Photoshop is a great program for editing photos. That’s what I kept reading, and I was baffled. I had heard that many artists used it, and yet on every ad I looked at, it only mentioned it being used for photos. Had I misread? Is Photoshop not really an art program? For a while, I wrestled with this inconsistency. And yet more places I heard artists used Photoshop for this or that, despite the ads’ complete lack of this very important detail. I finally decided to just go for it.
And I’m glad I did. It really was an art program, one of the best, and it was now mine! The next step was to learn how to use it. I heard that it was difficult to learn, but I should’ve known by then not to believe everything I read. I tried it, and it wasn’t really. I don’t do fancy things, just drawing and coloring, and it’s not bad at all. I was actually able to learn it as I went. (And I had to because the book I got only addressed editing photos. Go figure.)
At first, I tried out different lassoes and was delighted to see that the magnetic one kind of sticks to lines, so it makes it easier to select something oddly shaped. The brushes and eraser were obvious. Oh, and the fun I had with the grass and leaf brushes. My very first picture on Photoshop used both. It actually looks pretty silly when used to the extreme, but it was fun. (It’s on the Old Art page if you wanna take a look. It’s “Dancing Girl”.)
I also wondered for a while what was meant by web-safe colors. Do I have to use them for anything I put on the Internet? What I found was: No, no you don’t. I use whatever color I darn well please, and I see no problem. Maybe they mean spider web safe?
Also, for quite a while, I used to do everything with hard brushes, drawing and coloring, and I wondered why it was so hard to make smooth transition between colors. Then, I realized those fluffy soft brushes would be much better for shading. I felt so foolish.
I wrestled with the pen tool for a while, but now it’s fairly easy. (Why did they deicide the pen tool should be this weird, magic line making tool? Real pens are nothing like that.) But, even though it makes lines cleaner, I prefer drawing things with the brush. You can change the line thickness, and I don’t want my stuff to look too perfect. Plus, if I draw with the pen tool, I fear that I’ll forget how to draw the right way. I still use the line tool sometimes, though. That’s not cheating! On paper, I would’ve used a ruler!
Dodge and burn are a very useful little team that I found out about when I was learning how to do realistic hair. Dodge lightens colors and burn darkens them. (Burn makes sense, but where’d they get dodge?) They’re good for shadows, shines, and it can make things a little 3-D. Just look at the purple swirling vortex in “Super Paper Everyone” and “King of Spades” on the Fan Art page, and you’ll see what I mean. Now, don’t tell me those don’t look good. Also, smudge is good for simple, but pretty good looking fire.
Not super long ago I used textures on the thing on Midna’s head in the aptly named “Midna” picture, also in Fan Art. I tried it again for Japas’s guitar, but it just didn’t look right, so I got rid of it. I haven’t mastered all that stuff yet. Someday I’ll learn textures…I hope.
I also had trouble doing motion blurs and drop shadows. I just couldn’t get them right. I finally got a fairly decent motion blur on a cruddy Sonic the Hedgehog picture (that I am too embarrassed to show anyone right now), but I still just draw shadows by hand. Honestly, unless I want shadows perfect, drawing them myself is probably better practice anyway. I don’t want computer art to make me forget how to draw. What a tragedy that would be! Aren’t you guys worried, too?