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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 13 December 2009
Digital Painting Techniques is exactly what I'd hoped it would be, a book packed with practical and genuinely useful tips and tricks on how to paint in a natural media style within Photoshop.

It's densely illustrated in colour throughout with various artists demonstrating their preferred techniques. The layout and presentation is more like a magazine than reference book with shortish, easy to follow articles, showing not just how to create a brush [for example], but why you would want to do so and how it's used within the image. It's certainly not a rigid rule book and is more like someone informally passing on handy tips, rather than standing over your shoulder instructing you to do it the 'correct' way.

Although the book is generally laid out in a step-by-step format, it is not a how to use Photoshop (or how to paint) book. As such complete novices are likely to find this book goes over their heads. In fairness the assumption that the reader is already pretty familiar with Photoshop and drawing tablets is useful, as it means the book gets straight to the heart of the subject, rather than wasting half the book explaining menus and the like. Besides, if you're after a "How to use Photoshop" book there are plenty of books already available that will get you started, before moving onto this.

My only minor criticism would be that the some of the reference images are occasionally laid out in an counter intuitive sequence, other than that this is a excellent book on practical digital painting and is worth every penny.
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on 23 October 2009
Everything about this book is really close to perfect. Huge size with great illustrations. Amazingly well described and illustrated tutorials. The selection of artists is AMAZING!

The tutorials are well structured, the steps are well explained and there are plenty of steps. Even the basic tutorials that I am very familiar with, offered a lot of new and useful information.

There is only one minor point to improve. Sometimes the illustrations that go with the tutorials are not well numbered and they require a bit of thiking to figure them out. Once you've done it twice, though, you'll find them easily.

Even if the book comes without a CD with the resources, they are available from the website and, to be honest, the book is SO good that you will hardly need them.... you'll be well ready to create your own resources from moment go.

In a nutshell... buy this book... you shall not regret it!
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on 22 September 2011
I'll start by saying that this book is not for the beginner. If you're new to Photoshop and digital painting in general, go for something more basic - crawl before you can walk and all. Then, when you're good enough, buy this book.

But let's suppose you're more like me: You know your way around Photoshop. You have a decent understanding of colour and light. You're interested in a more realistic style of painting but can't quite get the hang of it, the pictures look too flat, or somehow they don't 'pop'.

This book guides you through the process of painting, covering such topics as:

Custom Brushes
Speed Painting
Matte Painting
Creatures
Humans
Environments
Sci-fi and fantasy

...So something for everyone, basically. All of it is beautifully laid out with detailed explanations, plenty of full-colour pictures, and links to any resources you might need. Just looking at this thing makes me want to paint. As soon as I've got the hang of everything here I'll be buying volume 2 as well.
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on 7 September 2012
Digital painting techniques vol 1 is without doubt one of the best tutorial books about digital paint currently on the market. Also, although the overview of the book is geared mostly towards fantasy, sci-fi and portraits, the techniques in this book can be applied to any genera of art.

The book is broken down into chapters of specific areas, and while you can flit between chapters and tutorials, I would recommend going from start to finish in sequence the first time you read this book. This is because even though the tutorials are well written and easily explained, the later chapters will require you to have a working knowledge of the techniques explained in earlier chapters.

Chapter 1 is all about custom brushes, specifically how to create them and how to use them. This is probably the most important chapter to learn since most of the later chapters rely upon the creation of custom brushes and adjustments of the standard brush settings. This is probably the easiest chapter of the book to learn though and I dare say most people will have a working understanding of these settings within a few hours at most if they were previously unfamiliar with them.

Chapter 2 covers speed painting, creating pieces that convey a sense of the overall picture without getting too caught up in fine detail. For those not in the know, speed painting is essential for concept work where ideas have to be worked out in order to figure out problems, solutions as well as having something to show to a prospective client before you begin work upon a highly detailed piece. The tutorial also covers areas such as thumbnailing, blocking in shapes and even using the aforementioned custom brushes to speed the job up.

Chapter 3 is Matte painting, the art of creating photorealistic scenes that can be used as a backdrop (many film makers rely upon high quality matte paintings to create visual backdrops for scenes, especially before the advent of 3D computer technology). Tutorials include features from sampling photos for reference, to correct scaling and perspective to make elements fit into a scene.

Chapter 4 is all about painting creatures. These tutorials feature how to design creatures, to complete paintings, to more specific areas such as painting fur and animal eyes.

Chapter 5 is about painting people, though most of the tutorials are about painting specific features such as eyes, lips, nose, hair and skin. There is also one complete tutorial which shows you how to create the portrait that appears upon the cover of this book.

