This tutorial (I’m linking to it here) just fascinates the hell out of me. Not the process that Adobe is highlighting in it’s Create e-magazine (a GREAT e-magazine, by the way, which I highly recommend subscribing to) But that the art form it’s promoting is one I’ve been using for two decades. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they’re doing so – photo art as we know it today would not exist without their product. I’m just realizing that I haven’t noticed Adobe doing much to promote it before. I could be wrong – I’ve been wrong already several times today. I could have missed it, or simply not been as attune to it as I’ve become.
Likely I’m reacting this way because It’s easy to feel alone, practicing the art I practice, when so few others – here, anyway – are doing it, and so many artist communities are resentful of computer-based art. Promotions and tutorials like this both help legitimize the art form and support the artists who do it.
That said …
First, the technique as illustrated requires downloading an additional set of tools for Photoshop, and it’s using A LOT of tools – the technique probably could be accomplished without this download if one is intimately in tune with Photoshop, but the download ties everything together into a neat package. Even so, the video tutorial sort of starts at the end and tries to go back and illustrate how everything works – I couldn’t tell from watching how the heck fire they got there, which, to me, is the bigger question (I’d likely understand it better if I downloaded the package and tried it out). They’re also using something I don’t, which are the brush tools, together with masking, to draw into the image – the instructor states that’s best done on a tablet. I admit it – it’s a bit of artistry beyond my skill set, or at least one I haven’t bothered to pick up. The final work involves not just layers but GROUPS of layers – DOZENS of them and using different blend methods besides. It is astonishingly complex and lays testament to the incalculable depth of the software. One could spend ten hours a day, six days a week, for five years working with Photoshop and still not know all it’s capable of. I watched the tutorial and felt totally inadequate afterwards. My work is so simplistic by comparison; even my most complex works only just scratch the surface of the software’s capabilities.
But in the end … IT’S STILL JUST A WATERCOLOR FILTER!! I’ve said this before, specifically (I’d have to go back and find the exact blog), one can’t just apply a watercolor filter and say they’ve accomplished something. Art is created by the combination of perspectives into a new visual paradigm, not just taking a picture and making it pretty, which is essentially, for all its complexity, what the tutorial is doing.
I have to admit, I watched this tutorial and thought, “I call myself an artist? I suck! I worse than suck! I’m such an amateur! I have so much to learn!”
Still, I must remind myself it is one thing to have technical mastery, and another to have artistic vision. To evoke emotion, passion, and art. Creating from the heart and the gut, rather than the brain. Van Gogh vs. DaVinci. Do I still have both my ears?
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.