Odwin Rensen Post Print Truely Scene Blast from the Past
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Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Spring is almost here! For those of you down south no doubt it is already here. In our neck of the woods we still have storms to deal with for a few months and our last frost free date is May 19th or so but it SEEMS like spring with some of the weather we have been having. So with spring coming on, let’s get some floral images coming in from our readers. Here will be a fun working assignment for the next month. Come up with some flower images, create some cool digital art and send them in to run in the Readers’ Gallery. Those that purchased Heather Michelle’s floral webinar will have a leg up. We are finished with the live events from the Digital Art Summit. It was a great success specific to content and continued education. We had a setback with the download video quality, the streaming video is awesome. We are in the process of re-rendering ALL of the video downloads. It is an exhausting and time consuming task but we are making headway, they may even all be done by the time you read this. In other news, we have some fun stuff coming up. I have talked a little bit about embellishment or finishing. We started a new column directed at post output techniques a few months ago. Coming up next month we will do the first FREE webinar that will help to get people up to speed on some traditional media painting techniques. Our good friends at Golden will be working with us on this. I will also be releasing a new course in the fall that covers post output techniques. This course will coincide with our annual Embellishment workshop in the fall. (Tentative date September 15 and 16) We only have 12 seats available for that workshop so if you do have interest, don’t wait. Workshop participants will receive the course as a part of the workshop. There are two other fun things we will be doing in conjunction with the release of this new educational content. You will have TWO chances to win this course for FREE. The first way is to participate in the survey we will be putting together next month. We will be asking what content you would like to see in the new course, the best methods of delivery, demographic info, etc. It will take maybe 10 minutes to fill out and we will put everyone who helped us with this into a drawing for a free copy. The second is a “Name the Course” contest. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what I want to call this course, so far I have come up empty. Send your suggestions to tim at digitalpaintmagazine.com put NAME THE COURSE in the subject line. My wife, kids and myself will select a name we like and whoever sent that suggestion will receive a FREE copy of the course upon its release. We have not yet decided whether this will be a DVD, or to be delivered solely online. Our survey will help with that. You can send as many suggestions as you like. So I think that covers us for this month.
In This Issue 4 9 10
Odwin Rensen Cartoon
by Victor Lunn-Rockliffe
by John Stevenson
Old Masters Paul Cezanne By Nadia Lim A Blast from the Past Philosophy by Thom Rouse
Old Cuban By Odwen Rensen
Post Print Brushes, a quick overview by Tim O’Neill Marketing Buzz:
By Thom Rouse Judgment:
Judgment is one of many paradoxes in the creative process. We all cast judgment, we all crave judgment, judgment is integral to our advancement as imagemakers, and yet it is the nemesis of creativity. To be creative we must suspend judgment and allow our selves to fail. If we prejudge our work, we preclude the opportunity to be creative by foreclosing the option of ignoring the rules, overcoming the rules or utilizing old rules in a new way. I am of the belief that the creative experience is rare for a photographer. Most of our time is spent learning and mastering craft. In the rare case where we are truly creative, we are only creative the first time, and then the technique becomes just another in our bag of tricks. Evaluating our creativity is a matter of judgment, but we must not judge too soon, or we thwart those rare creative possibilities. As a young man I was terribly judgmental about many things, including areas in which I had no expertise at all. I would cast judgment about music, literature, and film and make many pronouncements about what was good and bad. As a result, I was often embarrassed by these pronouncements years later when I finally “got it” - the genius in a work of art or music that had earlier eluded me with my limited experience. I still make these errors in judgment (though most often privately and to myself) but I try to maintain a policy of being “descriptive” rather than “proscriptive”. In evaluating the work of myself and of others, I strive (not always successfully) to describe what I am judging rather
5 Video Blunders That Could Kill Your Campaign by Tim O’Neill
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Body Electric by Thom Rouse
Digital Paint Magazine - February 2011
Digital Portrait Painting Odwin Rensen Born in a town nearby Rotterdam, The Netherlands, he discovered at a young age his creative abilities. He started drawing many different things and by doing so he found his love for making portraits. Although he went on a different path in his professional career, his ambition to be an artist never left him. Throughout the years he found the ideal mix to combine his passion for painting and curiosity for technique in the form of Digital Painting. He started out with photography and photo manipulation by using Adobe Photoshop. After mastering Photoshop he began making so called smudge paintings where a photo is altered to look like a painting by using the smudge tool.
