Book Review: Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop


Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop is one of the better books for learning digital painting with Photoshop.

It's published by 3DTotal and follows a somewhat similar style to their Digital Art Masters series of books. It's filled with tutorials that teach the various aspect of digital painting. There are 224-pages and it comes with a pretty plastic slipcase.

The book benefits those already with some basic experience in creating art. You should be able to draw first. The book's goal is to help you make the transition over to digital painting by showing you how you can replicate your traditional techniques digitally. Through the illustrated examples, you can also learn how the techniques required to create them. Intermediate and advanced digital painters should be able to find useful tips in the book too.

Here's the full list of contents:

A Beginner's Guide

  • Introducing Photoshop's Workspace
  • Canvas Settings, Scanning, Colors and Brushes
  • Composition, Perspective and Blocking In
  • Grayscale, Blending and Using Photographs
  • Masks and the Wand Tool
  • Final Touches and Filters

Art Fundamentals

  • Lighting and Color
  • Composition
  • Portraying Emotion
  • Perspective and Depth
  • Storytelling

Complete Project - Area 51

  • From concepts through to the final image

Painting Styles and Approaches

  • Speed Painting Sci-fi Characters
  • Speed Painting Sci-fi Landscapes
  • Painting Over Grayscale
  • Digital Painting Using Photographs
  • Fantasy Landscapes

Project Overviews

  • The Trials of Devotion
  • Closet Monster
  • Soul Hunting

Quick Tips

  • Learn tricks of the trade from industry professionals

Breakdown Gallery

  • Image analysis – see how artists create their digital paintings

The first section covers the setting up of Photoshop and understanding the interface with regards to digital painting. The author uses Photoshop CS so some of the software features might differ from newer released. But essentially, the basic features should still be around, somewhere.

The second second covers the art fundamentals. That would be things like lighting, composition, etc. The insightful commentary reinforces what makes a good painting.

The next section is on painting styles and covers painting of fantasy and sci-fi scenes, which is type of subject the book focuses on.

There's also a useful section on creating effects and textures, things like clouds, smoke, explosions, trees, skin, fur, metal, etc.

All the tutorials are created by professional artists, such as Nykolai Aleksander, Richard Tilbury, Eric Spray, Weiye Yin and more. They have lots of experience and their commentaries show.

This is a good book on digital painting. Beginners to advanced users should be able to learn a lot.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
The book comes with a beautiful plastic slipcase.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
It's a paperback.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
The section that covers the interface of Photoshop and how to set it up for digital painting.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Insightful commentary runs alongside the many illustrated examples. There's more text than pictures in the book.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Using the Variations feature in Photoshop to produce different results.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Composition techniques like the Golden art, perspective and others are mentioned.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Tutorial on painting a sci-fi landscape.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop

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4 Comments

How friendly is this book for

How friendly is this book for beginners with not much experience at real painting that cannot draw?

The problem seems that all beginner books on digital painting seems to be made for people who know how to paint with real medium. But what if I want to learn how to paint directly with the digital medium? I don't want to read first a book about painting and then another book about digital painting.

The end section where they break down each element seems to be the most interesting part of the book that I have not seen in any other book. This is one of the main reason this book seems very interesting to me.

I read "Digital Painting for complete beginner". I found many interesting stuff in there even if there is a lot of stuff like scketches I cannot do. So maybe this book still have some interesting element I could use even if I could not produce art as rich as a professional.

Hi Parka,

Hi Parka,

I use photoshop CS5 as my painting platform. I want to improve my skill but I have limited budget to buy just one digital painting book. Can you recommend if I should buy this one or Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters? Or do you have another recommendation? Thank you in advance.

I finally bought the book and

I finally bought the book and found it very interesting especially the section with all the type of material or objects you can paint (ex: leather, clouds, skin, hair, trees, etc.)

In over all I love it. Still if you are an experienced artist, you could want to check elsewhere. But there are some project that are very detailed in the book. While other articles rapidly talks about the subject without getting into the details.

It's also not a book to learn how a software work but rather when you know how to use it but do not know what to do with it.

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