Experimenting with Digital Design

While the Internet is widely recognized for its value in many things – such as, you no longer have to line up in some grocery store to do your shopping, you simply have to shop online and your stuff get delivered to your doorstep, or the fact that you no longer have to go to some annoying travel agency to book flights, because you just have to go online and let your own creativity plan out your Amsterdam holiday for you – there are many other things that you can thank the Internet for. One of those things is digital design.

You can now actually do your painting online, and here are some quick tips for you to do so.

Quick Tips for Good Digital Painting

First, use photo textures in your work. One great way to instantly add realism to your digital paintings is to apply textures to them. You can easily do this by incorporating photo textures into your work. Photo textures are parts of photographs that you warp and manipulate to blend into your painting. This technique is especially great for achieving the perfect texture for clothes, skin, details in nature, and general grit and grunge.

Second, paint with texture brushes, and be amazed by the results. Remember Bob Ross? King of giant afros and "happy trees"? For over a decade he famously painted beautiful oil landscapes on his hit TV show, The Joy of Painting. He achieved incredibly realistic details by using simple materials, including a fan brush to paint all the foliage for his signature trees. You too can achieve realism by equipping yourself with a wide range of textured brushes in Photoshop. You can find these brushes online or even create your own by following our series of tutorials dedicated to creating Custom Brushes in Photoshop.

Third, remember to apply Ambient Occlusion for lighting. Studying Ambient Occlusion is like stumbling across the holy grail of techniques. If you're already familiar with painting in grayscale then you probably know this common equation: One grayscale base + colors set to different blend modes = an almost finished painting. And what is more frustrating than understanding light and shadow? Sure, there are plenty of close seconds, but the magic is always in the lighting.