Varian's Angeldreams


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Digital Angels
Tools & Tech

Written 1999:
Most of the early works presented in the AngelRealms galleries were created in the same size or only slightly larger than what is displayed. Many factors came into play to encourage me to work on such a small canvas and I admit it is restrictive, but it can also be quite challenging. Often an adjustment of the value on a single pixel can make or break a particular facial expression.

My initial preferred paint program was SoftKey's PhotoFinish 3.0 (which can still be located in some software bargain bins) as I find its interface and conditions to be most closely similar to the offline draw/paint experience. However, I also work with PhotoFinish 4.0 (now owned by The Learning Company), Paint Shop Pro and additional programs as well. As my interest in plug-ins has expanded, I've found myself using PSP as my primary paint program and especially appreciate its layers feature.

It isn't uncommon for an image to pass through several programs in the total creation process. In 1999, I also began exploring the 3D potential, using Poser 2.0, Ray Dream Studio, Terragen and Vue d'Esprit as a basis for initial layouts and value sketches, and they have decent potential for that use although freehand sketching is often more flexible. However, I am also exploring 3D art as a style of its own, and undoubtably more angels will be emerging from that journey.

My earliest digital works, angels and otherwise, were done using a Logitech mouse which afforded me very good control. Later circumstances had me switch to a Microsoft mouse which delivers abitrary and quite unpredictable control. Luckily, however, I was given a Wacom tablet and pen by a friend, and the pen returns the control to me that the Microsoft mouse took away. Unless you have an excellent mouse that is intimately responsive like the Logitech, I heartily advise the use of a pen, and I've since "upgraded" to a newer model. It helps more closely approximate the "working on paper" feel For more details (and links) related to my favorite software art tools, please visit my Dreamview: DreamTools & Toys section.

I approach the digital experience using many of the same methods as I utilize offline, with a few modifications necessary for the change of medium. Sketches are typically made in a gray or sepia tone pencil or chalk tool, for instance, and preferably on a textured "paper" surface. Paintings are built up in layers (speaking artistically, not referring to a software program's layers), starting with a base value sketch. PhotoFinish 3.0, with its Tint tool, is especially true to offline painting when it comes to building paint layers in this way.

Finally, I sometimes finish my digital work in a somewhat traditional manner, using virtual matboard and frames. This is especially fun on the computer as I can select any color or texture that I like with the image, and I never cut a crooked bevel. (smile)

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Varian's Angeldreams: AngelRealms - Tools & Tech
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