10 Digital Art MISTAKES You Are Making! 💀

10 Digital Art MISTAKES You Are Making! 💀

August 20, 2019 100 By Peter Engel


– [Aaron] Hello there and
thanks for joining me. I’m digital artist Aaron Rutten, and these are ten of the
worst digital art mistakes. These are in no particular order. Let’s start with the first one, which is incorrect tablet use. You want your tablet to be
parallel to your screen. And you want to be right
in front of you tablet and right in front of your screen. If you have a sliding
drawer for your keyboard, that’s a good place to put your tablet because that will be right in your lap, right in front of you. You don’t want to be off the the side, or have the tablet off to the side. And you don’t want to have
the tablet turned at an angle. That will make it a lot harder to get the hand-eye coordination down. And it will make drawing more difficult and less accurate. So just make sure that your tablet, your screen, and your eye
level are all parallel to each other. The second mistake on my list happens when you don’t
shift the hue of your color when you’re shading. So what I mean by shifting the hue is, you have your hue ring here. And right now, I’m on an orange hue. And if I wanted to shade this circle, and make it into a sphere, or make it three-dimensional, what I would want to do is decrease and increase the value. And put a shadow on one side, and a highlight on the other. However, this tends to look kind of flat. If I duplicate this layer, and I try a different method of shading, this time I’m going to shift the hue. So I have my base color here, which is this orange hue. And I’m going to make it
darker like I did last time. But then I’m going to
shift the hue a little bit towards red. Then I’m going to put in my shadow. I’m going to sample my base color again. And then I’m going to select a highlight that is a little bit more yellow and a bit brighter and I’ll put that in. And now I get a much more natural result when I’m shading. Generally speaking, I’m shifting my highlights
towards a warmer hue and I’m shifting my shadows
towards a cooler hue. Mistake number three on my list is not adding enough contrast
or enough range of values to your artwork, which will make it appear kind of flat or kind of dull. And you can see that in this apple here, it looks really flat. So we can see that we can
add quite a bit more contrast to this piece. I’m going to darken some of the side here. This is adding a little bit of contrast. And I could of course do that
with a lighter color as well. We can do a quick before and after. And we can see the affect
that it had on the apple. We added a lot more contrast, which helps it look more realistic. Mistake number four on my list is not looking enough at your artwork to see mistakes. These are little mistakes
like accidental marks, strange edges, repetitive patterns from brush strokes, banding from color gradients
or transitions in color, or even just proportions
being off somewhere. So this piece looks pretty
good from a distance, but it’s a pretty large
piece, so I can zoom into it, and I can kind of scan around
and look for some areas like, oh, what do we have here? Here’s some weird little line. We can see it very clearly
when we’re looking at it 100% but if we were painting this much smaller, and we never really
zoomed in on that area, we might not notice that, and then when we go to print it later, all of a sudden, we might notice that there’s this weird mistake. So there’s a number of
ways to fix mistakes. If this were on a layer
you could simply erase it. Or if it’s too late, and you’ve already flattened
all your layers down, you can do something like paint over it. Or just blend it. I can use the Diffuse Blur blender. And just blend it away. Or I can just use a brush, and hold Alt to sample my color near it. And just paint it away like so. No while we’re on the topic of zooming in and adding and removing detail, that brings us to mistake number five, which is adding too much detail. You know, you could really go in here, and zoom in really close,
and you could add in all kinds of little cracks and crevices or you could, you know, for instance, write a serial number on here. If this is some kind
of robot or something. But then, when you go to print this out, or you view it from far away, suddenly, all that detail is lost. That serial number that
I wrote on the robot looks more like a weird eyebrow now. And that little mark that
I made on the metal texture doesn’t even show up. So you want to look at things close, and you want to look at things far away, but overall, you want to
kind of weight your judgment towards how it looks far away because most of the
time that’s where people are going to be viewing it. Mistake number six is saving
your artwork as a JPEG. If we go to file, save, or save as. We have lots of options
for saving our file. And one of the more commonly known formats is JPEG. But that’s really not
the best format to use, nor is it the only format to use. In fact, it’s probably one of
the worst formats you can use. So why is JPEG so bad? JPEG is bad because it’s
going to compress your image using “lossy compression”. And when we go to save as JPEG, we can see these quality options which represent the amount of compression. So if I zoom into an area
