Category: iPhoneography


I have used butterfly clip art in my photographic art for a while now. They started out as being secondary to the flowers I used as my main subjects. But just recently butterflies have become even more important in my work. First, I found a beautiful piece of wooden hanging wall art featuring butterflies. Next, a visit to the Natural History Museum in Perth gave me dozens of photos of butterflies. Everywhere I turned, butterflies seemed to beckon to me.

And then I started searching the likes of Etsy and eBay for butterfly-themed collectables and paraphernalia. I hit the Jackpot when I stumbled upon Clear Cut Crafts, an Australian business specialising in acrylic butterflies.

Excerpt taken from their homepage:

Clear Cut Crafts have been operating since late 2007 and the business is now offering the largest range of 3D Butterflies in the world.
Still owned and run from just outside of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia.

The business has grown in leaps and bounds but still maintains a high quality handmade product. Over 8000 Butterflies were used in the launch of the apple Iphone in Optus stores Australia wide. Toshiba recently purchased 3000 butterflies for the marketing of a recent release of one of their new laptops. Also last year over 1400 large Monarchs were sent to Canberra for the Floriade flower show.

Another huge success for our business is the wedding market, although not originally designed for weddings they have proven to make stunning displays in floral arrangements, bouquets, cake toppers, table decor and head wear.

Many more hands are busy cutting our little critters and we have ventured into wedding accessories, crystal butterfly craft and much more.

That convinced me to try them. So I sent off for some butterflies. I ordered 12 for $13. If they were any good, I could always get some more. Clear Cut Crafts claims to have the world’s most extensive collection of realistic 3D butterflies. They also do other insects, such as dragonflies and ladybirds. As their strapline goes, they do “More than just butterflies”.

They didn’t disappoint. My 12 butterflies arrived in the post a few days later, and they are truly beautiful.

This is my modus operandi:
1) take photos of the butterflies
2) use AThumbCut to digitally cut out the butterflies
3) apply as clip art to previously processed backgrounds

Here I have decided to pose my butterflies in natural surroundings, so you can appreciate just how realistic they are. The pack came with glue dots, and you can fold the butterfly wings upright if you like, but I prefer my butterflies stretched out flat.

Remember, if it’s high quality realistic butterflies you need, head over to Clear Cut Crafts.

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Someone asked me just the other day what Apps there are that will do Offsetting of images.

What exactly is Offset? Offset is usually used for the purpose of creating pattern repeats. I am no expert, so I turned to good old Google for help. Here are some decriptions of how doing an X-and Y-axis Offset helps create a seamless repeat pattern:

“I generally offset by exactly half the width and half the height, so that what were originally the four corners of my image now meet in the center”.
(Source: http://blog.echoenduring.com/2010/01/20/10-photoshop-filters-you-should-definitely-know/)

“The Offset filter moves, or offsets, the contents of a layer by a specified number of pixels either horizontally, vertically, or both. When creating simple repeating patterns like the one we’re designing here, you’ll want to enter half the width of your document into the Horizontal input box and half the height of your document into the Vertical input box”.
(Source : http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/repeating-patterns-intro/)

OK…so not the clearest of explanations. There aren’t many good descriptions of what Offset means, actually. Most of the Google entries I found related to car wheels or traditional printing methods. Others were for those familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator, and assumed some prior knowledge of technical jargon.

So, perhaps I shall try to explain in layman terms what Offset means in terms of designing seamless pattern repeats. I promise you won’t need any prior knowledge of Photoshop or Illustrator. If, like me, you happen to be a mobile artist using Apps, then the last part of this post will show you some Apps that offer Offset filters. Hurrah!

OK, here goes. We’ll do this the good old bricks and mortar way first, using real objects, not virtual or digital. Say you have a squared image printed on a piece of paper, that you wish to make into a seamless pattern repeat. What you need to do is to Quarter the image, so fold the paper in half, and half again. Open up the paper, and cut along the creases. You now have 4 quarters of your original image. Mentally label the top two quarters 1 and 2, and the bottom quarters 3 and 4.

