Good article here about how the photo that would have won the National Geographic photo of the year, got disqualified because the photographer used Photoshop to get rid of a trash bag instead of cropping it.
If you’re going to enter contests it’s a good thing to read the rules, but it’s almost a certainty that if you bust out the clone tool or use Content-aware Fill you are going to be disqualified. Obviously if it’s a photo manipulation contest that’s different, but most photography contests want you to do everything in camera, limiting adjustments to minor tweaks like cropping and contrast, things that were relatively easy to do in the darkroom days.
While you might argue what’s the difference between cloning a trash bag out of the photo and cropping it, it’s a very slippery slope. It rapidly becomes more about your Photoshop skills and less about your photography skills. If it’s a photography contest, then it should be about your photography skills.
Here’s the disqualified image, click on it to read the full article and see the original.
After some time off, I’m creating prints of my photos. At first, I thought this was a good opportunity to try Costco, which has been showing up at some of the photography tradeshows touting their services to pro photographers. Using Costco as a print lab seems like a strange idea, but I figured if they’re promoting themselves to pros… but, no, the quality is what you would expect. Pretty awful prints. Nevermind.
So let’s try Bay Photo. Good reputation as a lab… so I ordered a matted print from them. Good print, but this is what the corners of the mat looked like:
Seriously? Why even offer matting if you have zero quality control?
Looks like I’m doing this myself. Which meant calibrating the monitor and printer. I’ve got the ColorMunki for this purpose, but hadn’t used it for awhile. I’d sort of forgotten how easy it is use and set up. I have to say I love this thing. The Cinema Display and my Epson R2000 Printer are amazingly in sync. It’s not perfect… you sometimes have to calibrate the monitor a few times to get it right and I’ve heard it doesn’t work well with older monitors, but for me it works great.
One thing I discovered is that you should calibrate the printer with full ink tanks. Changing the ink can require recalibration. The Cyan was low when I did the initial calibration. I got 3 prints out of it before it ran out. Replacing it resulted in a color shift and recalibration.
Printing yourself is still a bit of a pain in the ass, it’s not the cheapest option, especially when you factor in your time. So I may end up printing with a lab anyways. But I’m always impressed when technology works the way it’s supposed to. The folks over at X-rite have done a nice job with the Munki hardware and software.
<shameless plug> If you’d like to see some of the prints, it’s Open Studios in San Francisco this month! I’ll have a few prints at SMAart Gallery on Sutter St. exhibited with Lily Yao’s ceramics. SMAart is open the first two weekends of Open Studios: Oct. 13/14 and Oct. 20/21, so if you’re in the Bay Area come on over. More info can be found here:
One of the great things about running DA is that it gives me an excuse to buy fancy camera equipment and play with it. The latest subject I’m infatuated with is stars. No, I haven’t joined the paparazzi. I’m talking about the stars you can see when you’re 10,000 feet up on a rock in the middle of the Pacific ( the Haleakala volcano in Maui).
Photography is absolutely amazing. It really forces you to be present in the place you’re at and the moment you’re there.
In the previous post I mention an article from NPR: Silicon Valley vs. Hollywood. In that article they quote filmmaker Tim Chey as saying: “We do it for the art, we do it because we want to tell our stories, express our stories. I, as a filmmaker, am not in it for the money.”
Awesome! Then why are you complaining about piracy? You want people to hear your stories. You’re not in it for the money. Pirates are just enabling more people to see your movie that otherwise would play at two arthouse theaters on each coast and then be forgotten. What exactly is the problem?
However, somehow I feel he’s not being completely honest about not being in it for the money.
The biggest problem that most artists run into is that if they want to be even remotely successful, they need to look at themselves as a business. This kind of sucks. Most artists became artists because they didn’t want to think about marketing, business plans, how to accept credit cards, who they have to pay off to get in a gallery, etc. Sadly, that’s the hard, cold reality of it. Either you learn how to market yourself, you give up a good chunk of your earnings to someone that will market for you (like a gallery), or you starve. (or I suppose you can subsist in a coffee shop making pretty patterns in the latte foam of hipsters who go ‘Wow, that’s cool. You should be an artist!’)
