Dec 10, 2006

1 new wallpaper (Artist/Kazuhiko Tsuzuki: Fly)

1 new wallpaper:
Artist/Kazuhiko Tsuzuki - Fly (Vector/Minimalistic)
Made on a whim. Wanted something simple, with clean lines. Just a girl on a swing among the clouds. Childlike whimsy and a sense of flight... [more]

Dec 6, 2006

1 new wallpaper (Full Metal Alchemist: Route 66)

1 new wallpaper:
Full Metal Alchemist - Route 66 (Vector/Scenic)
When I first saw this scan, I thought the white ruff of Ed's red jacket looked like a Santa suit. For some reason, I decided to then use that scan for my annual winter wallpaper, despite the fact that Ed is not actually wearing a Santa suit. Go fig... [more]

Dec 1, 2006

Ramblings on Mushishi: Mata Itsuka

NOTE: I just found this half-finished entry in my "potential blog topics" Google Notebook when I was doing some testing during work, so I decided to finish and post it, no matter how late it is.

One of the motivations behind turning my recent Mushishi wall, Mata Itsuka, from a vector-only wall (like Oyako) to a painted wall was to gain more familiarity with Corel Painter 9. I've had Painter for years (although only upgraded to 9 last year) but have only used it extensively for a few wallpapers. Frankly, having no experience in natural media aside from pencil/pen and paper, the number of options overwhelms me, and I have no basis for understanding how the oil-based brushes are supposed to work compared to, say, oil pastels. Still, a painting-based wall was just the excuse necessary to get more practice!
The last wall I used Painter on was the Okama Hunter in the Grass wall where I used the digital watercolor brushes to create a textured background. I went back to the digital watercolor tools (not to be confused with Painter's watercolor tools which is an entirely different palette) because I liked how they maintained the paper texture, and because I like the watercolor look in general.
One of the first things I discovered was Painter's custom brush maker. This thing is about 25x more complicated than Photoshop's custom brush maker and about 50x as fun, because you can actively preview the brush while you're making it but before committing to the changes. Very slick. I wasted probably several hours just messing around with controls, although in the end I created a new digital watercolor brush quite similar to the presets but with more control over the brush size based on tablet pressure and a fixed opacity (the presets were switched in pressure control on size/opacity).
Basically, I began by painting the base color for Ginko's face, then adding successive layers of shadow and highlights. I painted way outside of the outlines as I planned to mask the final color layers in Photoshop. After several frustrating attempts to figure out how to use the digital watercolor blenders, I gave up and decided to use the regular set of blenders. However, in Painter, you have to 'dry' any liquid ink layer (such as digital watercolor) before you can use the "dry" brushes (which include blenders, oils, etc.) Afterwards, though, the regular blenders were most intuitive to use and everything went from a sorta cel-style shading to a much softer gradient-style shading.
I like Painter's blenders a lot, and plan to use them in many more painty walls.