Anything Photoshop or Photography


Painted image of AlionaThis week I thought I would show just where I am in my painting journey from one year ago. Since my New Years Resolution last year was to really learn to digitally paint, it has been a huge endeavor, and I have so much more to learn. With that said, I feel I have come a long way. Since I was pretty much clueless on even the basics of painting, it has been a lot of fun to understand some of these principles and try to apply them. Therefore, I present where I am and a few notes on how I got here.

The first major step I took last year was learning how to paint digitally in Photoshop. I also found I actually enjoy painting people in Photoshop, but it takes a huge amount of time to get them just right.¬† Not many people are teaching this. Melissa Gallo of Painted Textures may have the best program around – check out her Painting with Photoshop Workshop. The key to both learning both Photoshop and Painter are the brushes: changing the settings quickly while painting, and how the strokes are applied. It has helped me to watch Melissa’s videos, and others in the case of Painter, to learn how to do this effectively. Painted Textures Baby Gold and her Oil Sketch Brush (both come with her workshop) were used to get the above result.


Image of flowers painted in Corel Painter and PhotoshopThese are some of my fake flowers I photographed. As I continued on my journey, the image was painted in Corel Painter X13, then in Photoshop’s Topaz (see website link in sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle plug-in and texture were added to get the beautiful color. In Restyle my favorite preset was applied – Cream and Plum (set Detail to -1.00 and Sharpness to +1.00; in Masks painted out the pink main flower and some of the flowers just above and to the bottom left). Painted Textures Dark Naples Yellow Canvas was added twice, once set to Multiply blend mode at 36% layer opacity and the second set to Hard Light blend mode at 48% layer opacity. Try stacking the same texture with different blend modes and opacities to get some beautiful effects.


Image of a still life painted in Corel PainterAfter viewing lots of videos from several people, I have started to learn how to use Corel Painter with a better understanding of its brush engine – the key to the whole program. Compared to Photoshop, this program is “brushes on steroids!” Besides learning how to actually stroke the brushes and using their different panels, there is a lot to learn on how they interact with the different Painter papers to create the same beautiful effects actually seen in the traditional field of painting. The above was an image that used a still life photo provided by Melissa Gallo in her Autumn Still Life Studio course. (Yes, I added the geometric background – I seem to enjoy this effect in my paintings!) My next step is setting up some of my own still life shots – I keep on the look-out for inexpensive flowers and props for trying this. And obviously I am still learning to paint, but this image represents to me that I have come a long way!


Image of some flowers painted in Corel Painter and PhotoshopHere is one of my latest creations painted in Corel Painter using a grocery store phone image. One of the things I learned was how to use different sources to add color and depth to your painting – in this case Topaz ReStyle’s Nordic Punch preset was used to help paint this image. In Photoshop Kim Klassen’s May Magic Pack 2 overlay was set to Color Dodge blend mode at 52% layer opacity and Painted Textures Winter Storm left set to normal at 100% layer opacity.


Wintry image painted in Corel Painter and finished in PhotoshopThis image was created in Corel Painter using Karen Bonaker’s brushes – mainly her Bare Trees brush from her Holiday 2014 Brush Set, the 7-deer variant from her previous holiday set, and cloud brushes from her July Clouds set – all these are free brushes that can be downloaded at her site Karen Bonaker Art. She is so nice to give us newbies to Painter a chance to try her great brushes. This image started out using all colors of yellow but added Topaz ReStyle plug-in in Photoshop. I created the yellow texture and used it to get the wintry snowy look. It was set to the Difference blend mode at 73% layer opacity along with Blend If This layer white tab split and set to 198/221 and Underlying Layer black tab split and set to 199/255. Then one of my favorite presets was applied in ReStyle. (Here are the settings for my SJ BW with greens preset: Peppermint Gray preset as a starting point. ReStyle Opacity – 76%; Color Style: Sat-Primary -0.14, Secondary 0.48, Third 0.30, Fourth 0, and Fifth -0.58; and Basic Color Temperature -0.58, Tint -0.22, and Saturation -0.11. These changes were then applied to the preset: Texture Strength 1.00; Basic blend mode set to Screen, Temperature set to -0.58, Tint -0.22, and Saturation -0.11; Black Level 0.05, Midtones -0.50, and White Level -0.58; and Detail Structure to 0.56.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing my progress, or what I consider progress. There are so many people out there that are doing great digital paintings. Besides the resources mentioned above, the following people have really helped me with my journey: Jason Maranto (check out his free Corel 2015 Video Manual – it’s wonderful), Jeremy Sutton (his Corel Painter X3 videos from Creative Live was a great help-and his way of painting is very interesting), Cher Threinen-Pendarvis (her books including the Painter Wow books are totally the best!), Marilyn Sholin, Carolyn Beccia (she teaches actual painting techniques in her The Digital Renaissance book), Fay Sirkis (get her videos and brushes at Kelby One – she is the one who got me started using Painter way back at Photoshop World), and, of course, Skip Allen! I am sure there are others I have forgotten to mention, but all of these people have been so kind to share their expertise that it makes learning how to paint just lots of fun!

I am assuming my creative buddies had some similar successes last year! I plan on working hard this year to continue learning and trying out some new types of brushes for some different effects. Oh yes, the most important thing I have learned is that you need to paint at least a little bit each day as it is very easy to forget what you learned! Practice, practice, practice! In the meantime have a wonderful New Year and lets see how much progress we make this year!…..Digital Lady Syd

4 responses

  1. My goodness, the progress you have made, and your work is simply magnificent. Unfortunately, I have been away from it for a few months now, as life has gotten a bit busy and hectic. Will hopefully remember what I’ve learned and get back to it soon.

    Wishing you a bright and beautiful New Year.

    01/04/2015 at 12:56 pm

    • Hi Lisa – Glad you see some progress here! I have been away a couple of weeks and getting back into it is hard. The holidays definitely add some confusion to keeping up. Hope you have a great year ahead and get back into it. Love your images.

      01/05/2015 at 10:08 am

  2. Happy 2015! Thank you for being you, and for your inspiring art! You are amazing!
    Best wishes

    01/04/2015 at 7:23 pm

    • Happy New Year to you too! Thanks for the lovely comment. Syd

      01/05/2015 at 10:05 am

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