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Getting Started with Digital Painting as A Beginner

 What is Digital Painting?

We have come far from writing letters to typing them, mailing to e-mailing, in-person meetings to video conferences and as digitization expands to almost all areas of life, it was only a matter of time before the world of art also becomes bolstered with it.

Digital Painting

You don’t need to buy and replace paintbrushes, oil paints, or even papers to make a painting anymore. You can now paint, sketch, doodle on your mobile phone, your tablet, your computer, you can now do the digital painting! You would be surprised to know that the first instance of digital art existed way back in the 1960s by John Whitney, known as the “Father of computer graphics”. He created the world's first digital art pieces by using mathematical functions, becoming a pioneer for one of the most popular forms of art in the world. Though you do not need to be a mathematician to create your digital art pieces today.

Digital art has been around for quite some time and you see them used in games, animations, films, posters, graphic novels, and even photo editing can be considered digital art. The biggest advantage of digital painting is that it’s not as messy as traditional painting is. It’s easier to fix your mistakes. It gives you more freedom to work and create new variations of your art pieces a lot faster and a lot less messy than the traditional way.

What are the requirements? 

There are two things you need to get started with digital painting-

1. Hardware

2. Software

You can start digital painting with just your smartphone. There are a lot of free and paid apps that will allow you to do so easily. But the size and resolution of your painting will be limited to the smartphone’s screen size. These types of paintings are mostly good for online viewing like social media or printed for smaller real-world applications like stickers. If you want to make digital art used in films or gaming, then you will need a sturdier system and professional art software.

If you want to make concept art for games and films like environment design and/or character design, then you will require a higher-end computer, laptop, or tablet with a higher-end graphics card and high-speed SSDs. You will also need at least 8GB of RAM that will be used to render your strokes and mark-making effects. Add to that a good display. A 27-inch display is considered the “sweet spot” for digital art. You will also require a graphic tablet that you can connect to your computer. They come in two variations - pen tablets and pen displays.

Pen Tablets traces the stylus on the tablet to your monitor display. Pen Displays comes with a display monitor that allows you to draw directly onto the display. Pen Displays might feel more intuitive to you but they are also more expensive. You would also require a good stylus that has pressure support. In art, the pressure on the brush matters a lot, the same would be applicable here. How to handle the stylus is something students are learning in digital art classes.

For software, there are quite a few that may appeal to all types of use cases. Adobe Suite is the obvious leader. While being expensive it’s also the industry standard, boasting of a huge range of features and options. There are also less expensive, free, and open-source software like Procreate, Krita, Clip Studio Paint, etc.

Join the dots and Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!

Now that the hardware and the software are down, it’s time to get started. First, with the basics, try to draw simple shapes like circles, squares repeatedly keeping the same size and distance between each. It will help you get used to working with the stylus while also controlling the pen’s pressure sensitivity. Since you don’t have to worry about wasting materials, you can experiment as much as you want. Experiment with colors, blend modes, brush variants, and layers.

You can also join digital art courses that can get you started on the right track. Amongst the art courses available, art courses for film and games concept designing is quite popular. It can be sub-branched to environment design and character design. Both courses have different requirements and different approaches. Where Environment Design emphasizes “believability”, and grounding in familiarity while also including lighting, style, composition, and visual cues.

Character Design will make you dig deep by exploring the essence of a character by developing 

their attitude and making them real and grounded while also portraying their attire, pose, and personality.

The most important part is to keep experimenting to realize which path you want to choose. Whether you like making scenes or creating emotions.

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