BDDP Unlimited has created a beautiful spot for Solidarités International about the dangers of dirty water. While not a CG piece, it looks like real water and ink were used, it’s still inspiring both graphically and in the message. Check it out:
From time to time, our customers are gracious enough to send us their amazing work in which they have been using our plugins. Pete Saunders is one of those customers.
Earlier this week Peter offered up his work for us to use in our 3D Invigorator gallery section. He is the Company Director for After Hours Creative, a small design studio in England that specializes in high impact graphics.
(Above) “Created for an individual looking for a totally unique card design. We decided to create a romantic feel to the word “Love” with just colours, textures and a small selection of well placed images. The combination of 3D text created in 3D Invigorator, textures in Texture Anarchy and images of small roses achieved the look and feel perfectly.” -Saunders
We were excited to receive an email from Aaron Brenner, of the LA Kings hockey team, letting us know that they had used Beauty Box Video on a high profile piece they were doing.
An interesting aspect to Beauty Box Video is that it’s difficult to get people to admit they are using it. A LOT of production companies have bought and loved the software but they’re a little shy about singing its praises publicly. Their actor and actress clients aren’t too keen about wanting fans to know they used software to make them (more) beautiful.
This wasn’t a problem for the subjects of Aaron’s production for the Kings. It’s a behind the scenes video of the photo shoot of the LA King’s Ice Girls calendar! Some very beautiful girls who you wouldn’t think would need much retouching.
(Click on the image above to be taken to the King’s site and see the video.)
Many of you may be familiar with Photoshop’s Photomerge, but this artist is in a panorama class of his own. Jook Leung has been recognized worldwide as a master of panoramic photography.
Some if his most captivating work comes from a project titled, “Times Square New Year’s Eve at Midnight.” For the past decade, Jook Leung has been capturing the ‘famous’ moment in 360VR. View his most recent 2010 image here.
Jook on his work, “I’m quite passionate about crafting the kind of panoramic images that reveal a unique perspective while conveying a strong sense of intimacy with the subject. Here the viewer becomes fully immersed in the same moment in time the photogapher is trying to capture. This is what masterful photography is all about. New technologies like Apple Computer’s QuickTime VR and Helmut Dersch’s Panorama Tools have made it possible to construct, publish and view full 360° x 180° spherical images. For me, this is the ultimate panorama and is what I specialize in doing well.”
Recently, one image of mine was selected to be a part of Photomedia Center’s 2010 Open Juried Exhibition. As an emerging photographer, I am very thrilled and honored to be included in such a fine body of work. Organization like this gives us, emerging photographers, a chance to fulfill one of the most exciting aspects of being an artist… Having your work displayed and seen by others.
…And the rest of our contenders are a few steps behind. We are working hard to update and release our products for the Adobe CS5 suite. Keeping up with changes from Apple, Microsoft and Adobe does kinda feel like being in a boxing ring sometimes.
Our first release has been our Beauty Box Video skin retouching plugin for After Effects CS5. We’re very excited about this product being ready for After Effects 64-bit use in a timely fashion. (Boxers are often not good with time management; that’s why they have managers.)
Go here to try the Beauty Box Video demo for Adobe After Effects CS5. Click here to read our line-up of CS5 contenders.
Photo by Maggie Mae Percell, www.maggiemaephoto.com, our favorite anarchist-in-training.“He coulda been a contender!”
I recently spoke with William Branson III surrounding our exciting new product release of Beauty Box Photo and were reminded of how much I love his artwork. He is an amazing Portrait Artist and his images really push the limits of photograph vs painting. Check out his work here: http://www.wbranson.com/
I came across this great photo series on Flickr, entitled Pencil vs Camera by artist Ben Heine. It is always interesting to see how different mediums can be combined, especially when it comes from reality (photos) and imagination (drawings). Ben used a traditional method to do his sketches. All the graphic elements shown come from his own stock/production. He drew the sketches, took the photos, and edited them.
Here at Digital Anarchy we have always been a big supporter of how illustrations can play a role within photography. Our plugin ToonIt! Photo lets you create cartoon effects, like shading and lines, from your own photographic images. Learn more about ToonIt! Photo here.
