5 Ways To Ruin Your Digital Artwork

Learn about 5 common ways to completely destroy your digital art and discover some solutions to prevent yourself from ruining your work.

Here are some quick tips from my YouTube video. Watch the full tutorial for more details.

#1 – Over-applying Effects

  • Heavy use of effects or filters makes the image appear over-processed and too digital.
  • Image looks tacky.
  • Color/Luminance info is lost when over-correcting.
  • Original “feel” is lost.
  • Add effects to separate layers or use Live Effects.
  • Reduce the opacity of the effect to make it more subtle.
  • Don’t over-process – Use the Histogram to look for lost information in highlights, midtones, shadows and saturation.

#2 – Overwriting Your Original

  •     Original, hi-res, or layered file is accidentally overwritten by a smaller or alternate version.
  •     Files or folders are accidentally deleted.
  •     Drives are reformatted by mistake.
  •     Always remember to keep your original intact by saving duplicates when you need a smaller size or alternate format.
  •     Be careful not to overwrite your files, folders or drives.
  •     Save files to a secondary drive other than your main OS drive.
  •     Backup your important files regularly on more than one device.
  •     Keep your files labeled with descriptive, unique names and keep them organized in folders so you know where to find them.

#3 – Merging Layers with Unexpected Results

  •     Merged layers adopt a blend mode that makes the pixels blend in an undesired way with the underlying layers.
  •     Previously invisible pixels become opaque.
  • Merge layers one at a time, often starting from the bottom and working up. Merging blend mode layers with a “base” default layer works best.
  • Merging layers of the same blend mode is OK, but merging layers of two or more different modes will default to a single mode and the layer will look different.
  • Wait to merge problematic layers until the end of the painting and do a merge all layers.

#4 – File or Layer Gets Corrupted While Saving

  • Application or computer crashes during save and the file is no longer able to be opened.
  • Part or all of the file is distorted or is filled with aberrations like blocks or solid color rectangles.
  • Layer or layers are distorted or have bands of transparent pixels.
  • Always save iterations, save often and use any available backup features (Painter’s auto-backup and Photoshop’s auto-save).
  • Save before adding complex masks.
  • Save before doing any processor intensive tasks or applying filters.

#5 – Converting to a Different Color Mode

  • Color information is augmented, reduced or discarded when converting to a different color mode.
  • Avoid converting from a wide-gamut profile like Adobe RGB to sRGB because it will drastically reduce the color detail in your image.
  • Avoid converting to grayscale mode because it will discard color information.
  • Avoid converting to CMYK because it may augment some colors. If using CMYK color is necessary, start the piece in CMYK mode.
  • Always save a copy of your work before converting profiles.