Chapter 6 is how to create different environmental conditions. Most of these are based around the same piece of art, but repainted under different conditions such as rain, sandstorm, snowstorm, tornado and heatwave. There are also two further tutorials for a rainy street and waves upon the open ocean.

Chapter 7 is loosely labelled Sci-fi & Fantasy. At this point the tutorials are siginificantly less, but they each go into more detail than before and cover the subjects of painting armour, space art and and a sci-fi concept scene.

Chapter 8, the final one, has three complete projects that take you from the initial sketch all the way to the final result. These serve more to give you an idea of the painting process, but also have helpful hints and reminders.

The final section is covered by a short gallery of art to give you even more ideas as to what is possible with digital art. One area which is lacking from this book is art theory (colour, perspective, composition, etc) though areas of this are briefly touched upon. This should not be taken as a negative however since this is a book about actual physcial techniques, not theory. Also remember that some of the resources featured in this book such as custom brushes are also available for download from the 3Dtotal website.

Not only would I recommend buying this book, I would also recommend that you get the others of the series which are currently Digital Painting Techniques: Masters Collection Volume 2,Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 3 and Digital Painting Techniques Volume 4.
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on 3 June 2011
I have only recently entered into the field of digital art and after seeing this book it seemed like a must have purchase.
After receiving the book in the mail, I was very impressed by the quality of the book itself.

Each section contains detailed explanations on the given topic, along with step by step guides of how the artists used the various techniques to achieve specific effects.

My only gripe is that, although the book is quite a good size, in order to squeeze such detailed explanations onto the pages along with figures to illustrate them, some of the text in the figures can be quite hard to read as it is so small.

All in all though, a very practical book on creating digital art. Lots of pointers on plenty of different art related subjects. Most of the artists in the book use photoshop, but it should translate well enough to other software (I use Corel Painter and Artrage).
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on 18 November 2011
I bought Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 1 a couple of weeks ago after reading the 5 star reviews on Amazon. With a RRP of around £30 books in this series are not cheap but even a cursory glance at the overall quality of the book will give you a clue why.
What this book isn't; A step by step how to draw or how to use Photoshop. You will need at least some skill in both these areas as neither is covered in more than a passing comment. What this book is; A step by step guide to how different artists achieve different effects with hundreds of rich progression photos.

The book is broken into several different sections starting with a section containing several different methods to create your own set of Photoshop brushes which it promises will be "fun". I didn't believe it, I tried it, I was wrong! If you follow the instructions in this book soon you'll be making brushes left right and centre for all your drawing needs.
It then moves on to Speed painting, Matte Painting (Which is perhaps a little complicated for a novice but very thorough all the same), Creatures (Including a large section on how to design your own plausible fantasy creatures), Humans (Including the dreaded hair!), Environments (Including a large section devoted to showing how you can make the same scene look very different by changing the location or weather), Sci-Fi & Fantasy and finishing with 3 projects for you to follow and a gallery of art by the contributing artists.

In addition to the book, many of the tutorials have online resources such as source photos or brushes that you can download in order to help you practice the different processes.

This is definitely a 5 star book that does exactly what it sets out to do and is worth every penny. (The second book and the new guide to Photoshop being released soon has already made it onto my Christmas wish list!)
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on 1 June 2013
I'm slowly getting into my digital art work, as I use to enjoy doing allot of art back in my school and college days. But the ideas and potential for what you can do in the digital art world now is just amazing. If you want inspiration or any possible ideas for good concept pieces, then you need to buy this book. It's a massive book and full of fantastic designs from various artists, and this includes examples as well as tutorials. Buy it, you'll love it.
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on 3 April 2016
For my project at college I'm self initiating it around digital painting, I'm not a novice in the area but I wanted some tips and techniques as reference. This book is way better than I expected and I'm strongly considering buying the rest of the volumes. I would highly recommend this, however like someone else said this isn't a 'How to use photoshop' book, so if you've never used it you might want to invest in a book on that first to get you used to the software. :)
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on 6 March 2010
This book is defiantly the best I've seen of it's kind!
Although the tutorials are written for Photoshop you could easily apply the techniques to programs such as Painter.
The book covers a broad range of subjects: Custom Brushes, Speed Painting, Matte Painting, Creatures, Humans, Enviroments, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Complete Projects and still has room for a Gallery at the end.
Well worth the money!
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on 17 March 2014
I've only read about 3 pages and just from them 3 pages I'm amazed at the detail the books illustrates. I am currently training to be a games designer at university and if any body else is wanting to get into that sort of area this book is a must have highly recommended
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