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A lot of people think that I paint; that I have easels set up in my basement with the scent of oils and acrylics, gesso and turpentine burning my nostrils.

Nope. I’m digital! I do make my initial sketches with pencil and paper, but the largest chunk of my workflow by a wide margin is done via computer, and I use a myriad of programs in the making of my art. Here are just some of them.

Photoshop

Now everyone has heard of Photoshop (heck, it’s become a verb now), but some might not know that it makes a pretty great drawing program, especially in its most recent iterations. It’s practically the go to tool for the majority of illustrators today. It’s my bread and butter and that’s where I spend the most of my time. With a few exceptions, the vast majority of my artwork has some degree of Photoshop in it.

Painter

Now THIS is an art program. It was built from the ground up to mimic real world art mediums. For a long while, I used it just as much as Photoshop. The realism is unmatched, and even now it still has the edge over Photoshop, although the gap is narrower than it’s ever been. The biggest issue with the program is that the (digital) brushes tend to bog down my computer for larger images. I still use it occasionally, but I keep going back to Photoshop.

Illustrator

This isn’t really software people think of when it comes to fine art, but people have done some amazing things with it. The technology behind it is fundamentally different to that of photoshop in that the images it creates are designed to be stretched and expanded without making the image blocky or blurry. Lots of illustrators use it to ink their pre-drawn, scanned artwork, while others have made some incredible,  photorealistic pieces from scratch.

Daz3D

It’s hard finding models to get that exact pose I’m looking for (especially at 1 in the morning when I’m doing a lot of this art. Daz3D is 3d modeling that lets me get the poses, and lighting on my figures right. I just position the model in the pose I want, take a screenshot, and boom, I have a reference shot where I can control the lighting, position, and angle, and adjust if necessary. For a lot of my more realistic work, this is where I start off.

The Hardware

I’m actually a PC guy (Macs are cool too, but PCs are what I’m used to. And frankly, there’s no difference when it comes to the software I use). My current machine is a Core i7 desktop with 12 gigs of ram., with a few years under its belt, but there’s no reason to upgrade quite yet. I have a pair of 24″ monitors (Photoshop on one screen and maybe Daz3d on the other. And by Daz3d I mean Facebook. Soooo much FB).

One of my most important devices is my Wacom Tablet. Doing my digital art without it would be impossible. I’ve had it for years, and it’s still going strong. I would like to get the upgraded version where I can draw directly on the screen, but when the cheapest version costs $800… yeah. Maybe one day.

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