Category Archives: photo-editing

Photography Returns to Its Roots

When you thumb through your favorite magazine, how many images do you see that you assume have not been highly processed through technology? More than likely your answer is none. The truth is that retouching images using digital tools has been the name of the photography game for the past several years. In many cases, photos all over the media do not reflect anything that is real or “organic,” but rather what is fanciful and ideal. These qualities are not necessarily bad, but in some ways have lessened the value of raw, genuine photography. But all this is changing.

Photographers who have leaned heavily upon digital tools for the past few years are beginning to gravitate back toward totally or partially un-retouched images. Post-processing techniques that have been majorly employed by photographers are now becoming more and more shunned as artists seek to bring photography back to its roots. But among all of these changes, there is something to remember: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with utilizing technology in photography.

The problem was never in the technology (the post-processing techniques, digitalization, etc.) used to enhance images. David Allen Brandt, commercial photographer, commented, “The problem was that the images themselves, the backbone of the art presented, weren’t great to begin with.” So the issue is not that the technology used to transform images is “un-artistic” or negative. Rather, the core of a piece of photographic art (the photograph itself) needs to be high quality before post-processing techniques are used. Technology shouldn’t be the means a photographer uses to ensure an image is artful; it is more appropriate for it to be used to enhance an already-excellent photo.

As mentioned, photography is returning to its origins. It is mainly making this journey via photographers/artists who are choosing to allow “raw” images to be a primary source of art. These artists view image processing tools as just that: tools. Rather than counting on those tools to make an image into a quality piece of art, these photographers are taking artful images and making them better by using post-processing techniques and other technological helps. Amazing teachers are also shaping this next generation of artists by teaching photography techniques that do not emphasize digital manipulation.

Note: The image represented in this post does not belong to Segmation; it was found at http://www.photography.ca/blog/tag/lens/.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/10/living/fine-art-photography-manipulation/index.html?iphoneemail

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Face the Fact, Technology Creates Art

In the 21st century, technology creates all things useful… including art. We have to face the fact that gone are the days when art belonged on an canvas, was formed between the hands of a potter, appeared from inside a slab of granite, or was developed with the intention of advancing culture.

Now there are even more dimensions of art to embrace. We can do this by recognizing how technology allows everyone to become artists by producing visual representations of who we are, as individuals and what we care about.

An online program that allows anyone to create a work-of-art is Picasa. This is Google’s free photo editing software that transforms our every day pictures into artistic masterpieces.

The newest version, Picasa 3.8, has the ability to turn anyone into an artist — or a video producer for that matter. For some time, Google’s Picasa has been an easy tool that makes photo organization and editing a breeze. It allows individuals the ability to create online albums that are easily shared with friends and family members throughout the world. Check out the Face Movie Segmation produced with it:

(If the video does not appear on this screen, visit Youtube to view Segmation’s feature Picasa film: http://youtu.be/16JPgeF5y5U)

Creating A Face Movie

It’s easy to create a Face Movie like this one. Picasa 3.8 can instruct you with step by step directions. However, it is a process that is completed with just a few clicks of a button. The program analyzes faces in the photos you want featured. Then, it couples them with the smoothest transitions in ways of facial expressions and/or poses. The different technique Face Movie uses, creating noticeably different movies, is overlaying photos organized by similar qualities, like expressions or poses. You can start creating your Face Movie today by clicking here.

Benefits of Picasa 3.8

But wait… it gets easier. With Picasa, you don’t need to scramble to find the pictures you want to use. It organizes all the photos on your PC, even those scattered throughout your system. Then, they can be easily organized into web albums.

Name Tags

Google understands that the people captured in photographs are what matter in a picture. This is why they created a collection system based on name-tags. It is a lot like the Facebook feature, “tagging.” By placing a box around an individuals face, one is able write their name and easily store all pictures where he or she has been tagged. This is also available with places, or “geo-tags,” where one can mark the exact location of the picture using Google maps.

Sharing

From there it is easy to publish your favorite photos online. You can choose to share single images or an entire album. This also allows you to connect with friends and family members and set notification settings when those you’ve set as “Favorites” post new photos.

