We thank CGLive and Wacom Hong Kong for their support!
We have invited Sensei Shuen to demo ink painting at the Hong Kong Illustration and Creative Show on 26 June 2023. Listen to Sensei Shuen (in Cantonese, with English subtitle) as she paints, with tips in using Expresii and WACOM hardware:
Thanks for visiting! Hopefully more people are aware of our invention and effort in digital painting development.
The spec of Windows machine used for the demo:
Basically, you need a good GPU (graphics card) to run Expresii smoothly. e.g. an nvidia 1060 with 6GB vRAM is good for running Expresii smoothly on a 4K monitor. If you're only using a full-HD monitor, you can go by with modern integrated GPU like Intel Iris Xe. For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (i7) or 8 (i5) can already run Expresii smoothly on their own 2.5k monitor.
We thank CGLive and Wacom Hong Kong for their support!
I was told that recently Japanese calligraphy, or just Japanese culture in general, is much appreciated in Germany and Wacom has been showing Expresii for calligraphy in their German Experience Center in the past few months in events like "Night of Museums", or "Japan Day":
Wacom official artist Miki Amano is also showing the public the use of Expresii with Wacom tablets for digital calligraphy, with sample works including their official tagline written in Chinese.
What's the deal with Eastern Calligraphy?
In China, calligraphy has been the basic training for painting - it lets the artist acquire the dexterity for controlling the brush. Also, calligraphy is inherently an abstract art form. Arguably, cursive calligraphy is considered the highest form of art in China. No wonder why Pablo Picasso said "Had I Been Born Chinese, I Would Have Been A Calligrapher, Not A Painter."
筆有千秋業 - the way of the brush is passed down from generation to generation. And it still develops.
Hong Kong-based artist Shuen Leung tries out Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Book 2:
Shuen does artwork in both traditional and digital media. She specially likes Expresii for its ability to undo. "Expresii 是可以undo 的 水墨!" (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
We are half way through October now and have you started your Inktober yet? This year, Angela Wong a.k.a. GingerCatSneeze on Tumblr. has been using Expresii to do her Inktober (re-posted with permission):
If you're on Tumblr, don't miss the chance to win a license for Expresii and her Inktober Zine! Head over to GingerCatSneeze's Tumblr :
The giveaway closes on 1 Nov 2017 at 23:59 (UTC). All you need to do is the reblog or like that Tumblr post to enter!
I was recently asked why one would want to paint digitally. The two most common reasons are:
And what are the cons of digital painting? Long time ago, I discussed with Wucius Wong on this. Wong suggested two main concerns:
As a software developer, there's still things we can do. We'll discuss digital painting tech innovation in our next blog entry.
Ease of change - good or bad thing? 容易修改熟好熟壞？
Wucius Wong is one of the few senior (Chinese) ink painters who does make use of computer technology. He exclaimed to Nelson - it is too easy to make changes in your digital art!
王無邪 (Wucius Wong) 是少數很關心我們Expresii 開發的傳統畫家，他自己也很早就有用電腦輔助作畫。他說我們用Expresii作畫，太容易修改了！
It's true that in traditional ink painting, it's much harder to make afterthought changes and thus masterpieces don't come by easily. But when it is easy to make changes, one might be trapped to spend too much time keep making changes.
傳統繪畫難修改，所以精品難求。但就純粹作畫者來說，容易修改應該是一個優點。但這‘優點’有時就帶來更多‘麻煩’ -- 就是改來改去，一幅畫拖太長。
有趣的是Wucius 也講過^ Interestingly Wucius once said^:
When the painting is still there, there's always a temptation to adding a line or a dot to it. I think all artists would do the same thing naturally.
If you're a digital painter, do you find yourself keeping changing little details in your art pieces? For me, for instance, I kept changing details on the hairs in from of the ear, trying to find a look that better represent this old lady:
有人說一幅畫磨太久，不如把時間花在下一幅。Some say you should spend time on your next piece rather than lingering on your current one. Anyway, here's the Old Lady 'final' version：
Check out a video showing the process of creation:
^ In video 'Mountain in the Mind', Minneapolis Institute of Art, 1986.
In Ghibli's animation, fur and hair are depicted with the usual 'outline-and-fill' (單線平塗) method. In Expresii, we of course would like to use brush painting's language to depict the objects where appropriate. We use 'scratchiness' (飛白) to depict the hairy nature of Yakkul's fur. We use organic flow patterns to fill that area. Scratchiness is also useful for rendering the straw cape.
Visual Language 表現手法
What holds for the Future?
It's good to hear news about the new painting app Mischief, which is praised for its infinite canvas and infinite zoom. Expresii doesn't have infinite zoom, but is capable of exporting to a very large bitmap (16k pixels max in dimension, depending on available memory). This addresses the low-res issue commonly found in today's "nature media" painting apps. In fact, when we show zoomed-in views of our Expresii artwork to users of existing digital graphics tools, they often asked "wow, is it vector graphics?". Below are more closeups for you to check out. If you would like to see a large output (8k x 10k) in one piece, you can download it from here.
We value true innovations in digital painting technology. As long as there's something left to be desired, we will work our butts off to bridge the gap! Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know what you think!
And, finally, watch in these videos how such an animation was produced with attention to great details at Studio Ghibli :
We love Junggi Kim's work so much that once we saw an interesting drawing of his labelled 'Brush pen on paper' in it from his Facebook page, we thought, can we redraw this with our virtual brush and get a nice "brush pen" quality digitally? The result is shown in the following video:
Expresii Lite's Overlay function allows you to load an image and trace over it. Watch the above video and see how organic the brush strokes are. It's really a dream come true for digital artists!
The following is the final digital image we made. However, it's scaled down so, again, watch the above video in full HD to appreciate the organic quality please!!!