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21 November 2008 @ 09:42 pm
pixel painting  

When I got my first computer, I was a sophomore in highschool.  My parents bought me a Compaq 486, and it ran Windows 3.1.  It was a nifty little machine that lasted me through thick and thin, through Windows 95 and through quite a bit of Tech.  But one of the first things I ever used it for was drawing.

See, I was a drawing geek from the time I was very small, always sketching something.  I'm still a danger to myself and others in art supply stores, but I'm sad to say that otherwise, my art career never really took off.  I retained enough skill that I can do a pretty decent Photoshop, and I'm a pretty mean Pictionary teammate... other than that, I'm a novice with the pencil.

Windows 3.1 used Windows Paintbrush, a program I still have saved somewhere because it's light, small, does what you tell it to, and has a few nifty little features I've just never found in any of the top-heavy graphics software you commonly find nowadays.  I used to spend hours drawing pictures on it.  I'd create sketches in black outline and color them in when I was finished, all very primitive.  And I spent hours upon hours going through my little works of art and smoothing them over, correcting small details.  In Paintbrush, there's only one zoom:  WAY in.  Down to the level where you see individual pixels.  I'd zoom in, smooth out my line of pixels, move to the side, smooth more, move down, smooth more, etc.  More than once I stayed up all night doing this kind of work.  I still have some of those drawings.

And frankly, all the time that I was doing this, I was genuinely convinced that it was a complete and total waste of time except for the personal satisfaction I derived from a drawing well done.

It's only now, after years of doing spot corrections for graphics in documentation, that I realize what an incredibly useful skillset I was building.

Tonight I'm mapping images of leaves to polygons in OpenGL.  The resemblance to pixel smoothing in Paintbrush is really quite uncanny.
 
 
Current Mood: artisticartistic
 
 
 
Harfafnorharfafnor on November 22nd, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
I remember Paintbrush. I like Paint for that reason. It can do some of the same things. I do the zoom thing on it to smooth out lines or make minor adjustments. :-)
Wiseacreewin on November 22nd, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, I still use it ALL the time. I open something big like PSPv8 for extra fancy work, get frustrated with it, do the thing I'm frustrated about in Paint, and go back to PSP... :)
subgirlsubgirl on November 22nd, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
“Down to the level where you see individual pixels. I'd zoom in, smooth out my line of pixels, move to the side, smooth more, move down, smooth more, etc.”

I totally did that, only in MSPaint, and honestly, as a graphic designer, it's one skill that I rarely use, and am PISSED if I have to, because it means I'm doing something WAY ANAL RETENTIVE but I still love to do it (just not HAVING to do it, because it usually means someone's done something wrong). Yeah. Fun times! Just curious, though, what are the features you like(d)?
Wiseacreewin on November 22nd, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
I loved grabbing a selection, holding down the shift key and moving it around! Even Paint won't do that. It was just a way nifty thing.

I also loved the jagged-edge selector, I used it to create some pretty cool effects that you can't do with a rounded one.
subgirlsubgirl on November 22nd, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
HUH. Interesting....

I miss the old programs, it's like, I did the best shit with programs that didn't do EVERYTHING. I mean, you can do vector images in photoshop, and they're always integrating everything into one program so you theoretically don't have to have a bunch, but it's getting to the TV on a toaster point, where it's not a good tv or a good toaster.

Yaknow? :)
Wiseacreewin on November 22nd, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
Yup, I sure do.