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11 Healthy Habits of a Paint.NET Artist - A New Habit!

Mike Ryan

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11 Healthy Habits of a Paint.NET Artist


I remember when I first started using Paint.NET my work was sloppy, unorganized, crude, and not well built. Over time I began to learn how to accomplish things in a healthier manner resulting in better work. I was organized and I was prepared to make changes when needed. This trial and error has taken me a year to understand and I still have at least another year to master these key elements in image editing. So, I want to help you make these leaps and bounds in less then a year through a tutorial. So venture with me through what I believe are the 10 Healthy Image Editing Habits.


Number 11: Don't let Procrastination Fool You

As Submitted by Tendercrisp

When working on a creation that is taking a while, don't let this type of procrastination fool you! Taking time to create a project allows more room for further development in smaller areas of the creation then it would if the image was rushed. As well, procrastination can also allow for new ideas to form and thus a greater expansion upon the creation. So remember: don't let procrastination fool you!


Number 10: Project Folders

One of the key habits to learn through out life is organization. Staying organized allows for quick access to the small things. This key life habit should also be applied in Paint.NET and basic image editing. One good way to do this is to create what I like to call Project Folders. Project Folders are an easy way of keeping any stock, .PDNs, and WIPS organized in one place that differentiates itself from other projects. To create a Project Folder simply create a folder in your preferred directory by the name of the overall image you are creating. For instance if you were making an image of a flower, a good name for your Project Folder would be 'Flower'. Within this folder, create a folder for Stocks, a folder for PDNs, Plugin Files (i.e. ScriptLab and Shape3D) and a folder for WIP (Work in Progress). Use these separate folders religiously!


Number 9: Layer Descriptions

"Paint.NET allows for the naming of your layers. To name a layer, simply double click the layer itself or click Layer Properties." While naming layers are generally a good thing, it is a good idea to always describe your layers after the layer name. This description can be anything, such as the steps it took to create that layer, what the layer contains, or what the layer's purpose is. For instance, if I created a simple blue ball using Shape 3D I would name my layer 'Ball - Fill blue, use Shape3D file 'BlueBall.xml'' This way I know what it contains and how I created it as well as the name of any relevant files.


Number 8: Take Notes

Always take notes! Whether it be the particular settings you used in a particular effect or the coordinates you started on with a particular tool it is always important to take notes. Taking notes is helpful for a lot of things such as remembering new techniques you have learned, writing tutorials, or self reference for a latter time in the project creation. It may sound difficult at first, but if you continue to do this you will see a great improvement in project creation.


Number 7: Always Work Through Tutorials

One the best ways to learn new things is to follow another Paint.NET Artist's methods of doing work. While it may not be anything YOU want to create, 9 times out of 10 that tutorial contains methods of doing a particular thing in Paint.NET you dont use. After you use these new methods, it is always helpful to practice applying them in future projects. As the saying goes: "There is more than one way to skin a cat"


Number 6: Ask for Advice

One of the best things about this forum is that there are other members who love to help you achieve your goals in a particular image. A recent change to the forums brought about The Pictorium. Inside there is a place by the name of the Image Hospital. The Image Hospital is a great way to flatten a WIP and ask for suggestions as to what you need to do next or what should be changed about the current state of things. And never ignore the advice given back! Always work through the advice and determine if you like the new end result better than the previous end result.


Number 5: Save Like there is No Tomorrow

Always save your work! One of the worst circumstances to be in is working on an image for hours only for the power to go out and you lose all of your work! I will always recommend a layered image format, especially .PDN! By learning to save religiously now there is always the chance you will be ridding yourself of ache later.


Number 4: Guidelines

A key element in image editing will always be positioning and alignment no matter what you are working on. A good habit to get into is using guidelines. Whether it be writing down coordinates within your notes or using the line tool on a separate layer guidelines are a must. I simply could not imagine trying to work with an image without using guidelines!


Number 3: Layers

Layers are a godsend! Using layers you can keep images clean, separated, and make room for future adjustment. To be honest, I do not even know where to begin when it comes to telling you how important it is to use layers! Just remember that when saving your project you save in a format that supports layers, such as Paint.NET's native image format .PDN.


Number 2: Use the Right Tool for the Job

Simply because you can make a multi color gradient using multiple layers, Curves, and Overlay doesn't mean you always should. There is more than one way to skin a cat and more than likely one of those 'ways' will save you a lot of time in creating your image. That isn't to say, however, that you SHOULD not attempt at a different method. Building a knowledge base of methods for reaching a single effect can never be a bad thing. One way may be more changeable while another way will get it done quicker. In the end it is all a matter of opinion.


Number 1: Enjoy What You Do!

Never put yourself through misery when working with Paint.NET. Use art as a medium of relaxation and peace, never a place to make yourself cry. Doing this will only ruin the fun that comes from image editing! Never let bad work bring you down and never let the person beside you's work make you feel inferior in any way. Learning to use Paint.NET comes with time and eventually you will come across your own technique and style!

Edited by toe_head2001
Fix formatting and spelling
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Uhh... *Looks Around* feal free to move if you believe so. I didnt think it would get enough attention I think it deserves if it was part of another thread, but that is personal opinion.

Edit: And would you consider this a 'tip' or a 'trick'? :D


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I think it works better as a tut than a post in Tips and Tricks. Maybe Mike could keep adding to it as time goes on... *hint hint!* :-)


The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Mike, thanks a lot!

Really some good advice for a newbie as I am!

1. Sure having fun!

2. First need to find out what's even possible...

3. Check!

4. Guidelines... eehh... :?:

5. :roll:

6. I will!!

7. I do! It's fun and I learn a lot about PDN that way!

8 + 9 + 10. Should be working on them...

Just found out that I really need to go for a healthier paint.net life :D


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