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
After making smudge paintings for a while he felt that there was something missing. Photoshop did not give him the right tools and freedom to paint the way he would like to, so he stumbled upon Corel Painter, a piece of software specialized in digital painting. This gave him the ability to move away from the smudge technique and started painting in a more traditional way. He still uses photos as a reference, but builds up his paintings in many different layers, adding more and more detail.
His style could be described as classic as he is a great admirer of the old Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. His ultimate goal would be to become a modern timeâ€™s Rembrandt. In recent years he is getting more known for his digital portrait paintings as his work can be found in some Dutch art galleries and fairs. Also has his work been published in several digital media magazines like Advanced Photoshop and Official Corel Painter Magazine.
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
For more information on commissioned portraits or general questions: Odwin Rensen email@example.com +31 6 26096394
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
“Cezanne is Rubbish”
“A friend described to me this scene which he had witnessed with amusement and outrage at a gallery showing Cezanne paintings.” http: //cargocollective.com/victorlunnroc Victor Lunn-Rockliffe Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
TrulyScene a column
John Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction My previous three columns in this magazine have consisted of a full, but summary, set of pictorial guidelines. These deal with the advantages, firstly, of image layering; secondly, of some complementary blending (of the individual image layers); and, thirdly, the inclusion of transparency (also within the individual image layers) as applicable to digital painting and drawing. In each case, all of the work used as examples was produced using Xycod’s PostworkShop software. Further, each of the examples featured outputs generated using auto-painting routines contained within that program. This month I will expand the scope a little further, to cover some aspects of masking and freehand painting. But, all the while, still using the same principles as are outlined in the preceding contributions. Just to note also that your author here has presented two webinars in the past month, as parts of the 2012 Digital Art Summit: http://www. digital-art-summit.com/membership/2012-artists/john-stevensonpostworkshop-pro/, and has been encouraged (from the online audience) to “show-off” some of PostworkShop’s capabilities with landscape photography and digital art. Plus, also, to stick closer in these columns to providing “project recipes” (a really problematic phrase, in my ever so humble opinion, but one which I do fully understand from a software user perspective). So, here goes … the source image this time features the Hook Head lighthouse in County Wexford, Ireland.
Initial Preparations An initial temptation in first examining this photograph was to crop it quite drastically – down to the area which remains colored in its companion image below. However, there is always the option of digitally Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
the first original source image - © Robert Fudali – Fotolia rendering out the entire original and then cropping at the end, so that is the path followed in this instance. In most landscape subject work it is important to not have large areas which are deeply shadowed or which contain blown-out highlights. Auto-painting a photograph without correcting for this will produce an output which does not correspond with the tonal values and colorations which conventional media artists strive to establish – for example, they only very rarely use pure black and pure white pigments in (say) an oil painting of this type of scene. It is possible to “get away” with deeply shadowed areas sometimes if they sit at the edge of the image – since they will tend to act as a barrier to the viewer’s eye moving away from a central subject (as is the case on the lower left here).
a first step in PostworkShop exploring the original source image - the colored portion is a potential cropped area Just to note: the image was made to be 2400 by 1928 pixels in size for all of the work recorded here. And I elected not to pursue any further pre-correction of the photograph, but to move on to …
Initial Painting Each of the different phases of work involved with this landscape is featured in a series of screenshots which now follow below in sequence. The first shows the establishment of a base painting layer. PostworkShop allows the assembly of the output image as a stack of Style Layers – it can be seen from each of the three Compositing editor screenshots included here – and in total there were eight layers involved in this particular project: see the center-lower section of the screen. What I have referred to as the “base painting” is just the two bottommost layers taken together. Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
- the base painting The key components in the second of these two are a custom-made tonal corrections filter and the Random Painter Style. The detailed set up of the latter can be seen in the Projects + Preview tab at the lowerright side of the screenshot. A palette knife “brush” has been selected in order to gain the output shown.
