In fact, handmade is quite a key word for the coming year, even in digital illustration – the roughed-up textures that emulate slightly battered real-world artworks are set to be everywhere. Distressed finishes are already popular, but we predict a further shift away from digital gloss to tactile finishes.

Photoshop CS5 is on its way, and as we reported in our last issue, one of its key features is likely to be a paint palette that allows the user to pick from realistic-looking brushes, and blend colours as you would in the real world. This lets you smudge, blend, and layer on textures as though you’re working on real-life canvas.


Bram Vanhaerenan’s image echoes Neil Duerden’s prediction that a more illustrative approach to photography is a trend.

It’s a feature that’s already in Corel Painter, but prepare to see an explosion in imitation painting when Photoshop CS5 arrives. Sadly we can’t promise that all of it will be good.

That’s not to say that all Photoshop art will start imitating analogue art: more openly digital mixed-media content will also flourish in 2010.

Digital illustrators are still getting to grips with Photoshop CS4’s 3D capabilities, and we predict that this will be the year we see some jaw-dropping examples of the form.

Of course, artists have long been experimenting with working 3D elements into their artworks, but things are becoming by turns simpler and more advanced.

Software such as Daz Studio or Strata CX – or Photoshop’s own built-in 3D toolset – make 3D accessible to digital artists without having to learn the different toolsets high-end 3D suites such as Maya.