When we're young we learn in terms of colored markers and crayons: grass is green, etc. Learning to paint starts with unlearning these color stereotypes. This video looks at color with a critical eye, focusing on painting white objects. White objects are especially challenging for beginners to paint, though the concepts found in this lesson apply equally well to objects of any color.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
TagsColor
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We've discussed a number of ways to blend paint, and the Smudge Tool is strangely absent. Why have I left this tool out of the conversation? Beginners often assume that the Smudge tool is explicitly for blending, but in my opinion it is rarely useful for this. This video explores how the tool functions, and highlights special cases where it is useful for digital painting.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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When you start a painting, how often are you using a white canvas? This video offers an alternative. There are a number of reasons for using a toned canvas, though the easiest explanation is time savings. If you're looking to create a rendered image featuring a full value scale, you might as well start in the middle. In the video I use a warm tan color, though it's worth noting that gray works just as well.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Has the brush ever behaved strangely?  It is not working the way you'd expect it to? This video will help you identify some possible problem areas, and give you a checklist for the next time that your brush isn't working smoothly.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Both control the brush tool, but what's the difference? A common point of confusion about the brush tool is the functional difference between these two (similar) properties. Hopefully this video will clear up some of the confusion.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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We'd all like more of it, but how should we spend our free time? It's a deceptively simple question, but I find myself asking it nearly every day. Should I spend an hour doing X or would it be better to do Y instead? What if all I want to do is Z? Though this video doesn't offer concrete answers, it will get you thinking about the bigger picture and how to stay vigilant about your goals. Blogs like www.lifehacker.com often talk about planning the hours of your workday, but I rarely see anyone discussing a longer (1,2,5 year) plans. These sort of 'big questions' are not easy to think about, but ignoring them completely can be a dangerous strategy. What is your strategy? Since I clearly don't offer a perfect solution, we'll all benefit from the discussion.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Some painting tips are complex and require tons of practice, but this one is very simple: start at the back. This video talks about one approach to the painting process that works especially well for environment and outdoor scenes. Designed by traditional painters, I find that it's still quite appropriate for digital painters using photoshop.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Even though it's counter-intuitive, sometimes you add a little salt to make a recipe taste sweeter. The same logic can be used to make your colors more vibrant! The principle at work in this short video is called "simultaneous contrast", or "color contrast" - and it is a sure-fire way to liven up your colors.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
TagsColor
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When you paint a still life, are you learning from the shadows or just copying what you see? This video explores the different forms shadows can take and how to invent them for your own illustrations. Though every object casts a shadow, many beginners don't spend much time studying them!

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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So you're off on the art-learning journey, but do you have a destination in mind? If you haven't thought that far yet, you might want to. I say this because drawing and painting can be learned in different ways, and each way supports a different end goal. This video explores the idea of intentionally learning: making sure to stay on target and immerse yourself in the appropriate resources.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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One of the most exciting subjects to paint is landscape - but many artists don't know where to begin. This video shows one approach. Just like in the previous video where we did a "Tiny Study", these are small thumbnail sketches. Creating a small drawing like this allows you to quickly explore compositions without investing too deeply in a single image. Most importantly, working small like this is a way to lower your expectations - it's a lot less stressful working on a tiny painting that can't fit any details. And if you like this video, please remember to click the “Like” button at the bottom of the post! The only advertising for Ctrl+Paint is word of mouth, so I’m counting on you guys to spread the word. Thanks!

Assignment: Create Landscape Thumbnails

Things to consider: Use the photo as color and material reference, not for shape.

Recommended videos:The "Tiny Study",

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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In the previous video we looked at simple rendering samples - now it's time to apply those techniques to a larger image. Though I've provided the foundation of this image for you, there's still a lot to be done.  This sort of practice is great for improving your digital painting confidence and craftsmanship.

Do you have any tips for accomplishing this assignment? Was it harder or easier than you predicted? Let's hear about it in the comments! And finally, remember to have fun drawing.

Assignment: Render the "Dome" Illustration.

Things to consider: No visible brushstrokes, edge control, brush and eraser only.

Recommended videos:Digital Painting 101 pt2 (Brushes), Brush Agility , Brush Control Basics

Worksheet Downloads:Dome Illustration Worksheet, Dome Illustration (Complete)

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
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Are your brush strokes overlapped and messy looking? You're not alone. Many beginners suffer from this issue. To improve your technique, you'll need to practice making large strokes and using careful edge control -- which is exactly what this exercise was designed to help with. Look for the worksheet downloads at the bottom of the post.

Do you have any tips for accomplishing this assignment? Was it harder or easier than you predicted? Let's hear about it in the comments! And finally, remember to have fun drawing.

Assignment: Copy the (attached) rendering samples.

Things to consider: "Temp Layers", smooth rendering, edge control.

Recommended videos:Digital Painting 101 pt 4 (Layers),  Alternative Masking pt 1 (Clipping Masks) , Brush Control Basics

Worksheet Downloads:Grayscale Rendering Samples, Color Rendering Samples

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AuthorMatt Kohr
CategoriesPainting
91 CommentsPost a comment

If you're wokring to improve your painting, reference is a necessity.  The question is not "should I paint from reference?"  but rather "What reference makes most sense for this piece?"  This video looks for painting reference in an unusual area: visual effects test renders. 

If you're looking for the search terms mentioned in the video, here's a good starting point: Global Illumination (GI), Ambient Occlusion (AO), Caustics, Photons, VRay, Mental Ray, and Radiosity.  Search any of those along with "test render", and you'll have some fun reference materials. 

The anatomy reference was found at onlinelifedrawing.com

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Custom brushes can be a wonderful time-saver for your digital painting workflow.  Though they can be downloaded from the internet, the very best ones are those that you create from scratch. This premium series explores custom brush design including real world test-cases, and can only be found in the store.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
3 CommentsPost a comment