… Its really more of a frequently enjoyed side trip as I travel along the path that defines my art journey. Digital illustration was such a huge part of my professional life for years. I spent hundreds of hours in front of a computer monitor working in Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator primarily on client art, so its still in my blood. A drawing tablet was essential to that work. The need for digital art is not as essential these days and I’m totally loving a re-focus on natural media, especially watercolor but I still love digital and all the tech associated with it. It’s a useful and versatile tool for visualization and study when applied to natural media like drawing or painting.
If you’re a digital artist too or have been one in the past, I would love to hear your war stories. And how do you mix or use digital in concert with natural media?
I’ve pulled all nighters doing client work on a Wacom tablet. I would have loved to have been able to work on a pen display like this back then.
For a bit of Halloween fun here is a repost from a few years ago.
This is Seth (on the left), I met him a couple of years ago at Kennesaw Mt. National Battlefield, NW of Atlanta. Still dutifully manning his artillery postion after 140 years, he insisted on reading me a letter from home. He doesn’t know he’s a ghost and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Atlanta was destined to fall into Union hands.
Now you may be thinking that this photo has been faked. Well, no comment, and I won’t deny that just about anything can be easily faked these days. If I had Photoshopped it, here’s one way I might have gone about it.
My Simple Photoshop Ghost Recipe
1) In Photoshop I would open a Civil War photo file, select the soldier and drag him into the photo file of me standing by the cannon. Doing this creates a new layer.
2) After sizing and positioning the soldier, I would add a layer mask and mask out parts of him by painting on the mask to make him fit behind the cannon barrel.
3) Next make a copy of the soldier layer and add a horizontal motion blur value of about 60 or so to the copy. Set the opacity of this blurred layer to about 70% and put it beneath the original in the layer order, offsetting the blurred layer by just a hair so that it wasn’t perfectly lined up with the original on top, giving it even more of an out-of-focus ethereal look.
4) The original soldier layer I would then set to an opacity of about 60% and then paint on the layer mask with a soft airbrush to fade out areas I wished to be even more transparent or vanish altogether.
5) To add a sepia tone to all the Photoshop layers simply add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer at the top, click the colorize check box and adjust the hue and saturation until you get the color you want.http://$domain/ll.php?kk=11
Digging around in some of my old film shots I ran across this photo of Comet Hyakutake I took in 1996. It was a rare try at an astronomical image (something I want to do more of) and mediocre at best, but since I had never tried scanning the film negative of this shot, this became a technical exercise more than anything. My shot pales in comparison to the many beautiful images of Hyakutake taken by seasoned astrophotographers, but still it was a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime viewing event and I had a blast taking the shot. One hour photo prints being what they are (or aren’t), I wanted to see what I could do with this old negative on my present day Canon 8400f flatbed in 35mm film scanning mode. I was pleased to see the improvement I was able to make over the print. In Photoshop I ran a noise reduction filter, added a curves layer to fine tune the contrast and a hue/saturation layer to darken certain colors and reduce some of the atmospheric haze bringing out the tail a bit more. The 30 sec. exposure (using Fujicolor 1600 film) as you can see is a bit long and the stars are just beginning to elongate due to earth’s rotation, but all in all not a bad attempt and a fun memory.