Colour Banding: My Biggest Enemy


Most of my images are very large and high quality. Below is a quick painting of a ball created in Affinity Photo. If you view the image in full, you should see some colour banding in the darker areas. This is not so nice on portait paintings which is my main bread and butter when it comes to commissions and trying to make some cash to get by.

None of these look like a big deal in such a small view but at full size, it’s an issue. An even bigger one when printing because that’s when the banding REALLY starts to stand out.

The work around is to add noise. But it can also make the colour banding pop out more. It’s very hard to hide at first. This image is 16bit RGB and even on 32HDR there is STILL some colour banding. Something I find very frustrating. You might not be able to see it with the image downsized but at full sized it’s very noticable. It’s not quite as striking visually as the other two images.

Affinity Photo Ball Painting

This image below is an 8bit RGB painting of the same ball only painted with more care and though there’s a little bit of banding it’s not destructive. It looks clean and smooth. Which is what you want. The downside to going higher and higher HD images is file size or even image size but even so, Affinity Photo still magically has colour banding. It’s my only disappointment with the app.

Photoshop Ball Painting

Below is yet another painting, also 16bit RGB and though it has banding, it’s not quite as harsh as Affinity. The final example created in GIMP. I could use several other programs but, they all have some level of colour banding. Some worse than others. My reason for comparing Affinty Photo to Gimp is because one is free and the other is paid. I genuinely expect paid software to be better or as good as free software. After all, it is my money I spent on it. I really hope it’s something that gets improved over time.

Gimp 16bit RGB

It’s an issue I hate coming across. Some apps are worse than others in both paid and freeware. My only advice is to add noise. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what DPI you are using, colour banding can still appear and cause troubles.

It’s more apparent when using high contrasting colours. Online they all look good. The real issue with colour banding is printing and printing at home. When switching to CYMK for printing the banding gets worse and the overall result is not good. For now when it comes to printing my paintings, I will likely stick to Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.

Affinity Photo is a great photo editor, but this colour banding is an issue. Even with denoising, changing from Bilinear to nearest neighbour and other suggestions, there’s not actual solution at this current point in time. So for now it’s a gentle noise filter of 4-8%

50th Post!!


Tomorrow because it’s HD and took way to long to process I will annotate. But I used a combination of layer lock and clipping mask to make this digital painting. Most of the blending is a combination of painting with a lighter colour or using the smudge tool with a custom brush that I made. Tomorrow I will further update this post with better info but for now, enjoy what you can of this video.

Photoshop Tip: Pencil Tool


This is just a random thing I thought to mention. Pencil tool isn’t really for sketching. It’s set to basic brushes for a reason. It’s more for making lines. If you hold shift while dragging up or down you get a perfect line but it you click then click a point in another direction all while holding down shift you get a diagonal line. If you do this with the pressure brushes even with a mouse you WON’T get a diagonal line, at least not one that’s very visible. I use to think that feature was excluded from photoshop elements until I actually found the pencil tool.

I watch some youtube videos on drawing now and then and a lot of people seem to use the line shape instead of simple click+shift+drag or shift+click+click with the pencil tool. The disadvantage with the shape tool is rasterizing and merging all of those lines and cutting and pasting. If you go to window>> guide you can then see a ruler along the top and left side. Combine that with using shift instead and you can measure out your lines like you would with a real pen and ruler.

This method also works with GIMP and a few other digital art programs.

New Drawing Vlog: MyPaint


I’m in love with MyPaint. It’s just amazing. The blending! THE BLENDING!! It’s so soft and smooooooth! And natural looking! But the blending! For months I’ve tried trial after trial and failed to find what I was after. I tried so many opensource softwares that I was loosing hope then when I was looking for a sketchbook pro or corel painter alternative I found this freeware gem. To me personally, it handles better than most paid programs.

The BEST feature in my personal opinion as a user is that when it has a bug, you can still save and it doesn’t close the program. It just alerts you. Photoshop and others, they just crash, there is no saving. This is what has me truely in love with it as of right now. It’s replaced paint tool sai for the time being. I adore sketching in it. I’ve got WIP drawings and finished drawing all over my tumblr now. Ok I exaggerate but I have been posting my work on my personal blog for a change.

The other day someone genuinely thought I had scanned in a drawing the pencil brush tool looked that realistic and I was pretty pleased. I can’t normally afford my own supplies and I really miss painting, particularly watercolour painting so it became important to me to find a program to satisfy those painting urges. It’s not very good or fun to have the need to draw and then not be able to do it.

The more natural looking the better and I still can’t believe that I even found such a program let alone a freeware one! I’m even considering doing my webcomic cover art in this program but it’s a bit of wait and see at this point.

In the video I was calmly and aimlessly drawing. I made up my mind of what OC it was when I got the face shape down but in the beginning I had no particular plan in mind. I just wanted to draw a face and nice hair. I did this one on livestream and then took it down speed it up and uploaded it to youtube. It’s about 40mins or so of work.

Tools used:

  • Wacom bamboo fun pen & touch tablet
  • MyPaint

I used move maker to speed it up and that’s about it. I don’t have much to say except that you don’t have to change brushes much for blending. If you colour softly you can blend and it’s just brilliant! There’s so many ways you can edit the brush as well but I have yet to discover that.


Follow Me on Twitter

Image via Wikipedia

Firstly, sorry for no posts recently. I had a 21st party to both organise and go to. It was a lot of fun, met a lot of people.

So for the next update, I will be posting a Vlog of me speedpainting a gift art, from start to hopefully finish. Some parts may be missing because half was done on live stream and the other was done on camstudio. If you are interested in viewing my livestream then click HERE. I usually post a link via twitter when I go on livestream, so if you would like to get those updates then you can Follow Me on Twitter. My Twitter link and updates are always available on the right side of my blog so if you ever loose the link, you can always catch it here as well take a sneak peek of what’s going on lately 😉

The programs I will be using will be a mix between, opencanvas, easy paint tool sai if it’s not lagging and mostly photoshop elements 7. I don’t have CS even though it’s the one I really want, I simply can’t afford it. But maybe one day or if I get enough art commissions I will spoil myself and buy it. Though that is looking to be very unlikely. Mostly because bills come first >_> Also, as always I will be working from my bamboo fun pen and touch tablet.

 

Colour Practise Video


A palette of watercolours and a brush.

Image via Wikipedia

Because I got some odd questions I decided to Vlog my colouring and drawing process and include the mistakes. This video is me colouring in paint tool sai only from start to finish. I’ve added annotations to the video of the exact brushes and their settings for anyone interested ^^

Just to go over one last time how to add or create a new brush in easy paint tool sai, all you need to do it:

~ Right click an empty square amoung the tools

~Choose which type of brush/tool you wish to make

~ Set the tool texture, density and min size to your liking.

Searching DeviantArt.com for paint tool sai tutorials is the best way to go about finding out what min size is used for or how it functions or merely type in “paint tool sai tutorial” in the youtube search bar and I can assure you that you will find more than enough tutorials to help you out. DeviantArt.com is actually one of the best places to go for digital art or digital painting tutorials. I really recommend going there first before surfing the web, also because unless they are insanely popular, you won’t find these tutorials on google and by insanely popular I mean daily page hits that are in the 4 and up figures.