Could Someone Become a great artist by just using Photoshop all the time?

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  1. #1
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    Could Someone Become a great artist by just using Photoshop all the time?

    A very simple question.. like if that person uses Photoshop for all the artistic practices such as life drawing, posing, animal sketches, painting, etc... by just using Photoshop, would he/she could become a great and accomplished artist?

    Thanks in advanced,

    Simon

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  3. #2
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    The tools matter nothing, it's all about the working method.

    Photoshop isn't a good option for a beginner, for a variety of reasons. But if a person is a great artist he can use Photoshop, or nothing but paper and charcoal, and still his work will be great. If he is clueless, no amount of sophisticated Photoshop will help to make what he draws better.

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  4. #3
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    Sure why not? Photoshop is just a tool - which is I think the point that Arenhaus is making.

    I've faced a lot of this kind of debate during my career - mainly because it was very technology focussed i.e. we used very tech heavy tools like 3DS Max, Maya etc... photoshop is pretty simply by comparison! However regardless of technical ability with a package, what it always boils down to is artistic eye.

    If you can't draw a convincing portrait or whatever with biro and paper then photoshop isn't going to make that any different. In fact it could possibly hinder your development. I saw many artists who became technical whizz kids with max and maya - but they neglected to advance their artistic eye. Ask them to draw a face and it would look like a potato!

    They jumped straight into pressing all the buttons and creating cool effects and ended up thinking they were great artists because they knew the package inside out. Ultimately this hindered their development because what you can't see in your mind's eye you can't reproduce, whatever you're using - stone age tech or the latest software.

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  5. #4
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    Yes, of course. Photoshop is just a digital paper with a lot of various pencils and brushes. I am working mostly in PS, apart from occasional pencil sketching and have very high expectations about where I will be in the future. Whatever the tools are.

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    Being a successful production artist like Craig Mullins is not the same as being Michelangelo so it depends on your definition. People making disposable crap for the entertainment industry will most likely be forgotten in few years just like the products they worked on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Being a successful production artist like Craig Mullins is not the same as being Michelangelo so it depends on your definition. People making disposable crap for the entertainment industry will most likely be forgotten in few years just like the products they worked on.
    Whoa! That's a bit hardcore. I got bills to pay and so did Michelangelo! We can't all get paid nice sums to paint a ceiling for some pope.

    And whilst you may be right that we'll all be forgotten soon, not all the stuff in the entertainment industry is disposable crap... some of it is actually beautiful and worthwhile.

    I think what you're really railing against is the inevitable loss of self and worth that we all feel in this huge, modern, amorphous, deviant art driven globalisation mess we're living in. No need to insult the players - hate the game!

    Anyhow - we're all just atoms and molecules on our way back to the stars...

    Who gives a shit?

    Ohm.

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  8. #7
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    No, what I'm saying is what does the OP mean by great. No one now comes close to the accomplishments of Michelangelo who carved the Pieta at 24 and painted the Sistine Chapel at 35. Nothing harsh about reality try it sometime.

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  9. #8
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    I think the fact that Michelangelo is still remembered hundreds of years after his death and modern artists probably won't be a hundred years from now has little to do with Photoshop.


    To the question: I think for learning how to draw digital media (be it PS, Painter or whatever) are an inefficient way to go. Nothing will be a better tool for learning that than a piece of cheap paper and a pencil. For painting? Doesn't matter if you use oils or digital. I've never really painted traditionally (besides some experiments). Learned to paint digitally. So what? It's just another medium.
    Plus, I really don't give a crap if people will remember my name in a few hundred years. I just want to enjoy doing whatever it is I do. I'm totally fine with that.

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  10. #9
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    Hmm.

    I'm no expert but for me, digital is a tool yes, but a tool to make an artist's life easier. I don't really think of it as a medium of its own. I learned to paint traditionally so when I go digital with that, I find myself trying to emulate what I know of how real paint behaves.

    I think if I'd learned to paint on a digital program, I might be more into the various custom brushes/textures/extra fun gadgety things, because I'd have no other comparison to go by. How it feels to paint - what the brushes do and how paints and colours etc mix and are applied to surfaces, is a very different thing to using a digital painting or image manipulation program.

