Thursday, 8 May 2014

Taking a look at Verve Painter

Verve Painter is something I feel I've been looking for quite a while, its like a perfect blend of digital painting and oil painting without having to dig too much into settings and menus to find what you want. Verve is simple and easy to navigate, not to mention free too.

I feel I could explain what verve is but it would be easier to let you watch a video about the man who created it called Taron.

Hopefully that video has caught your attention to what is so unique about Verve painter. The fact that it has liquid mechanics and uses Open GL to power the software is something I haven't seen in any other painter. Sure there is Art rage and that's good at oil painting but I found it to be very cluttered and I had to dig a lot to change settings.

If you want to download the software you can for free at Taron's forum, here.

I also recommend reading through the manual too for useful hotkeys, here.

So whats my thoughts on Verve painter?

I first got hold of it thinking it be just like any other painting program but boy was I wrong. I found I had to step back and treat it more like oil paint and understand how colours mix together again. What I mean by that is that a feature called 'Smudge Chroma' reads what the basic colour of the paint you are using, so if you use a dark yellow and blend a light blue with it for example shades of green will start to show.
At first I found this annoying but that's because I wasn't using the painter properly. I can see when this would come in usefulness though with things like water.

I figured for starting off I shouldn't really dive into painting portraits with this program til I have a better understanding of it. Landscapes seem to be a safe start to get the basics down and play around a little.  First off I went with a speed painting to see what kind of effects I could do with it. I really like that the brush strokes can really give a sense of movement and what I notice while painting this was I was having fun and enjoying it! Something that photoshop seems to suck out for me when painting due to fiddling with settings. I think that because its stripped down it put me in a zone where I could be more creative. Kind of like when you give a person a digital SLR camera, it can do so many things its almost daunting and you spend too much time going through settings than letting your creative juices flow. So with that in mind I decided to embrace Verve for what it is and start with that mind set.
I had so much fun doing this and not worrying too much but just going with it and seeing what becomes of it.
Admittedly parts of this painting do look off like the foreground and the trees on the right. I did how ever enjoy how I could create motion in the water due to the bump and gloss that verve painter use. You can adjust these to be flat if you want like normal painter software but I just wanted to go with it for this. 
I also recorded stages so you could see my process of working background to foreground rather than painting it in shapes first to get the composition right. It some what seems like a flawed idea and goes against how I learnt but I was some what inspired by how Bob Ross paints with oils.

So with what I learnt from the past two paintings I decided to go at it again and some what go in between  and find my own comfort zone on how to use the painter. I'm really happy with how this turned out. 

Overall Thoughts
Verve painter is really fun to use and is really growing on me and is quite a unique experience. I like that its free and Taron is updating it often with new features. Its well worth trying especially if you are new to using painting software. The fact that its less cluttered and limits you with a brush set forces you to be more creative rather than digging through certain menu's to get what you want. 

I really want to see this painter do well and seems like a step up to what future painter software might be like. 


  1. Hi, can you please please show me how to create a background color and how to smudge in verve painter? There seem to be virtually no manual on how to use this cool app, just videos on what it can do. Thanks :)

  2. and if you can add how to do other basic applications in verve, that would be great too. thanks!