Editing 

And you don’t need to worry about showing pictures that are sub-par. Picasa also includes an editing systems that can improve any picture. By having control of red-eye correction, lighting, and other abnormalities, you are sure to collect and share pictures you’re proud of.

The abilities of Google’s Picasa 3.8 are numerous, but you don’t have to believe us. Explore the free program and see for yourself.

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Optical Illusions Create Art and Provoke Thought

Art is subjective. Individuals find themselves attracted to a certain artist, style, or theme when looking for art to inspire positive thought and decor. Upon finding the piece they consider, “just right,” one may seek to understand more about the particular picture or genre of art. However, they contrive their thoughts from a combination of what they already know, research, and see with their own two eyes.

In the early 1900’s this thought process was used to develop a new kind of art — completely subjective in form. It received the title, “op-art,” or optical art. This fresh form of art, not seen before the 20th century, used paint to create an interaction between a lively illusion and a picture plane, which is the flat canvas. Much of the art first produced in this genre (and some of the better known pieces) use only black and white paint or ink. As the art form expanded throughout the century, other elements of color and design were added.

This genre quickly evolved but remained true to its core: op-art is a perceptual experience that derives from manipulating typical visual functions. By painting an illusion onto a flat canvas there is a juxtaposition between what the eye expects to see and what it actually takes in. This is known as the figure-ground relationship.

Such a relationship exists because of edge assessment. For instance, when the boarderlines of one shape can be applied to both the outside of the shape and inside of another, an illusion is created. When placing this illusion on a flat, two-dimensional material, like a canvas, a human’s eye is especially baffled and the individual is likely to see the painting from more than one perspective.

But not all optical illusions are works of art. When an artist strives to deliberately challenge an observer’s eye with this figure-ground relationship, op-art is the goal in mind. In fact, the foundational elements of creating an artistic illusion are simple lines and patterns. With the use of color, op-art expanded because it used certain colors to change how the retina perceived an overall image.

This did not happen until the mid 1900’s, even though many artists trained in the op-art technique showed interest in applying color to their contrasting figure-ground paintings much earlier. Artists like Josef Albers, Bridget Riley, and  Julian Stanczak were eager to implement this element. Some time after color was introduced to op-art, photographers also became determined to produce op-art, in black and white, and in color photographs.

Op-art photography became popular in the 1970’s. However, this form of digital manipulation (that became easier with technological developments) lacked the foundational elements most important to op-art: Lines and patterns. For quite some time there was not enough subject matter for photographers to produce artistic illusions; lines and patterns were much easier to paint than capture.

This simplicity is what makes op-art a stroke of genius. It cannot be overlooked that the founders of this art, German artists who studied constructivist philosophy, believed thought provoking art could positively influence society. At the school of Bauhaus, where op-art first originated, great thinkers like Josef Albers developed a new way of seeing the world; by looking on both sides of the same line.

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Photography: Black and White or in Living Colors

Does anyone remember a time before color photographs?

When photography began to flourish in the early 1900s, the camera produced only black and white images. However, a desire stirred inside many people, like physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who wrote about the first technique used to color photographs in 1855. Through his work, other photography enthusiasts were able to develop the capacity to capture life in living colors.

Maxwell predicted that it was possible to capture the essence of a photograph—the arrangement of color—in a time when only black and white photographs were produced. He wrote about color vision; a study to advance the concept that color identified by both human brains and machines is based on the wavelengths of light that reflect, emit, or transmit color signals. Maxwell found that a wide range of colors could be created by mixing only three pure colors of light: red, green, and blue. This manipulation of color had to be done in proportional amounts to stimulate the three types of cells the same way “real” colors did. In his writing, Maxwell used black and white photography as an analogy for his findings.

Maxwell’s Analogy:

If three black and white photographs were taken of the same setting through red, green, and blue filters, then made into transparencies (also known as negatives or slides), one could project light through these filters and superimpose them into a single image on a screen. The result would be an image that reproduced all of the colors seen in the original setting, not just red, green, and blue.