    But yeah, like I said I'm no expert on either digital or traditional methods. Just trying to figure it all out as I go along.

    I would say though, personally I don't think that by using one small tool like photoshop alone, a person will become a great artist.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candra H View Post
    I'm no expert but for me, digital is a tool yes, but a tool to make an artist's life easier. I don't really think of it as a medium of its own. I learned to paint traditionally so when I go digital with that, I find myself trying to emulate what I know of how real paint behaves.
    Photoshop isn't meant to emulate traditional paints. In fact, if you wanted to emulate that, why use Photoshop at all? Of course digital is a medium of it's own, with it's own drawbacks and upsides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    No, what I'm saying is what does the OP mean by great. No one now comes close to the accomplishments of Michelangelo who carved the Pieta at 24 and painted the Sistine Chapel at 35. Nothing harsh about reality try it sometime.
    I think it's sad that you feel this way. I mean why limit your thinking, sure I'm 36 so the chances of being in the olympics are almost certainly past me now (unless I go for archery or something like that), but I can always achieve my full potential in other ways, art being one of them.

    Now with regards to your comment about the OPs use of the word 'great', I think you're just being fractious about words for the sake of it. I don't think the OP was about being as great as Michelangelo! That's just plain silly. In terms of Michelangelo's achievements, no doubt he will not be repeated but you have to remember a number of important points:

    Firstly there were WAY less people doing what Michelangelo was doing when he was alive - modern society has allowed for a huge diversification of labour in a way that simply wasn't possible before. We can now afford to have people sitting around playing games all day FOR A LIVING! So the numbers of people now able to work or develop their artistic talents are a much greater proportion of society. Just look at deviant art! Also there's way MORE people alive today - in fact some scientists theorise that it's possible there's more people alive today than have EVER lived. More people means a statistically larger number of talented individuals. So scarcity factors into why he is remembered. There's WAY more talented people out there right now who have the opportunity to develop those talents rather than say spend their days as a blacksmith or whatever.

    Secondly it was much easier to do things that hadn't been done before - simple fact of history. It's way harder to come up with something genuinely new and noteworthy and being new and unique is certainly a big part of why MA is remembered. He was a trendsetter, a goal post shifter. It's way harder to do that now.

    These two points mean that it's practically impossible to distinguish yourself as being a unique and memorable artist, unless you want to smear dog turds on a canvas and call it art - or something equally inane. In our field of representational art it's pretty much all been done.

    But does this mean that people like Craig Mullins don't merit being called great? It's a silly argument but suppose they were teleported to the day when Michelangelo was alive, wouldn't a Feng Zhu or Craig Mullins or Sid Meier shine just like Michelangelo or Da Vinci? Or in fact what if you teleported Michelangelo to the present. Maybe he'd just do a google search or spend half an hour on deviant art and go - shit... these asian kids are GOOD... I think I'll go be a carpenter!

    But really what annoyed me about your post was the lack of consideration and plain good manners!

    What gives coming onto a forum where 99% of the people are working in the entertainment industry whether that's films, games, books etc... and saying 'you're all making disposable crap'... that's just socially inept. It's like walking up to a farmer and going - well mate all you do is feed people - you're going to be totally forgotten in a hundred years - just don't bother! In case you hadn't noticed, quite a lot of the stuff you call 'great' and artistically 'noteworthy' was paid for by someone. Now in the old days it used to be the church and the occasional rich nobleman but obviously that's changed.

    Try walking up to Mozart and telling him that he's just writing disposable crap for the masses because 'reality check', most of what he was doing was entertainment, opera, theatre etc... Same with Wagner and so on and so forth. Will we remember Ryuichi Sakamoto's music? or John Williams, Ludovico Einaudi or Ennio Morricone? How do you have any idea what's going to be remembered in the future or not? Do you have a time machine because I'd sure like a ride!

    It just so happens that the entertainment industry is Art's greatest patron right now. I don't happen to like a lot of things about the entertainment industry, but it's like Michelangelo saying - hey I'm fed up of drawing cherubims... how about stippled effect? But as I said, within entertainment ARE some gems that DO deserve to be remembered. I can think of any number of artists that had a profound influence on me growing up - whether they were musicians, authors or even comic artists - and they WILL be remembered. Shit people even remember he-man for gods sake! Who knows, they might be teaching courses in the future about how great he-man was.