Some Detailing and Masking The next three layers up in the stack – the third, fourth and fifth from the bottom – are all identical in image content. The Random Painter settings used to build the first, which was then just duplicated thereafter, are shown in the following screenshot. The key objective here was to introduce more spatial definition. This is basically accomplished by using a different variant of the palette knife effect (as the Brush family setting), reducing the brush sizing (both minimum and maximum) and increasing the number of brushstrokes applied. 11
a second step in PostworkShop - more definition of the subject There are complementary blend modes used amongst the three intermediate layers: the third is set to Normal with an Opacity setting of 60%, the fourth is set to Darken at 45% and the uppermost is set to Lighten at 65%. (This scheme actually follows the principles outlined in the TrulyScene column in the January issue of the magazine.) The intermediate output image which could be obtained at this point is shown as the next illustration here.
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
an intermediate output - some progress? To the authorâ€™s eye there is little wrong with this, but definitely some scope for improvement. (Actually that scope came to my mind when initially examining whether or not to crop the original source photograph.) An examination of each of the first group of screenshots included here shows that a block of the layers in the center of the stack (in PostworkShop) are associated with a simple rectangular mask. Turning the mask on â€“ that is, to be active - for the three identical layers that have just been reviewed produces the next result in the sequence. Now the base painting is forming just the periphery of the new image, while the more detailed (and color saturated) layers contribute in the main/central subject area.
continuing with the second step in PostworkShop - now with the inclusion of a mask
Some Final Enhancements The final three (topmost) layers up in the stack together make up a finishing set of detailing â€“ they were produced using the Freehand Painting module (formerly called the Bitmap Editor) in PostworkShop. Layer number seven is actually just a duplicate of its predecessor. Here the lighthouse and its associated buildings can be just lightly overpainted in the clone mode. It is possible to do this using the same Brush family that was previously allocated to the auto-painting Random Painter Style. And also, to save all of the settings which are included in the screenshot of the Freehand Painting editor as a PostworkShop Preset, for reuse at a later point. Layer number six is in Normal mode, at an opacity setting of 50%; layer seven in Soft Light at 75%.
the setup for the third step in PostworkShop - clone painting from the original source image Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
The two individual results obtained for these final layers are shown in the composite illustration panel which is titled “the two finishing steps”. The upper screen shows the refined but localized painting (or re-painting?) of the main subject; the lower one is a simple outline or “frame” for the main center of focus in the overall composition. Just as in Photoshop any of the individual components of the overall image stack can be de-activated, including these two finishing elements, plus any of the masks. Moreover, the full eight layer assembly can be saved within PostworkShop as a .psd format Photoshop file, for any subsequent manipulations or adjustments.
a final output
the two finishing steps - using freehand painting, via cloning
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
- the completed transformation The final two output illustrations included are further examples of the results of this specific project. The second of the two is essentially a “one-click” rework of the other (replacing the instance of the Random Painter Style in the lowest painting layer in the stack with a custom sketching Style). Producing such renderings, where combinations of auto- and freehand-painted components are included together, is a fascinating aspect of the PostworkShop toolkit. Artwork which is produced via image editing software can often benefit from this type of pictorial “segregation”. The viewer’s attention is both directed to and held at the central subject, by the original photographic composition itself as well as by an added construction. For example, I have recently found Photoshop Actions which were built and circulated for exploring photo-art work almost ten years ago and which have a special acronym appended to their name: CoF, standing for that “center-of-focus” phrase 14
already used above. (These Actions actually had a very similar objective to that which underlies the work I have described both this month and last.)
