When I reviewed the original Digital Painting Techniques, I was more than impressed. The step-by-step tutorials, contributed by dozens of professional artists, were easy to follow but would yield amazing results. With the first book forming one of the key resources in the development of my own digital art, Digital Painting Techniques Volume 2 had a lot to live up to. Could it live up to those expectations?
The first pitfall the book had to avoid is accidentally repeating lessons. Even if the images differ drastically, the technique stays the same, and I wasn’t keen on learning the same thing twice. Luckily, this is not the case: the new book not only complements its predecessor, but manages to surpass it.
I couldn’t help feeling that I was being given trade secrets to make my paintings look significantly better, seemingly by magic. That’s not to say that the lessons require no effort – but from making lace and cloth brushes to rendering realistic skin, an immense and diverse amount of guidance is provided.
Training with breadth and depth
The chapters are broken up the same way as the first book, with each section covering a different topic. The first few focus on character design; the next, environments and vehicles; then the book moves on to painting on top of a 3D image.
There is not a single chapter in here that I did not find useful. Each one demonstrates how to recreate a digital masterpiece: something that initially seems a daunting task, but which is actually broken down into such straightforward steps that the process feels like a breeze.
If I had to nitpick, it would be with my favorite section: the custom brushes. Its purpose is to show how custom brushes – the files are available for free on the 3DTotal website – can be used in the creation of an artwork, which it does admirably. But some of the final images are so amazing, I would have loved to see how they were painted from beginning to end.
With this latest release, 3DTotal has once again proved to be a driving force in art education. The book provides 35 diverse tutorials that are certain to improve the quality of your art, whether you’re a novice or a professional.
At $49.99 (£29.99), the price tag may seem a bit steep, but you certainly get your money’s worth. Digital Painting Techniques Volume 2 is now a prized possession in my collection.
View a slideshow of images from Digital Painting Techniques Volume 2
View the trailer