    As Benedikt says - ego be screwed, I'm just happy to be doing something I love and that pays the bills. I don't care if I'm remembered for my artwork - and yes 90% of what we've made as a modern society won't be remembered simply because it won't last! Watch the documentary 'side by side' that will really get your goose!

    Anyhow - I gotta make more disposable crap so adios and good luck!

    Last edited by lovingit; February 2nd, 2014 at 10:57 AM.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    Photoshop isn't meant to emulate traditional paints. In fact, if you wanted to emulate that, why use Photoshop at all? Of course digital is a medium of it's own, with it's own drawbacks and upsides.
    I don't. I mostly use Painter. Tried Photoshop but didn't like it because it's not painting based, and I'm not skilled enough to figure out the custom brushes yet, so I went back to Painter. And no, neither photoshop nor painter, nor any other digital art program is a medium of its own. They include tools that are digital versions of traditional ones, like chalk, acrylic/oil brushes, airbrushes, pencils, ink etc. But in themselves, they are programs that make creating art easier. No clean-up, lots of handy perspective/layout grids, textures etc, and thats just skimming the surface. Yes, they're great to use but no, they're not artistic mediums.

    Also, I didn't say it emulates traditional, I said I try to emulate traditional because of how I learned. Please read my posts carefully before responding - I don't want to get into needless arguments.

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    What you're saying just doesn't make sense to me at all, that's the problem. So you're saying that a digital painting is... a painting without a medium?
    And what is the difference between an "artistic medium" and a "medium"?

    e/ or are you saying that "Photoshop" isn't a medium? That I could understand. the medium is "digital", PS is the tool. Thatn distinction I get.

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    Shrug. I'm just giving my personal opinion. How you interpret it is up to you I guess.

    Just wish people would pay more attention to whats actually being said. Because nowhere in my original or second post did I say photoshop tries to emulate traditional painting.

    And on that note, I'm out. internet discussions like this always seem to end up in bizarre arguments about nothing, and I really don't have the energy for all that. Sorry for any confusion.

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  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candra H View Post
    How you interpret it is up to you I guess.
    I was trying to avoid interpreting your statement incorrectly, which is why I asked what you meant by it. Sorry of that offended you in some way(?).

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    Relativism doesn't work with Michelangelo; you think it was easier to make art in the 15th century? Because there were less people? Because it was easier to do something new? Sculpture and painting have been around for thousands of years. I know they teach people to apologize and make excuses in school so they can feel special about themselves but really the entertainment industry does nothing for art. Paying someone a little above minimum wage for images is not supporting the arts its exploiting them. The reason its important to know what is really great as opposed to what emotionally crippled 20 year olds think is great is you can't become great in a vacuum of mediocrity. To be great yourself you must study real greatness.

    Making digital art is great for making stuff for companies who want cheap disposable crap that they can easily print/make. While its possible to make a living doing digital art for others you will always be making other peoples stuff. You won;'t own it and you can't make money off of it after you created it for someone else. If you want to make your own stuff then make real stuff that can be licensed and the originals can sell for tens of thousands of dollars as opposed to selling prints the rest of your life for 30 to 50 bucks. One way allows you to live a comfortable life and buy a house and enjoy yourself the other makes you a slave to other peoples wishes scraping to get by as you get older.
    So while learning to paint and draw traditionally seems harder to do, it really isn't when you are starting out and then once you learn how to work traditionally you can do both because working digitally is a subset of traditional skills they are not equal.

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  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    So while learning to paint and draw traditionally seems harder to do, it really isn't when you are starting out and then once you learn how to work traditionally you can do both because working digitally is a subset of traditional skills they are not equal.
    I'd say that both digital and traditional painting are subsets of the bigger skill set of fundamentals, namely composition, perspective, anatomy etc.- once you've got the fundamentals you can, with a reasonable amount of time to just learn the idiosyncrasies of the tools ( e.g. PS vs oil paints), be proficient in both.