using a beta version of v.3 of the PostworkShop software. It is expected that PostworkShop 3 will be available as a full commercial release during the next month. There is now a blog featuring the new components and workflow options of this new release – you can find it here: http:// blog.postworkshop.net/ Finally, the tonal correction filtering which was included in both the initial painting and the intermediate detailing segments of the work described utilized a custom-built Style – it can be previewed and downloaded at this link: http://postworkshop.net/style/ midtone-pre-correction
the fully active layer stack in PostworkShop
- eight layers (some duplicated) - five individual renderings - but, only two Styles (one duplicated), and, - just one mask
Wrap-up It is hoped that the more prescriptive make-up of this column is helpful to a broader range of users. Please remember: any of the individual steps that are included in the three segments of the column can be worked on alone. I’d certainly welcome any feedback or questions you have – please just send them to: email@example.com Just as last month, the work contained in the column was completed Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
an alternative final output - another (and exchanged) transformation - in a “digital mixed media” mode
The Old Masters Paul Cezanne By Nadia Lim Paul Cezanne is associated with several artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He’s often listed with Impressionists and post-Impressionists. Both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso credited Cezanne with being a forerunner or inspiration to their own art (Fauvism and Cubism), and he influenced Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and other revolutionaries in the development of modern art. Yet a closer look at
his life and work shows his intent wasn’t necessarily to adhere to a specific style, but to make “something solid and lasting, like the art in the museums”. Born to the founder of a banking firm on January 19th, 1839, Cezanne was different from some of his famous contemporaries in that he never lacked for money. He could afford to devote himself fully to what he wanted to paint, rather than taking time out to paint what was popular and would sell. He attended law school, but finally managed to convince his banker father that art was his true purpose. He moved to Paris, where he met and became close to Camille Pissarro, an impressionist who had a strong Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
influence on Cezanne’s art. The two of them became close friends, and often took painting excursions together. Cezanne’s style changed over the course of his life, going from somber, heavy figures to lighter, airy brushwork influenced by the Impressionists, and then on to simpler forms that were more geometric or architectural. He wanted to represent nature using “the cylinder, the sphere, the cone”, and his work led to artistic advances with single-point perspective that influenced others. Cezanne’s paintings were refused by the Paris Salon many years. He submitted from 1864 to 1882, when they finally accepted a portrait of his father. He exhibited twice with the Impressionists, and exhibited at other venues as well, with his first solo exhibition organized by the dealer Ambroise Vollard. Cezanne experienced financial success and public recognition, but also endured ridicule and hostility aimed at his work and his friendship with Emile Zola, (a writer he had gone to school with and who later became involved in exonerating Alfred Dreyfus, an army officer falsely convicted of treason). Cezanne painted a variety of genres and was good at all of them – landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and nudes. He painted his family, local peasants, children, and his art dealer, as well as props that are still on display at his studio in France. Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Cezanne lived a rather dramatic life, and he was known to be rude and angry, insecure and defensive, shy and depressed. His relationship with his family (especially his wife and son) was rocky, with separations and reunifications. He parted ways with friends, too, including Emile Zola. His death was as dramatic as his life. Caught in a storm, he chose to stay out in it for a couple of hours, then collapsed on his way home. He died several days later of pneumonia, October 22nd, 1906. The city of Aix en Provence, where he was born, lived when he wasn’t 17
in Paris, died, and was buried, gives out the Cezanne Medal for innovation and special achievement in the arts. Images http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_082.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jas_de_bouffan.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_185.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_130.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_107.jpg
Sources http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cezanne/bio.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cezanne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9zanne_medal http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cezanne/style.html
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Philosophy By Thom Rouse Judgment:
Judgment is one of many paradoxes in the creative process. We all cast judgment, we all crave judgment, judgment is integral to our advancement as imagemakers, and yet it is the nemesis of creativity. To be creative we must suspend judgment and allow our selves to fail. If we prejudge our work, we preclude the opportunity to be creative by foreclosing the option of ignoring the rules, overcoming the rules or utilizing old rules in a new way. I am of the belief that the creative experience is rare for a photographer. Most of our time is spent learning and mastering craft. In the rare case where we are truly creative, we are only creative the first time, and then the technique becomes just another in our bag of tricks. Evaluating our creativity is a matter of judgment, but we must not judge too soon, or we thwart those rare creative possibilities. As a young man I was terribly judgmental about many things, including areas in which I had no expertise at all. I would cast judgment about music, literature, and film and make many pronouncements about what was good and bad. As a result, I was often embarrassed by these pronouncements years later when I finally “got it” - the genius in a work of art or music that had earlier eluded me with my limited experience. I still make these errors in judgment (though most often privately and to myself) but I try to maintain a policy of being “descriptive” rather than “proscriptive”. In evaluating the work of myself and of others, I strive (not always successfully) to describe what I am judging rather Body Electric by Thom Rouse
Digital Paint Magazine - February March 2012 2011
m o r f t s A Bla ast the P 20 4
than insist on proclaiming something good or bad based solely on my consideration. It seems to me that I learn more, I share more, and I avoid a good deal of embarrassment by adopting this policy. That said, I do tend to get annoyed by those among us who proclaim an image good or bad based solely on his or her paradigm for image making. As an image-maker and as an organization member, I am enthusiastic about the vast range of image making styles and paradigms. Nothing could be better for our organization and our businesses than that we are distinct and unique from each other. It is my hope and wish that we enable, rather than discourage, a diversity of style within our organizations. If all our images are alike, we become a commodity.
