Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

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Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Fri 24 Mar 2017, 1:26 pm

Hi,
Here is my report again Smile
Sorry I don't mean to blame anyone. I just want to share my ideas and hope the app gets more powerful and gain more users.
Three topics today. To make things easier I have captured 3 small screen vids to illustrate my opinions. Hope it works better for you.
Before recording, I carried out a factory reset. Oh, update too. Now version is 20170323.

1. brush with clear water doesn't blend colors. Vid is here -
https://www.dropbox.com/s/d90er1i0e8porx6/clear%20water%20brush%20doesn%27t%20blend%20colors.avi?dl=0
As you can see I was trying to bring the colors into blank area so it gradually becomes lighter and finally blends naturally into the paper color. I think it is quite common with natural media painting. Some painting software offers a blender tool to mimic the effect. But I hope Expresii could do much better job with its Moxi (Magic) engine.

2. Stylus dab doesn't align with cursor, instead, the dab moves / slides to somewhere in front of the stylus. Vid is a little bit long Smile sorry.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1kz1levdm6ts1s6/stylus%20dab%20doesn%27t%20align%20with%20cursor.avi?dl=0
You may find in the second half of the video that while the stylus is vertical, it's becoming even more difficult to control the direction where the dab slides to.
In the video I chose the 'large' brush variant at max size and set the cursor point to maximum for easier view. Of course using smaller brush size and 'fine' brush variant could improve. But I think there are just cases you want to use large one to achieve a specific effect.
With natural media brush, I think the dab position is where the brush touches the paper first, and when I apply pressure on the brush, the dab will not move / slide forward, instead, the brush handle is moved backward slightly. The benefit is great ease and convenience to aim our target area / spot, in my case, the sketch strokes underneath. So I always naturally "aim" my cursor to the target area, in my case, the border of my sketches, but the stylus dab is always sliding 'here and there'.
IMHO, the dab point should always align with the cursor point. When pressure is applied, the brush handle naturally lean backward and the brush bristle 'fall' in the same direction. This helps to aim the target easier.
Anyway that's only my own thought. Experts should have more insight.

3. zero deposition when the water level is above 10. Quite related with No.1. Vid -
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kbuqvn5vpch2fi7/zero%20deposition%20above%20water%20level%2010.avi?dl=0
I do this because I want to achieve watercolor bleeding effect that is easy with natural media painting. Some other painting wares like Artrage can achieve using texture, because they don't get the flow engine. I used to think this could come naturally with Expresii because it's based on the 'flow' thing.
In the vid I tried painting with water level 8 and it did bleed, but still not so satisfactory. Basically I am looking for something like this image from internet.
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cUg42PWo3qw/maxresdefault.jpg

Quite busy day for me so there might be mistakes in my post. Sorry for that Very Happy

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road map thing

Post  wujian on Fri 24 Mar 2017, 1:31 pm

Oh BTW, @admin: Do you have a road map for the community to keep up your development plans? I think you have one for your own team use. I mean a road map for community members to refer to. It can save us from duplicate reporting.

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RE: brush with clear water doesn't blend colors

Post  Lars on Sun 26 Mar 2017, 6:13 pm


1. brush with clear water doesn't blend colors. Vid is here -

Usually this works pretty fine. Could it be that you've merge the layers by mistake?
If the upper (always the aktive) layer has color information, simply add clear water with a new stroke. The wetness then is indicated as grey area in the Moisture/Tilt panel. (my screenshot No.1)
If the layers are merged AND the controls/interaction is set to zero, the upper has no color information to be smudged. (Again wetness is shown in the Moisture panel, my screenshot no.2)
If the layers are merged and the controls/interaction is set to a higher value,
the pure water stroke gets information of the lower layer and creates a new, smudged area on the upper/active layer. (red circled area in my screenshot no.3)

Another reason why it didn't work could be: the button for "Lock Wet Area Expansion" is still enabled (Paper Operation/ Moisture-Tilt/ the lock icon).
Assume you first made your three strokes with black color for the leaf shape and merged this layer, then you added the stroke with the pink color, pressed the lock-icon to freeze expansion and then you also merged this layer down, you overlooked that the lock-icon is still enabled when you tried to add pure water on the next layer. This often happens to me. That's why I'm trying to keep the Moisture/Tilt panel always visible.

