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Speedpaint Tips: Getting Started!

Journal Entry: Sat Feb 4, 2012, 12:49 AM
In the interest of helping people who are new to speedpainting get started, and also in the interest of getting tips and tricks out in the open that might be helpful to even those who have done it a while, I'm opening this Journal entry up to the group to post your speedpainting techniques to share with the group!

Guidelines for posting (I believe this will help keep the thread readable to those coming in):

1) Give your technique a title

2) Provide a description with as much detail as is necessary to allow someone to try the technique and obtain some success with it

3) If possible, provide a link to examples that use this technique, and indicate how the technique was used

4) Please only include one tip per post

5) You may ABSOLUTELY respond to other people's posts, ask questions, and extend the tips! As this isn't a forum, please make sure you respond to the right posts when asking a question, or the original author might not see it! Questions should ONLY go under existing tips though. Stray questions (not posted under existing tips) will be deleted so there's some measure of order to what could otherwise become a rather disorderly Journal. :)

I'll start out with an example (below).

Add a Comment:
 
:iconzarzo5448717:
zarzo5448717 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 20, 2014
does anyone know what to use for speedpainting? not a program, but like what you draw ON! i know for a fact it isn't a computer, and even if people DO use computers, they are very talented. well, for the program you can use a computer but you know what i mean.
Reply
:iconbirgitte-gustavsen:
Birgitte-Gustavsen Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
...Do you mean what you draw with? as in using a mouse or a graphic tablet, like wacom?
Reply
:iconzarzo5448717:
zarzo5448717 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014
yes, what kind of tablet or... thingy?? lol idek
Reply
:iconbirgitte-gustavsen:
Birgitte-Gustavsen Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Any graphic tablet will do, but the most famous and most used is Wacom, with wacom bamboo being it's low price starter, and wacom cintiq being the ultra deluxe (for the very well off or the professionals) . I use wacom intuos, it's middle ground. Though it appears wacom is switching it up a bit, splitting intuos into two groups, one pro and one cheaper and downplaying the bamboo. What could be the new tablet starter goes by Wacom intuos pen, Wacom intuos pen + touch and Wacom intuos Manga. Mine is then an Intuos pro. You can watch a youtube video about tablets if you want more explanation 

It will take time learning to draw using a tablet, so for a long while it may feel as if you've taken some steps backwards, but if you knuckle down and keep practicing, eventually you'll get better. 

Low price tablets - dedicated hobby
Middle Priced tablets - Very dedicated hobby to semi professional
High priced tablets - Professionals who can expect to earn some money using their skills, or already are earning. 
Reply
:iconzarzo5448717:
zarzo5448717 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014
thank you so much, this really helped! :D And Thank You Also For Giving Me The Overall Picture Of... Well, Everything! 
Reply
:iconbirgitte-gustavsen:
Birgitte-Gustavsen Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconircss:
IRCSS Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have a few on my journals, there are all titled as explained ircss.deviantart.com/journal/?…
Reply
:iconfoxtailxravenfeather:
FoxtailxRavenfeather Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks SOOOOOOO much for all these tips I personally SUCK at using these art programs I can never get a good picture.
Reply
:iconholly-mellor:
Holly-Mellor Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Heya, no problem! As they say, practice makes perfect! Don't give up :)!
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
TIP: Keep it Large, keep it Loose. Use the largest possible brush.

This tip is really an addition to krazykrista's tip below. A way to stop from detailing, in addition to working zoomed out, is to always use the largest possible brush you can for what you are trying to paint. This will force you to work on general shapes and form and not be duped into detailing one tiny portion of your painting. This will also help add a sense of movement and vibrancy to your work as you imply things with large strokes rather than show them all with tiny ones.
You should generally aim to reduce down in brush size as the painting progresses and you want to start detailing but resist the temptation to jump the gun and get to detailing too early.
Reply
:iconcrashcamel:
crashcamel Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This comment was extremely helpful. Thank you!
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Glad it helped!
Reply
:iconkrazykrista:
krazykrista Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012
TIP: DON'T Zoom In

When painting, work zoomed out so you can see the whole image. This helps to get the big ideas in quickly, and keeps you away from the temptation of working on details. If detail is necessary, wait until maybe 5 minutes before the deadline to add it...that way you're kept to only adding the *necessary* details...which is key! :) Let the eye infer as much as possible...you're just painting the keys that unlock the rest of the image to the imagination! :)
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
TIP: FLIP It Good

