Thursday, March 11, 2010

references and photoshop

While I do not have any formal art training I did take several classes in high school.  One of the things we did time and again was thumbnail sketches trying to work out compositions and layout.  Today for many artists, including myself, things have changed.  Now photo editing programs (such as photoshop) allow us to composite as many photos together as we desire and move them all around until we get a composition that we want. 

Some people may think that when artists work from photos that we simply take that photo and essentially replicate it in our art.  Very rarely is this actually the case.  Usually artwork is many images put together to come up with an original piece.  Often the background will be a few images, the animal may be another one or two (or more), trees or rocks may be from another, etc.  I have used up to 10 different images combined into one piece to create the artwork.

Above is a composite of 6 photos put together.  This is in fact the same pronghorn from 6 different photos.  The advantage of using the same animal over and over was that since all photos were taken within a few minutes of each other the light direction and intensity is the same.  The disadvantage is that... well its obviously the same animal and I would have to alter them to make them look like distinct individuals.  Because this pronghorn is the same animal I would have to resource some additional photos to find different sets of horns for each one, as this particular animal has a distinct set of horns with a twist at the tip.  He also has a distinct whirl of fur up on the top of his back that shows that he is the same animal.  Furthermore usually in bachelor herds there are some older males and some younger ones.  This would require more alterations.  For the completed layout I would also resource some additional images for shrubbery and perhaps some rocks.

So when you are looking at art realize that usually it is not just one photo but often MANY images resourced to create the original work.

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