Move aside paints and stains, clicks and strokes are now the modus operandi to create works of artFaustina Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
The afternoon is hot. You’ve been slaving at a sketch for over four hours now. Lost in concentration, you don’t notice a steady smear your hand has been slashing across the paper. When you finally do, you reach desperately for the eraser, and slosh! Your drawing just got a generous helping of beer, your artistic companion till now. Now how could that scene end well? Enter the graphics tablet and the stylus. Enter Photoshop and Gimp. This technology is transforming art the world over. Production is faster, more efficient and qualitatively better today. Welcome to the age of digital arts.
Shading, blending, composition, tones, highlights, perspective, distance, depth, style, edges, colour coordination, mixing, the concept remains the same, only the technique has evolved. Digital is simply another medium for creation. While the technology demands some time and patience for proficiency, it is impossible to ignore the new doorways opened by the technique. The digital method allows the artist to choose the exact shade, texture, shape of tool and method of application. One can simply ‘undo’ a bad stroke, or ‘redo’ a specific mix. Different brush types can be downloaded. Manipulation is more efficient. “It’s an artist’s most creatively satisfying technique,” says Adhithya Srinivas, an artist with a digital bias. Another advantage is the speed of execution. A few hours would suffice to create a masterpiece. On the other hand, an artist can also work on the same piece for months, years even, correcting, adding touches here and there as he learns new techniques. Digital art allows for more creative outcomes.
The traditional art vs digital art debate? Is the uniform surface of a digital print any match for textured paint? “The argument is futile,” says Kevin Algor Crasta, a professional in the field. Art is judged not by the procedure employed, but its content. Is it sublime, orgasmic, frigid or sordid? Traditional and digital methods can comfortably exist in harmony in the visual art spectrum. Take away the computer and the artist is still the same.
When it comes to gaming and animation, technology has been no less than redemption for the animators. Creating the illusion of movement manually would require hours of drawing the same object in different frames with minimal changes. Digitizing the process has made life easier for Disney and Ubisoft. Photographers, too, fall into this blessed lot, and it’s easy to see why. Technology spares them countless hours spent in darkrooms, acid tank rooms and aquatint cabinets breathing in tons of chemicals.
Photoshop is the most primary and widely used software by the digital artist. Adobe Illustrator also stands high on the list of preferred tools. The graphics tablet is also used and considered the most efficient instrument. WACOM, Kevin tells me, is ‘the mother of all tablets’. Even tattoo artists use it. A hybrid of many methods is also often used, where drawings are scanned, and colour is added digitally. Digital art can even be purely computer generated with algorithms. The patterned, geometrical “paintings” that you often see adorning the walls of ill-lit food joints likely belong to this category.
“People aren’t very aware of the form, except for the ones who practice it,” says Kevin, “But I’d say this is the future. Comic book industries, graphic novels, animation companies need digital artists.” Does this mean digital is taking over? “Traditional art will always be valued,” says Victor Bernard, an art teacher, “It’s the difference between an email and a hand written letter.”
Category: Art & Design