    If it's more efficient to learn the fundamentals in a digital medium or in a traditional is a different question of course.

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    Switching brush types in Photoshop isn't a skill, using a real brush to get multiple effects with it is. Not the same. One is doing the same thing and letting the software give you different results the other is actually controlling the brush in hundreds of ways. Same for actually mixing color from a limited set of choices and picking color from the complete visual spectrum on a monitor. One is actually doing it the other is not the color is already there you just pick it.

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    One is picking a colour, the other is mixing it. The fundamental skillset involved in that particular arena is colour theory/composition. No matter if you're using PS or oilpaints. That was my point.

    You need fundamentals for both, and both require additional skillsets (some of which are different from digital to traditional, some of which are the same in both media).

    If you're saying that digital painting requires no fundamentals and no skills, then that's a pretty ludicrous statement tbh.

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    It requires a smaller set of skills than traditional painting does I would think that is obvious. If you want to be able to learn image making I suggest starting traditionally. If you want to make money making images for yourself I suggest traditional image making. Digital not only limits your ability it limits your earning power where traditional doesn't. I can still sell prints of one of my large originals after I sell the original for 10 grand. Try that with digital. Like all endeavors the easier task is the one that provides the least return for your effort, this is true for art as well as most other businesses.

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    True, I didn't intend to contest any of those assessments. Wielding a brush can certainly be seen as more demanding than wielding a wacom stylus. Sure. Especially the fact that there's no original is a huge drawback for digital.
    My issue was only with your original statements about digital being a subset of traditional/ not requiring skills at all.

    That, and the fact that it's not for you or me to judge anyone for the media they choose. Sure, I haven't produced an "original" in the ten-somethiung years I've been painting (on and off). Doesn't matter to me, it's just that easy. Maybe some day it will and then I'll happily delve into the complex (and messy ) undertaking that painting traditionally is. Live and let live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    It requires a smaller set of skills than traditional painting does I would think that is obvious. If you want to be able to learn image making I suggest starting traditionally. If you want to make money making images for yourself I suggest traditional image making. Digital not only limits your ability it limits your earning power where traditional doesn't. I can still sell prints of one of my large originals after I sell the original for 10 grand. Try that with digital. Like all endeavors the easier task is the one that provides the least return for your effort, this is true for art as well as most other businesses.
    Digital isnt about selling copies of your original art and selling it like old master paintings. Digital can be uased to sell anything from prints, to play mats, mugs anything you can think of. People who paint digitally are usually people who can come up with their own Ip's . They create their own virtual worlds, their own stories etc. Yes anyone can create them but you don t usually see oil painters or traditional people do that. Usually the people working digitally are the ones creating either for other people or themselves. So what you are saying is totally untrue. You go on Facebook, forums peoples blogs and you will see concept artists, visual development artists, character artists etc thinking of ways to create storys, worlds, environments, graphic novels, their own IP's for themselves. You see them trying to come up with their own Ip's for cartoon shows, novels, toys, movies etc that a traditional painter would never dream of.

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  24. #23
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    Someone could become a great artist by just using photoshop, and other programs, but they would never become a great painter. Digital is a form of video, and the design potentialities for this medium are different, and vaster, than what's possible with painting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Relativism doesn't work with Michelangelo; you think it was easier to make art in the 15th century? Because there were less people? Because it was easier to do something new? Sculpture and painting have been around for thousands of years. I know they teach people to apologize and make excuses in school so they can feel special about themselves but really the entertainment industry does nothing for art. Paying someone a little above minimum wage for images is not supporting the arts its exploiting them. The reason its important to know what is really great as opposed to what emotionally crippled 20 year olds think is great is you can't become great in a vacuum of mediocrity. To be great yourself you must study real greatness.

