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January 13, 2013
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Do you think brushes and textures are 'cheating' and why or why not?

:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I've never used other people's custom brushes before or textures (I only used texture once and that used as a space filler for some sketches) I feel it's a bit wrong. I see a lot of people use brushes (even pro's) and it really bothers me. Like those cloud or leaves or grass brushes, if you keep using them, then it's not really 'your' art, you're use using someone else's clouds and grass and leaves. If I really MUST use a custom brush, I prefer to make it myself.
I saw a background that a person drew, and I was really impressed until I found out they used rock textures from photos to make the mountains and I was really disappointed.
What's your view on this matter?
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Devious Comments

:iconmlaproduction:
MLAproduction Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
It really doesn't matter to me.
I make all the textures I use. they certainly don't feel like a shortcut.

Besides, it's not the brushes, but how you use them that matters.
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:iconhabla-babla:
habla-babla Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Nah it just makes some things feel 'too easy' lol. They can save you a ton of time though, just a tool. Same as everything else in digital art.
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:iconkaber13:
kaber13 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I don't think that using textured brushes or photo textures is cheating. I don't use photo textures often and if I do it is almost always a texture I photographed. That said, the use of these tools can be used to train your eye to see how the textures create depth and add interest. In time you can duplicate (for the most part) similar textures by hand. Also, what about using say photoshop and it's effects to create a texture that you then convert to a brush. It's completely made from scratch, by you, so I don't think that any misgivings would apply in that sence either.
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:iconpainted-bees:
painted-bees Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
There is no cheating in art. There is using tools poorly to produce an amateurish product, and there is breaking the law. But there is no cheating.
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:iconsteelmantis:
Steelmantis Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If I use a sponge loaded with ink and stamp it down on a paper is that cheating? or crumple up plastic wrap and drip paint over it then press to a canvas.
I'm using the texture of the sponge and the plastic wrap to create something that I didn't do by hand alone!
Texture brushes are basically the same thing as the sponge or plastic wrap, nothing more then tools to help you.
Many concept artists and illustrators use photos to set up their paintings : example( [link]) but the photos are so lost in the final, that they are really just a quick way to make a color palette to use.
Watch this guys (Mike Nash) [link] u-tube videos on how he does his paintings and tell me you think after that he's cheating by using small amounts of texture files and brushes.
This guys is an amazing artist and no amount of fancy brushes or textures will compensate for shear knowledge, understanding, and practiced skills over time that this guy has. He doesn't really use a whole lot of special brushes that I can see to do his work.
I use to think some what like this myself awhile back, until I really started watching what was being done with them and now I think it's just another means of being able to do better work in a digital format. Heck you could say using use a computer to paint with is cheating as well as it's not really you putting pigment on paper now is it? see how silly that sounds!

Mind you their are limits to the use of special brushes and textures , over done it looks bad, taking photos and just pasting them in as texture looks bad and cheap as well.
if you really feel that using ones made by others is cheat then make your own.
but not everyone has the luxury to learn to use a camera to a proficient level as that is how much of the brushes are made, or the time or resources to run around the planet snapping shots of exotic subject matter to use as brushes/textures.
Stock resources are a great alternative to that.
hopefully I give you a new light to look at on the subject matter, as well as some amazingly talented artists!
cheers :)
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:iconhyorina:
Hyorina Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
its not 'cheating', tools are tools. You can compare that to a pencile, or the tools you use on traditional/paintings.
there arent any rules for art as i know, except stealing/copyright. Those tools are made to USE. And many artists make their own textures,brushes. Just give credit if you use a texture,photo etc that someone made TO USE.
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:iconvampirenyan:
VampireNyan Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
but... when you use photoshop or sai or wut eva you're using, then you are just using other people's tools too?

no it is not cheating. tools are tools. if you don't wan't to "cheat" then take some mud and go paint on a cave wall. with your hands. not a brush.