discovery: From the lessons of art history I have come to the opinion that we are discoverers more than we are the creators of images, a concept implied by Michelangelo when he told his assistant that he would not carve David – David was already contained within the block of marble - he would simple remove the marble that was not David. Within any defined space, at any given resolution there are a finite number of possibilities. All possible images exist in potential. It is our ambition as imagemakers to recognize and harvest those images, among all the possible images, that most appropriately represent the ideas, concepts, experience and sensibility of the maker. I don’t mean to sound “artsy” or “new agey” about this notion. I suggest the idea simply as a mental attitude that I find a more practical Digital 2012 Digital Paint Paint Magazine Magazine -- March February 2011
approach to image making than taking on the tremendous burden of “creating” an image.
Visual literacy: I am a strong proponent of the notion that visual literacy is equal in importance to technical competence and craft in image making. Because photography is an equipment intensive media, we all to easily lose sight of the fact that no matter how well we know f stops and shutter speeds, cameras and software, if we are to create good images we must first know what they look like. I am a student (but not at all a scholar) of the history of art. Since our earliest recorded history our species has been banging on logs to make music and drawing on cave walls to make images. And the same visual ideas and concepts seem to resonate, not only through the decades, but also through the centuries and millennia. There are no new ideas – we simply rediscover and redeploy the same ideas within the context of our selves and our cultures. Picasso took inspiration from drawings on the cave walls of Lescaux France made some 18,000 years before – Jackson Pollock and action painting must pay homage to the calligraphy of Chinese monks. Gustave Courbet decided to paint real people doing real things as opposed to the painting the aristocracy posed in elegant formality. (Much like many of our current brides who wish to have their weddings photographed as photojournalism and not in what they regard as the “posey wosey” formality of their parents wedding photographs). And what we consider classical posing was not invented by modern photographers, nor during the Renaissance,
but in ancient Greece with the statues of Hermes and Aphrodite. We are tiny cogs in a long history of art making. We would do well to respect and study the traditions. Time will tell, but perhaps one of us will make a tiny but unique addition to the vast history of human art.
equipment: I have done my best (and not always successfully) to avoid being seduced by the equipment of our craft. Although a late bloomer, I did enter the field early enough to gain experience with film and traditional methods. In those days, a Hassaleblad purchased in 1970 was nearly identical to one purchased in 1990. Chemistry, paper and emulsions changed periodically but remained fundamentally the same in principle. Learning our technical craft was difficult, and there was always something new to learn, but we could, for the most part, become proficient with our equipment and ignore it to be able to concentrate on the images. With the digital transition our equipment and software options expanded exponentially, and the current state of the art becomes old school in almost no time at all. We are in a constant state of flux and must expend a great deal of our attention just trying to keep up. As much as I have personally embraced the opportunities of the digital transition, I am concerned that it’s rapid progress deters us from concentrating on images. (It’s hard to remember you came to drain the swamp when you’re up to your butt in alligators) I am discouraged when a new version of Photoshop is announced. I would have a 21 5
lifetime of opportunity available if Photoshop had stopped with version .3. But I push myself to keep up, and three months after I adopt the latest version I can’t conceive of life without it. I continually remind myself that “it’s about the image” and that I want to maintain control of my images – I’m not ready to concede the creation of my image to the software. I feel a need for vigilance in not ceding the process to the equipment.