    Making digital art is great for making stuff for companies who want cheap disposable crap that they can easily print/make. While its possible to make a living doing digital art for others you will always be making other peoples stuff. You won;'t own it and you can't make money off of it after you created it for someone else. If you want to make your own stuff then make real stuff that can be licensed and the originals can sell for tens of thousands of dollars as opposed to selling prints the rest of your life for 30 to 50 bucks. One way allows you to live a comfortable life and buy a house and enjoy yourself the other makes you a slave to other peoples wishes scraping to get by as you get older.
    So while learning to paint and draw traditionally seems harder to do, it really isn't when you are starting out and then once you learn how to work traditionally you can do both because working digitally is a subset of traditional skills they are not equal.
    Okay I think I see where you're getting at in relation to the OP. Let me paraphrase... you're pissed off because you feel that the OP suggests a lack of vision. People want to be just like this Craig Martin fella or the dozens of people on deviant art who post of work of their latest applibot illustration without considering that these people are just slaves to the system and are not to be emulated?

    Okay... if I'm broadly correct about that, then I agree that a lot of the time, the entertainment industry pays people peanuts for what people do and that this isn't good - no argument there. And - it doesn't look set to get any better as the rest of the developing world starts getting into the game. It's simply talent inflation... As I said, there's a lot of things I don't like about the business. I sense you're a bit of an old hand so probably like me you've watched the games industry go from being this really interesting source for human creativity to what it is now - a field by and large controlled by a few uber corporations churning out pretty generic stuff for an ever forgetful dumbed down populace.

    Back when I was a kid I remember playing epic games of just genius creativity like citadel on the BBC - ever remember that?

    One day people like you and me who might remember REAL games will be gone. But I digress! There ARE some games companies out there who pay a reasonable wage for a reasonable days work making actually quite inspiring stuff which probably won't do all that well commercially but is still interesting. I mean hell look at Ubisoft Montpellier and their game 'valiant hearts' what's that about? How many people do you think will actually buy that vs their flagship Assassin's Creed titles but big props to a AAA studio for doing something like that. As another example, a friend of mine runs Introversion who have always made pretty crazy games that are just jaw dropping in their creativity.

    I think what you're talking about is the lack of daring and gumption in young artists and really that has nothing to do with the OP about photoshop as a tool You can make any kind of personal IP - traditional media vs digital really doesn't have anything to do with it. I know exactly what you mean - you look at some beautiful piece of work that someone has clearly slaved for hours and underneath it you see 'applibot' and you think what's that about. I mean let's not forget that applibot were founded by some young guys with some balls - and who's fault is that? Is it really about the entertainment industry per se or is not about the capitalist system we work under which drives every source of labour into the ditch. I've been a long time entrepeneur and so I know that there's a balance between risk and reward.The fact of the matter is that mass patronage is a hard path to follow as is the fine art path of creating individual works that have an intrinsic value due to their unrepeatable nature. Like I said - unless you're willing to spatter paint on a canvas and watch it dribble down - it's pretty hard to sell representational art for anything more than 500 bucks. I'm not saying it can't be done obviously and if you've managed to break into that - then props to you! I personally (call me a child) LIKE drawing guns/tanks/people fighting blah blah - BUT generally speaking people don't want to hang things like that up on a wall! I'm not for example a really motivated landscape artist even though I live in the Pyrenees where it's jaw droppingly beautiful all the time.

    My point is simply that whilst you try to break out of the system, you very often have to play within the system. It's really hard to make it on your own. So what advice should you really be giving to a young artist? My sister who is an illustrator/comic artist asked me a question recently - she works part time at a large fashion house drawing stuff - but her passion is elsewhere. They wanted to promote her but also wanted an extra day from her. She makes some money selling prints, doing commissions, selling her little comic book but it's not going to pay for her retirement! She doesn't want to take the extra day away from her personal artwork. I know what I said to her but what would your advice be?

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    soz - he was new to me - luckily I know who Michelangelo is

    uhm... wait isn't he a turtle with a bandana?

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    Quote Originally Posted by markmaker View Post
    Digital isnt about selling copies of your original art and selling it like old master paintings. Digital can be uased to sell anything from prints, to play mats, mugs anything you can think of. People who paint digitally are usually people who can come up with their own Ip's . They create their own virtual worlds, their own stories etc. Yes anyone can create them but you don t usually see oil painters or traditional people do that. Usually the people working digitally are the ones creating either for other people or themselves. So what you are saying is totally untrue. You go on Facebook, forums peoples blogs and you will see concept artists, visual development artists, character artists etc thinking of ways to create storys, worlds, environments, graphic novels, their own IP's for themselves. You see them trying to come up with their own Ip's for cartoon shows, novels, toys, movies etc that a traditional painter would never dream of.
    Really, you don't know what you are talking about. Pay for digital artists is dropping like a stone, that's why the guys you are talking about formed ArtPact. Which shows me you aren't professional because if you were you would be aware of this. Trying to do something isn't making a living at it. Everyone has IP's including me.

