Finally, time to get our hands dirty!  These first few videos will help to familiarize you with Photoshop.  When I taught myself digital painting, the software felt intimidating and opaque - which didn’t help the learning process.  Digital painting 101 is my attempt to get you past the steep learning curve, and feeling comfortable with the software. So let’s start with the basics and move up from there!

Download your copy of the SHAPE MAP.

Tools from this Video:

Fullscreen modes (toggle) -- F

Hand / Pan Tool - Spacebar

Zoom tool / magnifying glass - Z

Hide / Reveal the Interface - TAB

AuthorMatt Kohr
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Now that you’ve seen the very basics, let’s check out the Layer Palette.  Layers are one of the major difference between digital painting and traditional painting.  In my opinion, mastering layer keyboard shortcuts is a fast way to build your digital painting confidence.  I know these basic shapes don’t look like painting, but the layer skills are exactly the same.  

Follow along with the LAYER WORKSHEET PSD

If you want to learn more about layer shortcuts, I encourage you to check out this video.



Tools from this video:

Move tool - V

Auto-select Layer on Canvas - Ctrl+Click  (cmd+Click on mac)
Note: To achieve this, make sure your move tool settings at the top of the panel are “Auto-Select” (unchecked),  : “Layer” on the dropdown menu.

Name your Layer - Double click on layer name

Duplicate Layer - Alt+Drag with Move tool active (option+drag on a mac)

AuthorMatt Kohr
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The next tools in your introduction to digital painting are the Brush and Eraser.  If you come from a traditional art background, it’s not obvious that the Photoshop ‘brush’ represents everything from pens & pencils to bristle brushes and paint rollers.  Over time your collection of ‘brushes’ will grow, but I think learning Photoshop is easier if you start with a very small set.  The .tpl file below is a small set of brush and eraser presets that’ll give you a great starting point.

Follow along with the free TOOL PRESET .TPL file.

Tools in This Video

Brush tool:  B

Eraser tool: E

Drawing Line Segments: Click, Shift+Click

Drawing Horizontal and Vertical Lines: Hold Shift while using Brush tool

Brush Diameter Slider:  Alt+Right Click (option+Right Click on mac)

AuthorMatt Kohr
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Another essential part of the brush tool is the active color.  In digital painting you generally don’t have to worry about mixing colors on a palette, reloading paint, or cleaning your brush.  In Photoshop you just need to learn a few helpful keyboard shortcuts, and then you’re on your way!  One bit of advice: make a custom keyboard shortcut for “foreground color picker”.  You’ll use it constantly, so pick some key that’s nearby your left finger tips.

Tools in this video

Matching / Sampling Colors: Alt with Brush tool active (option on mac)

Color Picker Window:  No default, make your own!  (it’s called the ‘foreground color picker)

Toggle Foreground and Background color: X

AuthorMatt Kohr
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This is a tough one, I’ll warn you right now.  Blending edges where two colors meet essential, but it’s also very challenging for beginners.  In this video I demonstrate the ‘manual’ way to do it, though there are other ways we’ll explore later.  Unlike the previous videos, there aren’t any new tools or keyboard shortcuts -- this is all about practice.  If you’re new to using a stylus, you might have trouble at first - but believe me: it’s worth mastering this technique.  Since this is a core skill for digital painting, I’ve linked a few related videos to the right - check them out when you have a chance!

Follow along with the BLENDING PAINT WORKSHEET.

AuthorMatt Kohr
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Congratulations on completing Digital Painting 101!  Since I don’t know you, or your history with art, I’ve laid out two recommendations for your next step.  If you already have experience drawing or painting, and you just want to learn digital painting, I’ll direct you to the “Let’s Paint” videos (process demonstrations).  These give a high level overview of the painting process, including many different approaches.  

If you don’t have any experience drawing or painting, I recommend starting in section 2 of the free library: Traditional Drawing.  These videos are a nice primer on the concepts of pencil drawing from observation.  I can’t overstate how important these skills are - and how much easier they make digital painting.  In truth, Ctrl+Paint only offers a primer on basic drawing - I encourage you to go to the local library, or sites like to learn this skill in-depth.   

Two Recommendations:

1) If you're comfortable with traditional media, I recommend the digital Process Demonstrations.

2) If you're just starting out with art, I always encourage the Traditional Drawing section of my free library first

AuthorMatt Kohr
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Getting Started

Welcome to Ctrl+Paint!  Whether you’re a beginner at art, a beginner at digital painting, or both - I’m glad you’re here.  There’s a lot of specifics to talk about in the following videos, but we’ll begin by answering the all important question: “What is digital painting?”

AuthorMatt Kohr
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Before you open up any software, or get out a sketch book, I want to do a quick demonstration.  As I paint the spaceship, I want you to notice where Photoshop painting is similar to traditional art, and where it’s uniquely digital.  Many artists approach digital painting with the same techniques they would use on a canvas, but here rules are are totally different.  “Digital Painting” is equal parts drawing, collage, painting, photo-editing, and re-mixing.  If you approach your learning process with an open mind, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this unusual set of tools.  

So sit back, don’t worry about taking notes, and I’ll show you what’s possible in digital painting.

AuthorMatt Kohr
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