Process and style: It has been a recent project for me to contemplate the nature of style: what is it and how is it acquired. I feel that I have achieved a recognizable style but I’d never contemplated how style occurs. During my early years in photography, I was consumed by just learning the technical craft. Although I’d considered the issue of style and was confused by it, I set the issue aside until recently. In retrospect I think that style finds you – you do not seek out a style. “Ready, Fire, Aim!” Looking for style is a little like looking for love - the more it is sought, the more elusive it becomes. It had concerned me that, while documenting artwork for students and faculty at a local university, I sensed that so much emphasis was placed on achieving a recognizable, individual style that, for many students, a gimmick was taking the place of genuine style. I thought that faculty emphasis on style was an inhibition to student style development, but I had no idea of how one develops style. I’ve come to the opinion that style occurs as the result of a number of factors and that these factors are all part of an individual’s “process”. I define “process” as all the myriad elements that ultimately contribute to an individual’s way of making images. These would include not only equipment and subject choices, but also such things as musical taste, religious views, and cultural background. My thought is that an inventory of one’s “process” might yield, not a style in itself, but a map and a guide towards style and an opportunity to identify elements that might be changed or be altered to influence style. I’d encourage all photographers to construct a “process inventory” for themselves. Such issues (among many) might include “Do you prefer to shoot at f2.8 or f11?” “Do you use a tripod or do you prefer handheld?” “Do you spend 3 hours setting up the shot and take 3 exposures or spend 3 minutes to set up the shot and take 3,000 exposures?” “Do you love digital or do you miss film?” These along with many other personal questions about subject matter, personal insecurities i.e. (“I’m not technical enough” “I’m not creative enough”) musical taste, favorite colors etc. comprise a “Process Inventory”. There are no correct answers, only an individual’s answers. Perhaps the only wrong Charles Street by Thom Rouse
March 2012 Digital Paint Magazine - February 2011
answer is to answer “all of the above” to every question, in which case one might look a little harder at what one’s true preferences are. Developing a “Process Inventory” was a revelation to me. I contemplate it often and wonder what will happen if I change one element or another of my process. Deliberately changing elements of my process has become the source for many self-assignments and the pivot point for the occasionally need to get out of my rut. And ultimately, more than any other factor, I’ve come to believe that style is the result of three things”: • Being true to one’s self • Passion • Perseverance
rigHt Brain – leFt Brain High on the list of overused and misunderstood concepts (in my opinion) is the notion that we are primarily right brained or left brained with an emphasis on becoming more right brained and hence more creative. Although we all certainly have a propensity to work from one side or the other we clearly need both halves of our brains to be successful image-makers. In the original research of split brain patients by Gazzaniga and Sperry it was shown that individuals lacking communication between hemispheres of their brains exhibited serious cognitive deficits – deficits that would make it very difficult to navigate everyday life let alone to make successful images. We clearly need both halves of our brains to succeed as image-makers, the logical, technical left as well as the intuitive, spatial right. I Digital 2012 Digital Paint Paint Magazine Magazine -- March February 2011
Symbol Tree by Thom Rouse
hope that the popular notions of right brain vs. left-brain functions return to the realization that we need both halves of our brains. The
two halves are complementary to almost any task and the ability of an older individual to integrate the functions of both hemispheres 23 7
may well be the neurological definition of wisdom. Another catchphrase I believe it is time to retire due to overuse is “Thinking outside the box”. There is a danger in trying so hard to work outside the “box” that one is plastered so closely to its outside that the work remains defined by the box. On the other hand, it’s important to remember there is a whole lot of good stuff still inside the “box”. In either case, I’m personally ready to retire “The Box” as a metaphor for creative thinking – I fear it’s become an “inside the box” platitude.