I had a few extra moments to play with the Pencil vs Camera concept using my own images and ToonIt! Photo. I shot these photos in Santa Cruz, CA on a very overcast day about two years ago. I would have liked to have a more pleasing sky but you can’t always get what you want, right? Here are the results:
Joe Farace lights up the room in two ways. He is a talented photographer, writer and teacher whose emails end with catchy signatures like ‘It’s 2010 and the Big Bang never ended’ or ‘Saving the world, one pixel at a time’. He is also an expert on lighting and imaging techniques for photographers.
Recently, Joe showed me a photo composite that he created while writing one of his upcoming books. The image was masked with Primatte Chromakey, our blue / green screen Adobe Photoshop plugin.
I love play on words. Moreso, I love gorgeous images that inspire me to write. This artwork by Carl Campbell has accomplished all of the above. Carl used ToonIt Photo, our Adobe Photoshop cartoon plugin, to transform a BMW car into something even more special.
I recently came across a blog post by Fuzzy Duenkel, a photographer over in Wisconsin. He makes a pretty passionate case against using scene swapping (e.g. the type of stuff you do with Primatte and green screen) for traditional, ‘classic’ portraits. By and large I agree with him. I don’t think it’s a great use of the technology to put someone in a place they’ve never been so they can say they were there. For novelty photos and the like, it’s great, but for a ‘classic’ portrait, maybe not so much. But there’s more to portraits than just the classic look.
If you pay attention to news sites covering digital graphics, there have been interesting articles surfacing about the the Avatar movie. There is quite a bit of talk about the philosophy and technology behind the movie, perhaps a tad on the over-analyzing side of things, but personally, I still find this topic more interesting than a rant about the new iPad.
In Post magazine — consistently a terrific source of film related news — there are two articles about how director James Cameron took motion capture into a new level of technology. The article ‘‘Avatar’ Introduces a New Era in Filmmaking‘ talks about his vision of a system that provides performance capture rather than motion capture. The article ‘Director’s Chair: James Cameron – Avator‘ goes into more detail about this new system, called the Simulcamera.
With so much technology around, can you use it to enhance photographs to tell more complete and compelling stories?
One beautiful example comes from Todd Sanchioni. Todd is a San Francisco based photographer who recently had an exhibit that featured Laos street musicians. The photographs were compelling in their own right, but he added an mp3 player to each piece which played the music of the musician in the photo.
While Todd is certainly not the first photographer to do such things, I thought it was a particularly good reminder that as we’re out shooting, it’s easy to capture other media. Our cameras can capture video. Our cell phones can record audio. It’s never been easier to add extra dimensions to photography.
The photo should always be able to stand by itself, but if you can add more context and meaning by including audio or video, there’s a great deal to be said for that. Of course, some common sense should be applied to this type of mixed media. Mp3s along with photos of musicians and their instruments adds depth to the piece. Putting mp3s of war sounds next to war photographs would, in most cases, take away from the photos.
I think for mixed media to really work, the artist/photographer needs to really understand all the media types they are working with. If that’s the case, the overall effect can be quite stunning.
Ron Kalstein, M.Ed. is a long-time customer of Digital Anarchy, and quite the accomplished digital professional. His degree acronym certainly conveys this and his job title is the impressive ‘Media Services Director of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network’ in Philadelphia, PA.
Equally impressive is the artwork that Ron creates for Albert Einstein Network. In response to a general call-out for artwork created with our 3D Photoshop plugin, 3D Invigorator, Ron emailed this wonderful piece.
Digital Anarchy recently added a great photographer to our Primatte Chromakey gallery. His name is Shawn Wright and he runs Wright Studios out of Indiana, USA with his wife Betsy.
Shawn is a photographer of all talents and trades. Not only does he specialize in many subjects — high school seniors, industrial product shots and sports teams, to name a few — but he also runs photography seminars. More info on his company site, www.wrightstudio.us.
LENNON the Photographer has given us terrific celebrity images that he creates, in part, with our Adobe Photoshop greenscreen plugin, Primatte Chromakey. A year after we first talked to LENNON about his work, he contacted us with more high-profile photography. There is a **gorgeous** shot of Gilles Marini from Dancing with the Stars, as shown below.