Developers should fix this function/issue: Let's say if the "Lock Wet Area Expansion" function is used on a layer and at some point this layer is merged down, the automatic created new active layer should be freed of any restriction. And a hotkey for "Show Wet Area" (the glasses icon) would be a great improvement, in my opinion.

Great idea to make videos to explain an issue, unfortunately currently I can't do so. Sad
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RE: Stylus dab doesn't align with cursor, instead, the dab moves

Post  Lars on Sun 26 Mar 2017, 9:35 pm


2. Stylus dab doesn't align with cursor, instead, the dab moves / slides to somewhere in front of the stylus

I think this is a very good example why the option of a complete disabling the cursor does make sense (App Menu/UI advanced/Cursor (unticking the checkbox)).

Far from being a technical expert, I always imagine the cursor as a single, infinite small point in space (regardless of any cursor size being showed in a viewport). Although its range of influence can be manipulated in various ways, some apps call it radial fading or soft brush or gradient blending and so on, it still remains ONE single point. This applies to both 2D and 3D programs.
Your input device, let's say a Stylus pen, creates this single point. Comparable with a fine ball pen or fine pointed pencil in real life. A painting brush in real life, with all of its bristles, has thousends of those points which are simultaneous effecting on a surface. (I'm not talking about the amount of bristles but their general behaviour while making a single stroke.) So a Stylus pen would have to be able to create multiple cursors a the same time. Don't know if Wacom is working on such an input device, maybe.
I guess Expresii (Yibi Brush Engine) makes this job.

So my advice would be: make some tries with an disabled cursor as mentioned above, but enable the options for the handle, transparency, shadow and texture and set the brush details to "high" (App Menu/System/UI) and then make yourself familiar with the brush behavior in Expresii. But keep in mind, there are strong dependences of capabilities and settings of your hardware in conjunction with Expresiis own settings for pressure and deformation possibilities and the brush shape you're using.

btw. It looks funny when you're shaking the brush and trying to move the cursor to the brush tip Wink

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Re:zero deposition when the water level is above 10

Post  Lars on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 3:12 am


3. zero deposition when the water level is above 10. Quite related with No.1.

I would say that the amount of water present on the paper makes it impossible at that moment to take color pigments from the brush. Especially since the brush carries only very few color pigments, but as before again transfers very much new water on the paper.

I made a series of screenshots to explain what I'm talking about.
Attachments
wetness_01.jpg (252 Kb) Downloaded 25 times
wetness_02.jpg (246 Kb) Downloaded 21 times
wetness_03.jpg (241 Kb) Downloaded 21 times
wetness_04.jpg (256 Kb) Downloaded 18 times
wetness_05.jpg (248 Kb) Downloaded 22 times

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supplement

Post  Lars on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 3:17 am

There seems to be a limit of a maximum of 5 attachments per posting.
So here comes the last one, no.6 as bonus
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wetness_06.jpg (282 Kb) Downloaded 20 times

