What is digital painting?

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Traditional digital painting creates an image in a stroke-by-stroke, brush-in-hand fashion, but the canvas and painting tools are digital.

Digital painting is a method of creating an art object (painting) digitally. As a method of creating an art object, it adapts traditional painting medium such as acrylic paint, oils, ink, watercolor, etc. and applies the pigment to traditional carriers, such as woven canvas cloth, paper, polyester etc. by means of computer software driving industrial robotic or office machinery (printers). As a technique, it refers to a computer graphics software program that uses a virtual canvas and virtual painting box of brushes, colors and other supplies. The virtual box contains many instruments that do not exist outside the computer, and which give a digital artwork a different look and feel from an artwork that is made the traditional way.



Digital painting differs from other forms of digital art particularly computer-generated art, in that it does not involve the computer rendering from a model. The artist uses painting techniques to create the digital painting directly on the computer. All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects. Included in many programs are brushes that are digitally styled to represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. There are also certain effects unique to each type of digital paint which portray the realistic effects of, for instance, watercolor on a digital "watercolor" painting. In most digital painting programs, the users can create their own brush style using a combination of texture and shape. This ability is very important in bridging the gap between traditional and digital painting.

Digital painting is also distinct from digital manipulation of photographs, in that it is an original construction “from scratch”.

The original artwork is a digital file and is not normally seen or sold. Limited edition prints are made from the digital file for exhibition and sale.





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In recent years there has been a growth in the websites which support painting digitally online. The user is still drawing digitally with the use of software: often the software is on the server of the website which is being used. However, with the emergence of html5, some programs now partly use the client’s web browser to handle some of the processing. The range of tools and brushes can be more limited than free standing software. Speed of response, quality of colour and the ability to save to a file or print are similar in either media.

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