Painting with Polygons: A Procedural Watercolor Engine

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG)

Publication date: May 1, 2013

Stephen DiVerdi, A. Krishnaswamy, Radomír Měch, Daichi Ito

Existing natural media painting simulations have produced high-quality results, but have required powerful compute hardware and have been limited to screen resolutions. Digital artists would like to be able to use watercolor-like painting tools, but at print resolutions and on lower end hardware such as laptops or even slates. We present a procedural algorithm for generating watercolor-like dynamic paint behaviors in a lightweight manner. Our goal is not to exactly duplicate watercolor painting, but to create a range of dynamic behaviors that allow users to achieve a similar style of process and result, while at the same time having a unique character of its own. Our stroke representation is vector based, allowing for rendering at arbitrary resolutions, and our procedural pigment advection algorithm is fast enough to support painting on slate devices. We demonstrate our technique in a commercially available slate application used by professional artists. Finally, we present a detailed analysis of the different vector-rendering technologies available.

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Research Area:  Adobe Research iconGraphics (2D & 3D)