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 9:14 am

Thank you Lars for the reply.
---------------
About the first video, I'm afraid you didn't get me right. Every stroke you see is on the active layer. Wet area lock is off. Let me put it this way. What I was trying to do was to bring the fuchsia color down to the white (blank) area by dragging the brush over it. A natural brush with pure water should serve as a blender, doesn't it? Take it as a feature request rather than a complaint, for now I have realized this feature is missing. Think how natural and how convenient it would be for the users. That said, I have to say there is other ways doing the blending which is simply not that natural.
BTW I agree with you that the wet are lock is sometimes cause troubles for fresh users. So does the eraser mode (shortcut E) - with all the other applications I have, one shortcut for eraser, and another shortcut for brushes, for instance, I pressed E to switch to eraser tool (i/o mode), then B will get me back to brush tool (i/o mode). If it's changed to the way I got used to, I'd be really happy, But I have no complaint for shortcuts. To all fresh users I would say: Please read your manuals.
----------------
About the second video - sure you have more insights. Yes I disabled the cursor now, it made me feel more concentrated on the dab position. Not a big deal for me.
Yes I do hope Wacom can have a better stylus device in future, such as a pen with a rubber feel dab with lots of sensors Smile Or maybe the Expresii developers find a better way to deal with it before Wacom' s invention, who knows?
----------------
About the third video. Thank you for the screenshots and they serve your points very well. But again I have some more to say.
Please note I KNEW the reason of 0 deposition was the high volume of water on canvas. So the developers may take it as another feature request. Again I'd say it is very related with the first one.
In real life people do wet on wet painting, and they first get the canvas wet. Think how strange it is to have a loaded brush that doesn't deposit on your wet canvas. I think the real life physics is: once contacted, the color flows into the water. Otherwise the wet on wet painting simply doesn't happen.
As I mentioned in original post, I was trying to achieve some stunning bleeding effect. I think Expresii can do a really good job since it's got the best flow dynamics engine.

Once again thank you for the input.



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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Lars on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 8:43 pm

Hello wujian!
You are absolutely right, your first video I didn't interprete properly.  Embarassed
A direct comparison of the first frames with the last shows, the water reacts with the already applied color. Although not with the black strokes and also not to the extent you expect, but at least it did. Sorry, my bad.
But now I have understood you, I believe.

Also I couldn't create the effect which is shown in your sample picture.
The moment you took the photo, it looks like dripping black ink into clear water and all these deltas are created by the paper structure. But what does it look like when the paper is dried, say after some hours?
Very blurred, somehow smudged I would assume. But I might be totally wrong. Cause I don't know the paper or the ink you're using. Even the water might have some secret ingredients.

What I really want to say:
As far as I am concerned, I have made the experience that I often mistakenly confuse elements or mix up different items when I try to transfer my experiences of genuine painting to the attempts of digital imitation.
For example, it took a while to understand that in Expresii white ink is not available (hopefully I'm right). I mixed up ink painting with watercolor painting aka aquarelle (where the usage of opaque white for blending purposes is normal). Two completely different approaches, even if they are partially connected in real life.
And that often causes headaches and I think: damn, why does it not work as I expect it?
Presently e.g. I am struggling with the following problem:
Why am I not able to get a level absolutely dry?  scratch  It must be my fault. But that should be another topic.

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Mon 27 Mar 2017, 10:57 pm

Hi Lars, the photo in the original post is from the internet. Actually from this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUg42PWo3qw, and it just explains what I want. So please take a look at the video. Smile
I know with other painting software we can achieve similar effects, but I expect with Expresii we could do it in the same way just like we do in real life.

Why am I not able to get a level absolutely dry? scratch It must be my fault. But that should be another topic.

I think you can make the canvas completely dry by pressing D twice on your keyboard. Press D once at a time will make your canvas drier, but twice at a time will completely dry your canvas. You may also make it wet again by pressing Y key. Instead of shortcuts you may also find the tools under Paper Operation / Moisture & Tilt.

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 10:49 am

wujian, for (1) it's not very blending because you've locked the wet area. If it's locked, and if the area is full of water, water can't flow much and thus it won't blend much. To make it flow, you have to create an inequality in wetness. e.g. dry the whole paper by double-pressing 'D', and than deposit only to one small area in your locked wet area. You can check the wetness in the 'Moisture / Tilt' panel.

For your (3) point, it's because the paper is already saturated so it won't absorb more. The example you gave was using Western watercolor paper, which water flows mostly on top of the surface. But here we're more about simulating Chinese Xuan paper. When such an absorbent paper is saturated, it won't absorb more. I know it creates a lot of confusion among users. I will consider changing this behavior in the future. Anyway, for now, you can simply dry the paper, for it to start accepting new strokes.

I'll answer your (2) point later, as I have to go out now.