When working on a piece occasionally flip the canvas horizontally and continue to work on it. What this does is refresh it in your eyes, so you see compositional mistakes that may not have been obvious the other way. Keep doing this every so often once you get "used" to the view. Note if working with text....it will erm "slightly" effect how it looks ;)

This applies mostly to longer paints when you are looking at a piece for quite a while, but can also apply to speed paints.
Reply
:iconpounomik:
PounomiK Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Student General Artist
Keyboard shortcut for flipping on PS6?
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Are you asking what the shortcut is?
I don't use PS, but I think it is under the Image>Image Rotation>flip canvas horizontal.
You can assign a shortcut key to it, to make it quicker. Do a google search on how to do this if you don't know, there are tons of resources out there.
Reply
:iconblackburnart:
Blackburnart Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I flip in the early stages as well - just to see if I decide I like it the other way before hand. Images frequently burn into our mind after 10 minutes that it SHOULD go the way you started it - at that point I can still work on it the other way, but I'm sold on the first way. Flipping early gives you an opportunity you wouldn't always have.


Also - this is probably the most important tip other than practicing that has been listed. DO IT. FLIP.

(you can also bind it to F2, F3, etc, in Actions menu. Ub3r pr0.)
Reply
:iconblackburnart:
Blackburnart Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
one tip I suppose - you can can transform flat textures, brushes, etc, into perspective using Control (Cmd) + T - then hold Control, and drag the corners into a hexagonal shape - this will push that pixel information into a smaller area, creating a perspective effect. You can easily create a ground plain this way, to build your paintings on top of - afterall as the majority of artists have said, the foundations of a painting are the most important aspect to a painting. Getting the basics into your piece is the whole point of speedpainting!
Reply
:iconblackburnart:
Blackburnart Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
You can also use this trick on the walls of buildings, if your building has a semi square / rectangular wall, and its drawn in perspective, you can near-instantly texture it in perspective
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I second and third this tip!
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
TIP: Sharpen Up
This is a quick one, I promise and worth it's weight in pixels.
Often when doing quick painting you don't have the time to get or keep your edges clean, and everything starts to look a little blurry. Who you gonna call...?... Unsharp Mask!
Run this filter to tighten up those edges. I generally tend to do it on low radius (<0.5) and amount of (<1), but play around with it to see what works for you.
If you don't want equal amounts of sharpening all over the pic, select an area, feather it (important or there will be a very clear border of where you sharpened) and then run the filter for a more focused sharpening.

This one is gold...try it out.
Reply
:iconblackburnart:
Blackburnart Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, unsharp mask is your absolute best friend.
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
A TOOL TIP: Selections are a speed painters best friend.

Selection tools are one of the most useful tools you have at your disposal for speedpaints. They allow you to work on larger general areas or precisely defined bits of your painting without fear of screwing up others. Using objects you can transform things really easily to make them work better for you in your composition if you didn't paint them right the first time.

When I first started speed painting I never used selections and it showed. My shapes were ill defined, there was no crispness to the paintings and generally they came out a bit like overheated mush. I also spent a lot of time redefining shapes I had previously defined and was constantly going back and refining edges of things I spent half an hour painting when I accidentally painted over them (you will). I also used to think "wait If I'm using these I'm not painting, I'm cheating." (same goes for custom brushes)
Rubbish. The thing with speed painting is the "speed" part. So the way I see it any tools that help you achieve what you want in the time you want it are fair game. Speed painting is about painting smart.

The tools:
Lasso : I use this 90% of the time for shapes in my speedpaints because I am not too concerned about being that precise. Great for quick and dirty selections.
Ellipse and Rectangular selection tools: great for those standard shapes: I use these whenever needed but probably only use them 10% of the time especially for architecture.
The pen tool is the Godfather of selection tools, but you need to have a lot of practice with it to to be quick enough to use it for speed paints.

So hopefully you are convinced on the usefulness of selection tools for speed paints. So once you have figured out how they work you can now create any defined shapes that you desire in your painting.

Often you can get away with a one-time selection if you know you won't need to go back and work on the shape, but if you do have a main object (like a character) you can save these as a selection so you can keep working on them in various ways:
  1. as channels/masks.