Now for the “Magic Corners” part. What you need to do is swap the quarters like so: 1 swaps with 4, 2 swaps with 3. What happens is that the 4 corners of your image are now in the middle, and the middle of your image has been magically transported to the outer corners.

There, you’ve done a 50/50 offset. This means you’ve moved your image exactly halfway horizontally and halfway vertically. When you tile this new configuration, as in repeat it several times over, you’ll find that your original image miraculously reassembles itself in the corners that meet.

Now, how does this transpose into the digital realm? Easy, there’s an App for that ;-). Actually, there are a few Apps that will do the “Magic Corners” split for you:

Litho (on both iOS and Android)
Photoshop Effects (Android)
Photo Effects (Android)

I’ll use this image as an example, and show you how each of the Apps creates the Offset.

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LITHO:
(Litho uses sliders to adjust the X and Y axis offsets. It is not 100% accurate, as it does not show the percentages of the offsetting).

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The above shows the X-axis offset approximately halfway across.
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This photo shows the result after doing a Y-axis offset, again around halfway across.
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The final result.

PHOTOSHOP EFFECTS:
(Don’t be misled by the name, this App has nothing to do with Adobe Photoshop. The Offset filter is found under “Amazing effects”, then “Split”).

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The result. Image resolution in this App is rather small.

PHOTO EFFECTS:
(The Offset filter is called “Split”, under the category “Crazy Effects”).

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And there you have it…how to Offset images on your mobile device, without using Photoshop or Illustrator.

And here’s what it looks like after creating a 9-frame square collage using PicsArt:

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Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :-)

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I stumbled across this blog while surfing the Net for “careers for mobile photography artists”. It’s called Creatives At Work Blog.

http://creativesatworkblog.com

How the hell has this wonderful blog been able to escape my radar until now? It’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of resources and articles for artists, designers, photographers, writers etc. If you fancy contributing to the blog as a guest writer or have any ideas to contribute to the blog, do contact Eileen Fritsch directly, at mailto:eileen.fritsch@creativesatworkblog.com

Eileen has thoughtfully organised her blog into categories: Artists, Designers, Photographers, Writers. She has been writing for many years now, so each category spills over with articles and resources of relevance. Sub-headings helpfully steer the reader towards more specific information. If you are any or all of the above, you NEED to read this blog. (Be aware of the dates of each post, as some of them go back a few years and the information may be outdated, especially in relation to exhibitions and competitions).

For my fellow Photographers wanting to up the ante on our game, check out this page, which contains links to numerous other useful articles (or access it via the blog under the Menu button, then click on Photographers):

http://creativesatworkblog.com/photographers/

I’ve only had time to skim read a few of the articles within Eileen’s blog, but already my head is buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Suddenly, there seem to be so many more opportunities for mobile photography artists and designers like myself. It’s all there, if we only knew where to look. I just hope I haven’t arrived too late to the party!

I think I will certainly tap into this motherlode of information, and expand on them in future posts. There really is A LOT of information within Eileen’s fantastic blog. I couldn’t even begin to tell you about what’s there, trust me when I say you just Have to look for yourself!

Just to whet your appetite, here’s a list of the Sub-headers under the Photography category. Each of which contains lots of links to other sites.

Career and Business
Photography Marketing
Niche Services
Changing Technology
Cross Training and Skills Development
Video
Photo Merchandise
Trends and Forecast
Photo Printing and Display Options
Photo Exhibitions

Run, don’t walk!

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In this tutorial, I shall demonstrate how I created this image:

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I call this one “Turquoise Sea/Sky with Butterflies”. I really love the translucent colours here, and the depth of the image.

