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Thread: Smudge overs

  1. #1
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    Post Smudge overs

    I have a new nickname for painting over a photograph on a layer, I call it a smudge over.

    My example: http://bit.ly/8gMyIs

    I have done a few paintings using this technique, but I feel that it is totally cheating and I feel guilty painting this way. I know there are no rules with how to use any application, painter X has an autopaint feature too, choosing the colours from the image. I am trying to get away from using it. Its just too easy create a picture.

    Saying that, smudge over painting is good for beginners trying to practice with the different tools.

    I was an traditional artist before I discovered digital art and yeh I used tracing paper but after that my art was pain-staking and took sometimes 3 weeks to complete a drawing, now its only taking me 3 hours to 3 days maximum.

    There are some very talented artists on the forum that don't do smudge overs at all.

    What are you thoughts on this practice?
    You can view all my other artwork here http://spookyjules.blogspot.co.uk/

  2. #2
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    Hi Jules,

    What exactly are you referring to in that pic as 'smudge over"? Do you mean putting the painting into soft focus?
    Please explain.

  3. #3
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    Jules, your picture is lovely!

    I find it a very relaxing way to play with paint and colour without worrying about composition. I lay down the oil paint and play with the palette knife. It's like a digital colouring book.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jules View Post
    I have a new nickname for painting over a photograph on a layer, I call it a smudge over.

    My example: http://bit.ly/8gMyIs

    I have done a few paintings using this technique, but I feel that it is totally cheating and I feel guilty painting this way. I know there are no rules with how to use any application, painter X has an autopaint feature too, choosing the colours from the image. I am trying to get away from using it. Its just too easy create a picture.

    Saying that, smudge over painting is good for beginners trying to practice with the different tools.
    I totally agree with you.

    It is maybe something like the digital form of 'painting after numbers' with one
    of these complete painting sets containing the canvas with the outlines, in
    them numbers printed and a color pot for every number.

    Somehow such software features, of course, devalue art and make them a
    massproduct that anybody can produce without knowledge and practicing.

    Music made the same development some years ago.

    Sometimes, when I see traced paintings here in the forum, I ask myself why
    people do paintings like that? They are using photos and trace them as
    realistic as possible so the painting still look like photos after tracing it. That is really
    weird! There is not much difference to using a Photoshop filter.
    'Look, mom! How realistic I can trace a photo!'

    Painting books for adults?


    Maybe in the future real paintings become more precious?
    And all realistic digital paintings which could come from a photo will
    be totally worthless and unwanted.

    Regards.
    Kunst muss nicht immer kompliziert sein!

  5. #5
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    Yes I agree with you there narf, it is like a painting by numbers. I am going to contradict myself slightly here though, it would be so hard to paint from real life, plein air (in the field) digitally, unless you are lucky enough to own digital drawing pad (cintiq and similar) hooked up to a laptop you can take round with you. I too find it tricky to paint a picture without a reference and 99% of the time use a photo, it still hard to paint just using a ref image alone without tracing anything. Painting staight onto a screen without anything to follow is very difficult, unless you are very gifted and im not! And yeh mass produced art, all of it very good mind, but yes I will use your analogy regarding music, suppose its akin to playing around with settings in the demo song section on a digital synthesizer. I have noticed however on the forum that artists are starting to move away from this way of painting with artrage.
    You can view all my other artwork here http://spookyjules.blogspot.co.uk/

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    Hi Jules,

    What exactly are you referring to in that pic as 'smudge over"? Do you mean putting the painting into soft focus?
    Please explain.
    Simply just painting over an image youve uploaded into artrage Doug
    You can view all my other artwork here http://spookyjules.blogspot.co.uk/

