Saturday, March 19, 2005

CSI and the magic button

When I started doing digital pet portraits way back in 1998, very few people owned a digital camera. Back then I worked with old fashioned snapshots and scanned them in to the computer. I would often set up at local pet events and show my portfolio, handing out fliers to promote my fledgling business. People often would stare blankly at me when I explained that it was all done on the computer. Their eyes would sort of glaze over, and their mouths would open slightly, they had a puzzled expression like I was speaking another language... they just did not get the concept of digital art. So I spent the late 90's trying to educate my pet loving potential clients. Well the public is getting much much more savvy. They not only get the concept of digital art they often assume we can do anything. They send me snapshots with half of a dog's face missing, assuming that there is a magic button on the computer that will fill in the missing portions. They watch shows like CSI where a cheap black & white surveillance camera has caught a crime on film. The detectives can't really make out the details on the film, so the CSI Techie pushes a magic button and suddenly they can see the tattoo on the criminal's hand reflected in the store owner's eye glasses. And it all takes 2 seconds. Well it doesn't always work that way in real life. So while many people understand the concept that amazing things can be done with imaging software, most people have no idea how long it really takes, and that it involves much more than pushing a few magic buttons an the keyboard. So now the education process for any digital artist involves reworking Hollywood's glamorized version of digital technology. With that said ... I still love my work, and my clients ... even the ones with the worst snapshots on the planet:)
Hunter & Haley (very cute pups, challenging photo)
Bad glow eyes, snapshot with very little detail, and low resolution
Eyes corrected, painterly details added:
Entire Portrait:

About The Art:
The original low resolution snapshot had severe glow eye and a lack of definition. What it did have going for it was a very fun and dynamic game of "Tug". Our goal with this piece was to enhance the movement and action of this fun snapshot, while compensating for the lack of detail and clarity. By adding in painterly strokes to the image we were able to paint in a great deal of the missing detail. I really like this piece and see it much more as the telling of a story than as a classic portrait style piece of art. Look how firmly rooted the puppy is in his stance, how long will the big dog pretend to loose before he is triumphant?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Patrick the Corgi

Patrick the Corgi is one of my all time favorites. This painterly style digital portrait started from a really good snapshot provided by Patrick's devoted human. I really enjoyed making lots of sharp little paint strokes on this Corgi's face to accentuate the cool brindle quality of his coat.

detail below:

Original Below:

All work was done in Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Atticus Sketches

Well it has been awhile since my last post. We have been fighting an uphill battle for some time with cancer in our Scottie boy Atticus. I won't go into all the sad details as the web is abundant with heart wrenching "my dog is dieing stories". This blog is not going to be about that, and besides, this week is all about hope. I will instead post a couple of pencil drawings I did earlier this year of our sweet boy resting. I love the first one where he is resting in my cluttered office. The funky blue patch on his rump is a shaved area where they drew interesting lines marking off an area for his first radiation session back in Januaray. We told him the marker tatoo made him look cool and hip ... he bought into it, what a fashion hound:) Oh, and his skin was not really blue ... radiation does not change the skin color ... that is a little artistic liberty on my part. At the start of the year I decided to draw a sketch a day of our Scotties. I must admit the discpline of that task was harder than I imagined.