Its Not Just Digital Art - Part 2 - Refining (ARTICLE)
So after all the steps outlined in Part 1, we are finally ready to get down to the "digital" portion of this digital art. You will note that I use the word "refining" in the title and not "digital art". This is because I feel that when working with art of this type, the artist is far more than applying digital ideas to the work. Just like any good photographer, there is always a cleanup phase to professional photo work. Many call this "retouching", but in the end it all amounts to the same thing. I am refining the image in order to take it to its final stage of creation.
You will note that I have included the final piece of art above. You will also note that compared to the last photo shown in Part 1, there are substantial changes to the staging. As I said previously, letting an image sit over night often shows flaws in it. In this case I restaged the whole image about 6 more times once I looked at it the next day. Here are some of the versions I rejected.
Once I determined the final pose, three images were taken of it using different apertures on the camera and doing one image in low light. In this case I used two of the three, superimposing one over the other.
The result of the superimposition was this more ghostly version of the image.
Now there are 37 versions to get to the end result, so I am not going to share every version and all the small changes that went into each. But I will share some of the more important versions.
The next crucial step is color. Since I want this to have some of its original color, I've enhanced the color to stand out better.
Now we want to look at the size of the image and how its spaced. To my eye the image above was too tight. Their is no room for the image to breath and for the viewer to take in all the details easily. This is really the first step in actual digital art. I've extended the borders on either side and I've extended out the ocean floor to compensate.
The result is much easier to view. The details are not all clustered in the middle and now I have room to add other things to the image.
From here we go to blur of the image, smoothing out most of the features to give it the look of being underwater.
You'll note in this next image the presence of the underwater diver to the upper right. He is actually there but I used him from an earlier version, migrating him into this version instead. He was created by suspending the figure from a heavy piece of bendable wire until I got him in the direction I wanted and then allowing him to just float there. He also has a phosphorescent paint on him
From this point on its pure imagination applied digitally. There are a lot changes, but I am going to use the final image here instead of posting the huge amount of variations that got me to the finished work.
So a few things about the finale steps. The background was created using a NASA star image. I've found that images of star fields work really well for creating underwater scenes.
The creature to the left side was created by using a pen and ink sea serpent from a navigation chart from the 18th century. You can see the original here.
The eel to the right was simply a clip art eel that was redoctored to give detail.
Finally, the shaft of sunlight is created from aiming a shaft light down through the program, allowing it to highlight and enhance the starfield behind it.
So....the questions is, is it merely digital art? Is it not digital art at all? Is it something else? Only you can judge, but I know for me that the process is so much more than a computer program and a keyboard.
As always if you have questions on this or Part 1, please let me know. I'd be happy to share anything I can.