Ctrl + Paint is leading website for digital painting and Photoshop tutorials.
Welcome Matt. Kindly share your educational and professional credentials.
Thank you for inviting me to The Virtual Assist!
I’m a concept artist in the American video game industry, and I specialize in man-made objects: everything from vehicles and props to architectural environments. I’ve worked on many shipped games, both realistic and stylized. Additionally, I’m the creator of Ctrl+Paint: a free digital painting resource and Photoshop tutorials for beginners.
How you got interested into Art, specifically Digital Art?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Originally I wanted to be an Animator (either Pixar or Disney), fell in love with conceptual illustration after seeing a book of Ralph McQuarrie’s Start Wars illustrations. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to design fantasy & sci-fi worlds.
As an avid video gamer and computer user, it was only natural that I pursued Photoshop instead of traditional painting techniques.
‘Ctrl+Paint’ is quite a distinctive name. How you came up with it?
I can’t take the credit for the name – my wife is responsible for the creative title.
It began with a list of individual words that related to my website idea such as ‘learn’, ‘digital’, ‘digital paint’, etc. Then we spent many days trying to combine these words in interesting ways. My wife is very clever with word-play, and she combined ‘paint’ with ‘Ctrl’ in order to mimic the format of a keyboard shortcut. Luckily, the name has worked well for the website!
Your production quality and quantity both are amazing. How do you manage continuous video production for ‘Ctrl+Paint’?
I spend a lot of time learning online, so I’ve experienced tutorials from a wide range of quality. Bad, confusing, and boring tutorial videos are extremely tiresome. So for my own website, I’ve decided that quality is much more important than quantity.
I prefer to make short videos of Photoshop tutorials, which helps keep production time to a reasonable level. Also, revenue from my premium videos in the Ctrl+Paint Store have allowed me to dedicate significant time to the website.
Why only Adobe Photoshop as the software application?
Since I believe strongly in high quality videos, I am only willing to teach the software I’m most fluent with. Photoshop has been my primary painting tool for roughly 15 years, so it’s the obvious choice for my training materials.
I’d love to know more about open-source software, but sadly I don’t have any experience with Krita or Gimp. Luckily, readers tell me that translating my videos for use in Krita is quite straight-forward since they share many tools.
Let us know in detail about various products of ‘Ctrl+Paint Store’.
The Ctrl + Paint Store is fun for me, because it’s where I’m able to teach in-depth concepts in advanced Photoshop tutorials. Since I’m primarily teaching online self-learners, I think that the most essential subjects are ‘foundation studies’. These skills lay a solid platform on which all of the more advanced topics rest.
My favorites are three bundles, which are core of my online studies.
- Digital Painting Starter Kit: It explains light and shadow
- Digital Sketching Starter Kit: It explores digital linework and gesture drawing
- Color Starter Kit: It teaches you to accurately observe and paint in color
How had been reviews of artists who learned from your content?
I’ve been humbled and honored to hear of my students’ successes. I often receive personal email from students upon achieving their first art job or commission. Additionally, I’ve been amazed at the number of international students who enjoy Ctrl+Paint!
It was designed with an American audience in mind, roughly a third of my students live elsewhere. It’s so wonderful to hear from these learners.
Which resource do you use for constant improvements / new ideas?
Recently I’ve been watching college and professional lectures on YouTube. If I want to learn more about a subject like Interior design, Architecture, or Typography, YouTube is a great place to go.
The secret, I’ve found, is to look beyond ‘tutorials’ – and to search for lectures delivered on college campuses. Professional artists are often invited to give one or two hour lectures on their area of expertise, and these videos are later uploaded to YouTube by the university. I’ve learned about many subjects through this method.
Are you associated with any online /offline communities to promote Art?
Sadly, I don’t do a very good job promoting myself and my work online. As such, I don’t have active social media accounts – and I’m not a member of active art groups. My personal art can be found on ArtStation.
What are your near future implementations for ‘Ctrl+Paint’?
I’m currently working on a new premium series about design and composition – and I’m very excited about it. The subject is extremely important, so I want to make sure the quality is high before I announce any details publicly.
Check out image gallery of Ctrl + Paint.