VisualiZation – Pre and Post: At one time, I felt that if I did not previsualize my entire image, than I was somehow cheating. I no longer feel that way. For my images, and for the images of others my only concern is the image. I have great interest in the process, but I make no judgments in regard to the “rightness” or “wrongness” of how they were created. The matter of “process” is a personal one – but the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is the image. It is of no concern whether the maker took 3 exposures or culled just the right exposure from 3,000. The questions about Mac or PC, Cannon or Nikon, pre vs. post visualization are all trivia. The image, no matter how it was created, has the final word. In terms of my own process, I create images in roughly equal proportions, in one of three ways. About a third of the time I have a very specific and detailed visualization about what the final image will be. About a third of the time I start with a specific visualization that evolves during the course of its development, Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012 February 2011
sometimes in the camera room – sometimes in the computer. And, about a third of the time, I start with no visualization at all. Something occurs during shooting or, I’m simply fooling around on the computer and an image begins to take shape. I have no advice to others on what might be the best way. My only theory is that the most important rules are the ones we make for ourselves. Sometimes the pivot points in our careers seem to be overcoming something we learned years ago and have accepted as gospel ever since. It’s another paradox of creativity – we must work hard to learn our craft and then we must work hard to un-learn the aspects of our craft that hold us back. Assumptions about the “right way” sometimes need to be overcome in order to advance our creativity. Once we have found the first “right” answer it’s time to find the next “right” answer. MEANING vs. ExPERIENCE My images are often considered “non traditional” although I jump at the chance to point out the very traditional influences in my work. I am often asked, “What does it mean?” My frivolous answer is that “meaning” is in the mind of the credit card holder. When I’m on the verge of a sale in a gallery – the image means exactly what the buyer wants it to mean. But more seriously, I think that meaning in itself is irrelevant to an image. We want to experience an image, not to know its meaning. I perceive meaning in many of my images, and other viewers, I hope, will perceive entirely different meanings, but without the experience of the image, the meaning is
irrelevant. Sometimes, it’s the very mystery and ambiguity of an image that conveys the experience. No matter how significant the “meaning”, if an image is not well crafted to convey an “experience” to at least one other viewer, it fails as art. You can tell me about your grandmother, her silver hair and blue eyes, but an image gives me the “experience” of your grandmother. “Meaning” is conveyed by words – images are to create an experience. We create images because some concepts are ineffable – they can’t be conveyed by words. If we knew what it meant, we wouldn’t need to make the image. In the few cases where I’ve constructed an image based on a meaning, they have failed miserably. I perceive personal meaning in my own work, but it only comes to light after I’ve finished the image and I have the insight that “Oh, that’s what that was about”. I am reluctant to share those personal meanings for fear of diminishing the opportunity of others to perceive their own meanings. I hope that many of my images are sufficiently ambiguous to allow a variety of “meanings” to be perceived based on the individual life experience of a specific viewer. But far more important, I hope that viewers will “experience” my work. As a culture, we are far more musically literate, than visually literate. No one asks what a melody means. We appreciate the experience of a piece of music or we do not. We don’t ask what the melody means, or rarely even what the lyrics mean. http://www.thomrouse.com/
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Post Print Brushes, a quick overview
By Tim O’Neill One of the things that can stymie the creativity of an artist is having too large a selection of brushes and trying to figure out what each brush is used for. This is especially true for our software programs where we have thousands to choose from but it also holds true in the real media world when they each have a physical cost and purpose. So I thought we could take a quick look at some of the information that surrounds brushes. The first thing is that many think you should really keep your brushes separate if you paint in a few different mediums. You can interchange water color, gouache and acrylic brushes without much challenge but you should really have a separate set of brushes for your oil paints particularly if you use nice natural brushes for your oils. Having said that there are differences between brushes used for acrylics and brushes used for watercolor, the primary difference being the handle. Typically oil AND acrylic brushes have a much longer handle to accommodate us standing and painting at the easel. Water color brushes, stencil brushes and most craft brushes have a shorter handle because most often the artist is sitting. I have always been told that keeping your oil and acrylic brushes separate is good practice because acrylics are very hard on brushes and oil and water don’t mix. I searched high and low for a reason to actually use different brushes for both mediums OTHER than acrylics potentially ruining natural brushes What about if you only have synthetic brushes? I called my friends at Golden in the tech area. Here is the deal; IF you are not diligent about cleaning your brushes it could make a mess of a painting. If you still have oil in your brush and begin trying to work Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
with acrylic it won’t be pretty. If you keep your brushes cleaned and maintained properly it really is no problem. One just has to realize that you can’t switch from painting oils to painting with acrylic without thoroughly cleaning your brush. Other considerations for choosing brushes have to do where the hair, the brush fiber comes from. There are a variety of natural sources like horse, pig, camel, goat and sable perhaps being the highest quality. The 26
