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Old 10-19-2010, 12:48 PM
musemj6 musemj6 is offline
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Computer Applications for Learning Art

Hello there all,

I have recently become interested in how a computer may help people to develop their artistic abilities. I was wondering if anyone has come up with interesting ways to use computers in order to aid their art, either digital or with physical. For instance, I occasionally use vector graphics to simplify the shapes of things in a complex image, so that I can better understand how things such as perspective are working in the image it self.

Any other ideas or tools that you use?

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Old 10-22-2010, 09:40 AM
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Oldthumbs Oldthumbs is offline
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Re: Computer Applications for Learning Art

That's a rather general question and I'm not sure if you will get much response in this forum. It might be better asked in a forum you have an interest in. For example, if you are into watercolors, maybe the participants in that forum would have better insight into how they use the computer and computer software in their art. Just a thought.

“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”- W. M. Lewis
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”- Alan Cohen
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:24 AM
doctordpt doctordpt is offline
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Re: Computer Applications for Learning Art

Hi, I would recommend Corel Painter. I use the IX version. The best part about the program is the color mixing module [IMHO]. You can load a set of colors - each named with standard art color names - and then mix them in varying proportions to see what the outcome is. I've used it a ton to save me the trouble of wasting pounds of paint trying to come up with the right color. At least the color mixer puts me in the right ballpark. Hope that helps!!
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:19 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Computer Applications for Learning Art

Wow! I'm an oil painter, and watercolor painter, but when someone once asked what my most important tool was for performing my art, without thinking, I stated "My digital camera, and Photoshop".

My computer is so important to my art, I don't know what I'd do without it.

Where to begin........???

I teach an oil painting class, and I select realistic color images of scenery, and crop, color correct, modify, grid a grayscaled version, and then I print them out in mass on my printer.

Whenever I take a digital photo from which I want to paint, I run it into Photoshop, I crop it, I size it, I proportion it, I color-correct it, I grid it, and print it out as reference images--both full-color, and grayscaled.

When I paint a portrait, I use what I call a "progressive focus" method, and this involves printing out at least 3 reference images....a normal, sharp-focus print, a semi-blurred one, and a greatly-blurred one. I use gaussian blurs in Photoshop. I print them out and I begin my painting by using the greatly-blurred one first--sometimes placing it upside down to begin painting.

I once had to exactly duplicate (as close as possible) a watercolor painting that I had painted a dozen years ago, and sold. I had absolutely no version of my original reference photo(s). What did I do? I used the old, digital file of my first watercolor painting (the one that I sold), blew it up to the final size in Photoshop, tiled it into several pieces, and printed those pieces out. I pieced them together, transfered the image to a new watercolor paper, by tracing, and used the color printout as my reference image.

As recent as my last painting, I wanted to place a figure in a landscape photo that I wanted to use as a reference image. I grabbed a figure off the internet, flopped it, sized it, rotated it, and placed it in the scene. I printed it off, and used the composite as my reference photo.

When doing a portrait from a digital photo, I often select "key colors" from the digital image, in Photoshop, and call them out, placing them in random areas on the margin of the photo. This allows for super-easy mixing-to-match of these key colors.

When I once was doing a commission, I actually showed the client via e-mail, a before-and after file of some changes that I had made. This saved me a trip to the client, carrying a wet painting.

Gosh, where do you want me to stop? These are only a few, scattered incidents that I can think of off the top of my head. My computer is absolutely essential to my creation of paintings. I did not even mention the fact that I have gained most of my knowledge of painting (glazing methods, painterly styles, mediums, paint, brushes, varnishes, composition, marketing, etc., etc.) from my computer, complete with digital examples on my computer monitor.

This forum has a Reference Image Library, which furnishes free images, from which I actually painted some of my most successful paintings.

I watch the works-in-progress of others, and learn from them. This was not possible without my computer.

Computer Applications for Learning Art? They are, indeed, infinite!
wfmartin. My Blog "Creative Realism"...www.williamfmartin.blogspot.com
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:06 PM
sharkbarf sharkbarf is offline
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Re: Computer Applications for Learning Art

I'm an oil painter.

I'm on a mac. I use GIMP (X11). It's phenomenally powerful considering its free.

Basically once I played with it for a few days and understood how to make lines, crop, transform, etc. I will upload a drawing or painting that I'm working on and just PLAY.

Weird wacky things happen that I would never do with my paint. something as time consuming as changing a vast sky color is done with the click of a button.

I'd suggest finding a program (or a few) and give it as much time as you can handle, try to learn it pretty well. The rest becomes personal choice.
Critique Please!!

Buddha suggests to those who need inspiration for their art to go before a perfectly blank wall until it's design, compostion, and subject reveal itself. -Jack Rutherford
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:20 AM
joe publik joe publik is offline
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Re: Computer Applications for Learning Art


I read your notes with great interest and agree. Clearly, looking at your blog, you are a person of considerable native talent as well - which I am not! I have some photographic talent so that is always my starting point and I always use my own photos.

All that I will add to your excellent description is that it is also possible to define and constrain the value range. Working in Photoshop L,a,b set L min to be 18 and L max to be 97. Black is not "pure" black, it reflects something and white is also less than perfect. Setting these low and high points then scales the working image to something even more realistic.

I wonder if you have any success modeling glazes!


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