  7. #7
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    To me it is similar to matte painting nowadays. You still have to find a good composition and be aware of colors and focal points and composition. Personally, don't see anything wrong with it. It's a good way to learn.
    I see a lot of illustrators using scenes or figures that started as photos. There is still artwork involved in doing photo manipulation. I think it is quite an art to make it look like you didn't use a photo. On the other hand, if the only thing you can do is run a filter or software app on a photo and want to call that being an artist... I would say... no. One thing I ask after looking at a photo and the art made from it... which looks better? Which is more aesthetically pleasing? If the photo did a perfectly fine job of portraying the beauty and the artwork doesn't have its own artistic value that succeeds equally or beyond the photo... then why not just use the photo? If the art becomes a thing of its own with its own aesthetic or impression... then I would say that is successful. To me your painting was successful. I am sure you could recreate the same thing in natural media using the photo as a reference. You just did it easier. I think it stands on its own now as a digital painting.
    Was Andy Warhol cheating? People sure pay a lot for his silk screens using photos. And what about Roy Lichtenstein enlarging and using comic book artists work to make paintings out of the newsprint dot screens?
    Last edited by screenpainter; 02-24-2010 at 11:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jules View Post
    Yes I agree with you there narf, it is like a painting by numbers. I am going to contradict myself slightly here though, it would be so hard to paint from real life, plein air (in the field) digitally, unless you are lucky enough to own digital drawing pad (cintiq and similar) hooked up to a laptop you can take round with you. I too find it tricky to paint a picture without a reference and 99% of the time use a photo, it still hard to paint just using a ref image alone without tracing anything. Painting staight onto a screen without anything to follow is very difficult, unless you are very gifted and im not! And yeh mass produced art, all of it very good mind, but yes I will use your analogy regarding music, suppose its akin to playing around with settings in the demo song section on a digital synthesizer. I have noticed however on the forum that artists are starting to move away from this way of painting with artrage.
    Well, it is an option to do a sketch on paper when you are outside and then
    scan it.
    I have a lot of old pencil sketches that I already scanned to use them in Artrage.
    Of course they are only black and white. To add colors to trees,
    sky, mountains etc. I search google images for photos with trees, sky and
    mountains and use the colors of those as reference for the color values in ArtRage.


    And know, I do not have anything against using a photo reference, but it is
    a large difference in using a small photo reference or use the photo as a
    tracing layer. Imho tracing often (not always) ends like some sort of photocopy.

    At least Briex' Van Gough style paintings where a pleasant advancement compared
    to just tracing and imitating the original photography.

    Regards.
    Kunst muss nicht immer kompliziert sein!

  9. #9
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    Bottom line for me is do anything you want, but don't lie about it. If you do a "smudge over" and say "this is a smudge over" it can be evaluated for those who care to evaluate, in the context of a "smudge over". They can say, "is this a good smudge over?" It's evaluated honestly in context.

    If you do a "smudge over" and say "This is a scene from my imagination; I drew the image without a reference and selected the colors and painted everything from my imagination...", then it is a fraud. It's a lie, as simple as that.

    The issue for me is a simple one of full disclosure. If the image was produced by a filter, just say so. Let it be evaluated in that context of filter-generation art. It's honest. There is no deception. But if a filter generated the image and you say "this was imagined in my mind and I drew and painted the forms", you're lying.

    There are no wrong methods for producing anything. There is only whether or not people tell the truth about it. People produce incredible works of art through many different production methods. They all have their place. The debate about whether or not one form of art is better than another I think obscures the more relevant contemplation. There are different types of art production and different people have achieved different levels of mastery of different approaches. For whatever reasons, human beings put a premium on achieving mastery in any given discipline. So to claim mastery in a given discipline through fraud is understandably frowned upon. But anyone can appreciate work in any medium regardless of the level of mastery if the creator simply says truthfully, "this is how I did this" and allows the viewer to evaluate in context.
    Last edited by byroncallas; 01-26-2010 at 09:22 PM. Reason: spellign
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  10. #10
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    As those of you who saw my recent tutorial (shameless plug link) might imagine, I have more than a few thoughts on the subject of using photos in the process of creating art.

    I think that Jules *may* be asking a more limited question about paint/tracing a source photo verbatim as a way to make digital "paintings."

    Historically, this type of thing originally became a concern when some of the photo-realists of the 60s started projecting photos onto a canvas as part of their process. (Good Wikipedia art. here) Some critics of the day belittled the method. No one can deny the technical virtuosity of some of the leading practitioners of this style.

    Fast forward to today and we have digital tools that allow us to do something similar -- with one twist: there is no physical, hand painted canvas afterward, only a digital file.

    Earlier commentators mentioned the bar being set at "is there anything new or additional being added by the artist along the way to make the resultant work better than the photo?" Is it more dramatic? More meaningful? More emotive? Have we been moved from seeing a painted replica of what the camera's eye saw to seeing a painted record of what the artist's heart or soul saw?

    That's a high bar to get over, and many traditional hand produced works fall short as well.

    Al

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