Give it to me straight - do I need to get Photoshop

  • Hello all,

    As I mentioned in a separate post, for years I used and loved photoshop, primarily for hobby digital art and as a tool to digitize my traditional media (fine art stuff). Around 2014 or so I switched over to Corel Painter for a variety of reasons (I didn't like Adobe's change to subscription-based pay, I really liked the way Painter mimics traditional media compared to PSP, Painter was more cost effective for my non-professional purposes, and I have to admit that getting away from 'big Adobe' with whom I'd had various customer service issues was part of it).

    Now I'm transitioning to illustration as a career and though Painter has been able to do all the things I need so far, the fact stands that Adobe is the industry standard and I worry that I'm sticking to Corel Painter just out of stubbornness. I've also been using procreate more for the hand-drawing portion of creating work and then Painter just to finish it off and do that things that Procreate cannot.

    So I guess my question is; do I have to just suck it up and move back to photoshop?

    Will ADs and others in the business know or care if I'm not using Adobe?
    Does anyone out there working professionally in illustration use Corel Painter?
    Does anyone else out there have a mild visceral resentment toward Adobe?

    ~ Pam

  • First ask yourself: do you need to stick to digital art? Are you planning to work in some studio, start your own company or freelancing business? If its for yourself, going free can cut costs. And some companies/small studios may not care about the software you use aa long as you give them a .png or similar file.

    Second: if going digital, try Krita and GIMP. They are both totally free and good!

  • Hi Pam. I have experience with all of them. I moved to Corel Painter and Procreate after the whole subscription thing too. And yes, they upended my life at that point because I was using Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.

    Upon leaving them, I saved money because with Photoshop you had to buy the full year. I paid $89 that year for Corel, however, the 2018 version was more expensive this year. It's only $120 for both Photoshop and Lightroom annually. Therefore, if Corel Painter is higher than that, I am no longer saving money. So it depends. Are you a person who buys the upgrade every year? Are you a person who really likes Corel Painter (because they do have great features like the fact that you don't lose DPI or have to use the Smart resizing like in Photoshop)? I was considering going back to Adobe if I don't save with Corel. Corel Painter also tends to crash and the canvas size doesn't seem to hold its perfect accuracy (e.g. Set it at 300X300 at 300 and you might get 299.99x299.99 x 300 later). I think Adobe Photoshop adds crop marks if you want them, but Corel Painter does not. (I had to skip an SCBWI art contest because I could not add crop marks on my illustration.) As far as Procreate, that's just incredibly convenient. No one will know that you are not using Adobe Photoshop. There are a lot of professional illustrators who use Corel Painter. I know I listed some of its downsides, but it's a software that has a lot of good qualities too. Hope this helps your decision.

  • Nobody cares in the least what software you are using as long as you are providing files according to specs. The majority of specs will be standard file types (.jpg or .png), resolution and color mode (ProCreate cannot handle CYMK, but Corel can).
    The rest is personal preference.
    For myself, I ended up hating Corel - it crashed in my hands way too many times to be practical. I did not relish very much the „natural media“ feel either - I find Photoshop mixer brushes can do the same with much better control.
    I am an Adobe person - I love being able to save my color palettes and textures to the Adobe Cloud and have them available in any software for any file.
    I like to layout in InDesign and do flats and patterns in Illustrator. I love Adobe Bridge and I love being able to jump between software with so much ease. I am going to layout a book next week, and I have the native files in Photoshop - I do not even need to export .jpgs. I can link the photoshop files to the InDesign document and then go on and make all corrections and changes the client will want in Photoshop and the InDesign document is automatically updated. I can publish a flipbook to the cloud and share the link with the client.
    For me, an integrated workflow is totally worth the cost - which you can book as business expense, by the way.
    But, it is a very personal view - I realize it is not only a cost factor but also how much comfortable you are with graphical software in general.
    One thing is for sure: if they like the art, nobody gives a damn how you did it (to quote one of my teachers!)

  • Thank you all for the insightful comments!

    @Diego_BioSteam I do intend to stay with digital art as a freelancer. I've definitely used GIMP in the past (great program!), fortunately my budget isn't quite that tight anymore :).