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 2:45 pm

Hi Admin, Glad you are back Smile
About the first video, The wet area lock is off. I have explained it in the reply to Lars. Please refer to post #7.

To make it flow, you have to create an inequality in wetness.
This information is important for me. I guess it explains why it doesn't work like in real life where we do wet on wet painting.

Considering this topic tends to get diversified, I'd like to add a few more words to make myself better understood. Basically I'm more concerned whether Expresii will give us a better solution of digital watercolor painting. Many people see its great potential. So, everything I'm asking here is about watercolor painting. They are: Blending tool (Vid #1), bleeding effect (Vid #3). Actually I expect many other watercolor functions from you, for example, color mixer, flat brushes, flow map, texture, ... However, it depends if you choose to fully support watercolor painting or not. From what I've read on the internet, you tend to drive that way. And that's why I asked about a road map in post #2.

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 11:14 pm

wujian wrote:
To make it flow, you have to create an inequality in wetness.
This information is important for me. I guess it explains why it doesn't work like in real life where we do wet on wet painting.

It does! It's just closer to Chinese ink on Xuan paper instead of Western watercolor. Smile

wujian wrote:
Considering this topic tends to get diversified, I'd like to add a few more words to make myself better understood. Basically I'm more concerned whether Expresii will give us a better solution of digital watercolor painting. Many people see its great potential. So, everything I'm asking here is about watercolor painting. They are:  Blending tool (Vid #1), bleeding effect (Vid #3). Actually I expect many other watercolor functions from you, for example, color mixer, flat brushes, flow map, texture, ... However, it depends if you choose to fully support watercolor painting or not. From what I've read on the internet, you tend to drive that way. And that's why I asked about a road map in post #2.

Chinese painters blend color on the brush tuft itself. In reality it's still possible to blend the colors a bit when deposited on paper since most (mineral) color pigments are much larger than ink pigments so they stay more on paper surface. But if it's really 'ink', ink would be absorbed into the paper fiber and you can't really blend it much any more.

In Expresii, we skip the simulation of on-surface flow, mainly due to the fact that more ppl won't have a fast enough machine to run essentially 2 flow sim's at a time.

Of course, more can be done in the future, but sorry, we can't really show a road map. The only sure thing which is coming is the ability to have more layers. Smile
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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Mar 2017, 11:38 pm

Lars wrote:
Why am I not able to get a level absolutely dry?  scratch  It must be my fault. But that should be another topic.

Right now although I say 'Dry Completely' when you double-press 'D', it's not the same as in reality where you can put another layer of paint completely independent from what is already deposited. For that, we need another paint layer. And this is why the ability to have more layers is high priority.

I know ppl would ask: why don't you make it work the same as in reality so that people don't need to learn a new behavior? Again, it's a trade-off - it's computationally more efficient done this way. And if fact, it's also a good that you can always go back and make your layer flow again and you can say it's a break-away from limitation in reality.
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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Wed 29 Mar 2017, 11:28 pm

@Admin: Thank you for the reply.
Chinese painters blend color on the brush tuft itself. In reality it's still possible to blend the colors a bit when deposited on paper since most (mineral) color pigments are much larger than ink pigments so they stay more on paper surface. But if it's really 'ink', ink would be absorbed into the paper fiber and you can't really blend it much any more.
Good to know that Smile

In Expresii, we skip the simulation of on-surface flow, mainly due to the fact that more ppl won't have a fast enough machine to run essentially 2 flow sim's at a time.
Talking about computer specs, I wonder why you don't try to make more use of RAM other than GPU. RAM is generally more economical than GPU, I think. I'm not expert for this, but I think at least some job of GPU could be done in RAM. (For example, when I run Expresii, RAM is almost not used at all.)
Another point. People who want to do a pro job certainly need a pro spec. That's the price he has to pay. It's would be pointless to try to make an app to be able to run on average spec. It would be wiser to concentrate on pro users - by getting them pro results.
Forgive me if I sound funny here Smile

Of course, more can be done in the future, but sorry, we can't really show a road map. The only sure thing which is coming is the ability to have more layers.
Sad about that. Hope one day you can provide the community a road map. Happy about more layers, and just add my bit too: don't forget layer group.

