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Author Topic: Project Dogwaffle's PD Artist Review  (Read 2480 times)

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Offline sidherose

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Project Dogwaffle's PD Artist Review
« on: March 10, 2015, 05:34:24 AM »
This thread is for reviewing "PD Artist" by Project Dogwaffle. I will be posting my reviews here, and I believe Angelic Artwork might be chiming in too.

Stay tuned for more!

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part I
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 05:35:47 AM »
I volunteered to do a review of Project Dogwaffle's "PD Artist". I thank those at Project Dogwaffle for the opportunity!

So, this is my first installment of the review of said product. This review is going to be about the simple aspect of painting in PD Artist. Please keep in mind whatever is said here is my own opinion based upon my own experience with other art softwares such as Photoshop and Paintshop Pro 7, as well as an earlier version of PD Howler. You may have different opinions, likes or dislikes. We all do. That being said, I shall begin:

One of the uses of PD Artist as a painting program is as a companion program to Photoshop and other art softwares. So, being that I'm still not terribly proficient with PD Artist, I decided to tackle this aspect of it first to show what you can do in that regard. This is also written to be used as a little tutorial on how you can do this with your images or ready-made backs.

This first image is one I built from scratch in Photoshop with transparent .pngs (tubes), filters and brushes. It is just an imaginary vision of 'Dun Scaith' the 'Fortress of Shadows' where Scaitha lived on the Isle of Skye.

What I have here is the basic image. It looks okay as it is, but there's nothing really 'zippy' about it. For everything in it, it's still lacking something. So, I'm taking it into PD Artist to 'zig it up' a bit.

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part II
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 05:36:58 AM »
I decided when I went into PD Artist that the first thing I wanted to do to this image was give it a little 'mystical' or 'other-worldly' look. So, I've used the 'Mystical Blur' filter in the 'Blur' toolbox. I didn't blur it very much here. You can adjust the sliders on the tool to get however much blur you desire. Once I did that, I saved the image as a .tga (a targa image). This is the default file type for saving PD images in Howler or Artist. They are very huge files, but they're pretty much loss-less when it comes to a clean image. I did save one as a psd last night but for some reason Photoshop didn't like it. I might have messed up there - I don't know. You can also save files as .jpgs, .pngs, etc. It's my impression though that the image always has to be merged/flattened before saving.

So, here's the image blurred....

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part III
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 05:38:03 AM »
For this one, I did a little painting down in the mossy-grassy part. It's very subtle though. If you compare this and the previous one, you'll see I painted some little different color flowers in there by the mushrooms, in front of the pink flowers, and across the tops of the little hummocky mounds in the middle and on the right. I also added a sort of bush over on the right side of the image to give a little interest and color over there. I also painted the carved markings on the rock where the cross is sitting.

These are the Effects, Particle and User brushes - the flowers (Flowery) and the bush (Pretty Tree). I believe I used the 'Thorny' brush in the User brushes for the carving so it was kind of jaggedy looking. I also added some dark low-lying vegetation that runs down the hill from the left side of the entrance stair-way. This, to put some interest on the ground there but still keep with the 'shadowed fortress' look I want for the castle.

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part IV
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 05:40:23 AM »
The additions on this one are a little hard to notice. They're nothing major but they fill in and round out the scene. Most of what was done here was putting some Grass and a couple of hints of bushes along the ridge going down toward the sea with Particle brushes. I also added some black viney-looking plants on the slope below it. I think I lightly painted one of those bushes in front of the vines at the bottom left as well. It's just faint. Also added the pine branches to give the impression there's a pine tree there to the viewer's right. These are little tricks that pull the eye into the picture. That's what you want.

Remember when you're doing this...this is a background, so you want to make it interesting but you don't want to draw away from your main subject by making the stuff in the background stand out over-much. You also want to leave places where the artists who use it can paint in their own special effects. You'll see what I mean in a bit here.

I think I'm done with this in PD Artist. It didn't take long to do all this. The painting itself goes pretty fast...once you find the brushes you want to use. That's something I'll address in my summation on this part.

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part V
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 05:41:57 AM »
Now, I've taken the last image into Photoshop and added a few more things.
First, I added a Lens Flare .png made by Savage Dragon. PD Artist has lens flares, but I really wanted one that looked like this because of the way I made the sky. I want it to look like dawn - sunrise, not a kind of 'beating light down' look. That's more for noonish or up to 4 hours after that. I wanted that orangy-pink soft glow you see at sunrise and a 'milky' sun.

