It saddens me to forward the news that our good friend and fellow photographer, Matt Quinn, has passed.
As some of you may know, he had been battling cancer for a while and was on his way to recovery.
Please take a moment to remember him in your prayers.
"Sometimes imagination is no more than randomness applied." —Piet Francke

Image Processinglearning to see

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Re: learning to see

Post by Psjunkie » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:05 am

Yes much more detail......I'm watching

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Post by Duck » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:14 am

PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:55 am
[...] Shapes started to form and I could push them, size them to what I wanted.. kind of anyway.. This is like going to Mars, not very realistic, but a lot of fun never-the-less.

At this point I would say, "press on." As I mentioned, I am not one to promoted this method of painting simply because you are relying on layer masks to create an image. To put it in photography terms as a comparison; imagine working on a landscape photo that instead of being on three channels (RGB) you have a three layers of flat color. One red, one green and one blue and next to those you had three layer masks, one for each color, with the detail rendered in values of light and dark. You would be grossly restricted by the lack of adjustments you could make to, say, the orange values or the brown values. To make your current process work with color you would need to do a lot of converting to a useable format when you could easily have started at the converted stage to begin with. In short, it's a convoluted way of working and probably putting unnecessary stress on your learning curve than you really need. This really is an advanced technique.

Sorry to sound like a beratement. It's not my intention but, on the bright side, it is a great way to learn how masks work and interact with color channels. That knowledge will be of benefit in all kinds of editing techniques.

Below I created my own value study of Conan. I made sure to save the in-betweens so you can see the progression. I filled the canvas with 50% gray and selected one of the oil painting brushes with pressure sensitivity to control opacity just for texture. The first image is a simple blocking in of dark and light values. I began much the same way you did, laying the dark value down to get the general outline and proportions. From there it was a matter of switching back and forth between white and black on the brush to get the various tonal values. I work with the pen in my right hand and my left hand on the 'X' and 'Alt' keys for toggling colors and point sampling colors respectively. I used middle gray to refine the silhouette, erasing and adding to as needed. You can see that the first rendition is far from refined. Each step gets a bit more refined as I went along. Once I had all the basic tones in the last image, I fine tuned it with a little liquify to further get my proportions right and then some burning to even out the midtones.
Conan-Value-Study.jpg

This whole study, while far from perfect, only took me about 1 1/2 hours while watching TV. Of course I have my background in illustration working for me but the main point is that you don't need to make the process complicated. I used one layer for the drawing and a second for the reference image. No masks, no texture, no blend modes. Just straight pigment onto canvas. From here I would continue refining the painting to finer and finer detail but since this was a study I left it here. If you find yourself continuing to struggle, consider restarting in this manner. The key (and you mentioned it earlier) is not to get lost in the details. Start off with the broad strokes. Also, by keeping it to a single layer there is no need to track what layer you're on, what blend mode you're using and, because you are working with layer masks, how your brush is affecting those layers.

Hopefully this gives you an alternate view of your project. It was definitely fun doing the sketches as it gave me much needed practice myself. Trust me when I say, it gets easier with practice.

On a related note. When I do an illustration I go through many iterations of the drawing. The more complex, the more I redraw the image. When I was tattooing, it was by using a light table to trace over and refine, trace over and refine, trace over and refine some more. Along with cutting and pasting and copying sections on a copier. :D I find beginning artists get frustrated when they are asked to "draw it again" because they feel they aren't good enough or that their attempt failed in some manner. It's not. It's part of the workflow and something every artist should get used to from the get go. After awhile you will learn where to shortcut the process by doing some of the work in your head and some of the work on the drawing itself. Also, it's always more difficult trying to copy someone else's work rather than creating something from scratch. When you copy you tend to compare against the original and you will notice every single little "flaw". When you originate a drawing, there are no flaws to compare against other than those self imposed from the vision in your head. Hope that made sense.

Anyhow, enough of my rambling. Looking forward to your continued endeavor.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Post by minniev » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:56 pm

I continue to follow this conversation with great interest, between a practicing artist and a learning artist. While I am neither, I am a wishful non-artist who believes that learning more about drawing and painting will help me create better composited images, my current interest. Towards that end, I have enrolled in a basic digital painting class, but have not progressed past the stage of learning about the various tools. This conversation is above my level, but I'm still learning things from eavesdropping.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by Duck » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:11 pm

minniev wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:56 pm
[...] I am a wishful non-artist who believes that learning more about drawing and painting will help me create better composited images, my current interest. [...]