Apps used:

PiZap
Impressionist Fingerpaint
PicsArt
Frax
Photo Editor

Process:

The background image is from the App Pizap. Note: the resolution of images using this App is small. What I do is I resize the image after blending with another image, using Photo Editor.

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              PiZap background image.

This next image, above, is a colourfield background I created using Impressionist Fingerpaint. I free resized the PiZap background and then blended the 2 images above using PicsArt, to get this image:

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Next, I needed another image to provide interest and contrast.

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I used an image I’d created in Frax, an iOS App. I used my iPad 2 for this, and transferred the image to my Samsung Galaxy S4 for blending in PicsArt.

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The above is the result of the second blend using PicsArt. I carefully centred the inner spiral around the butterfly motif in the middle of the PiZap image, to emphasise the subject.

I added some butterfly clipart to the image, again using PicsArt.

I felt that the colours of the resulting image were too muted and there was not enough contrast, so that had to be rectified.

To do this, I ran the image through Photo Editor. I’m really pleased with how the colours really sing and pop in this image!

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In a nutshell, here’s the chronology of events as they happened to me:

June 2010 – bought first iPhone 3 on eBay. It came to me in Ireland via the United Kingdom. I was mostly using this to access the Internet, and of course to play games from the Apps store.

December 2010 – landed in Australia, got married. Started taking photos with my iPhone 3. Discovered Lomographic Apps, ventured further afield and discovered a whole new world of mobile photography Apps. Started Apping like mad, and searching for fellow likeminded crazies. Started styling myself an iPhoneographer.

June 2011 – joined MobiTog to get connected with other iPhoneographers around the world. Was invited to become an Admin Moderator. I resigned from this position in June 2012 to concentrate on my own creative endeavours, but still keep in touch with MobiToggers on Facebook.

July 2011 – initiated and organised Perth Apple Store’s and Western Australia’s first iPhoneography exhibition/demonstration. Discovered that Western Australia has a looong way to go before they catch up with the rest of the world! My style had evolved by then, and I was calling myself an iPhone Artist rather than an iPhoneographer.

September 2012 – bought an iPad 2 on eBay, as I wanted to create bigger prints. Now of course I realise I didn’t really need an iPad to do all that, but it seemed a good idea at the time, and besides, the bigger screen meant less of an eyestrain to me! Briefly toyed with DSLR photography, by way of an Olympus E-PM1.

December 2012 – bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. Wasn’t impressed by the iPhone 5, as was hoping for a bigger screen and a higher MP camera, but Apple disappointed on both. A Longer screen won’t help photographers, a Bigger one will!

May 2013 – traded in my beloved Samsung Galaxy S3 for the new Galaxy S4.  Did a lot of research first before becoming an early adopter. No regrets, and I absolutely adore my S4! I can’t wait for the S5 to come out this year! Being an early adopter has its advantages – you only need to spend a couple hundred dollars on getting the newest model device, as you would be trading in your old one while it’s still in great demand. Last year, I sold my S3 on eBay for $350, and used the money to offset buying the S4. I only paid another $200 to get the S4.

Friends keep asking me why I made the switch from iOS to Android. I must make it clear that I still very much like and respect iOS, and that I still use iOS on occasion on my trusty iPad 2, however the iPhone 5S just doesn’t cut the mustard for me, in terms of being my go-to device for everyday use. I love the Apps that iOS has and Android hasn’t, which is why it’s brilliant that I still have my iPad 2 so when I need to call upon an iOS only App, I simply transfer my image over from my S4 to my iPad2 for processing. Yes, luckily there’s a universal App for doing that, that you can get on both iOS and Android, and it’s called Photo Transfer.  I also love Android photo editing apps that aren’t on iOS, so I’m a happy bunny to be able to call on both platforms.

So, why did I switch?

1) for a bigger screen to work with.  The S4′s screen is nearly double that of the current iPhone. My eyes were starting to feel the strain from hours of peering closely at pixels. My fingers were finding it hard to use the iPhone’s minuscule keypad.

