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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Digital Art frowned upon??

    Greetings fellow artists.

    I am one of them that really likes working in the digital mediums, though I do work traditionally as well. But I prefer painting digitally since I don't have much room to use paint or other more messy mediums.

    Now I have come across in my art school that teachers really frown upon this method. The reaction I usually get is: "huh, is it possible to paint in the computer?" or "this must be some kind of a trick and is cheating" or the more snobbish ones that just think this kind of art is below them.

    In most cases I think this is simply because they don't know what it is, and therefore won't accept it as one kind of art medium.

    But because of this, in my portfolio I'm making for the art department there, I will probably only have 1-2 digital works.

    But in the end, I was wondering if this is there same for you fellow artists. Does the older generation and teachers where you are also frown upon digital art or are they more casual about it?


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  3. #2
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    I've been drawing digitally for 10 years now, and my grandpa still asks me every time "Really? You paint on a computer?", despite being familiar with my digital work at least since 2004. (No, he's not senile)

    Unless they specifically say otherwise art schools are focused on traditional art, this is normal. In my own art school portfolio I did not include digital work. People were/are not familiar with it, but I don't mind - after all I'm going to art school to learn traditional painting.
    People are much more familiar with it now, though, than they were 10 years ago. That's my experience.

    Don't worry about it - there's a market for everything - just keep painting and improving!

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  5. #3
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    Well usually when you got to school for fine art, the faculty wants you to focus on using traditional mediums because that's what that particular market is all about. If you go to school for illustration, the faculty is usually more willing to let you work with digital media. If you really want to just focus on digital art, why not apply to a digital arts program?

    Instructors and professors usually have their minds made up about digital art and you're not going to be able to do much to change them. So if you feel like digital art is a huge part of what you want to do ask yourself; "Will I enjoy working with traditional media for schoolwork?" "What benefits are there for me to be in this art program that focuses on these other methods?" "Can I work on digital art on my own time?" "Is it better for me to choose another art program or school that is more accepting of what I like to do?"

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  7. #4
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    A lot of professors focus on traditional before digital and that makes a lot of sense. First of all, traditional art is a lot easier to critique in a classroom setting, and everyone learns from each piece that is critiqued. If you are printing out a copy, there are all sorts of issue centered around the print - is it too dark or too blue, etc. However, the fundamental reason is that digital programs are based to emulate traditional mediums (to a greater or lesser extent). Teaching you painting the old-fashioned way will help you establish a foundation for digital painting.

    Another fundamental reason is that your professors may know traditional a lot better than digital and be able to provide more meaningful critiques. A lot of times, they'll be able to see how you worked in a traditional medium in addition to the end product, whereas in digital that's a lot more difficult. They can see and understand your process when you work traditionally which gives them an opportunity to say when you went wrong other than just saying what the problems are in the end product.

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  9. #5
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    Back in college I also experienced some prejudice against this "mysterious" thing known as digital painting. I've also had a few curious looks in life drawing classes. However, I've generally found that a short demo can clear up any misconceptions.

    Usually if someone doesn't get it, I'll show them a playback of a painting I made a while back using the Colors homebrew for the Nintendo DS. From that they tend to realize that digital painting is just as much "real" painting as any other medium. I also generally mention the reasons I like working digitally: layers, undo, no waiting for paint to dry, backups, cloning, color adjustment, playbacks etc.

    For anyone here with a smartphone, it should be relatively simple to keep a couple video playbacks of your painting sessions on hand.
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  11. #6
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    I think that for the most part digital painting is unknown and misunderstood by those who are not digital artists themselves. There are still many people who associate the computer with some sort of magic that only requires pressing a few buttons and as we all know...pressing buttons is not real work and doesn't require any specialized knowledge. ;P

    Julie I disagree with your main point about instruction...while I do agree that a teacher who has little or no experience with digital will have a difficult time even understanding what you are doing on the screen or what tools are being used...someone who has experience will be able to easily understand what is going on and how to correct it. After all...whether you use the line tool or a ruler to draw the lines, bad perspective is still bad perspective. And while one may be able to draw a line better with pencil and paper...it won't improve your anatomy. Likewise neither will having the latest version of PS or a particular artist's collection of custom brushes. If set up properly...digital would actually improve the classroom environment, but most people would likely not be able to figure out how to implement it to do so. As Feng Zhu says repeatedly in his videos, the tools don't matter.

