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  1. #1
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    Digital Painting (defining what we do)

    Hey all, I was just having a conversation with a close friend who is a digital filmmaker and he was telling me that what he does he can't consider as filmmaking.

    I thought this was interesting because he has the classic baseball cap, beard and inexhaustible cinematic vocabulary...how is he not a filmmaker?

    He went on to bring up an article by Lev Manovich etc. and I have to say, it got me questioning the idea of painting on the computer. Painting and Film have many commonalities with enough articles and text that can explain why in much greater detail than I... but in the end as computer savvy souls...do we not perform the same art?

    Are we not using the digital medium? And if so, does that not mean we are seperate from the history and index of painting?

    We came up with the temporary term of "Pixel Pusher" for now, because in this new light I am having a hard time calling myself a painter.

    Would love to hear what you think.


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  3. #2
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    First off, I think a person who creates motion pictures which tell a story is a film maker be it on actual film, video tape, or digital. If we want to be technical about the word "film" being in there, the only real film makers are the guys who run the machines that create raw film. Feature length movies have been made by some very respected veteran directors (Spike Lee comes to mind) using only digital, and I don't think of these movies being any less of films as the ones they did on actual film. Creating with the tools you have access to is what matters. Not everyone can raise $50,000 to shoot on film, doesn't make your creative efforts less valid.

    So I guess I feel digital artists are still painters in the same way, with the major difference being that there's no physical original painting (where as nobody cares if there are physical original negatives from a film). Is it still painting though? Technically not, but essentially yes. Artist and illustrator are good alternate terms if you're fussy though, being as they specify no medium.
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  4. #3
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    When you want to create something, a character, a landscape, a world etc......

    Do you create it so it can be evident to others? OR Do you create it to explore the qualitys of mixed chemicals/ or the wonders of coded digital information?

  5. #4
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    It's a tool!

    Tools don't make the artist. Creations make the artist.

    This is really a moot question.
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  6. #5
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    This is timely, because I just got into this very debate with my painting instructor only a few days ago.

    In the end, I did have to end up letting go the term "paint," because while it is, in my opinion, an incredible simulation for actual paints with enough of its own benefits to justify it as a related but still separate medium, it's still not actual, physical pigments.

    (and I also wound up having to concede that, thus, in a painting studio course, it is reasonably expected to have someone actually paint, and so after having spent the previous two years stepping away from the seven or so years prior working with traditional media in order to pursue more commercial methods I now once again have a closet full of oil paints and unprimed masonite. Not that I have anything against physically painting, it's just really draining on the ol' wallet, not to mention on my time. I'm more the type to prefer having my will translated directly onto something, and having to juggle canvas, priming, brushes, paint mixtures, mediums, drying times, etc. just trips me up more often than not. I suppose the argument would be that it wouldn't if I actually knew what the hell I was doing, but I've already spent my time getting to know the basics of all that, and I'll still on occasion pick up some oils and a bit of canvas to make color charts just to keep my pigment chips up. I just can't bring myself to take a liking to it, it's too "slow" for my thousand-images-a-minute brain. I'm going to suck it up and get back to it, because it's good practice to have, but don't think I'm not going to be wanting to produce 4x as many pieces in the end.)

    Er, sorry for the rant there, but anyway next time it comes up I'll be sure to use that argument, Shamagim, because to me in the end it's all about the final image that's produced, since a physical painting doesn't automatically make it better than any other image.

  7. #6
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    I thought about this recently- and I came to the conclusion it doesn't matter whether it's a painting or a file- in the end, all digital artists are Artists, and I don't know why anyone cares to go farther than that. Once you do people debate the literal and connotative meanings of "Paint". Some say it means pure color, wether digital or real pigment, others say it is only real paints, so I've learned not to argue.

  8. #7
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    as for film:

    digital or "traditional"- a movie is based on the filmmaker's knowledge of creating moving images that tell a story. both on film and digital video its the same thing, just different tools.. you gotta know how to light a scene, you gotta know what camera angles, lenses etc you're using, how to include the scenery, the props and FX, how to use sound and music for evoking emotions, etc etc etc..

    as for traditional vs digital painting:

    the same rule applies... you need to know anatomy, perspective, values, colour etc etc... in the end you get the same results with different tools. if you print out digital media and put some patina on it, it has the same effect as an oil painting (if done well). If you scan in an oil painting and put the pic on your website, you have the same effect as with a digital painting (if scanned well)...

    so all in all its a senseless thought... producing art has always been producing art, from the times a neanderthal painted stick figures on a cave wall with blood and dirt to the present times where sleep deprived people put their masterpieces on a computer screen using a wacom and a mouse.

    maybe in the future we're going to produce holographic pictures out of thin air using weird musical instruments like that guy in futurama, but in the end it'll all be the same: visual artworks that inspire us.

    so in conclusion, i have to say that no matter what tools you use to visualise your thoughts, two things will always stay the same: the art and the man/ woman creating it.

    my 2 cents,

    Etienne

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  9. #8
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    Like so many other things, academe has the luxury of debating high ideals and splicing terms at the atomic level.

    I have far more respect for those who are able to live in both worlds.

    "Personally, I like the University. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything. You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results." - Ray Stantz

  10. #9
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    At the end of the day, does it really matter what you're called?

    If you're uncomfortable with the term painter, then just call yourself an illustrator for chrissakes.

  11. #10
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    As I see it, the computer is just another medium.
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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfish
    It's a tool! Tools don't make the artist. Creations make the artist. This is really a moot question
    Well, actually you're not even adressing the actual question which was not "what makes an artist" it is about definining practices. and I hate to break it to you blackfish, I know where you are going by reverse engineering the equation but it doesn't work. Even on a professional level your tools DO define you. On an Art history basis and even on contemporary terms if we left it as "art" and "artist" we would be in a world of trouble.

    I think there is this grey area right now in terms of general art practices where many artists live in terms of definitions and I really don't think it is a good thing especially when you are trying to establish a discourse. This isn't about arguing, it's about really understanding where we have come from (in terms of practices) and where we are now.

  13. #12
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    I don't get why this really matters, still. Is the answer going to change the way you work?
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Man
    At the end of the day, does it really matter what you're called?

    If you're uncomfortable with the term painter, then just call yourself an illustrator for chrissakes.
    I think he's just trying to put things in perspective. And I agree that he should try to look at things as being either a traditional illustrator or digital illustrator.

    So a digital illustrator and a digital video producer do have a lot in common in how to make their craft (lighting, composition and so on). As far as a digital illustrator you deal with the same art elements and principles as a traditional artist. It seems like a similar arguement as people who do pictures with pastel. Is it drawing or painting? Because it's not a wet medium. Still .... people in the "art world" usually call it a painting if it's a complete picture.

    I think it's ok to really be nick pick about what exactly you are and trying to do to help put things in perspective. Technique for digital illustration can be completely unrelated to traditonal illustration. The same art elements and principles are there, but you can explore a road where the process is completely different.

  15. #14
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    I don't get why this really matters
    Open any art history text and you'll see why.

  16. #15
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    I get what you're saying, but paint as a verb has never been tied exclusively to paint as a medium. You can paint with paint or blood or ink or chocolate or (in my opinion) pixels. Therefore, I have no problem referring to digital painting as such.



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  17. #16
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    Tell your friend that this means George Lucas is not a film maker either.
    People will say anything to avoid change.
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  18. #17
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    George Lucas is not a film maker either
    he's had his "film maker" status revoked for some years now in my book, but it has nothing to do with shooting digital
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