Digital painting is an emerging art form in which traditional painting techniques such as watercolor, oils, impasto, etc. are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, a digitizing tablet and stylus, and software. Traditional painting is painting with a physical medium as opposed to a more modern style like digital. Digital painting differs from other forms of digital art, particularly computer-generated art, in that it does not involve the computer rendering from a model. The artist uses painting techniques to create the digital painting directly on the computer. All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects. Included in many programs are brushes that are digitally styled to represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. There are also certain effects unique to each type of digital paint which portray the realistic effects of say watercolor on a digital 'watercolor' painting. In most digital painting programs, the users can create their own brush style using a combination of texture and shape. This ability is very important in bridging the gap between traditional and digital painting.
Digital painting thrives mostly in production art. It is most widely used in conceptual design for film, television and video games. Digital painting software such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, ArtRage, GIMP, Krita and openCanvas give artists a similar environment to a physical painter: a canvas, painting tools, mixing palettes, and a multitude of color options.
There are various types of digital painting, including impressionism, realism, and watercolor. There are both benefits and drawbacks of digital painting. While digital painting allows the artist the ease of working in an organized, mess-free environment, some argue there will always be more control for an artist holding a physical brush in their hand. Some artists believe there is something missing from digital painting, such as the character that is unique to every physically made object. Many artists post blogs and comment on the various differences between digitally created work and traditionally created artwork.