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Sharpen Your Strokes! by Wildweasel339 Sharpen Your Strokes! by Wildweasel339
This is a very simple guide, perhaps of common knowledge. However I think it is a crucial step, often forgotten, in finishing a digital painting.

The main goal is to create an illusion of texture, and to get rid of the overly-smooth digital look.
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:iconmadeleineink:
MadeleineInk Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much!
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:icongdm1989:
GDM1989 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2014   Digital Artist
very useful
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:iconmakosu:
Makosu Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You saved my life!
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:iconmutsumipat:
Mutsumipat Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014   Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this advice !! I never thought about this option !! 0_0
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:iconalekto:
Alekto Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014
Och i Lobr You for that so much. When I looked at Your works I was wondering how the hell You managed to make Your panting look so paint-like.
Thank You a lot.
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:iconstargazerlily8d:
stargazerlily8D Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think sharpening strokes is a good idea, but it also depends on what technique you use as well. When it comes to the example you used, I love softer edges since it looks like a study/speed painting. When it looks like that to me I do not expect crisp clean lines :giggle: However, if it's an actual painting depending on how much time and effort I believe you can create sharp pictures without using sharpen, but it is still an awesome tool to use :happybounce: 
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:iconleia-cecile:
leia-cecile Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
..This actually just saved my life right now.
Much of love for you !
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:iconmysieblondie:
mysieblondie Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
This helped me a lot, thank you :)
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:iconcielarose:
CielaRose Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just discovered this!   
Never thought of sharpening.  I generally tend to leave things blurred because I thought it gave the illusion of life rather than brushstrokes (forgetting, I just realized, that "life" is very textured.  XD)

Definitely keeping this in mind!   Thanks for posting!
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:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It does require a careful balance. It's definitely good to have some soft and lost edges in the mix. They can go along way towards creating a sense of atmosphere (which really helps that life-like illusion). Mainly reserve the sharp edges for focal points and important details.  

:)
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:iconcielarose:
CielaRose Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Right, creating a contrast, like you had said earlier, I'm guessing.   Contrast should be my new best friend.   So it's essentially not something you do to the whole picture but just on the focal points.
Gotcha.

This is a huge help, I'm learning a lot by following you.  XD   Thanks!
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:iconhanroe:
hanroe Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
Cool, I didn't know about this. Thanks!
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:iconvisualjamie:
VisualJamie Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013   General Artist
Thank you for sharing this great advice. 
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:iconjonra22:
jonra22 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
you r a wise wizard, thank you.
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:iconmistersev7n:
MisterSev7n Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice tip! Thanks!
but could you tell me please which brush did you used here? )
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:iconpiupiu-littlebird:
PiuPiu-Littlebird Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
You're now officially my hero. Thank you so much for that tip. :heart:
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:icontohad:
Tohad Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Excellent advice, thank you very much !
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:iconedarneor:
Edarneor Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hm.. yes, you're right.. but I usually simply apply "unsharp mask" to whole painting...
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:iconicerose76:
IceRose76 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This helps a lot. 
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:iconyasermohavi:
yasermohavi Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
great advice never noticed it
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:iconarahiriel:
Arahiriel Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
Cool, I have never thought of that!
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:icontracywong:
TracyWong Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Very nice tutorial! Thank you! :hug:
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:iconryky:
ryky Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
but where i find so great brushes?  btw nice tut :3 
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:icontehangelscry:
TehAngelsCry Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
:wave: Hey there!
Your tutorial has been featured in my weekly blog: Tutorial Tuesday #24!
I'd love if you could come take a look and offer your support to your fellow tutorial writers :la:
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:icondimifrost:
dimifrost Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
guessing this is only for Photoshop users :(
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:iconbloodmoonequinox:
BloodMoonEquinox Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Student General Artist
This is a great tip! :D Thanks for sharing!
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:iconrilguia:
Rilguia Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for the tip! ^^
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:iconabc--xyz:
abc--xyz Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013
ahh what brush do you use??
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:icondr-aim:
Dr-Aim Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student General Artist
I didn't know that, but it's very interesting ! will make sure to try it out !
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:iconhelloheath:
helloheath Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
NOOOO! You have exposed the secret weapon! ;-)
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:iconagapetos:
agapetos Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Looks good, but one should still be careful to soften some edges unless the painting looks like it was pasted together from different parts. :) I think a perfect combination would be somewhere between the 1st and the 2nd — the painting should have soft and hard edges. Just my opinion (which has been influenced my Mr. James Gurney).  :)
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:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I agree. Having too many sharp edges can be worse than an image with too few.  I exaggerated the sharpening in the above image, just so the difference would be clear, but your totally right.
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:icon6-of-tentacles:
6-of-tentacles Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
There's good soft lines (lines intended to be soft, a la Mr. Gurney) and bad ones (lines that are just out of focus.) Even the high Impressionists didn't do out-of-focus, as you can see if you find a good big hi-rez image of a Matisse or are lucky enough to see a Van Gogh live. They may give the impression (!) of soft focus if you stand ten feet away, but if you zoom in close it's all nice clean sharp brush strokes right down to the subatomic level.

The best digital way to do the bad kind of soft line is to take the advice you see all over the place, namely "Start with a small image and do your deep background. Then progressively rez up until you're doing your final sharp details on your final full image size. Sure your background will go soft'n'fuzzy, but who's gonna notice deep background?" 6-of-tentacles will notice, and I bet I'm not the only one.

Sorry, \rant off (and thanks for the clever tut!)
--6oT
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:iconcrashcooper:
crashcooper Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks :)
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:iconunmerwe:
unmerwe Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Much appreciated!

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:iconkallou123:
kallou123 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I did not know this thank you.  ^^
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:iconxiaooyu:
Xiaooyu Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks! :D 
but how can you do this in paint tool sai?
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:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I've never used that program, though I would assume it has a similar function. Or it's brushes may be sharper by default.
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:iconxiaooyu:
Xiaooyu Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ah-thanks :) 
I might go look up a tutorial for this... a fringe at the side may also help I'd say. 

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:iconixyra:
Ixyra Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013   Digital Artist
THANK YOU this is so simple and so effective! I've been wondering how to fix the "mush" for so long!
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:iconondinel:
Ondinel Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Or I like to duplicate the image on a new layer and high pass it then overlay, erase the parts you don't want to be as sharp.
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:iconwildweasel339:
Wildweasel339 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Interesting, ill have to try that!
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:icondreadhaven:
DreadHaven Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
Thanks man, big help! :thumbsup:
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:icondasael:
Dasael Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
Awesome! This is great, thanks!
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:iconmrkindgirl:
MrKindGirl Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
this has just changed my life
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:iconwarmics:
Warmics Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
i was not aware of this solutions, thank you very, very much!
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:iconthe-vinsomer:
the-vinsomer Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
thank ... you ... :heart:
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:iconhaunter66:
Haunter66 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great Advice!!
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:iconchellesconcept:
ChellesConcept Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You ever take students Mr.weasel? :)
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:icondudutk:
dudutk Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
thx for sahring your knowledge, you have no idea how this kind of tip helps me to improve
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