    @Blessings It's very nice to hear from someone who left Adobe for Corel. In the past I would only upgrade every few years so it was cost effective (at this point I think a Painter update will cost about the same as 1 year of Photoshop - I'm in Canada so I don't get quite the same price as Americans). Now that I am moving toward more professional work am finding I need more from the program than I used to and suspect that I may need to upgrade annually.

    @smceccarelli Thank you for the great insight! Some of your comments on other posts are actually what's got me thinking about this more. It is reassuring to know that at the end of the day it's the art that matters most :)

    The more I think about things the harder it is to justify being an 'Apple' girl and at the same time being 'anti-big-Adobe' ;D. Ah, self-justification!

    My reason for addressing this is that I've been working on developing my workflow habits - it seems that which software I use, and how I use it plays a bigger role in this process than I expected! The past couple of months I've started feeling like I'm creating more frustration and hassle for myself (which means more time spent finding workarounds) by sticking doggedly to Painter.

    This is a fun ride, and I'm so grateful to have all you wonderful SVS folks willing to share your wisdom! Thank you again!

    ~ Pam

  • @pam-boutilier Hey, you’re welcome! Even though I said ‘when I left them,” please don’t get the impression I’m against them. Adobe has great apps. Here’s a post about an illustrator who uses both programs: She uses Painter for coloring. Both programs have special things to offer so Corel Painter is not any less professional and the software improves with each debut. It just depends on what you’re doing.👍🏽

  • I’m a bit of a software junky. The driving forces for me are can i get a good pencil, a good colouring pencil, and something that looks like watercolour?
    Then of course when ‘back in the day’ they salted putting apps on tablets and the like I had to do the same investigations..... hey, I have even completed art on ‘colours’ which was a home brew app on the original Nintendo days, which actually had a pressure sensitive screen (hands up if you knew that!). You had to run it on cyclo ds...
    Anyway, here’s my findings...
    Gimp crashes. And could never find a place to download from, even apparently their own website where I didn’t seem to have some sort of virus at the end of it....
    Painter crashes too, but I quite like how badly it behaves for it’s randomness, and have done some paying art on it. It’s quirky
    ArtRage shouldn’t be overlooked. Love it, and hardly ever had a crash. Very responsive, and the way you can build brushes which create patterns created my best Quentin Blake quill. The pencil was the first to feel right as well, and the roller fast and responsive. I think their flagship poster boy is nick Harris? Great work.
    Clip studio paint is fantastic. Why ever did they change it from manga studio? And really it was the perfect system for inking, that was until photoshop introduced their smoothing system recently. U less I was missing it all along, quite possibly! But clipstudio paint does have one trick up it’s sleeve... you can ink in vector lines on just one layer, and still adjust each line. I think it’s fill system is also more intuitive than illustrator too. The 3d integration is far better than ps seems to have yet achieved to my mind.
    Which brings us to photoshop. Which is still my workhorse, though because of recent commissions I am now branching into illustrator. Ps is great, particularly that you can add to the canvas size without changing dimensions. Dodge and burn is better than any of the other packages, and masking just seems more intuitive.

    On tablet, Procreate wins with the most recent update

    But still no one has really created a perfect watercolour brush. Best I’ve found is using bought painter watercolour brushes but you still have to carefully mess around to fake the look. Drop watercolour paper textures over the top in overlay mode. Better yet, use a light box, transfer tour drawing to real watercolour paper and get out the paint box. There are a couple of watercolour engines out there but still nothing I like, and painter....well it still just doesn’t seem to do it quite right. It feels fake.

    My recommendation if on a budget is clipstudio paint together with ArtRage. If you can afford ps then go for it and enjoy kyles brushes.

    But in the end, if you’ve got a software that creates a picture which people love, and you dont run into problems working at hi-res or issues with printers, don’t buy what you don’t need.

    Put it this way, I’ve sold art I’ve made using a lolly pop stick dipped in acrylic ink....

  • @andyg Have you ever tried Rebelle? It’s a very bleak piece of software but it’s the best watercolor simulator I have ever seen. I use it sometimes for backgrounds or special wash effects (never to paint from beginning to end, it’s very clunky). Maybe it would solve your search...

