January 31, 2018

Affinity portrait test

After Corel PhotoPaint suddenly ceased to export png and GIMP was somewhat troublesome to use, due to the rather diverging UI, I gave Affinity Photo a try in creating portraits. Results so far is quite good, although I had a mess up with layers, that I haven't yet figured out. Usually I create a set of layers during the process, that I may explain once I've become more familiar with the program. GIMP and Affinity both produced good quality files, but I find the Affinity UI much easier to use. GIMP is a free open source program and Affinity a surprisingly low cost photo editor. I will never use Corel PhotoPaint and Photoshop again. Affinity and GIMP are more than adequate replacements that don't force artists to apply for a mortgage to purchase photo editing software.

What I do miss is the possibility to use shortcuts for brush size, transparency, and layer switching / activation. I've peeked on forums, but the suggestions offered there weren't very helpful for these functions. Having shortcuts for these would greatly speed up the painting process. Below you see the first 9 stages of the portrait. Subject is Steven Brown, leader of a recently established local political party in Amsterdam. The party - Stem van de Straat (Voice from the Street) - states things like they are and announced to do something about misery ignored or even created by other parties. This didn't make them popular with corrupt mainstream (both media and other political parties), which caused them to be boycotted everywhere.

With color overlay - I used the 'color'-filter at 91%

Finished (I think). Stage 15
Feb 02 2018 12:42 CET
Click image for larger version

Portait stages 1 - 12
Steven Brown, party leader
of Stem van de Straat,
political party Amsterdam

Please click the image to see a larger version of the png-file. These are created on Jan 31 2018. I will post updates to the portrait soon. Stay tuned.

Update Feb 01 2018
It appears to be possible after all to change brush size on-the-fly in Affinity Photo. Press Control-Alt simultaneously and press both right and left mouse buttons. Moving the mouse from left to right changes the brush size and moving it in the vertical directions changes the (edge) hardness of the brush. Quite useful.

In the brushes panel there are a ton of brushes available. Default it is set to basic, which is good for basic drawing, but there are also a number of Textured brushes and DAUB Dry media which are particularly useful when drawing portraits. Click on the top right hand corner to define the properties - including dynamics - of the brushes to easily and swiftly create textures. Leaving this dialogue open while painting speeds up the process (especially when you work with dual screens.

For making subtle changes to the portrait the Liquid Persona in the top icon bar is very handy. It allows to apply the millimetre accuracy alterations which are imperative in creating portraits to preserve the likeness of the subject.