of detail in my painting, and we set this to fair, and we reduce the quality, you can really quickly
see what’s happening. You may see images on the internet that look really blocky like this. And that’s because they’ve
been overly compressed. You know you could set
this quality higher. And even if you set it to excellent, and you set it to 100%, it’s still going to compress your image. And compression is basically
throwing away information to make the file smaller. So unless you have to save as a JPEG, do not use JPEG. If you do have to save it as a JPEG, make sure to save a copy of your artwork. Don’t save your original as a JPEG. So rather than use JPEG, I’m going to go to Save As, and I’m going to choose PNG. Or “ping”. Now if we go to Save. It doesn’t really ask us anything. It’s just going to save
it as that PNG format. If you’re using something like Photoshop, you might get a few more options. The difference between PNG and JPEG is that PNG is a “lossless
compression” format. Meaning that it’s not going
to throw away any information or really harm the image
in any way by saving it. And PNG is a web-compatible
format in most cases. So a lot of the time, anywhere that will accept a JPEG will also accept a PNG. It’s also worth mentioning that your color stays a little more accurate
when you save as PNG versus JPEG. JPEG can sometimes change the color when you’re saving. Mistake number seven
also relates to saving, and that is not saving often enough. And not saving iterations. So I hear a lot of artists talk about how they’re working on
something for a half hour or an hour or longer. And then something happens, like their computer crashes, or maybe their software crashes. And then all of a sudden they
have lost that information. And that isn’t very uncommon. Sometimes things crash. Or things happen, so
it’s good to save often. I save constantly and I
use the keyboard shortcut that way it’s really quick and easy. You can see I also have
shortcut buttons up here. When I’m saving, I
prefer to choose save as. And save iterations. As I’m working I’ll have
painting number one, then maybe later when I save again, I’ll save it as painting number two. And then painting number three. And painting number four. That way I have all of those older copies I can go back to, and if something bad
happens when I’m working, I don’t have to start over
from the very beginning. I can just go back to an older version. Mistake number eight
deals with resolution. I’m going to go ahead and
create a new image here, and I want this image to
be 14 inches by 11 inches if I were to print it. Resolution is going to control the amount of detail in that image. A standard resolution for printing is 300. The standard for the web
is 72 pixels per inch. So since I’m going to be printing this, and this is going to
be a piece of artwork, I want to use a higher
resolution like 300. That way if I go in here, and I start painting,
doodling, scribbling, I have lots and lots of detail. I can zoom in really close to this. And these lines are nice and smooth. If I create a duplicate of this canvas, and I only make the resolution 72, but I still keep the dimensions the same. 14 by 11. And I use that same brush, when I zoom in now, there’s going to be a lot
of little jagged pixels you can really see these
here when I zoom in. That’s because they’re
isn’t as much detail or as much resolution. Mistake number nine is a very common one. And that is destructive editing. What if you have something where you don’t know what
size you want it to be, and you need to kind of experiment
and make it maybe bigger or smaller and go back and forth? What you would want to do is
use something like Photoshop to turn that layer in a Smart Object. So I’m going to right click on that layer and choose Convert To Smart Object. And what that’s going to
do is that’s going to lock in the original resolution. So even if I scale it down, really tiny, and then scale it back up again, as long as I don’t go
bigger than the original, it’s still going to look really good. So I’m going to call that layer “smart”. Let’s make a duplicate of that layer. Let’s call this “dumb”. And we’ll make this not a Smart Layer. So to do that, I’m just
going to Rasterize it, turn it back into a regular layer. And on that “dumb layer”, if you will, I’m going to scale that down really small. And I’m going to commit to that change. And I’m going to transform
it and scale it up again. Now you can see what happened here. You can’t even see what it is because I made it so
small that it was only just a few pixels, and then when I tried to blow it up again, that information was thrown away. So the computer just had to try to guess where the detail was and it
didn’t do a very good job. If you don’t have Smart
Layers in your application, you could also just
right click on the layer and duplicate it. Hide one of your duplicates
to keep it as your original. And then you can experiment with a copy. And then that way if you
make it bigger and smaller, and bigger and smaller,
and it gets degraded, that’s okay because that’s just a copy. You can get your size
and position correct. And then you can reveal