:D but well, as long as you don't run around commenting on people's deviations like : "LOOK AT YA CHEATY FACE AND LOOK HOW MUCH IT CHEATS!!1!!!!1" then i respect your opinion and will not try to change it. :bow:
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:icontetchist:
Tetchist Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
this question is moronic. brushes and textures are tools, and using tools is never "cheating".

shame on you for even entertaining this thought in the first place.
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:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I didn't say it was cheating, I asked if it was, and in my paragraph, I never implied that it was cheating, I simply said it's unappealing to me.
Re-read my question, and feel free to tell me if I ever wrote, "Using brushes and texture is cheating."
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:icontetchist:
Tetchist Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"I asked if it was"

"I simply said it's unappealing to me."

that's what "entertaining the idea" means.
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:iconmrfeline:
MrFeline Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Why do people insist on thinking that there are rules and regulations to art? Andy Warhol just stamped a picture of Marilyn Monroe over and over and that's called art. Just because someone else made your pencil, does that make pencils cheating? Every single aspect of a piece is from you, the tools are just a means of expression.
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:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Did I ever say anything about not letting people do what they want? My statements were purely of my own opinion and views. "Just because someone else made your pencil, does that make pencils cheating?" <- nor did I mention simple tools. Sorry if you misunderstood me, but what I meant to talk about were things that you can draw by yourself just fine without the use of texture/custom brush. For example, instead of taking a large star stamp to create the silhouette of a star, why not just draw in your own, when you have total capability of? I know it saves time, but aren't you supposed to be patient with art (unless it's rushed, of course)?
Also, "Every single aspect of a piece is from you, the tools are just a means of expression." I never saw it that way, I guess that's because I've never thought about it - changes my thoughts a lot. :) Thanks for sharing.
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:iconmrfeline:
MrFeline Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
And where did I say that you said that? I was drawing the parallel to you saying that using someone elses brush is similar to saying that using a pencil is cheating because someone else made it. The thought of being patient with art is fine until you get into the real commercial art world. If I have a deadline coming up, I'll use the star brush, I'll make sure that it is incorporated into the piece and that it doesn't just look like "that's a star stamp". My digital art teacher back in college gave the class some great advice, "do whatever you have to, to get some sleep". Everyone takes shortcuts in art, from professionals to hobbyists, but writing off that shortcut as cheating in nonsensical. Art has no reals, you can't cheat. (well maybe just taking someone elses piece that's a different story though.)
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:iconmincaraoz:
MIncaraoz Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student General Artist
I don't think is cheating. Don't give credit is cheating. And also depends of the purposes , and if you are doing for hobby or you are getting pay.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student General Artist
So in traditional art, if I use toothbrushes, sponges, hair and paper instead of pencils and brushes, would this be cheating?

Ive done this technique before in this painting right here except using paper and hair:


Same thing. Basically brush are use to add tooth, texture, and speed up painting process that sometimes you couldn't do with a normal brush. Although usually the normal round circle or square brushshows how much texture can you take with just a regular brush. I think the basic idea to use mostly a regular brush is to limit and learn how to draw properly, before speeding it up. How far can you take a regular brush to make a texture like rusted metal or trees. It should be alot with the brush. Textures may not make you learn as much.
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:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I think it's different between using toothbrushes, sponges, etc.. and photostock to add texture. The main difference is in traditional art, you can only go so far using those things. You can't just smack a dog on a painting to add in fur texture, but in digital art you can. I think it takes out some of the 'creating' portion of art, like instead of painting grass, mountains, skies, I could just draw some outlines, then paste on a few photos to add the texture. It will be more of photo-manipulation than drawing.
Anyways, glad I got some answers here :) nice to see others point of view, I understand why other artists use these techniques now.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Just because brushes are made to look like mountains, doesn't mean you have to use it.

You can considered brushes like old photomanipulation or collages. Its photomanipualation anyway.

Also sometimes, you can't just paste it on there. Composition is important, and placing thing randomly won't get you far.
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:iconphinnimonster:
Phinnimonster Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013   General Artist
Perhaps they're "cheating" in the sense that they're shortcuts to speed up the painting process, but it's not a bad thing. Professional concept artists use custom brushes and textures all the time.
There will always be poor use of brushes and textures, though, where it's obvious someone's been making use of resources created by others. I think it's usually best to create your own custom brushes so that they work seamlessly with the rest of your painting.
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:icondebra-marie:
Debra-Marie Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
They are tools! Nothing is cheating if you are just using them as tools and not a crutch.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, not really.
They might feel like cheating, when you compare it to traditional painting. Yet textures and such are part of the digital painting abilities. Hell, even the pro's use them to speed up their projects ^^
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:icontakemakei:
TakemaKei Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you are learning, better to not use a custom brush. But if its a job/commission, you might want to use them to:
1. speed up the process.
2. it might look better.

as for textures, it will give a better effect unless u go all the way to paint all the little details, which will take a significant amount of time. and we dont have all the time the world (at least i dont).
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Its not cheating, it really depend how the artist uses the textures and brushes. The greatest concept artists and matte painters use them all the time because it gives the best effect.
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:iconenih:
Enih Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist
Using textures can be a little bit like using a schrunched up paper towel when paintin acrylics, or salt when using watercolours.
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:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Hm, I never thought of it that way :) guess I could understand it a bit better
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:iconbipole:
bipole Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There is no such thing as "cheating" in art.