    But really, does it matter how you hold the charcoal or brush or what brand of paper or paint you use if you can manage to achieve good end results (not the same, but close enough as to not be worth noticing)???

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  13. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    I think that for the most part digital painting is unknown and misunderstood by those who are not digital artists themselves. There are still many people who associate the computer with some sort of magic that only requires pressing a few buttons and as we all know...pressing buttons is not real work and doesn't require any specialized knowledge.
    Go outside and paint somethig from life; that is what your ability as a painter is, with out a computer and undue and all the littlre shortcuts. Using a computer is easier and takes less skill. I should know I do both and have been using computers to draw with since the late 80's. I also paint from life traditionally. Its not respected because it hasn't earned the respect traditional painting has and ther is no physical original something digital will have a hard time overcoming to be taken seriously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    I think that for the most part digital painting is unknown and misunderstood by those who are not digital artists themselves. There are still many people who associate the computer with some sort of magic that only requires pressing a few buttons and as we all know...pressing buttons is not real work and doesn't require any specialized knowledge. ;P
    Kind of tired of this misconception...as if anyone who paints traditionally doesn't use electricity and is mystified by a computer. It's BS. The reality is that "digital painting" is actually a misnomer. You're not "painting" or even coming close...no closer than playing a synthesizer so it sounds like a violin is playing a violin.

    Are you creating an image? Yes. Are you making a painting? No. Taking a photo creates an image too...but it isn't painting. Get over the idea that because someone says digital isn't painting they are a simpleton or dinosaur.
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  17. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    The reality is that "digital painting" is actually a misnomer. You're not "painting" or even coming close...no closer than playing a synthesizer so it sounds like a violin is playing a violin.
    Seems like a strange comparison, given the major difference in workflows. I'd compare digital painting to playing an electric piano vs playing a "real" piano. Sure, the electric one may not have strings, but the method is mostly the same. Same input method: black and white keys, press harder to have louder notes, press longer to have notes last longer. Does the fact that you can make the digital one sound like other instruments and that it's more portable make it stop being a piano? Using it draws from almost the exact same skill-set as playing a grand.

    If we're talking about the kind of photo-manipulation stuff you have in your thread "Digital Alchemy", I'd agree that no, that isn't painting: that is much more akin to collage. However, if we're talking digital painting in the sense of what Bumskee does (eg. this thread), I would strongly disagree. (beautiful stuff in your Plein Air thread, btw)

    With digital painting you still:
    - Pick colors from an existing set or "mix" your own.
    - Often start from a sketch, underpainting, or silhouette
    - Put colors on a canvas in broad strokes, gradually refining things until they look right
    - Can mix colors on the canvas to blend things together
    - Can build up colors through thin glazes
    - Can remove bad strokes of paint as you might do with paint thinner.
    - Have to build up areas of light and shadow, and understand form and perspective
    - Have to understand how different kinds of surfaces react to light
    - Have to understand composition, color theory, and anatomy
    - Can use different kinds of brushes to produce different looking strokes