other side of the coin is the synthetics. While synthetic brushes are generally less durable they are considerably cheaper. As I am a low volume painter and still have kids at home that like to paint in the studio I use a ton of synthetic brushes. My natural brushes are specifically chosen and generally kept in hiding. Likewise if you choose to work in acrylics I would not spend the money for natural brushes. While the upper tier artist friends I have, mostly who paint in oil, cringe and scoff at my brushes I have found they serve me very well and I donâ€™t have thousands invested. Perhaps a different brush selection would bring me up to their level and I could get fifty to a hundred thousand for a painting instead of four to eight, ya think? Most likely not. So I am content with mostly cheap synthetic brushes with a few carefully chosen natural brushes thrown in. Another big consideration before one purchases any brushes is to recognize how you paint or how you want to paint. Scale is of major importance but so is technique. I tend to paint most often in the 24x30 or 30x40 size. That is the most common size I print from my trusty Canon and therefore the scale that tends to be most comfortable for me. Brush consideration is different than if I were painting 8x10 or 11x14 all of the time. As mentioned technique and how heavy one paints comes into play. As I do my composition and most of my painting digitally I work much differently than if I were to ground my canvas and start my painting from charcoal or Vandyke brown acrylic for the under painting. When I start painting with traditional media on my print that is much different obviously than starting from just a grounded canvas. I tend to use many layers of thin glazes and generally not much on the impasto side of things. Others use a very heavy hand and like thick and heavy brush strokes. Each approach will take a different type of brush. Be sure to send us an email letting us know what topics related to finishing your painting you might want to hear about. Next month we will look at shapes of brushes and their uses. Wednesday April 4th we will have a FREE webinar that outlines a few traditional media techniques. Watch your inbox April 3rd for the URL. Space is limited to 100 participants. Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
Marketing Buzz By Tim O’Neill
5 Video Blunders That Could Kill Your Campaign Running a successful video marketing campaign is a science In our final article specific to video marketing we will look at a few things to avoid. If you follow the formula you’ll have a successful video campaign. If you ignore the proven strategies, you risk killing the success of your campaign. All to often, video marketers get caught up with one or two aspects of video marketing, maybe focusing on the production while ignoring distribution challenges or vice versa but running a successful campaign involves paying attention to all the important aspects of video marketing. Let’s run through some of the most common mistakes people make when marketing their product or service with video. I think we have personally made all of these mistakes. Making Just A Single Video You ever hear the expression ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’? Making just one video and expecting any kind of significant return is naive. Too many people think that uploading a video introducing their company, product or service is sufficient. This may be the case if you’re trying to rank for very specific long-tail keywords in the SERPS but if you are trying to get your brand name out there and build relationships, you need to create a lot more than one video. And here’s why. Typically, when a video goes viral, it is not the first the company or individual has produced. In fact, it may be one of many videos that have been attracting a following over time. To be successful in video marketing you need to use your video to establish a connection with your target audience who will then support your content, often sending it viral. To build up this relationship takes time and lots of videos! Bad Timing Often you’ll make a video to promote a product launch, live event, trade show or presentation. However, timing is everything and too Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012
often video promotion campaigns are not launched in time to allow a significant build up and lead in to the event they promote. Videos are best used to get people talking, sharing and generally excited about an event. Typically companies and individuals will spend too much time promoting the video after the event when all of the buzz has died down. Promoting after the fact is a big mistake. Be sure to spend more time on video promotion leading up to a key event and not rely solely on post launch promotion. No Call To Action Never assume that your viewers will spontaneously take the action you want to trigger from your video content. Video viewers are easily distracted, have short attention spans and will forget about you very quickly as soon as the play buttons stops. They won’t seek out your website or opt-in to your email list ... unless you ask them to do so. Without an explicit call to action in your video content, your campaign is likely to bomb. Use explicit directions inviting users to take action. Better still, offer incentives such a promo codes, contests and teasers to engage them and pull them into your funnel. Neglecting Social Media The whole point of producing a marketing video is to generate buzz around you and your content. The best way to do this is with social media. Social media should be an integral part of your video marketing strategy. Used effectively, it can be a powerful force that will drive viewers to your videos and can often be responsible for content going viral. Sharing your YouTube content on Facebook and Twitter couldn’t be easier now. YouTube even now offers the ability to have new video notifications updated instantly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Lazy Tagging & Descriptions It vitally important that you tag your videos with keywords that are 28
relevant to the content. This is critical to your video being found on line by the audience you are targeting. Donâ€™t be tempted to steal a ride on popular, in-demand keywords. Ultimately this will harm your campaign. Users who expect one type of content (indicated in tags) but find the content is unrelated are very unforgiving, not only that but to my thinking there are moral ethics issues here...you are lying. Make sure your tags and descriptions are true to your content. In this way, youâ€™ll receive far more targeted traffic who could potentially be loyal followers. Loyal followers share content and you could generate more views in this way than you could from spammy tags.
Digital Paint Magazine - March 2012