At this time, Isaac Newton’s work advancing the fact that all color is influenced by light, was common knowledge. In a similar fashion, Maxwell insisted that eyes see color on the surface of a perceived shade, where millions of intermingled cone cells represent only three colors. Red and blue sit at opposite ends of the spectrum with green planted as a middle region. They signal sensitivities (red) and stimulation (blue) that eyes receive when light shines through particular colors. The process of taking a set of three monochrome “color separations,” was also known as the triple projection method. Maxwell’s analogy was first tested by Thomas Sutton in 1861. However, the experiment did not work and the desire for photographs to represent living colors encouraged other enthusiasts to develop the art of color photography, which picked up steam again in 1890.

Color photography has been around for a little over one hundred years, and look at how far it has come. Flawless colors and mass production of images show how color photography has influenced enthusiasts and much of the world. This, however, is made possible because of the records kept during photograph exposure, like the triple exposure method which was outlined in Maxwell’s analogy. At the end of the appropriate exposure time, analyzing the spectrum of colors into three channels of information, red, green and blue, helped form a method to imitate the way a human eye senses color. The recorded information has been used to reproduce and enhance the original colors by mixing together aspects of the red, green, and blue lights and removing or adding elements of white light.

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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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Painting from Real Life vs. Painting from a Photograph

Which is better: painting from real life, or painting from a photograph?

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real life, they can work from their photographs.

In many ways, this has made representational painting easier for artists. They no longer have to wait until weather and lighting conditions are just right for outdoor painting, and sitters no longer need to spend precious hours posing for a portrait. While many artists now embrace the use of reference photos as aids to creating paintings, others still prefer to work in the style of the old masters. Which way is better?

One drawback to painting from photographs is that the resulting artwork may appear “flat”, because the objects, scene, or person depicted in the painting was first translated into 2-D form via the camera. When an artist works from real life, she has to use her artistic skills to transform the 3-D view before her into 2-D form on her canvas. When working from a photograph, an artist may become too reliant on depicting the actual 2-D photo, as opposed to depicting the 3-D scene that the photograph itself depicts.

Even so, the use of reference photos has largely aided artists in their working process, although each artist has his or her own preference between working from photos or working from real life.

So artists, when it comes to working from real life vs. working from a photograph, which do you prefer, and why?

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How to Photograph Your Art

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It’s important to take good photos of your Art for many reasons.  Photos of your work will be used for several purposes:

  • To show your work to prospective galleries
  • To display on your website
  • To use on your business cards and other promotional materials
  • To serve as a record of what you have created

Back in the day, manual SLR cameras were the norm for taking high-quality photographs of artwork.  These days it’s possible to take good photographs of your art using consumer-quality point-and-shoot digital cameras – the kind you use for everyday purposes.  If you plan to print any of the photos of your art, keep in mind that the higher the pixels, the larger you’ll be able to print while maintaining a sharp clarity.

You can choose to shoot your artwork indoors or outdoors.  If you photograph your work indoors, drape a black velvet cloth on the wall and hang your artwork in front of it, at level with the camera, which should be placed on a tripod for ultimate stability.  Place two tungsten light bulbs inside two clamp lights and space them at equal points on either side of the camera, pointing towards the art at an approximate 45 degree angle.  Then point and shoot!

These days it’s not necessary to create an indoor photo set-up to get decent pictures of your art.  Many artists take photos of their artwork outside, because it is far easier than setting up a photo area indoors.  By using a digital camera and a photo-editing program, you can almost always get good photos of your art even if outdoor conditions aren’t 100% perfect.

It’s best to take photos of your art on a sunny day, to bring out the best in your artwork’s colors, but be careful to position your artwork either at an angle to the sun or place your artwork in the shade so that the direct sunlight does not cause a glare.  It may take some experimentation to get it just right, but the great thing about digital cameras is that you can take all the photos you want without worrying about wasting film.

After you’ve taken the photos and uploaded them to your computer, choose the best ones and edit them in a program like Photoshop or GIMP.  In these photo-editing programs, you can adjust the image’s brightness and contrast, hues and saturation, as well as crop the image.

Thanks to digital photography and photo-editing programs, taking accurate photos of your artwork is easier than ever!

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