Another wild idea that's come up with me these days: Why not develop it into a third-party plugin of Photoshop or others since you have to build up so many functions from the ground? Things like layers, zooming, resizing, panning, blending modes, selection tool, filters, .... are already there. If so, you just need to focus on the watercolor thing, it saves you so much efforts, while gets you exposed to so many pro users immediately. Take it as a free advice Very Happy Because I really like the potential capabilities of your app. However, so far it could not satisfy my needs for a watercolor painting app. So I will continue to pay close attention to it.

Once again, thank you.

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Admin on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 11:44 am

The transfer of data between GPU and CPU takes time so we keep most data on GPU side for fast operation. See nowadays graphics cards get 3-6 GB of GPU RAM. Smile

I certainly can't say it's pointless. Smile There're many digital painters out there who don't have a good GPU or don't know much about GPU. If we focus on those with great GPU, we have to set a higher price, and it also won't allow us to get more known (ppl would say "I love it but I can't run it"). Also, it's for later Mac version. Mac has been having poor support for GPU/3D stuffs (hopefully it would change). Another reason is the mobile tablets, which also have relatively low-spec GPU's.

Pro users with great GPU already enjoy smoother painting, more undo's and higher-res output. From your other comment, you see even nvidia GPU can't handle paper size as large as 24x24 units (our code is the same, just the GPU driver doesn't make it work correctly). You see, it takes time for everyone to keep working, including OS, hardware makers, and us.

I don't do a PS plugin because 1. PS is expensive and I don't want people needing to buy it in order to use Expresii. 2. you can already do Copy & Paste into PS (although alpha channel support yet to be added). That's basically the same as having a Plugin. The good thing of having a Plugin would be Adobe might help promote your stuff, but hey, that's only a 'might'. And again, we can't spread ourselves too thin by having so many versions.

I've been telling ppl to use 3rd-party apps for image editing. But only those motivated would be willing to switch between apps. People used to do that a lot, like in the old days between Painter and PS. Now we get users asking those resize/selection/transforming/etc tool within Expresii just like you did. Smile

Actually you can regard, at least for now, what you make with Expresii as like a real-world artwork piece. You can scan such a piece into the computer as a design element much like in Expresii you can export a Snapshot which you put into Photoshop or other tool. Then, you can do a lot of those image manipulations or the final composition, just like you suggested.

With such a workflow, you can do amazing things like:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/46781791/Metsutan-Songs-of-the-Void-Album-Artwork
and look at those animations shown here:
http://gingercatsneeze.tumblr.com/
and a whole comic book from Taiwan published last year:
http://www.books.com.tw/products/0010721131

they are all made possible because they are combining Expresii with other tools.

And don't be sad not seeing a roadmap. I've seen mid to large companies giving a roadmap but eventually didn't delivery what were planned. For our case, it's simply not possible to say when and what feature be done in the near future. E.g. we might have entered into some NDA or maybe we want to surprise people with a Mac version - who knows. Smile However, what may be more important is to see update keep coming i.e. we're still alive.


Last edited by Admin on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 3:15 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  wujian on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 1:33 pm

Thank you for the time you spent sharing so much information with us, Admin!
And great points you don't do a plugin - it's true the users can combine any apps convenient for him / her.
Also thank you for the amazing links for the community to see what's possible. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Please share more in future! If possible please create a separate topic for such resources, because ordinary users couldn't find them with ease. I'm a novice in traditional paintings, but as a Chinese, I love it.
For the road map thing, don't worry. Please keep on surprising us Very Happy

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Re: Some thoughts about watercolor bleeding & blending & stylus dab displacement

Post  Admin on Thu 30 Mar 2017, 2:49 pm

No problem and thanks for your concern and time to comment here.

For that purpose getting to know about news or other ppl's work made with Expresii, please follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
Links to be found at the bottom of our main site: http://www.expresii.com Smile
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