Be Patient, Don't Rush Into Digital Paintings

By Feng Zhu 


I understand the allure of digital paintings. The process to create them can appear easy and fun, especially in the hands of seasoned professionals - add in a couple of big brush strokes to instantly define an epic landscape, then drop in some dynamic lights and finish with photo-textures. It’s like magic! 

For students who have never done digital paintings before, they find this process appealing. Who wants to draw black and white sketches or plot perspective lines for 20 hours when you can just stroke a few brush across the canvas, drop in a few textures and make an epic painting in under 2 hours? Speed paintings can be done in under 30 minutes!

In reality, it’s never that easy. Underneath each well crafted painting are layers upon layers of fundamentals. Things like camera position, composition, form flows, contrast, design, dynamic shadows, depth, atmosphere, color temperatures, story elements, detail distribution and texture density. And that’s not all. Don’t forget about proper perspective, foreshortening, anatomy, lens focal length, edge lights, back lights, bounce lights, practical lights, fog, reflections, materials, etc. the list goes on and on. 

If you are learning, be patient and start with the fundamentals first. Don’t take shortcuts. You will learn much more from a 20 hour line drawing then you would from a 30 minutes speed painting or photo-bash. Remember, you are learning - which should be hard, time consuming and frustrating. We’ve all been through it, trust me.

At FZD, our students use 3D tools to layout environments. This helps with perspective, camera, lighting and compositions. However, we require them to draw detailed line drawings on top. Good line drawings will help students learn control, balance, energy flow, detail distribution, patience, density, texture and much more. Once they have these skills, digital paintings will come a lot easier. 

Give it a try yourself. See if you have the patience for it. If you want to make a career out of concept design, you have to commit the time. 

These are all examples from our current Term 3 students. Good job everyone! Hard work pays off. 


Term 3 Project Part 1

Term 3 Project Part 2

Term 3 Project Part 3