Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Well, it happened: I've switched almost exclusively to Photoshop. I've always kept PS around for various abilities it had, but when they got me a Cintiq at work, I found the lag and selection tools in Painter started to grate on me more and I discovered some Photoshop brushes that made the painting process less painful.  It's too bad really, because Painter has some features I miss, and the Adobe team doesn't seem to have any interest in ironing them out (I'm looking at you, Mixer Brushes!). Maybe some day soon the Corel guys will make a more stable product and I'll switch back.
So anyway, here's something I painted exclusively in Photoshop. Some time I'll talk about how I've had to change my process with PS and share my tool set.


  1. cintiq AND photoshop? I know both of those were a transition ;).

    (Although you seem to be able to breath life into your work regardless the tool ) Great post

  2. I can't think who this guy looks like. One of the General Authorities, or maybe my Uncle Deane . . . ?

  3. You should give Manga Studio 5 a shot. It's like PS, Painter, and Sai rolled into one.

  4. I like how this turned out! To be honest, I quit using Painter and made a full transition into PS right now.

  5. Noo please Sam - I need more posts on Painter :) Come back to the light. Anyway - just keep posting - love your blog!

  6. Welcome to the dark side Sam, hehe.

  7. Sam, it seemed when you started using Painter 12 you were pretty happy with it. I've had a love/hate relationship with it myself. I'm interested to see the brushes you use in PS as I can't really find any that work the way Painter brushes do. I have always wished there was an uber-app that would combine the best of PS and Painter. Maybe in the next life.

  8. I've been a corel painter user for a long time and switched completely to photoshop two weeks ago. Same reasons I guess, performance and other very annoying problems have just never been taken care of.
    PS have some super nice brush possibilities now, and very user-friendly plugins, so many ways to be creative :-)
    Will definitely come here to see more of your work with PS !

  9. Timely post. I just switched entirely to PS. I got some mixer brush settings that totally work for me (not Washa Brusha, but pretty close) and that plugin that does the Painter color picker sealed the deal.

  10. I switched over to Photoshop several years ago. I admit, it's been hard to get used to using Photoshop's brushes and it's taken a lot of time messing around with settings to get where I feel decent working with them.
    If you haven't already, I'd recommend finding a color picker plugin like MagicPicker (my favorite). It makes the transition a little smoother. :)
    Looking forward to a future post in which you talk about brushes in Photoshop!

  11. I've been at that stage for awhile of working in PS as long as possible before jumping to Painter for the final step and only using a few chosen brushes and bg textures/canvas.
    I would love to make the jump to 100% PS but at the moment, I find it hard to leave behind a natural blending brush for Adobe's mixer brushes ("mixer" = glorified smudge tool). Will eventually make the jump.
    Love my old Cintiq 18SX but it's fading fast so need to upgrade to the 21" in coming weeks.
    Thanks folks for the MagicPicker tip. Nice.

  12. Just a note, for Painter users who like the triangle color picker, save your money on buying Magic Picker (although I did buy it initially) and go to Preferences, General, and 2nd from the top, under HUD (Heads-Up Display) color picker, choose Hue Wheel. You can access the picker on the fly while drawing by pressing Control Option Command (Macintosh; not sure of the key commands for PC). Use the space bar to jump between the outer ring and the inner triangle.

  13. It's sad to hear about so many artists with this Love/Hate relationship with Painter, myself included. I color comics, mostly, but I got my start doing illustrations and painting in Painter(8). I loved it!

    I STILL have a hard time not doing somethings in Painter. I did a painting for a book last week that took me 3x as long to complete in Painter. The selection tools are garbage, but I LOVE the brushes.

    PS's mixer brush has potential. I think one of the original Painter guys helped design it. It still doesn't feel as fun as a Painter brush though. I'm hoping there are some refinements with it in the next update. I only see it improving. ESPECIALLY since Adobe is winning so many of us over. I just wish Corel showed more of a desire to fix what's broken. It's too bad.