    When acrylic paints were first developed, many oil painters claimed it wasn't "real" painting. I'm sure that the egg tempera painters claimed the same thing when oil paints came out. I see it as the same thing with this, and I'm sure I'll complain as well when psychic photo-paper comes out.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint
    Go outside and paint somethig from life; that is what your ability as a painter is, with out a computer and undue and all the littlre shortcuts. Using a computer is easier and takes less skill.
    Ever try to do plein air painting with a laptop on a sunny day? Glare like crazy. Now that's hard! (okay, it's not so bad. nice stuff if your plein air thread too, btw)
    Last edited by SmallPoly; March 22nd, 2012 at 07:57 PM.
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  19. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmallPoly View Post
    Ever try to do plein air painting with a laptop on a sunny day? Glare like crazy. Now that's hard!
    Yes I have, and no its not hard. There is no order to the thinking invoilved and no need for knowledge of perspective and no need to commit to an idea. Its amateur all the way. Also a collapsable windshield screen is all you need to prevent glare.

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  21. #11
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    Hey SmallPoly - thanks for the considered reply. Well traveled territory and I respect your right to your opinion on the matter. In the end though you still don't have anything physical...haven't made any actual brushstrokes with a brush, created any real impasto, glaze or scumbling...etc. The process is radically different and takes place at a different scale with a different feel and with different tools. Which is why I used the synthesizer/violin analogy.

    Anyway, my real point is that they are different mediums/tools and create different things and images. There are reasons that traditional painters, teachers and galleries do not accept digital work with open arms. People need to understand these diffferences and get past this idea that "they just don't understand what I'm doing" kind of attitude. Digital media is quite well accepted when it is used creatively and sort of "in tune" with itself...Android Jones being the best example.

    [None of these observations apply to the commercial or production use of digital media btw]

    And thanks for the plein air comment - yeah, my digital stuff is really more collage/montage oriented than painting oriented.
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  23. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Yes I have, and no its not hard. There is no order to the thinking invoilved and no need for knowledge of perspective and no need to commit to an idea. Its amateur all the way. Also a collapsable windshield screen is all you need to prevent glare.
    I was kidding about the glare. ;-)

    Why wouldn't you need knowledge of perspective when painting digitally? Unless you don't care how it looks or you're just taking a picture and using a filter to make it look painterly, I can't see how doing it on a screen would make a difference.

    Doing things without order or commitment sounds more like a discipline problem to me than an inherent problem of painting on a computer. If you're saying you can get a good result without discipline, that sounds more like a feature than a bug.
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  25. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmallPoly View Post
    Seems like a strange comparison, given the major difference in workflows. I'd compare digital painting to playing an electric piano vs playing a "real" piano. Sure, the electric one may not have strings, but the method is mostly the same. Same input method: black and white keys, press harder to have louder notes, press longer to have notes last longer. Does the fact that you can make the digital one sound like other instruments and that it's more portable make it stop being a piano? Using it draws from almost the exact same skill-set as playing a grand.
    I'd largely go along with that regarding skill.
    But the electric piano is still a synth.
    And any instrument is a sort of synth of the human voice.

    Thus painting on a computer is like painting with your hands stuck inside a goldfish bowl. You are performing an activity that apes the equivalent activity in reality. Painting on a computer is painting by proxy.

    Doing anything on a computer is doing by proxy.
    Including this...
    From Gegarin's point of view
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  27. #14
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    Hi JeffX99 -

    I think that hits upon the key difference here - if I'm understanding correctly, some of us define painting primarily by the actions and skill-set used, and some of us define it as inherently involving paint (or paint-like substances) which are then manipulated with that skill-set.
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  29. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmallPoly View Post
    Hi JeffX99 -

    I think that hits upon the key difference here - if I'm understanding correctly, some of us define painting primarily by the actions and skill-set used, and some of us define it as inherently involving paint (or paint-like substances) which are then manipulated with that skill-set.
    Yes, in part. But those are major differences. And you're ignoring the lack of a physical artifact, scale or tangible surface effects. Painting does in fact inherently involve paint, its application on a support/ground/surface and the interaction of light upon the surface. Simulating painting does not.

    Anyway, the problem does not lie with "those old folks who don't get it", it lies with people that want digital to be something it isn't.
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