your original layer, take it over there. Move it, scale it down, then
it will look nice and clean. If we look at these side by side, you can see the difference that it makes. On is still nice and sharp, the other one’s all blocky
because we transformed it too much. So when you’re throwing away information or permanently altering your image, that’s called destructive editing. You want to try to use
non-destructive editing, which means you’re not going
to throw away any information or risk messing anything up. Another example of destructive
versus non-destructive editing is using the eraser. The eraser is destructive. If I erase this person’s arms. And then let say I do something like, I make a few more marks with the eraser. And then I exceed the number
of undos I have available. If for some reason I wanted to go back and bring the arms back
and I try to use undos, I can only go back so far. So now those arms are gone and I’d be forced to have to redraw them. Now that’s not so bad if you’re dealing with a stick figure. But there’s a smarter way
to non-destructively erase, and that is to add a Layer Mask. So I’ll click on Create New Layer Mask. I’ll select black. And I’m going to select
the Airbrush this time. And if you paint within a Layer Mask, basically what you’re
doing is you’re concealing those pixels. So you’re not really erasing them. They’re going away, but they’re
just becoming invisible. They’re not really getting removed. So I have masked away
or concealed some areas of his arms. But what if I decided I
wanted to bring them back? Rather than re-draw them, I’ll select white and
I’ll paint on my mask. And I can reveal or
bring those areas back. So that’s a non-destructive
way of erasing. Another example of destructive
versus non-destructive editing happens when
you’re creating effects. So for example, I can go ahead and go to Effects>Tonal control>Adjust colors. And I can shift the hue
and make this planet a completely different color. However, this is a destructive edit. Meaning that if I keep changing the color. It might be really
difficult to get it back to it’s original color. Or if I apply too many color changes, it might start to kind of subtract details from the overall color in the piece. So a better way to do this
is to duplicate that layer. I’m going to “Select All” with Ctrl+A. And then copy and paste. And I have a duplicate here. And I can apply that same
effect to the duplicate. So I’ve changed the color. But I still have my original. Besides making it easier and
less risky to experiment, you can also take advantage of things like the different blend modes
if you wanted to blend things together to experiment
with different effects. And finally, mistake
number ten on our list is not using layers. Believe it or not, a lot of digital artists don’t use layers. And that’s easy to
understand because if you’re used to working with traditional media, you have to start from the background and work your way forward. Because you can’t move layers around. So if I was painting, I’d have to put in my
leaves and stem first. Then I’d have to put in my petals. Like so. And then I’d have to put in my center on top of that. And then if I decided that
I wanted a background, I’d have to very carefully go and paint around all of the edges. It might have made sense to
put in my background first I guess. But, I was just doodling, and I didn’t know that
I wanted a background, and now that I do, I would just spend a lot
of time very carefully correcting mistakes. And even if I’m very careful, I’ll still have to go
and add in more pink here to fix my mistakes and so on. And it’s a really difficult way to work. Because if I decided I
don’t want my background to be blue, I want it to be red, then I have to go and I have select red. I have to paint over that blue again. And I have to spend more time. Now that’s just how you have
to do it when you’re working with traditional media. But if you’re working digitally, you don’t have to do it that way. You can use layers. Layers are your friend. So for example, I have my center on a layer. I have my petals on a layer. I have my stem on a layer. And I have my background on a layer. So if I wanted to go in
and paint in a background, I can choose blue, I can
paint behind those layers. And if I don’t that layer to be blue, I want it to be green, I can select green and I
can quickly fill that layer with green. Or I could fill it with red. If I want it to be red. And I can quickly change it. If I decide I don’t want a background. I can either hide that layer. Or I can delete that layer. It also helps me to move things around. If I want to reposition
my whole flower here, I can reposition it. If I want to transform the petals, make them bigger, I can
transform the petals. If I want to change the color of the stem, I can change the color of the stem. So layers are your friend. You want to make sure
you always use layers. And use as many layers as you need to. So there you go, those are ten of the worst
digital art mistakes. If you found this information helpful, take a quick second to like this video. And if you’re new to my channel, I’d love to have you subscribe. I have a lot more digital art tutorials for artists like you. Thanks for watching and
I’ll see you next time.