  14. Thanks everyone!
    Mel: Yeah, the Cintiq took a while to get used to also. But now I really like it.

    BigKaboom: I've heard of that program, but never used it. I'll have to check it out.

    Jørgen: I haven't abandoned Painter completely yet, in fact I still use it occasionally at home where I have a tablet. Just hardly ever at work on my Cintiq.

    Mark: I'm going to do a post on brushes/process soon. But I agree, some combination of the two programs would be ideal.

    Adam: Any chance you'll share your mixer brush settings? I have a deep frustration that wells up quickly every time I open up that tool. But yeah, a Painter color picker plug-in is definitely the way to go.

    Tim: I've got some smudge tools I really like for paint blending, but I definitely don't like having the extra step in there. But given everything else it's worth the extra step.

    Mark: I've tried that, but I hate having to access it via keystroke and having to jump between the ring and the value/sat area. I like the idea though, maybe with the right key combination it wouldn't bother me so much.

    Jon: I am sad about it also. The mixer brush, unfortunately, show nothing BUT potential at this point. Unless Adam Ford has unlocked some great secret in the settings.

  15. Hi Sam,

    I'm thinking of taking your course on and was wondering if your lessons are Painter or PS focused, and, if they're the former, do you have any plans to update them in line with your new processes?

    It would be great if you did as I myself went exclusively PS several years ago. I persisted with Painter through Ryan Wood's Painting in Painter course but fought with it the entire time. Transferring the techniques I learned was pretty painless and there's not one compelling reason to go back.

  16. I got pretty close to recreating one of Don Seegmiller's "marker" brushes, but anything resembling the captured acrylic has been elusive. I'd be interested to see how Adam Ford has unlocked a few of it's secrets.

  17. Anonymous10:33 AM

    You're artwork is a real inspiration to me. It's awesome.

    I don't know anything about the mixer brushes. I'm on old Photoshop. I can't paint in Photoshop. I can, but I've had to create so many custom brushes that it just rubs me the wrong way. I feel like Adobe should either have the type of stuff I make available with the program, or make a standalone PS Paint program that's around $200.

    They need to get serious with their art tools. Stop charging artists $700 for a toolbox that they have to assemble. Painter will always have superior tools. Even when I wasn't as good at digital art as I am now, I could pull stuff out of my you-know-where with Painter's tools and make it look presentable. Painter requires ok painting knowledge and basic Program use knowledge. Photoshop requires ok painting knowledge, and massive knowledge of the Photoshop program. It takes you right out of the creative process in my opinion.

    I use Sketchbook pro for painting, and Photoshop for layout and fine tuning. I just don't get how Photoshop doesn't have the blending capabilities of cheaper programs, or the palette organization of the cheaper programs. Photoshop is the master of beginning and finishing, but it sucks for the middle parts.

  18. Glad you think it shows movement too. That is why it is still not a finished painting. Lots of thin paint and the linen canvas showing.
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  19. It's always nice to share your tools, my son. Especially with those who are old and ragged and have very little of their own outside of grandiose ideas and an overblown ambition. Hello - suddenly there are a million people here kicking in. Cool.

  20. Shane: The lessons are meant to be medium-agnostic but most of the demonstrations are in Painter. I aim to update several of the critiques at some point and when I do there will be a better mix of programs. But I make the assumption that if someone doesn't know the program he/she shouldn't be taking the class, so it really shouldn't matter which you want to use.

    Jon: I've got a brush that is pretty close, but it doesn't have the soft blending at low pressures since the PS mixer brushes don't allow you to invert the pressure controls. :( Honestly, that one change would probably make the mixer brushes usable.

    Anonymous: I totally agree with everything you've said. Although I've heard people say they like to move to Painter to finish up a piece sometimes. Fortunately I've found some great brush packs and learned a few things about adjusting them so I didn't have to assemble the whole tool box from scratch.

    K: Soon I will share the tools. I'm writing the post now, but I have little time so it might be a couple days.


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