i first learned how to draw and paint traditional, but now that im getting into digital there are a lot of things that feel like cheating to me. for instance i see a lot of people that use photo templates, as oppose to painting everything from scratch they start off with a photo of a building. it would feel a bit wrong if i did it just because im so used to doing everything traditionally, and sure either way you could get the same result but it sorta leaves me feeling less like an artist and more like an editor? what do you guys think?
Use whatever techniques you like... Nobody's forcing you to use any particular technique or shortcut or gimmick. You can do everything from scratch in digital just the same as with traditional, it all comes down to personal preference and what your goal is.
Personally, I don't like doing paintovers or shoving photos into paintings... The photo-painting-mishmash is not a look I usually want, and with my rudimentary camera and photography skills, the odds of a photo looking anything like what I want are not great anyway. (Plus painting from scratch is more fun.)
Though some people get interesting results combining photos with painting... (Matt Mahurin used to do a lot of that, I think Rick Berry does too?) And I can understand why people would do it when they need to throw together a lot of fast concepts for a deadline.
I will say that when it comes to combining photos and painting, if someone doesn't know what they're doing it usually looks terrible... Either you end up with a picture that's trying to look like a painting but has distracting bits of photo popping out all over the place... Or you have something that's trying to look like a photo but has distracting bits of painting stuck on.
The times I've seen it used most effectively are when people take advantage of the mixed media nature of the combination and really push it. Or when people are extremely good at photomanipulation (and there aren't many people who do really good photomanips...)
I wouldn't call digital cheating per se. But I do admit that I feel pretty guilty sometimes about using digital. It can kind of hide certain things...like my draftsmanship and composition are somewhat weak. But with the forgiving nature of digital I can rework a painting a lot, or select things and move them about, or stretch things, change their size, change all manner of things. I can also very easily get smooth transitions, or add texture if I need to.
All of these things are possible to do traditionally, but take way more skill in my opinion. Sure, it requires a skill to do digitally. But I feel it requires more skill to pull off the same things traditionally.
"Complacency is the womb of mediocrity. " -- Jason Manley
"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." -- Bruce Lee
what sean mcclain pointed out is the extent of using templates or photos in art that i would go to, but if the deadline really is that tight i do see myself resolving to paint overs. guess its just an art ethic/moral thing i got going on with myself. and yes i agree that traditional does require more effort, takes more time and you don't have things like undo or changing contrast etc.
The only cheating in my book is literally stealing an image and calling it your own.
BUT sometimes you have to assess what method is the best for you. Say you're doing a Bargue drawing. Do you really want it to just look exactly like it and that's that? Then just trace it. But do you really want to get the most out of the exercise? Then tracing probably isn't the best way to go. And the same can be said about very many other things. You have to assess your intentions and then pick the means that best fits that. There is no cheating, only different methods, and different methods will yield different results.
You can fool others, but it is at least as harmful to fool yourself. Animators trace till their fingers fall off, with a purpose. I have been told to trace art, to get a feeling for style, appeal, line quality, and I feel I learnt something from it. However, even if you don't lie about it, and trace for the purpose of learning, it can be a cheat if you claim you spend your time practicing, while you may not get anything out of it.
For instance, I consider tracing, or even blindly copying, the diagrams from Bridgman a cheat. Yes, you may claim you spent weeks with Bridgman, but you're really only cheating on yourself...
^^ The key word there was blindly. Anything you do blindly isn't going to stay with you. Anything you actually think about can help you learn something. For the record I don't trace, but I couldn't care less if others do. I have my goals and personal sense of artistic integrity, others have theirs'.
The benefit of digital art is its speed. You are making something, you don`t like it - erase it. Copy/paste it. Transform it. Stick a photo and paint over it. Wham-bam-thank you ma`am.
Now imagine doing that with a traditional piece.
Digital art is mostly used in production. When you are working on a concept for a video game or a movie. You have a deadline. Your clients are waiting. You have to work quickly and efficiently. That`s it. You have to get to that final result and you have to be quick about it. And, as long as it dosen`t violate any laws, you do what you can.
I see it as a technical thing. Drafting and constructing. Though, in order to be able to do this on a high quality level, one has to know all the basic principles of art as well - light, composition, perspective, anatomy etc...
If one chooses to work like this predominantly, that`s their own thing. You stick with what works for you and enjoy it. That`s a great thing about art - for such a huge term, it`s very personal. The better you know it and adapt to it, the better it adapts to you as well.
I'm still finding my way around in digital art, but to me a lot of things felt like cheating too - but I think a common mistake is just thinking of digital art as traditional art on a screen, and it's really not. It's a different medium, and you have a lot of different tools at your disposal that you don't have in traditional work, and it takes a while to feel like it's okay to use them. For example, stuff like selecting an eye and copy-pasting it if you just can't get the other one right - that feels weird and cheaty at first, but honestly, it's just a tool that's at your disposal!
Paint-overs are kind of different . . . I've never done that before, but I think it would be alright as long as they were your own photos . . . and if it's a free-use stock photo or something, I would be pretty clear in any image descriptions/etc. that it was heavily reffed.
I'd also say a danger in that is it will quickly just become a shortcut rather than something done because it overall turns out better . . . like a way to avoid learning how to do stuff rather than just utilizing the resources to the fullest, and that could be a problem!
Last edited by lettherebeCRAMP; May 29th, 2012 at 09:57 AM.
. As for tracing, tracing has been around as long as painting has been around it is used to transfer the initial sketch to the painting surface and to scale it up.
You do realize that when people get their knickers in a knot about tracing, they're almost never talking about tracing your own drawing in order to transfer it, right? When people rant about tracing, they're more likely thinking about something along the lines of, say, tracing some anime or a photo you found on Google and saying "lookit what I drew all by myself!"
Making a transfer and tracing an anime screencap for a pose is not the same thing at all...
Yeah I'm one of those people but since the OP didn't say tracing other peoples work I thought I'd give him some history. Tracing, painting over a photo plate for matte painting and using ref is fine as long as it doesn't violate copyright.
How do you think Michelangelo painted the Sistine chapel?
I think he picked a good collection of elves and wizards from deviantart, photoshopped these together, blindly traced the final thing, used carbon paper to rub everything right onto the ceiling of that big igloo, whereafter he took a couple of days off while aspiring art students coloured the whole ceiling by the numbers, staying within the lines as much as possible, with their tonges between their (own) lips?
He traced those images on to the surface using his drawings by placing pinholes in the paper and charcoal dust.
I have considered scanning my own drawings to paint digitally, or go out with a camera and build my own stockphoto library.
Maybe the industry requires tight deadlines and blahdilah, but sometimes when I hear stuff like that I get the impression these industries are just taking advantage of the fact that artists don't set up a few boundaries to artistic integrity... It's money, they do what they can get away with.
But since I got no personal experience, all this is just stupid assumptions.