Painting Assignment



Summary of Assignment



History of the Project:

This assignment was originally developed in the late '80s with SuperPaint on a Mac. When this lab was converted to a PC lab in 2005, I searched for a replacement to SuperPaint, which combined Pixel and Vector Graphics in one program. I couldn't find one, but I did find a pretty good program called it was/is free. For several years, we used the programs successfully as an intro to Pixel Editing...the basis for Photo Editing, i.e. Photoshop. And, if you are looking for a free alternative to Photoshop for home use, you'll find a link at the bottom of this page. Today, this project is to be completed with Photoshop. It will take some time to develop the samples for Photoshop as a painting program so please bare with me as I develop them. Photoshop is easy to learn as an exploration program...which means, feel free to experiment.


Planning Steps:

A Painting Rough Draft is due PRIOR to starting this project and will be presented when you walk into class. The rough draft can be as simple as you want, but it is 10 % of the final grade. If you do NOT do the rough draft, your max grade on the project will be a 90 no matter how good your final drawing.

New: Rough Draft can be SKETCHED out on an tablet or phone and emailed to as long as it is PRIOR to the start of class. The operative words are SKETCH and PRIOR to class. Don't use a fancy painting program spending too much time on the rough draft...just rough out what you plan to do in Photoshop.


Types of Drawing/Painting Programs

Pixel Painting - Each pixel can be edited. Includes programs like:,, Photoshop, or any image editing program. You will need to use layers to separate items. Photoshop has incorporated some aspects of it's sister program, Illustrator, by using Smart Objects. There are objects that can be reshaped, changed, etc. after they have been drawn. To turn a Smart Object to pixels, you will need to Rasterize the layer.

Vector Drawing - objects, shapes. Includes programs like: Google Drive Drawing, Serif Draw Plus, Illustrator, MS Word. Creates boxes, lines, etc. that can be easily reshaped. Bezier curves and shapes that can be shaded and layered to create complex objects. Used to generate animated objects.


Instructions to READ TO GET STARTED





Other TIPS to read shortly AFTER starting






For those that already have experience with or are up to the challenge to use a Graphics Tablet, I have 18 available for your use during class....just ask. It could be helpful to get the basic part of your drawing done. There is a bit of a learning curve, but I highly recommend that you give the tablet a try. Just get some good NIB Goo...and you are good to go!


Wacom                            Genius





Painting at Home - 3 Options to consider...all Free:



Student Examples:

The first two of these samples were created by students using Photoshop when it was optional to use Photoshop.

by Jennifer Le

by Jenna Spacek


The following examples were created with software PRIOR to our use of Photoshop and before the purchase of the drawing tablets. Any of the following could be created in Photoshop, but generally, the quality level of work has improved dramatically with the use of Photoshop as well as with the graphics tablets.








OBSOLETE info below - resources for the older Paint.NET painting program NO LONGER IN USED IN CLASS...but want to try at home.  Refer to this info if you are interested in using at home. - UPDATE: I now recommend for home use.



* Paint.NET is one of the most popular image editing program and is FREE to download and use on your home computer. Very similar programs are used to create movies like

Go here to download your own copy at home...or bring in a memory stick to class. ( requires .NET 2.0 Framework, which I also have on the server for you.) Run to \\wbphoto\public then to Software for Students. You are welcome to use any of the software, but YMMV!!! And "caveat emptor" (that means...use at your own risk!!!). You may also want to try out an


You may also want to try Serif DrawPlus 4.0 at home, etc. It is also a free program and can be installed and used at home. It is a vector drawing application which is completely different than the pixel editing you may be used to in a program like Paint.NET or Photoshop. It offers tremendous control of it's objects, but is more complicated to use, at least initially. It is also Vector Drawing which may be quite different than anything you have tried before. Serif Draw also includes an animation module to allow you to take a series of images and turn them into an animated .gif, like for an animated avatar. Not to be confused with Avatar, the movie, but similar vector based programs ARE used to create the characters for the movie industry.



Instructions to READ BEFORE STARTING with

Other TIPS to read shortly AFTER starting



Please refer to the following pages for tool assistance: (note...see below for an updated Tutorial Page)     and (like how to do a gradient of several colors) (forum for asking for previous questions that have been answered) Tutorials (look through the tutorials for something of interest to you...or search for a key word).


Take a look at some specific Examples...look either at the Pictorium or in the "Galleria: The Paint.NET Art Gallery" of the Forum. Unfortunately, the tutorials under the "Galleria" photos on how they were done is not working. I am contacting the developer for a workaround. But there are plenty of tutorials in the forum for tutorials.

  1. Newbie Playground
  2. Creations
  3. Distortions and Modifications
  4. Image and Photo Touch-ups
  5. Text Effects
  6. Textures
  7. Miscellaneous

Use the Layers Pallet to add new elements to your picture. IOW, put something on the background, but put everything else on top of that layer, in multiple layers.


Specific Tips:

Feathered Tools - the clone tool, like other tools, is controlled by the alpha transparency on the colors dialog

1) choose the clone tool.  (menu->clone->tools->clone stamp).

2) select brush width.  (toolbar -> brush width).

3) select alpha transparency  (menu->window->colors->[more]->transparency alpha)
a value of 255 has a crisp edge.
a value 70 has a nice feathering.
a value of 0 is completely invisible

How to do a Gradient in


Take a look at some specific Forum Examples (examples by other users of around the world):

"I think you will be amazed at what can be created with Paint.NET."


More examples:


Want to see some amazing photo realistic drawings (if you have time)?!95a3


Tips for MS Paint: (don't use MS Paint for our class project...these are just some tips I wrote up at first a many years ago before we started using better programs)


** On the Mac that is checked out for home use...there is a program installed called SuperPaint that actually combines a Drawing Program and Painting Program into one program. VERY cool...with NO PC (or even current Mac OS 10) equivalent program.