There is failing to give credit, which can be a violation of another artist's copyright. Unless the brush maker gives you permission—via license terms—you are expected to at least credit the maker. (I can't think of a reason why a brush maker would be so unreasonable as to limit what can be made, or to charge excessively.)
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:iconnatsumoka:
natsumoka Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013   Digital Artist
I like to draw stuff freehand, but I don't have anything against custom brush users. It looks good and speeds up production time.

"I see a lot of people use brushes (even pro's) and it really bothers me. Like those cloud or leaves or grass brushes, if you keep using them, then it's not really 'your' art, you're use using someone else's clouds and grass and leaves"

No. Those "clouds and grass and leaves" don't make up an artwork. With crappy composition, lighting, color and value, bad pictures still look bad no matter how many custom brushes were used.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
"I saw a background that a person drew, and I was really impressed until I found out they used rock textures from photos to make the mountains and I was really disappointed."

Okay, sure. You were disappointed. Why? Because you came to the image with assumptions you had formed, and they were wrong. Unless the artist went out of their way to give you that impression -- as in, lied to you or deliberately hid the fact that they used a certain process -- then the problem is your expectations, and not the process.

Your preferences are not a universal law. Nobody has to conform to it. Everybody is free to make art in whatever way they please, and you are free to not find that impressive.
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:icondelkkat:
Delkkat Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Again, I would like to repeat that I never said anything about not letting people do what they want, and that my statements were purely of my own opinion and views, or is that not allowed to be expressed? Please read carefully.
Not sure if you were sounding angry, I'm sure I must have seemed irritating when you first read that paragraph, but I meant no offense in any way.
Anyways, I was disappointed because most of the background consisted of textures, and only the lighting/shadows were hand-drawn. When there is more photostock than real drawing, is it not considered to be photo-manipulation rather than drawing? Furthermore, the person put the drawing in 'digital art' category, so is it not standard to assume most of the drawing were done by hand rather than texture?

P.S. if that sounded rude/disrespecting, I'm sorry ^ it's hard to set my tone over text, but I assure I wasn't trying to be mean.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
"Not sure if you were sounding angry"

No, not at all. We just get "is this cheeeeating?" threads about twice a day here, which is pretty tiresome for a concept that doesn't apply to art. If I'm not swearing a lot you can pretty much just assume that I am neither angry nor offended.

"When there is more photostock than real drawing, is it not considered to be photo-manipulation rather than drawing?"

Sure, or a matte painting. But that is a detail you didn't add. You only said that textures were used and heck, you can do that in traditional art, although at that point you tend to call it "mixed media".

"Again, I would like to repeat that I never said anything about not letting people do what they want, and that my statements were purely of my own opinion and views, or is that not allowed to be expressed? Please read carefully."

You also quite clearly did not write "this is my opinion only" or "people are free to do as they like". Even if I read carefully, I can't know what you think about the things you do not say. It may seem clear to you but it isn't to everyone else.
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:iconlittlesardines:
LittleSardines Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Well - a lot of people actually make those brushes themselves, or they change the parameters of the brush to suit their needs - thus making it sort of theirs. Also - as far as people using other peoples brushes, I do sometimes, but mostly just to figure out what settings and effects I like most for my style of painting - then I either make myself a new brush based off of that, or if it's a pretty simple brush (like a calligraphy brush) I'll just use that one since it would be a waste of time to create my own if it will have the exact same effect.
As far as textures go - knowing how to use them is the important part. Using them just straight isn't in my opinion how they should be used. To me they act as another medium to add to a piece, like mixing ink and watercolor for example - it's one medium adding to another. Keep in mind as well that a lot of people take their own texture images as well.
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:iconkiwiliko:
kiwiliko Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't find it cheating mostly because if you can use them well then it still does require a certain amount of skill level. If you were extremely good at something like digital painting, things like simple patterns or textures can be achieved with the basic brush but the point of special brushes is just to speed things up a little. If you think about it in traditional art, there's different styles and sizes of paintbrushes to make things easier. Same with textures, it can be done but it saves a lot of time to use things like custom brushes.
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