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Digital Painting In Real Time

In the past there has been a separation between the computer artist and the traditional artist due to the fact that creating art on the computer was so very different from creating art with traditional "real life" media. However more traditional artists are beginning to expand their creativity to include the computer. The reason for this transition is the increased sophistication of the "natural media" graphic software available today compared to just a few years ago.

This natural media software imitates the look and feel of working with real life traditional art tools and media. The digital artist has a choice of working with several art media such as the following.

Wizardbrush
Wizardbrush ©Eusoftware Co. Ltd.
Use by permission
Brushes
Pen and Ink
Pencil
Charcoal
Airbrush
Watercolors
Oils
Felt Pens and Markers
Chalk
Pastels
Gouache
Acrylic
Crayons


After choosing a medium to work with, the painting experience can be customized even further. The artist has control over such aspects as paint translucency, surface texture and absorbency, and light reflection. Of course this software also has most of the standard features included in graphic software such as twain support (scanning), vectors, layers, filters, and special effects.

The price of this natural media software ranges from freeware and shareware to several hundred dollars. The extent of realism and the amount of customization is reflected in the price. However even the freeware and shareware software available has a good range of flexibility and realism that a lot of artists will find sufficient for their needs. For example, when painting watercolors with high end software such as CorelR PainterR, one can actually watch the simulation of the diffusion of the watercolor wash over the painting surface. Although you do not get this simulation when using the med and lower priced software, the realistic watercolor result is still very impressive. The following are just a sampling of the natural media software available. If you are interested in making the move from traditional art to computer art, checking out these websites is a good start to your journey.

Project Dogwaffle
from Daniel Ritchie
Freeware and Commercial
Even though it is free, this software is also impressive. I found the interface to be very user friendly and the painting results very realistic. There is also a commercial version that is an upgrade from the freeware version and contains more features. The accompanying website has several tutorials, a gallery of sample images, and a user forum.
Freeware Version
Publisher's Website and Project Dogwaffle Professional

PixiaTM
from Isao Maruoka, Tacmi Co.
Freeware
The Japanese edition of this software has been popular for several years and has many faithful fans. The creator of the software has published an English language version and there is an accompanying English language website which includes a user forum. This software is freeware and there are several websites that offer tutorials and sample image galleries.
Publisher's Website

Wizardbrush
from Eusoftware Co. Ltd.
Commercial (free demo)
The program interface is very easy to use and one nice feature is that your mouse pointer turns into a graphic image of the painting or drawing tool that you are using (see example above). This makes the digital painting experience more realistic. There are several built-in animated demos that show the step-by-step process to create a picture using the media tools. Another very nice feature is the ability to create your own demos, which is useful as a teaching tool.
Publisher's Website

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