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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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    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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  4. #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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  6. #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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  8. #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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  10. #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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  12. #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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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    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.

    I don't understand how exactly using a computer to 'paint' takes less skill than traditional paints. The core of painting derives from knowledge, everything else is muscle memory and knowledge of medium.

    Digital art is faster than most traditional art, but that in no way makes it require less skill. It's just potentially speedier, especially for a finished work. I'm curious what you mean by digital taking less skill, I would love a specific example.

    Now as for value, yes I can see your point. Traditional paintings will always (I think) have more monetary value and cultural value than digital will, because of the painting actually existing in physical form.

    BLAHBLAHBLAH

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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    I don't understand how exactly using a computer to 'paint' takes less skill than traditional paints. The core of painting derives from knowledge, everything else is muscle memory and knowledge of medium.

    Digital art is faster than most traditional art, but that in no way makes it require less skill. It's just potentially speedier, especially for a finished work. I'm curious what you mean by digital taking less skill, I would love a specific example.

    Now as for value, yes I can see your point. Traditional paintings will always (I think) have more monetary value and cultural value than digital will, because of the painting actually existing in physical form.
    This is NOT a knock against digital, but I do truly believe it's easier to make pretty pictures with digital than traditional. You have so many elements going on with traditional- the brushes, the surface, the physical pigments, hell even weather can play a part. All of these things have unique properties that aren't simply static- they can vary session by session. So I do believe traditional painting has a higher learning curve. But again that's in no way saying it's better or worse than digital...just different...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    I don't understand how exactly using a computer to 'paint' takes less skill than traditional paints. The core of painting derives from knowledge, everything else is muscle memory and knowledge of medium.
    So if it wasn't Bill and Jeff you are talking about J, that leaves me... I look good in black anyway. Maybe I'll grow a Snidley Whiplash mustache to go with it.

    As for DH, While digital work can be just as skilled as traditional work artists hobble themselves starting digital before tackling basics in a traditional manner. As proof, how many of you digital only with no traditional practice work professionally as artists? So all the successful traditiionally trained people who work as artists using digital don't know whats going on but all the amateurs do? Yeah right.

    Let me suggest that digital only artists lack of skill stems from the use of digital as an attemppt to shortcut what is the daunting task of learning to paint and draw representationally and all of the things that go with it. those shortcuts in discipline have come home to roost denying the artist the thing they seek.

    As for the less skill argument. Less planning of an idea before starting necessary (undo, save multiple version of the same image, layers that can be reordered ) less knowledge, of perspective (just bring up your pespective grid), of color mixing (sampling colors is how most people paint digitally) of anatomy (just paint on top of your poser or daz model or photo ref without redrawing it).

    Obviously there are artists that have skill as digital artists, but I'll bet most learned the critical process of how to draw and paint traditionally and learned the important steps of organised thinking that goes with that training before moving to digital.


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  19. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    So if it wasn't Bill and Jeff you are talking about J, that leaves me... I look good in black anyway. Maybe I'll grow a Snidley Whiplash mustache to go with it.

    As for DH, While digital work can be just as skilled as traditional work artists hobble themselves starting digital before tackling basics in a traditional manner. As proof, how many of you digital only with no traditional practice work professionally as artists? So all the successful traditiionally trained people who work as artists using digital don't know whats going on but all the amateurs do? Yeah right.

    Let me suggest that digital only artists lack of skill stems from the use of digital as an attemppt to shortcut what is the daunting task of learning to paint and draw representationally and all of the things that go with it. those shortcuts in discipline have come home to roost denying the artist the thing they seek.

    As for the less skill argument. Less planning of an idea before starting necessary (undo, save multiple version of the same image, layers that can be reordered ) less knowledge, of perspective (just bring up your pespective grid), of color mixing (sampling colors is how most people paint digitally) of anatomy (just paint on top of your poser or daz model or photo ref without redrawing it).

    Obviously there are artists that have skill as digital artists, but I'll bet most learned the critical process of how to draw and paint traditionally and learned the important steps of organised thinking that goes with that training before moving to digital.
    Oh sure, I agree with 80% of what you said there (especially on your traditional training first, nothing better than learning from life with traditional materials -- I don't think anyone is arguing that), but the perspective grid doesn't make sense nor does the paint-over anatomy thing, since you can apply those things in traditional art. You can trace. You can set up a perspective grid using a ruler to replace lack of skill for creating straighter lines.

    Randomly applying a perspective grid to an image won't work; you still have to know exactly where the VPs are to place the grid correctly. Perspective is dynamic. If you're painting an image from life whether it be digital or traditional, you still have to have a commanding knowledge of perspective to use it correctly whether or not you have a template to set up the lines originating from the VP(s).