Something that I really enjoy about LENNON is that his personality seems as colorful as the celebrities that he photographs. That’s why his first name is always written in CAPS; very Hollywood, yes?
Digital Anarchy recently added an interesting artist to our ToonIt! Photo gallery. Her name is Chrissie Campbell and she is truly a woman of many mediums and skills. I love the main image on her website’s About page. It seems to pull in all of her talents: painting, photography and digital manipulation. Very contemporary and strong but with a delicate stylization.
It’s fun becoming friendly with someone online, then discovering details like where she lives. Chrissie’s business name is ‘Kakadu Design’ and it didn’t occur to me what that indicated until I visited her website and looked at the promo images. Kakadu National Park is located in the Northern Territory of Australia. Continue reading Outback art with Chrissie Campbell.→
Jim Tierney, the President and ‘CEA’ of Digital Anarchy, recently sat down to talk with Grant Friedman of Colorburned.com. This is a terrific blog and info site that I became aware of when Grant contacted us about some of his online contests. Jim and Grant had a lively conversation via email, as many of us do these days. You can read Colorburned’s interview with Jim Tierney here on their site.
While performing as a musician for the Fashion Week in Delhi, artist Nick Cattermole took a lot of photographs around the McLeod Ganj area of India. Nick’s two primary subjects in this photo series are monkeys and monks. These are subjects whose relationship to each other — in my eyes — is bound only by their English spelling and co-existence in a geographic region. But Nick has put together an interesting body of work that combines the inhabitants of both temples and forests in McLeod Ganj.
I love that Nick uses our ToonIt! Photo plugin to transform his photographs into delicate illustrations. Many people use ToonIt! for more ‘aggressive’ images, which is what cartoons typically look like, all thick black lines and bold heavy color fields. Nick’s illustrations are instead turned into soft, thin lines over a jeweled, geometric pattern of color.
Monk walking in the village, post-ToonIt! treatment:
Digital Anarchy recently posted a spankin’ brand new online ToonIt! Gallery. This web page is a great way to see what folks are doing with our Adobe Photoshop cartooning software.
ToonIt! is fun and easy to use and gives you amazing results when transmogrifying your photographs into cartoons. (Technical term per Calvin and Hobbs, a favorite real cartoon.) This is especially true when ‘tooning’ the human face and form, which most cartoon tools fail at. Ours doesn’t.
Most people send us exactly that, children and women turned into cartoons. A refreshing change comes from Stanton Perry of Rendertek.com. When I first saw Stanton’s work, which are all gorgeous panoramas and thus the nickname in this entry’s title, I was blown away by how well ToonIt! works with architectural and landscape settings.
In my mind, digital art first became looked upon as a medium in the early 90’s. I remember my art teachers in undergraduate school being grumbly and divided in terms of their acceptance of computer generated art being ‘real’ art. The old-time painters in particular hated computer graphics. Illustration teachers seemed more accepting because many were digitally generating their references or switching to a computer/hand rendered hybrid.
Those days are certainly very, very far behind us. I just read about a retrospective of Tim Burton, the well-known director and all-media artist, opening for five months at the New York Modern Museum of Art. Many painters and other traditional media artists have to wait for a posthumous show!
I love when good art is enveloped by good promotional methods. (Note: All images shown here are borrowed from the respective websites.)
Awhile ago, YouTube linked me to the artist website www.philinthecircle.com. The artist is Phil Hansen aka Phil in the Circle. He’s a fascinating guy who paints/draws with unusual media, like a large scale portrait of Jimmy Hendrix made of colored matches or a Britney Spears portrait made from chewed up Starbucks pastries. He seems to make money in part on posters of the pieces. He burned much of the work in his themed series called Goodbye Art.
Just read an article on one of my favorite industry news sites, www.studiodaily.com, which is related to Studio Monthly magazine. It’s about a new SciFi film that uses relatively low budget techniques to tell a story about the futurism of Mexico. The film is Sleep Dealer and the director is Alex Rivera.
I always enjoy reading about people’s hardware and software choices and moreso about their creative decisions. But what I really enjoyed about this article was the final interview question asked of Rivera.