If you take a glance at digital painting, you might think that it looks like a painting. So you assume that the artist created it the usual way: he sketched a drawing, then refined it, chose a brush, and added color until he obtained the final result.
In a sense, you are not so far from reality.
Digital tools for traditional techniques
Unless other types of digital art, digital painting does not involve computer-generated images based on mathematical models, but the artist himself creates the image on the computer using traditional techniques such as watercolor and oils. So, instead of canvas, brushes, or tubes of colors, he would display strokes using a mouse or the touch of a pen on a tablet surface.
The undo button and the non-linear process in digital painting
But what really makes a difference between traditional and digital painting is the non-linear process.
It means that artists can rethink their idea at any moment and arrange their painting in layers that can be edited separately.
Also, digital artists can use photographs or photographic elements and have at their disposal several tools including a virtual palette consisting of millions of colors, almost any size canvas or media, any kind of pencils, spray cans, combs, even customized brushes, and a variety of 2D and 3D effects.
What digital painting is used for
Digital painting is mainly used for matte painting, concept art, illustration.
A discussion has opened to decide if a stylus and a tablet can be considered proper tools for an artist. You would lose the feeling of the brush, but you will still have to control your force and pressure when the stylus slides on the surface of the tablet. Also, artists can check the lighting from all angles on different kinds of textures, or experiment with brushes and colors until they obtain a result that matches what they had in mind, or even surprise them. Art has always been a combination of technology and creativity, and digital tools are now expanding the horizons of the artist’s vision.