    Shortcuts just make the process faster, you can still 'undo' in traditional media by scraping off paint (say...in oils). Although I will admit -- the paint will eventually build up on the material you're painting on so I imagine you can't undo infinitely.

    I'm not saying they're on ENTIRELY equal footing (that would be crazy talk), I tend to respect traditional art more than digital if only because it's so....satisfying and materialistic comparatively. But I definitely think, that since knowledge is really what makes art more than anything physical or digital, that both require very similar amounts of skill to actually produce an effective painting.

    And one major thing you pointed out that I feel the need to mention and agree on, is that traditional materials DO require a more careful mastery of planning. I think that is one of the reasons that traditional art is so much more attractive to learning from than digital.

    BLAHBLAHBLAH

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  21. #12
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    I would agree that working digitally makes certain things more efficient, but I wouldn't equate efficiency with being "easy" in the sense that it takes little to no skill to get a good result.

    I really don't buy this idea that doing things with efficient tools makes you lazy. It's difficult and inefficient to paint an oil painting with a live squirrel. It takes much more planning and finesse to use a squirrel than a brush, and you can only get a few strokes down with each squirrel before they bite your hand and run away. Does someone painting with said squirrel have no choice but to plan more beforehand? I suppose so. Are you therefore lazy to use a brush instead of a squirrel, just because it's more convenient and fairly efficient at certain tasks? Of course not. You use the most efficient, reliable tool you're comfortable with using.

    It is true that lazy people do lazy things in a lazy way, but they also have lazy looking results. The most efficient tool in the world isn't going to let a bad artist produce a good painting from scratch. I can buy the best hammer in the world but I don't think anyone would want to live in any house I've built with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    As for the less skill argument. Less planning of an idea before starting necessary (undo, save multiple version of the same image, layers that can be reordered ) less knowledge, of perspective (just bring up your pespective grid), of color mixing (sampling colors is how most people paint digitally) of anatomy (just paint on top of your poser or daz model or photo ref without redrawing it).
    Most of these things have an equivalent that can be done in the real world. Some things mentioned wouldn't generally be done unless the self-described "painter" had a short deadline or didn't care about making something that actually looks good.

    Digital Art frowned upon??

    - Planning
    Nothing stops you from planning if you want to plan other than a lack of discipline. You still need to do some kind of planning if you don't want whatever you're making to suck. How else are you going to get a good composition? Plenty of people doing digitial painting will do numerous sketches and thumbnails beforehand. Likewise, as long as you don't care about the result, nothing is stopping you from going into an oil painting randomly, building it up until the paint is an inch thick.

    - Undo
    You can scrape of the paint or push it around. I hit undo at most once or twice an hour, and by default only the last 20 strokes are saved. Most of the time if I want to fix something I'll just paint over it.

    - Multiple versions
    You want to test out an idea you're not sure will work, so you paint a thumbnail or make some sketches. Only difference in photoshop is sometimes you test things out directly over your painting.

    - Layers
    Eh, if you're painting on glass or something.

    - No knowledge of perspective needed - just bring up your perspective grid!
    Won't do you much good unless you already understand perspective. In the real world people sometimes will use a projector or a grid printed on an transparent sheet of plastic, espeically for things like murals. What do you suppose people do for things that don't line up to the grid?

    - Color mixing, color picker
    Yeah you can rely solely on the eyedropper tool in Photoshop if you don't care about the final result. If you mean picking colors from the color selector (directly grabbing a specific hue or saturation) then I suppose the real-world equivalent would be buying specific pigments (eg. burnt umber) instead of mixing everything yourself from primary colors.

    - No knowledge of anatomy required - just paint on top of your poser or daz model or photo ref without redrawing it!
    Poser models look terrible, and a paintover by anyone who doesn't actually understand anatomy will look terrible as well. Also, what kind of satisfaction would a painter get from tracing over a photo unless they're just trying to impress the 12-year-olds on deviantart? In the real world, this can be done with projectors or transparent sheets of plastic, or via "camera obscura".

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  23. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    So if it wasn't Bill and Jeff you are talking about J, that leaves me... I look good in black anyway. Maybe I'll grow a Snidley Whiplash mustache to go with it.
    I wasn't talking exclusively about you.

    I like you dpant. You are harsh in some of your posts and I think you know this and dare I even say that at times you don't care that you are being harsh. It is what it is and I respect you as you are because you have knowledge and experience to back up what you say. I wasn't trying to make you seem like a bad guy because I don't think you are. I was just saying that the general tone and direction of the conversation was making me a bit blue. I hope that clears it up.


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