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Hour 10. Advanced Painting Techniques

Hour 10. Advanced Painting Techniques

Digital paint is so much easier to work with than the real kind. It doesn't smell, it never spills on the table, and there are no messy brushes to wash out when you're done. It doesn't get all over you and you don't even have to wait for it to dry. In Photoshop, you can either paint a picture from scratch, starting with a blank page and using it as if it were any other graphics program, or you can take an existing image and convert it into a painting. In the course of this chapter, you'll explore both ways of working.

When we talk about “paint” in the digital realm, we're talking, of course, about image manipulation that mimics “real-life” painting techniques. Because we're imitating real life, you might think that you'd be limited in the number of painting techniques that you can use—but this isn't the case. You're not limited to just watercolor or oil paint, for instance. Under the broad category of painting, you can include colored pencil drawing, pastels, chalk, charcoal, and even neon tubing, as many of today's artists and art students are doing. Even though digital painting is the most spectacular part of Photoshop, as well as the most fun, you'll be amazed at how easy it is. More important, mastering Photoshop's painting tools will take you a long way toward becoming a more proficient digital artist.

Quite honestly, Photoshop wasn't designed to be a graphics program. It lacks some of the tools that you'll find in Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or Fractal Painter (to name just a few of the very best programs). However, it can be used very effectively for many kinds of graphics. Because of its plug-in filters, which you'll learn about shortly, it can do some very remarkable things with graphics, most of which would be way beyond the capability of an ordinary painting or drawing program. Should Photoshop be your only graphics program? Probably not, if you need to do a lot of drawing. Although the new release has added some limited vector drawing tools, it's still not the perfect multi-use graphics program. But for painting and digital darkroom work and retouching, nothing can top it.



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