Monday, March 12, 2012

The evolution of a digital painting

So I'm taking this digital painting course and really enjoying it -- I was totally new to Corel Painter and still am far from expert (or even intermediate), but it's exciting to be trying out a new program.  At the same time, I'm taking a real-life watercolor class, so it's very interesting to see how similar and different the two media are.

I've done a few projects so far, but I thought I'd share my process on one for those thinking of getting into digital art.  I wanted to do a digital watercolor of a photograph I took a couple of years ago at Mission San Miguel, a place I enjoy visiting when traveling up and down the California coast.  Here's the original photo:


I love this photo so much that a textured version is featured on my business card.   At this point, I could have cloned a painting from the photo in Painter, and would have gotten a very pale image that you then can paint over (kind of like paint-by-numbers).  Or, I could have chosen "auto-painting," and gotten something like this:




I stopped the process part-way through so you could see how it fills in the painting, stroke by stroke, and if you're super-good at setting the autopainting up (which I am not), it can come out looking very good.  But that wouldn't be something I painted, so I don't want to do that.  Instead, I began by making the painting into a sketch:




A little hard to see, but I think  you can get the idea -- Painter creates a sketch that you then can paint over, on a blank layer (or many layers) placed on top.  (Note: I have no worries about the sketch being "cheating" -- even Rembrandt had some kind of system (mirrors, lenses) that would project whatever he was painting onto the canvas.) So this is what I leapt in and started to do.  I did clone colors from the photograph, so as not to spend all my time mixing colors and comparing them to the photograph.  After many hours I was maybe 50% done, and it looked like this:



Pretty sketchy, right?  And you can still see the sketch is very much part of the painting.  The colors are blotchy and not blended well, but I wanted to get the idea of it (and turn in my required 50% version).  I had another week to make it perfect.  I messed with the colors some more, figured out how to blend them together (that was hard to figure out) put in a lot more details, went back to the sketch layer and erased most of it, worked on the lighting and then went back over everything with a fine-toothed comb.  What I ultimately came out with is this.  I'll include the original again so you don't have to scroll back:


   
What do you think?  I think it came out pretty well, especially for a first-time watercolor on Painter.  We'll see what my teacher thinks!

11 comments:

Lisa Gordon said...

Elise, this is beautiful!!
I have never used Corel Painter, but have surely seen some wonderful things done with it.

Thank you so very much for being a part of The Creative Exchange.

Have a wonderful evening, and I will surely still see you here!

lisa.

Anne said...

These are beautiful! You're giving me some great ideas.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful post-processing.

Regards and best wishes

Chloe Jacqueline said...

Amazing work! You are very talented! Painter is not an easy program and you have made a wonderful painting! Kudos!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Wow, this is beautiful...I didn't even know about digital painting...very cool!

Genie said...

Elise....This is absolutely amazing. You are well on your way to becoming a digital painter. You need to give yourself a big pat on the back. This is truly amazing. Before reading your post, I did not know that digital painting even existed. Boy, did I learn something tonight. Kudos to you. genie

Genie said...

Elise....This is absolutely amazing. You are well on your way to becoming a digital painter. You need to give yourself a big pat on the back. This is truly amazing. Before reading your post, I did not know that digital painting even existed. Boy, did I learn something tonight. Kudos to you. genie

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in to say hi. This is awesome! What programs do you use for digital painting?

Queenvickans said...

Fantastic result.
I m going to give paintings a try.

Tricia said...

Oh, that is so neat! I've never tried anything like that, but it looks so interesting and pretty. I was so surprised to see that you took your photo at the San Miguel Misson...that's where my grandparents were married :)

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Oh, that's so nice -- I just love that place. There's a fountain (although it doesn't work) with a pool at the bottom, and that's where the water lilies are. Thanks for the comment --