Posted in Gaming

FlowScape: Painting a Digital Environment

FlowScape was a program that I picked up over the Steam winter sale at Syn’s suggestion. It’s not really a game, persay, but it has elements that make it feel game-like.

I’ve spent a little bit of time messing around with it so far – the idea was we could use it to make natural backgrounds for our webcomic art. So, I don’t have a full grasp on what all it can do and what the limitations might be. But from what I have experimented with, it should do what we need it to.

Flowscape isn’t just a digital art or 3D sculpting program. It’s pretty intuitive to use and it has very chill and relaxing background music that accompanies you while you play (some of the tracks were by Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule).

You can start with a random seed that plops down an environment and some animals and edit that if you want. Or, you can make a blank slate and do your own thing.

I rolled a few random seeds so you could see some of the variety in the starter environments you get.

Modifying the environment really is as easy as selecting plants, items or animals and “painting” them in with your mouse. It’s hard to explain, so I’m dropping a video here instead!

Steam reviews note that this is a great immersive program for worldbuilding and often used for creating atmospheres for tabletop gaming. And I can really see that. I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what this program can do, but as the video above shows, there’s quite a bit that can be done with it.

I’m not sure if they’ll ever open it up to something like the Steam Workshop, but having the community create assets for it would be absolutely incredible! While there’s not yet a Workshop built in, the Flowscape Discord has it covered:

I think I need to join this Discord. I’m sure there’s lots of inspiration to be had there!
(Note: And there is.)

Posted in Art, Geek Stuff

Krita: Digital Image and Painting Program (Free)

krita

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new digital art programs to try, though old Photoshop remains tried and true for me. Anytime I find a solid art program that’s an affordable alternative to Photoshop, I try it out and pass the word around.

Krita has been around for a good while, but I didn’t hear about it until this past weekend. There’s two versions of this program:

Krita Desktop which is “a professional FREE and open source painting program. It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.” You can pick it up at the official downloads page.

Krita Gemini which is “painting application which adjusts to your needs – with a powerful, feature-rich interface on your PC, and a streamlined touch-friendly sketching interface on your tablet or convertible. With a range of tools and features suitable for novice or professional artists.”

Interestingly, you can purchase this on Steam. Priced at $9.99, yes, this is very affordable art program.

There seems to be two upgrade packages:

We are offering two options for purchasing Krita Gemini – a cheap “2 releases” version, which provides around a year’s worth of feature updates, and a “lifetime upgrades” package which will receive all future releases.

So if you don’t mind dropping $10 a year on the program, you can get the newest upgrades. Or, if you try it out and fall in love, you can buy the lifetime upgrade for $119.99.

Personally? I’d try out the free desktop version first. I’m not quite sure how an art program tied to Steam will perform as I always turn off big ticket items like Steam when I’m painting my digital work. The less running in the background, the better for my art.

I found the Desktop version to be pretty easy to learn, but that’s also coming from someone who’s known the ins and outs of Photoshop for 15+ years. It looks and feels like I’d expect from a paint program – somewhat a cross between Photoshop, Illustrator and Painter. I haven’t sat down and actually tried to do any heavy art in the program with my tablet, but it has all the features of modern paint programs – layers, masks, brush stabilizers for inking, etc.

Even if all you’d like to have is a program that’s better than MS Paint to touch up images, crop, resize, edit and such, the free version is something to look into. If you’ve ever used Krita, let me know what you think about it!