Introduction to Digital Art

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This tutorial is for beginners or anyone willing to explore the use of digital art. Digital Art in comparison to the lots of various mediums of art, including oils, pastels, water colors, inks, etc, can be seen as all kinds of mediums set into one. With new technology and programs, barriers and limitations can be broken easier and efficiently. Its a good way to make your work with easy and fast editing, not worrying about smudges, finger marks, or other slight imperfections that come across lots of artists. Ive been working with lots of mediums my whole life and Ive found that digital art, in my opinion, is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, mediums to work with.

Software:
First off, you’ll need some kind of digital art software to work with. This might sound such as the expensive part of the process. However, the net is filled with all kinds of opportunities for everybody. The most common software used for digital art is Adobe Photoshop. Titled as the standard software for digital art and graphics, it comes in unique versions. I prefer using the older versions just because Im already comfortable with them, but I would recommend the newest and latest versions to keep up to date with new applications and abilities. The newest version of Photoshop is currently Adobe Photoshop CS4 which is somewhat powerful with new 3D capabilities and video. You can buy the software at electronics store, or you can order it online. If you are’t willing to buy software because of reasons or you want a taste of digital art before you buy anything, there’s some free image manipulation programs. The best that Ive found is GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Its capabilities for simple image manipulating and designs are similar to that of Photoshop. If youre really lazy to download software, then give MS Paint (Microsoft Windows) a try. Its not the greatest or easiest things to use but its the simple of the basic. These are just some suggestions that might help beginner artists. All in all, finding the right program is important because it is essential that you are comfortable with the program to let your ideas flourish onto the screen. Also, it would help if you purchased a graphics tablet, which is a touch based pad that allows you to move the cursor as if it was the tip of your pen. This is not required though. Ive been using a mouse to make images for years before I purchased my modbook. A mouse might be harder to control, however it is not impossible.

Starting:
So lets get into the actual use and creation of digital art. For this small tutorial Ill be basing the software on GIMP, just for general purposes. Most, if not all, programs work very similar and have the same simple abilities so if you are using a unique program it shouldn’t be too hard to follow. Like file on the computer, start with “File” and “New.” It should ask for the size of image you want to use. The standard image size I would use is 640x400px, or for a slightly larger size 800x600px. Now if you are a beginner to art in general, it is very important to know the simple concepts and gestalt of art. Art varies among unique minds; however the simple mindset to it is from general to detail. You always want to think of the simple shapes and lines of the image before you get into the small details.

General Tools:
Tools that help with these simple shapes would be the paths tool. This tool helps you make straight lines as well as perfectly curved lines with the use of anchor points. You can also use the unique select tools, which include the Rectangle Select Tool and the Ellipse Select Tool. With these select tools, you can select a region in which you want to work on. By selecting this, you can add color or designs in the selected region without having to worry about “coloring outside of the lines.” Another tool thats useful for general shades and color is the Blend Tool, which creates gradients and perfect blending. The Airbrush Tool allows a more blended and softer look than the paintbrush tool, which delivers a harder edged line. The Smudge Tool allows slight editing to your work. By dragging it along lines and colors, it smudges and blends them. These can all be used in various ways. To master them, it takes experience and experimentations. Get comfortable with the tools and learn their capabilities and you will be able to understand each element of each tool. There are lots of tools and abilities that these programs provide. Experiment with them and see how each of them work.

Elements:
Now I will explain the elements of the tools. Each tool has unique ones, but I will go over the similar characteristics. You will notice the Opacity options under each tool. Opacity is the ability to see the object. Therefore, the higher the opacity, the better you can see it; and the lower the opacity, the more transparent it is. Also, most tools include a scale option. This allows you to change the size of the “pen tip” or your tool. You can also change the color via clicking the color box and choosing the desired hue.

Layers:
Just such as other medium, layers are very important to keep in mind. With digital art, you can extend the use of layers from the lots of coatings of colors to organization and labeling of parts of your work. By adding new layers you can work over existing layers without changing the past layers. You can also change the transparency of layers via changing the opacity, which is the same for tools.

Once you have read over this article and setup your development environment move on to the next tutorial.


Source by Austin Oblouk

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