Behind the lens flare, I made a layer with black painted birds and set it to Overlay so they weren't real visible, but still could be seen.

Then I painted two layers of sparklies: right side and left side. This is enough to give the look of magic going on here, but not too much.

Saved it blurred it a little more in Photoshop and called it good. This is as close as I'm going to get with what I saw in my head. The background is interesting, but nothing in it is terribly overwhelming. The vegetation on the right and left sides 'frames' the image and draws the eye toward the center, in spite of the fact they are more well-lit than half of the background image. The juxtaposition of the dark and light that also draws the eye to the center.

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Part VI
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 05:44:05 AM »
Finally, here is my finished image into which I've placed a .png of my character, 'Scaitha' (Scota or Skytha - either way seems to be correct).

She's 'tending her garden', which if you'll note is basically on a rocky promontory of land. Seeing as how there might be a little magic involved in making them thrive there, I gave her some 'fairy dust' and a little zap of lightning...you know, for nitrogen for the plants.

I added a few more sparklies in the sky behind her and adusted my contrast, etc. through various nefarious ways I have of doing such things. Then I merged all the layers together and this is the result!

One thing you can notice here with the grass and to some extent the bushes on the ridge - the vegetation Particle brushes will paint ambient light into the item. You can see this especially well on the grass tuft there, where it looks like the sun is shining through the grass. I like that! ;)

Outfit is from Xurge3D - 'Amazon for V4'
Hair is 'Fox Hair' by Littlefox (rDNA)
'SRG_Scaitha' by me

Offline sidherose

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"PD Artist Review" - Summary of PD Artist as an Additional Painting Tool
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 05:48:43 AM »
In this section, we have gone over using PD Artist in a pretty basic and simple way where it is a companion software to some other art software. If you do any postwork on your images, you know that you don't always just use one tool. You have several and while they might be somewhat the same idea, they all have their own 'stuff' that the other ones don't. So, yes - I find PD Artist in this capacity as being pretty cool and useful. But I'm a Photoshop 'baby' and that is what I'm familiar with using.

That in mind, for this particular purpose, this is a nice little tool. I like it for this. However, there are some things I don't like about it. Again, it's all in what you're used to. I'm used to Photoshop. Whatever I have to say at this point is just that - "at this point". As I said, I need to work with it more and figure some things out in it. So, this is not a 'final' sort of a review but an on-going one as I learn it. I told Phillip I wanted to review it from a beginner's pov and that's how I'm doing it.


The one thing I kept wishing was that the brush menus were displayed all in one big panel like the Photoshop brushes are. They can still be broken up by category like they are now, but I'd like to be able to see them all at once. As it is, you have to scroll up and down a couple of the brush lists, which is somewhat tedious and time consuming...opening up all the different menus one at a time. As far as the painting goes, that's one of my 'beefs' with PD Artist.

Another 'beef' has to do with all the menus - particularly the Brush and Filters menus. It's not always 'intuitve' where to look for something. Maybe it is to someone else, but not me. Again, it could just be because I'm used to Photoshop and if I get used to PD Artist then it won't be a problem. I still would like to see the Brush menus done as above though.

Something else I don't like about it is that when you make a layer and put it on Screen or Soft Light, it's either really dark or really bright. You can turn them down with a slider, but it's not a transparency in the same way layers are transparent in Photoshop. You can use 'Alpha Layers' and that 'might' be the solution there, but I haven't tried using them yet. Also there is no Alpha in the color palettes. The colors are flat. This is known to the people who created it. They realize it's a limitation, and maybe in the future, that RGBA color palette will become part of the programs they make and maybe transparent layers too.

The last thing I can think of that I'm not sure I like has to do with layers again. You have to flatten/merge the image when you save it. I like my layers. I like my layers transparent.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading if you did!

Next time I'll try painting an entire background in PD Artist and we'll see how that turns out. I'm still going to run into the same issues that I described above in doing that, but I'm going to try a few more things that might solve some of it.

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Re: Project Dogwaffle's PD Artist Reviews
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 07:02:45 AM »
Read it all and you did great explaining steps you took.  Love the finished piece. Great review....and cool when you learn something new.
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Offline DarkAngel

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Re: Project Dogwaffle's PD Artist Reviews
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2015, 08:57:42 AM »
This is a great review. I could use it myself and agree if those items were taken care of the amount of users might increase too.

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