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    I think it is a fair point that dpaint is making here.
    You see it all over the place; artists trying to get different sources of income (either through the ways that have been described or in other ways such as educational content etc.) and not doing all-so-well with it.

    I just wouldn't pin it all on the "digital" side of things. Sure, the absence of a physical original certainly plays an important role. But it's just one contributing factor. Pay has been stagnating/dropping in many different fields.

    In the end, the question is if you're in it for the money- but then you'd better get the hell out of this business anyways I think. There are much safer and faster ways to make a living than creating art, wether digital or traditional.

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  31. #29
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    i am not talking about pay. What does that have to do with anything? Pay for digital artists might be going down, and so is everyones pay. It's not like every traditional artist gets paid tens of thousands of $$$$. Theres probably digital artists out there making more money than most illustrators/traditional artists.
    Your the one saying digital limits your potential income. I am saying no it it dosnt. So are you saying every traditional artist out there earns thousands of dollars and lives like a king? Yes granted there are quite a few who have made a killing out there because its seen as more valuable in some peoples eyes, but to say digital limits your earning power is preety unfair. I would guess people like feng zhu, craig mullins and alot of the top valued digital artists get paid alot of money.

    Digital painting no more limits your income than anyone just doing traditional. And when I say doing digital painting, I dont mean just sitting at a desk and doing work for EA or any VFX company.

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  32. #30
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    This whole conversation reminds me of chats I sit in on with my wife and friends/colleagues of hers. She's a press photographer. Wages in that industry have been frozen for almost 10 years. The day rates at the Times have been completely static - not only that, they took away expenses which is just crazy considering she used to have to drive and park everywhere in London to do her job. Go to any professionals photography forum (if there are any) and you'd probably find very similar conversations about talent inflation - real wage deflation etc...

    Photography like painting, went digital - around roughly the same time and faces from what I can see, the same sorts of issues, conflicts etc... new digital equipment makes photography pretty easy. Almost anyone can get amazing results - it turns rubbish photographers into half decent ones, and good photographers into amazing ones. For anyone who's not a long time pro photographer and wants to argue - imagine going onto a job where unlike digital, you ONLY have 36 shots then you gotta reload ALSO you can't look on the back of your camera to see whether you did it right or wrong AND your camera doesn't shoot like almost video speed in terms of frames per second. Then imagine having to catch the moment the ball hits the back of the net or the tennis player hits the winning shot. And these are only the comparisons I know about (not being a photographer myself).

    Painting has gotten WAY easier with digital. I used to paint oils and my arm would ache from swinging it back and forth across the canvas and I'd get all light headed from the turps. WTF no undo button! No layers... it's WAY harder because it's real life - real life is analogue!

    I think the broad reality is that the human race is experiencing some very difficult challenges right now. I feel bad for the new generation of young artists etc... coming up. Something really strange has happened in the past 30 years. I watch a lot of docs about inequality, finance, social change. I do a lot of research into things like house prices, gold prices etc... I don't know if there's artists out there now who simply couldn't buy a house on the wage their being paid. I hope not - I've been a long time out of the wage game, but it WILL happen. The rise of cheaper labour in the developing countries will certainly see to that.

    There's certainly enough wealth for everyone to have a decent standard of living - I read a pretty horrible statistic recently that 400 americans have as much wealth as the 150 MILLION poorest americans. There's plenty of pie to go around but the fucked up system we live in right now means that all of us at the bottom are feeling the squeeze.

    The only good thing I can say is that whatever you believe in, left, right, central, digital, real, everything WILL get corrected - there'll be a shit storm but at the end of it the universe will find balance because THIS isn't balance. Whether it's about fucking over young artists or fucking over the planet - it's all unsustainable.

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