A common question for beginners is "What size should I make my canvas?" Wanting to know exactly how many white pixels to lay out before you start working is a comforting feeling, but there's no 'right' answer to this question. In this video we'll explore the idea of dynamic resolution. Counter to the rules for digital photography, there are benefits to beginning with a small canvas and gradually enlarging it as you work.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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The introduction to masking continues in this video with layer sets. Did you know you could apply a single mask to multiple layers? Get ready to have your mind blown. This is where masking severs ties with the traditional art world, and can only be called "strictly digital". Even though it might seem abstract at first, this concept will completely change the way you paint.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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The brush tool is the heart of digital painting. It can be a bit confusing, and this video will help familiarize you with the basic components like Opacity and Diameter. Interestingly, the way to make the brush tool more useful is to limit the functionality. In this video I explore the difference between my two favorite types of brushes: Opacity Brushes use the pen pressure on your stylus to control the amount of pigment, and have a fixed diameter.  Keyboard shortcuts are used to change the diameter.

Diameter brushes use the pen pressure to control the diameter, and have a fixed amount of pigment.  This creates the effect of applying ink with a bristle brush -- you get a varied line weight, but a consistent intensity of ink.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Standing back from your painting to get the 'big picture' is extremely important. Getting up close and personal with your details is important too. What if you could do both simultaneously? You can. There's a feature that many artists don't know about in Photoshop which allows you to open the same document in multiple windows simultaneously. In this video I'll show the practical implications of this command in a detailed illustration. Especially if you have two monitors, the "New Window" command is a priceless addition to the digital painter's workflow.

Have you ever gotten lost in a tall stack of unnamed Photoshop layers? Naming your layers may be the proper way to stay organized, but it is extremely time consuming. This video offers a time-saving compromise. Even though I don't name my layers, there are certain ones that I don't want to lose track of - and a bit of color-coding does the trick. There are multiple ways to change the color coding of a layer in the stack, but this video shows how to use a Photoshop Action to accomplish it. I especially like Photoshop actions because they allow me to keep my stylus in the center of my painting, and to trigger commands with my left hand.

Continuing where part 1 left off, this concludes your introduction to the pen tool. This video focuses on a real-world example, creating a technical outline around a character's silhouette. If you were to attempt this job with the lasso or marquee tools you'd quickly run into trouble. The true beauty of the pen tool becomes apparent when working on a series of technical curves.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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Painting is generally done with basic, versatile, brushes. Sometimes however, you're better off using a custom brush to accomplish a specific end. In this video I showcase a brush pack designed to make the task of painting machine guns and muzzle flares easier. The brush pack is free, so feel free to download it!

And if you're intrigued by this concept of custom brushes, there's an entire Premium Series dedicated to it in the Ctrl+Paint store!  

The goal of thumbnail sketching is to generate a large variety of design possibilities in a short amount of time. With this goal inmind, it's not 'cheating' to take a non-traditional approach. This video shows how to "built" your thumbnail sketches instead of simply drawing them. Using robots as subject matter, we'll first build a set of modular components, and then mix and match them to create a large variety of robot designs.

Sometimes the digital workflow will behave completely counter to the way you learned to draw with a pencil and paper. Though it might seem foreign and strange, I encourage you to embrace these new opportunities! In this video I'll show how to iterate through a set of thumbnails by chopping them up into pieces, mixing, matching, and contorting them. Though it's not much like traditional 'drawing', it's a lot of fun and can be a huge time-saver.

One of the most important aspects of digital painting is edge control, and selections allow you to 'paint inside the lines' effortlessly. What happens when you want to use a few different recurring selections in your illustration? "Save Selection" is one option, though this video offers a quicker alternative.

The goal of making thumbnail sketches is speed. You're trying to get a lot of ideas onto the page as quickly as possible. This video explores the concept of symmetrical thumbnail designs. Specifically, it offers a single-button solution to create these horizontally mirrored drawings. Photoshop actions can be a huge time-saver if you know how to use them - and this 'mirror action' is no exception.

Creating an illustration which sits on a solid color background can be a challenge. If your goal is to have a nice, painterly, edge you might find yourself constantly re-working it. The method shown in this video strikes a balance between the time-savings of Photoshop layers and the painterly edge quality you're striving for.

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AuthorMatt Kohr
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