What is Digital Painting

Digital painting is an emerging art form in which traditional painting techniques such as watercolor, oils, impasto, etc. are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, a digitizing tablet and stylus, and software. Traditional painting is painting with a physical medium as opposed to a more modern style like digital. Digital painting differs from other forms of digital art, particularly computer-generated art, in that it does not involve the computer rendering from a model. The artist uses painting techniques to create the digital painting directly on the computer. All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects. Included in many programs are brushes that are digitally styled to represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. There are also certain effects unique to each type of digital paint which portray the realistic effects of say watercolor on a digital ‘watercolor’ painting.[1] In most digital painting programs, the users can create their own brush style using a combination of texture and shape. This ability is very important in bridging the gap between traditional and digital painting.

Digital painting thrives mostly in production art. It is most widely used in conceptual design for film, television and video games. Digital painting software such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, ArtRage, GIMP, Krita and openCanvas give artists a similar environment to a physical painter: a canvas, painting tools, mixing palettes, and a multitude of color options. There are various types of digital painting, including impressionism, realism, and watercolor. There are both benefits and drawbacks of digital painting. While digital painting allows the artist the ease of working in an organized, mess-free environment, some argue there will always be more control for an artist holding a physical brush in their hand. Some artists believe there is something missing from digital painting, such as the character that is unique to every physically made object.

Comparison with traditional painting
The main difference between digital and traditional painting is the non-linear process. That is, an artist can often arrange his painting in layers that can be edited independently. Also, the ability to undo and redo strokes frees the artist from a linear process. But digital painting is limited in how it employs the techniques and study of a traditional painter because of the surface differences and lack of physicality. The digital artist has at his disposal several tools not available to the traditional painter. Some of these include: a virtual palette consisting of millions of colors, almost any size canvas or media, and the ability to take back mistakes, as well as erasers, pencils, spray cans, brushes, combs, and a variety of 2D and 3D effect tools. A graphics tablet allows the artist to work with precise hand movements simulating a real pen and drawing surface. Even the traditional surface has changed for digital painting. Instead of a canvas or sketchbook, artists would use a mouse or tablet to display strokes that would appear with the touch of a pen to the tablet’s surface, or a click of pen. Tablets can be pressure sensitive, allowing the artist to vary the intensity of the chosen media on the screen. There are tablets with over two thousand different levels of pressure sensitivity.

Source: wikipedia.org


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