You are 100% correct with this comparison. The tools and techniques of image manipulation for painting, while slightly different in application, shares the same underlying principles with photo manipulation and editing. Both use the same RGB architecture, it's just one is created manually while the other is created with a machine.

With digital painting, because you are manually controlling the creation of the pixel arrangement, while frustrating to many, can reveal so much about how Photoshop works than just moving a few sliders back and forth.

Good for you for stepping into the painting pool. :D
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Post by minniev » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:35 pm

Duck wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:11 pm
minniev wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:56 pm
[...] I am a wishful non-artist who believes that learning more about drawing and painting will help me create better composited images, my current interest. [...]

You are 100% correct with this comparison. The tools and techniques of image manipulation for painting, while slightly different in application, shares the same underlying principles with photo manipulation and editing. Both use the same RGB architecture, it's just one is created manually while the other is created with a machine.

With digital painting, because you are manually controlling the creation of the pixel arrangement, while frustrating to many, can reveal so much about how Photoshop works than just moving a few sliders back and forth.

Good for you for stepping into the painting pool. :D
I quickly learned that sliders are only the beginning. Only by using masking, which is in essence painting, can you control what effect goes where, and to what degree. So I practice. But my level is the equivalent of beginning to learn scales in music.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by PietFrancke » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:02 pm

thank you Duck - I have eliminated that mask/base thing. Very cool work, and Fast. If I can come anywhere close to that I will be happy.

I figure the things that "make paintings work", are basically the same things that can make a photograph look better. Getting form, values right, working with light... we play with them all the time, and often our images take more of a step backwards than they take a step forwards. I am convinced more than a little bit that the foundational knowledge and required skills of required for painting are the same as what a photo artist needs to advance his/her work.

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Post by Duck » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:57 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:02 pm
[...] I am convinced more than a little bit that the foundational knowledge and required skills of required for painting are the same as what a photo artist needs to advance his/her work.

You are so right. there are probably more similarities than there are differences. Here is a off the cuff summary I came up with;

The artist formulates a concept in their mind • The photographer formulates a concept in their mind
The artist researches and assembles a variety of reference photos for the project • The photographer researches and collects a variety of props and set pieces for the project
or...
The artists encounters a scene that would make a great painting • The photographers encounters a scene that would make a great photo
The artist plans out the composition prior to putting paint to canvas • The photographer plans out the composition prior to clicking the shutter
The artist painstakingly paints all the elements required for the composition • The photographer manipulates the camera to properly record the scene
Through refining and editing, the artist finnesses the composition to match their vision • Through editing and refining, the photographer finnesses the capture to match their vision
Satisfied, the artist signs it and calls it done • Satisfied, the photographer watermarks it and calls it done

An oversimplification? Yeah, maybe, but it's not that far off the mark. The approaches to the task may be similar but the process varies at the creation stage. As I mentioned, one is created manually while the other is captured by machine, and yes, there is a long debate about "artistic merit" on both sides. For the artist, it's "anyone can splash paint on a canvas and call it art!", while the other camp says, "anyone can click a button and call themselves a photographer." :lol: But I digress...

The key to any skill is practice. Once you become familiar with the digital painting process you will start seeing the connections to your workflow with photo editing, and vice versa. That is because, at it's core, the fundamentals really are the same.

If anyone reading this really wants to challenge themselves and their ability to "SEE" not just "LOOK", consider doing the cardboard box exercise I mentioned earlier. Set up a small, indescript, plain brown cardboard box on a table and sketch out the various angles. The key is to look at the relationships of all the angles to each other and to the space it inhabits. Do that a couple of times then introduce a second box placed at a different orientation and not overlapping the first box in any way. You'll basically have two boxes that don't touch on your paper/screen. When you are done, the drawings should look like they are properly occupying their space and have a feeling of mass and substance. Easier said than done. :D

If you take me up on this, post your results. :cheers:
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Post by minniev » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:16 pm

Duck wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:57 pm
PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:02 pm
[...] I am convinced more than a little bit that the foundational knowledge and required skills of required for painting are the same as what a photo artist needs to advance his/her work.