  2. by painting the objects on a separate transparent layer to define the shape, then further detailing by painting on the visible pixels only. (Most programs that use layers will allow you to do something like "lock the alpha channel" on a layer. This then allows you to paint on the object to your heart's content without worrying about going outside the boundaries of what you painted.) This is what I use mostly because I find it is quicker than working with masks.


Check out these tutorials that showcase these two ways of doing it. They were light bulb moments for me.
Tutorial by Goro Fujita: [link]
The first couple of minutes shows him essentially painting objects on different layers, then adding gradients and shading to them with the alpha lock on.
Old tutorial from Craig Mullins: [link]
He uses channels for this shape. It is old, and I think there are better ways of doing it now, but the approach is still really really useful. Btw this guy is a god, if you don't know him check his work out for inspiration!

Some recent speedpaints of mine where I heavily used selection tools (it's obvious once you know really)
[link] Essentially everything except for the near body silhouette and cape was painted by selection
[link] Everything but the foliage was by selection. The trees, the prow of the boat, the mast, the rear of the boat.

Ok that's way too much blabber....Get Selectin'
Reply
:iconjohnercek:
johnercek Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
give yourself a canvas border to mix your colors and keep your references on, then crop your artwork down when you area finished.
you can see me do this in the first two minutes of this video on ustream:
[link]

and here is the piece it produced [link]
here is a another sample:[link]
and the work it produced:
[link]
Reply
:iconircss:
IRCSS Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
interesting, I always do that too ircss.deviantart.com/journal/V…
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Great tip. Another way of doing this, if you have a second screen: use it! Put your ref stuff and occasional tools on it so you can work in full uncluttered glory on your main screen. :D
Reply
:iconjohnercek:
johnercek Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2012
i do have a second screen, but that's what i mean by letting myself get distracted if it's too far away.

the most helpful thing is having the intuitive brushstroke color pallete right there.
Reply
:iconm0nkeybread:
M0nkeyBread Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah sorry, I wasn't disagreeing with you. I didn't mean that you should move everything to your second screen, especially if it's distracting! :) I was aiming that at anyone else reading these tips as an alternative to having refs on the same screen. I prefer to just glance across to reference than scroll around. I often have a lot of ref pics open which would make having them all on the canvas a bit unwieldy, but that is a totally personal workflow choice of course. I totally agree that having the colour palette right there on the canvas is a really useful thing. I do that myself. Have you tried banishing all "shiny things" from your other screen? :D
Reply
:iconjohnercek:
johnercek Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
i forgot to add that this helps me keep focused on the panel i'm painting on, keeping the speed and intensity up. there is something about the process of looking at a window outside of photoshop that opens me up to checking out my email, whatever else might be on the web- yada yada
Reply
:icontoddbushman:
toddbushman Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I haven't done a lot of speedpaints yet, I'm learning like the rest of you, but I have found to select a color palette first based on what you want create speeds up the process (if you're not using a reference photo). Here's an example of my first SdJ showing the color palette I chose before I started painting (showing the finished painting with the color palette): [link]
Reply
:iconkrazykrista:
krazykrista Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
Tip: Practice by Painting from Photographs, from Life, or from Master Works

Painting from existing sources--especially from life--helps to train your eye to see light and shadow, form, shape and space (among other things) so that when you sit down to paint something from your imagination, you have a whole library of techniques filed away in your mind to use. It builds your mental toolbox, so to speak! You learn a great deal just through careful observation and the muscle memory of following the forms and colors you see.

Remember: Photos (and life too) can surprise you when you really look! We make assumptions about what we *think* should be there and how we *think* things should look, but it's important to remember that nature and art our our teachers; paint what's there, even if it seems wrong or unexpected to you--that's how you learn to see! :)

**Of course, if you work from a photo or master painting (or any preexisting art), remember to give credit to the original artist or photographer! You would want credit if someone painted a copy of your work too! ;)

Examples (from my own work):
:thumb195516624: :thumb195544324: :thumb182146419: :thumb161870396:
Reply
:iconkrazykrista:
krazykrista Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012
Ugh. I can't edit my own posts apparently...and thumbnails don't work. Here are the links:

From photos:
[link]

[link]

[link]

From life:
[link]

[link]
Reply
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