bulb. I really wish PS had a setting where I could mix colors like they would be in real life. I've tried layers with varying opacities and settings, but nothing seems to work. While we're on it, I'd like to mention Garry Kaye- a fine artist who using the maximum zoom to pixels in PS to create paintings such as this.

  9. #9

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    One thing that I find interesting in PS is color sampling. If you take a photo and want to see what color some pixel is without our brain perceiving it into another color this can be very useful. Highlights that look white can turn out to be orange, black shades can in fact be purple, etc. It can at the very least be educational for learning how light works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTTechnics View Post
    One thing that I find interesting in PS is color sampling. If you take a photo and want to see what color some pixel is without our brain perceiving it into another color this can be very useful. Highlights that look white can turn out to be orange, black shades can in fact be purple, etc. It can at the very least be educational for learning how light works.
    Oh man I thought it was only me! I have been trying to paint a mini based on this art work and in PS it's like only four colors colors but to me it looks like 15! So far it is proving challenging :/ . I Should say i use GIMP [http://www.gimp.org/]. it's a free photoshop like program and it's awesome.

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    Photoshop, no. But dabbling in Watercolours has given me better appreciation for tonal works on miniatures.
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  12. #12

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    Excellent responses! Sounds like most everyone has found digital software to be useful mostly in the realm of colors.

    I think the main points I've found seem to be focused on the following:
    - Color Sampling
    - Color Theory
    - Lighting

    So here is, perhaps, a secondary question for you all - if you were starting your knowledge from scratch, having never painted anything, would you have liked to have PS (or similar) available to you? And this is not to say you would use PS exclusively. You, of course, have access to paint with whatever physical mediums as well. But the question is whether you would have liked to have PS to help quicken your learning?

  13. #13

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    For me, that would have been putting the cart before the horse.

    I'd be more interested in brush control, paint thinning, wet palettes, and brush loading (or unloading rather).
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  14. #14

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    For me, Photoshop doesn't really help in color decisions very much. But this is because I have an intuitive understanding of color, plus better color memory than most. What Photoshop does is allows me to have a library of color swatches that I can see individually. At one point, I tried doing this with color samples for wall paint, but that became tedious. As I said before, PS isn't great for figuring out how color mixes and in fact using the eyedropper tool has it's drawback. This is because it chooses color by pixels and in a photograph those will vary wildly even in a small area.

    So- overall, PS doesn't really enhance my painting, except to get the colors of my pictures right.

  15. #15

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    I find the physical properties of paint to be lacking in Photoshop.

    The program is useful, as others have said, for examining photos of your paint jobs and seeing flaws more clearly.

    But I have found the drawing and painting skills just don't transfer.

    Heck, the drawing and painting skills of one painting medium to another (i.e. from oils to watercolors) barely transfer for me.

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