You are so right. there are probably more similarities than there are differences. Here is a off the cuff summary I came up with;

The artist formulates a concept in their mind • The photographer formulates a concept in their mind
The artist researches and assembles a variety of reference photos for the project • The photographer researches and collects a variety of props and set pieces for the project
or...
The artists encounters a scene that would make a great painting • The photographers encounters a scene that would make a great photo
The artist plans out the composition prior to putting paint to canvas • The photographer plans out the composition prior to clicking the shutter
The artist painstakingly paints all the elements required for the composition • The photographer manipulates the camera to properly record the scene
Through refining and editing, the artist finnesses the composition to match their vision • Through editing and refining, the photographer finnesses the capture to match their vision
Satisfied, the artist signs it and calls it done • Satisfied, the photographer watermarks it and calls it done

An oversimplification? Yeah, maybe, but it's not that far off the mark. The approaches to the task may be similar but the process varies at the creation stage. As I mentioned, one is created manually while the other is captured by machine, and yes, there is a long debate about "artistic merit" on both sides. For the artist, it's "anyone can splash paint on a canvas and call it art!", while the other camp says, "anyone can click a button and call themselves a photographer." :lol: But I digress...

The key to any skill is practice. Once you become familiar with the digital painting process you will start seeing the connections to your workflow with photo editing, and vice versa. That is because, at it's core, the fundamentals really are the same.

If anyone reading this really wants to challenge themselves and their ability to "SEE" not just "LOOK", consider doing the cardboard box exercise I mentioned earlier. Set up a small, indescript, plain brown cardboard box on a table and sketch out the various angles. The key is to look at the relationships of all the angles to each other and to the space it inhabits. Do that a couple of times then introduce a second box placed at a different orientation and not overlapping the first box in any way. You'll basically have two boxes that don't touch on your paper/screen. When you are done, the drawings should look like they are properly occupying their space and have a feeling of mass and substance. Easier said than done. :D

If you take me up on this, post your results. :cheers:
My practice sessions involve 1 to 3 little boys aged 4 to 9. We take turns finding a household object or toy, set out sketch paper and pencils, set a timer usually 3-5 minutes and after we are done we get someone to judge them. Each of us is working at our own level.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by PietFrancke » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:10 am

Duck wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:57 pm

An oversimplification? Yeah, maybe, but it's not that far off the mark. The approaches to the task may be similar but the process varies at the creation stage. As I mentioned, one is created manually while the other is captured by machine, and yes, there is a long debate about "artistic merit" on both sides. For the artist, it's "anyone can splash paint on a canvas and call it art!", while the other camp says, "anyone can click a button and call themselves a photographer." :lol: But I digress...

The key to any skill is practice. Once you become familiar with the digital painting process you will start seeing the connections to your workflow with photo editing, and vice versa. That is because, at it's core, the fundamentals really are the same.

If anyone reading this really wants to challenge themselves and their ability to "SEE" not just "LOOK", consider doing the cardboard box exercise I mentioned earlier. Set up a small, indescript, plain brown cardboard box on a table and sketch out the various angles. The key is to look at the relationships of all the angles to each other and to the space it inhabits. Do that a couple of times then introduce a second box placed at a different orientation and not overlapping the first box in any way. You'll basically have two boxes that don't touch on your paper/screen. When you are done, the drawings should look like they are properly occupying their space and have a feeling of mass and substance. Easier said than done. :D

If you take me up on this, post your results. :cheers:
I have the perfect card board box in mind - Conan will need to take a break for tonight. A thought artist were safe from the "it isn't art BS", but I see your point about with the paint splashing comment. I feel bad ... I have not practiced yet today... ON IT!

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Post by PietFrancke » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:13 am

minniev wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:16 pm

My practice sessions involve 1 to 3 little boys aged 4 to 9. We take turns finding a household object or toy, set out sketch paper and pencils, set a timer usually 3-5 minutes and after we are done we get someone to judge them. Each of us is working at our own level.
Ha! Your husband needs to learn photography. Perhaps he could learn by taking a shot of you working with your "1 to 3 little boys aged 4 to 9".. This is SO awesome, and I have a mental image of you doing this that will carry me through 2019. The image in my mind is something that Norman Rockwell would have done!

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