2) for a better built-in camera. The S4′s camera is 13MP, the current iPhone’s is 8MP, and has been 8MP for the last 3 generations of iPhones. Bigger MPs means I don’t have to work as hard to get bigger prints. The S4′s camera is like a real camera, with multiple functions, flash, zoom, scenes, panorama, even the ability to erase photo bombers. (There’s also the Nokia Lumia with a 41MP camera, however it’s on Windows which hasn’t the photo editing Apps that I need, so I don’t see the point in that…yet!)

3) for a better user interface. I just love the S4′s “soft” buttons, for Home and Back, and I couldn’t do without it now. When I use my son’s iPhone 4 (my old phone), I find it frustrating not to have those “soft” buttons, and also that floating thing that’s to help with stuck Home buttons, that’s just plain annoying! Why not just make your Home button less fallible, Apple? Customers are paying top dollar for your device, why not reciprocate and give them top dollar hardware in return?

4) Android may still be playing catch-up in the Apps department, but a great number of developers have also launched their Apps on Android. I have on my S4 the likes of Snapseed, PicsArt, Pixlr Express, Phonto, Footer, Magic Hour, Photoshop Touch, etc just to name a few off the top of my head. This makes it easier for me to process my images on the go, instead of having to transfer images between my S4 and iPad2.

5) I love the fact that I can use the same charger for my S4 as I do for my Kindle Fire, my Plox external battery, my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition). AND, the same charger lasts a hell of a lot longer than my iPhone’s chargers ever did! So okay, the iPhone now uses a lightning cable, which is still a proprietary cable and costs a bomb to buy. Whereas I can easily get a charger for my S4 for about $5 from my local supermarket. Most mobile phones these days have agreed to use the same universal charger, but Apple still refuses to play ball.

6) for a better battery life and expandable storage space. My S4 will last me a whole day of use, but I know if the battery’s nearly dead, I can simply open the back, remove it and replace it with a charged battery, that I can easily obtain online. My S4 has only 16GB of built-in memory, but I have an SD card with a whopping 64GB of memory storage on it. And if that ever gets full, I can simply swap that SD card for an empty one. Many smartphones, not just the S4, have this facility. The iPhone’s battery is non-replaceable, and it does not offer an SD card slot.

And what did I find difficult when I first switched phones?

1) the Android platform is a treacherous minefield, full of booby traps in the form of Apps that are really spambots. If an App asks for too many permissions before you click on the Download button, chances are it’s one that’s loaded with pop-ups and ads, and may even change your phone’s settings without you being aware of it.

2) don’t download any Apps that change your settings, unless you really want to change your settings!  I accidentally downloaded a “GO” App and my icons changed to farm animals suddenly, and my fonts became really large. Some people actually like being able to fully customise their mobile phone screens and settings, but I don’t.

3) you must remember to stop Picasa from syncing with your Android device, otherwise it will duplicate every image you have on your phone! A friend of mine had a similar problem recently, on his Facebook account, where he’d inadvertently synced all his iPhone’s photos to his Facebook page, much to his embarrassment!

4) to protect yourself from malware, much like you’d protect a Windows computer, simply download any of a number of Free anti-spyware/anti-malware apps from the Google Play Store. I use Avast! and it does the job. No more pop-ups for me!

Apart from these small niggling glitches, which are controllable, I love having the best of both iOS and Android worlds. Some detractors think I’m mad and that I’ve “deserted” my iPhone. Some even call me a traitor for “leaving” the Kingdom of Apple. I’ve even been told to “go and play with the Android people and leave us iPhoneographers alone”! Tsk tsk…some people like eating sour grapes.

Let’s not forget that I cut my teeth on an iPhone, and I still use iOS Apps, it’s just that my chosen platform for taking photos and processing them is currently Android.

