Digital Painting Course: Introduction
Turn your digital blank canvas into a masterpiece in this 6-week workshop
Capture the World Around You
The characters, creatures, environments, props, and background designs that determine the look and feel of your favorite movies, TV shows, and games probably all started with a painting.
In this Digital Painting Course, you will learn to understand the basics of what makes a successful painting, to choose the right tools, and to apply those skills to your own interests and career path. You’ll learn the fundamentals of the painting process as well as time-saving workflows within Photoshop. Storytelling is also an important part of any visual medium, and you’ll learn how to use digital painting to share your own stories.
Pro Artists Mentor You to Be Successful
Our digital painting course allows you to learn, practice, and get 1:1 feedback and reviews from our mentors. You will have the chance to learn from them in live conversations as they share insights about the industry and what qualities they look for in a digital artist. Our mentors will work directly with you to grow and improve your skills.
Justin Owens is Animation Mentor’s Director of Curriculumleading demos, tutorials, and the weekly campus video news. He previously worked as lead art director for several projects at indie game studios, and as a freelance designer and 3D generalist.
Whether its landscapes or characters, Justin is always interested in the storytelling opportunities of paint. His digital painting skills are bolstered by over 7 years of working in oils and other traditional mediums. An experienced teacher, Justin is ready to help students at any experience level develop their painting skills and reach their artistic goals.
*All times are in Pacific Time. For all Monday classes, due to the New Year's Holiday, the first Q&A will be rescheduled to later in the week.
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Examples of Justin’s In-Class Demos
1-on-1 Feedback from a Studio Pro
DIGITAL PAINTING AND WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU
Concept artists merge modern tools with artistic skill, and you can too! By studying digital painting, you’ll not only master the software, but the basic theory behind value, tone, color, and composition to really make your art stand out. Follow in the footsteps of the pros and prepare your skill set for the digital workforce.
Introduction to Digital Painting Course Student Gallery
What You’ll Learn in Digital Painting Course
Fundamentals of Digital Painting
We’ll begin with an overview of the workshop before jumping right in. We’ll study the basic principles used in any painting, regardless of medium (digital or traditional) including value, form, and shadows. Simple, hands-on exercises will get you comfortable with the digital tools that we’ll use for the duration of the workshop.
Value and Composition
In week two we’ll examine the underlying structure of what makes a painting stand out and how value and composition contribute to the success and wow-factor of an image. Additional tools and exercises will guide you towards a better understanding of style, workflow, and technique.
Color Theory and Digital Workflow
This week we’ll start to explore the basics of color theory and how to effectively use color within our paintings. We’ll also look at a more structured painting workflow, making the most of our digital tools. This includes a deep dive into using a layered approach to painting in Photoshop.
This week we’ll cover environment painting techniques and theory. This includes how light and shadow work in an exterior setting, as well as how to create a sense of depth or distance to your work. We’ll also explore how to lead the viewer’s eye for maximum impact by creating a strong focal point.
Continuing on from environments, we’ll study the process of painting a character, as well as the basic principles of lighting. We’ll look at the three point lighting setup, and how it can be used to emphasize our character and create mood.
Storytelling via Painting
In this final week, we’ll take everything we’ve learned and bring it all together, creating an illustration with our character in a simple environment. Specific attention will be paid to the relationship between the character and the environment to maximize storytelling.
Course Requirements for Introduction to Digital Painting
LIVE Q&As | Weekly 1-Hour Q&As
LECTURES | 6 Pre-recorded Lectures
ASSIGNMENTS | 5 Digital Painting Exercises
SOFTWARE | Adobe Photoshop or equivalent digital painting software
HARDWARE | A tablet or other digital painting device (Wacom tablet or Cintiq, or equivalent), as well as meeting minimum requirements
AGE | 18 Years or Older
LANGUAGE | Taught in English
Skills You Need Before You Start
Introduction to Digital Painting is open to students with little to no painting experience, as well as those with a strong foundation. Using Photoshop, we’ll start with the very basics of what is needed to create a successful painting using digital workflows. Students with traditional painting experience will also find value in learning how to transition to a digital medium.
What You’ll Learn
After taking this workshop, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a digital artist and will have gained the following skills:
- Adobe Photoshop digital painting workflows that you can apply to any software
- Familiarity with painting concepts and techniques that can be applied to digital and traditional mediums
- Ability to create compelling imagery using value and composition
- Understanding of how lighting can change your approach to painting a subject indoors or outdoors
- Good foundation in 2D art that will kick start your social media art following
FAQ for Digital Painting Course
What resolution should I use for digital painting?
The most common size for modern, digital paintings is anywhere from 2-4K pixels (with some artists going as high as 6K). Lower resolution like 2K tends to work better for quick studies, while 3-4K is more common for a finished painting.
In the past, digital artists used to rely on DPI (dots per inch) to ensure high-quality artwork for print. For example, an 8X10 painting would’ve been 300 DPI.
What brushes to use for digital painting?
For beginners, the basic brush is more than enough. Make sure to use a hard-edged brush with opacity jitter. As you perfect your skills you may start using some more advanced brushes, but as a beginner you should focus more on the shapes and colors of your painting instead of choosing the right brush.
How do I start digital painting?
All you need to start digital painting is a tablet, a computer and a lot of imagination. For a more guided approach, check out our Intro to Digital Painting Workshop.
Why am I so slow at digital painting?
Like most art, digital painting takes time (especially at the beginning). Don’t focus too much on the time, just keep painting and you will naturally become faster as you get more familiar with the tools and shortcuts. It also takes time to find your own style, so don’t rush it. Practice makes perfect!
Why is digital painting so much harder than traditional painting?
Digital Painting can be overwhelming to a beginner because there’s an endless number of elements that you can tweak and adjust. The truth is that you won’t need most of them until you become a very highly skilled artist. So even if you don’t understand all of the techniques and shortcuts yet, don’t get discouraged. Just start painting and you’ll learn them along the way!
Do I need a stylus pen and a pen/display tablet?
Yes. If you want to be serious about digital painting a stylus pen and a tablet are the equivalent of a clean canvas and brush.
What Digital Painting Students are Saying
Justin Is Awesome
Made Painting Approachable
Improved My Compositions
Helped So Much in Short Time
Cool Photoshop Techniques
If you’re interested in Concept Art, we think you’ll love these courses!