  • @smceccarelli yeah. It’s the closest I’ve found yet. I think that’s the one I referred to but thanks for the name reminder. I think it needs a couple more iterations for it to be right....or maybe sell to one of the big boys/girls. One day I think it will be perfect, for now I agree it’s clunky.

  • @andyg Since their last big update in the summer version 2 is much better

  • @rcartwright ah....may take another look then. Thankyou.

  • I used to be a die hard Corel Painter user since 2007 up to about 2 years ago. I got really frustrated with Corel Painter though for various reasons (not least the pop up adverts they inserted into the software).

    I still have and use Photoshop CS3, and even though its older, I find it far superior to Corel Painter (2016) for using layers and just getting things done in general. Corel Painter is really over technical and strange to use. I didn't realize what I was missing until I tried Photoshop.

    I also use Krita which has nice blendy brushes and some cool features like seamless tile painting and symmetry modes. I've used lots of other software's over the years, and they all have strengths and weaknesses. I wrote an article about it on Medium recently:
    I don't buy into the "industry standard" argument, I just use what works for me depending on the result I need, but Photoshop is a good program.

  • Hi there,

    I too have become frustrated with Adobe, especially as it seems that lightroom is headed towards fully subscription based too...

    I use Adobe CS5.5 at work on a daily basis but working in an educational institute they are not too keen on the whole subscription model. As I’m not earning anything from creative endeavours at the moment I struggle to justify the subscription for myself at home too.

    An alternative to Adobe that really seems to be gaining ground is the Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo software (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop equivalents respectively) and next year the beta of Affinity Publisher (InDesign alternative) is being released. No subscription and it has pretty good .psd and .ai compatibility. For drawing I’ve been happily switching between Affinity, Sketchbook Pro and Procreate without any problems using .psd. You can also load .abr format brushes (but sadly not .tpl). Only thing with Affinity at the moment is Designer is Mac only for now, but Photo is Mac and Windows. It has a great community forum, and the developers have a clear roadmap for development which is brilliant.

    Sorry if that sounded like a sales pitch, wasn’t meant to be... It just seems as if they are genuinely working to be a viable non subscription alternative, and they appears to be getting darn close...

    Hope that’s of interest!

  • @christine-garner Yeah the 2016 version was terrible on crashing, but they've since improved and the pop-up intro always had the ability to be disabled. However, the 2018 has amazing texture brushes. I agree the learning curve is different.

  • @blessings It was terrible that I upgraded to it only to be told of the 2017 version about 2 weeks later which fixed some of the issues but was another paid update. I felt pretty miffed about it to be honest. I solved the pop up problem: I uninstalled the thing.
    I've been using Paintstorm Studio a bit more lately, it has very painterly brushes not unlike the ones in Corel Painter. Art Rage's oils are really nice, and Rebelle is a great watercolour simulator. None of these programs beat the real thing though.
    To be honest my set of colouring pencils is the best option when I get fed up of all the digital painting and it's problems.

  • @jamesh Not at all like a sales pitch! I'm so glad to get input on other software - I'd not even heard of these!

    ~ Pam

  • Thanks again for all the input!

    I just watched some predictions about the 2018 version of the iPad pro - it sounds like the processing power is kicking up. I wonder what that will mean for apps like Procreate and Clip Studio (which I believe has a fully functioning iOS version, so @Andyg I'm glad you mentioned it, that might be a good in-between option).

    I've been working on my 2018 budget and right now am going to hunker down with Corel Painter 2016 and Procreate for the time being. But all of this information is helping me with decisions of where to aim in the coming year and I'm definitely tagging this thread!

    ~ Pam

  • @pam-boutilier clipstudio is subscription based on the iPad. Don’t get too excited. I’m not sure it’s worth it that way. But bought once on the pc it’s cool

  • I am just learning really to use digital but I have Photoshop (for now), GIMP, Clipstudio pro (which I still haven't even used for about a year). I have a ton to learn! Mostly I use photoshop (or GIMP) for cleaning up traditional art and for the class assignments I just finished. I really want to use it mor to help me save some time on adjusting scale and placement of my images and to do pgintion for my book projects. I don't know if you can use them all together or not but, hopefully I will figure it all out :-) Going to have to give up hotoshop soon so, I need to use the others.

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