It seems I may have been asleep for a long time.  Perhaps for much of my life, actually.  It has taken me several decades to find myself, and yet when I think I’ve got myself sussed, I find myself standing on the threshold of yet another startling discovery, on the verge of yet another Grand Adventure.  What I’ve discovered about myself in the past is my Modus Operandi: that is, if I find anything interesting and worth investigating, I will proceed to get totally immersed in it, and then from within that subject I will follow this lead and that, getting tangled and disentangled, going down dead-ends and cul-de-sacs, or simply round and round, until eventually it leads me to another subject to pursue.

Now I find myself beckoning to a clarion call by the fascinating subject of HANDPAINTED WALLPAPER.  For my own record, I will trace how I got here, to this point.

I was fascinated by the idea of creating patterns firstly when coming across Kaleidoscope and Fractal art on the internet.  I dabbled with various Kaleidoscope apps on my iPad and Samsung Galaxy S4. While that was a lot of fun, it did not teach me how to make seamless repeats. Try as I might, with cropping and resizing, I could not replicate a repeat without showing the joins.  I even subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud in an effort to try to learn how to make repeats…but even though I know a few tricks on Photoshop now, I still haven’t got the hang of using the software. It’s a mental block for me, is Photoshop hahaha.

So that was why I turned to the wonderful world of smartphone Apps to see if I could create and recreate seamless patterns.  More for my own retrospective reference than anything else (in case I forget how I did it in the first place!), I posted up 30 mini tutorials showing my workflow of how I did it on my Samsung Galaxy S4 (very) smartphone. Yes, I now know how to create seamless repeats, I know how to create those 4 Magic Corners, I know about half-drops, brick and tile repeats, how to fill in gaps, etc.

And what lessons did I learn from that steep learning curve? My explorations took me into the realm of clipart and techniques for blending and juxtaposing different elements or images.  I searched the App world for clipart that I could use in my designs, concentrating specifically on my favourites – birds, butterflies, flowers, trees. My 3 go-to Apps for blending are:

Photoshop Touch

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/adobe-photoshop-touch/id495716481?mt=8,

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.adobe.pstouch&hl=en

PicsArt

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/picsart-photo-studio/id587366035?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.picsart.studio&hl=en

and Litho.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/litho-layered-photo-filters/id606073618?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.ly.litho.photo

All have their idiosyncrasies and quirks.

When the iOS App Frax appeared in the last quarter of 2013, I was delighted as it gave me an extra dimension to create patterns from.  By now I was a firm fan of pattern designs, and was constantly seeking out new ideas for creating repeats.  Frax opened up a whole new world for me.  One day, as I was toying with blending different images together, I decided to play around with Percolator, an iOS App, on my iPad 2.  After Percolating a few dozen images, I transferred them to my S4 to play with.  By happy chance, I decided to try to blend Percolator with Frax, and create a pattern out of them.  The results were surprisingly good, so I took that idea and ran with it.

Frax Percolator pattern

While experimenting with Percolator in one of my favourite Apps, Photo Editor, I decided to play around with replacing some colours.  I discovered the Tolerance or Threshold slider, and yet another world bloomed before my very eyes.  Not only could I change selected colours in my image, I could also control, to some extent, how much or how little of the new colour I wanted in my image.  By shifting the Tolerance slider bit by bit, I could reveal or cover elements of the overall design.  This was really exciting for me, as now I could really control the placement of my clipart or cut-n-paste images onto my prepared background image.  In fact, I was so encouraged by this that I researched clipart online and found Dover Pictura, which is a division of Dover Publications, but specialises in royalty-free clipart.  The images are available as a physical book, CD or e-book.  Being the impatient sort, I plumped for electronic means, and very soon I had folders filled with images of birds and other strange organic forms.

Check out Dover Pictura for yourself:  http://www.doverpictura.com

After all these discoveries, I decided to have a play with printing my images as panoramic images, and in different sizes, just for fun.

Peonies scarf trial blue 30x60cm  Four Water Lilies for Snapfish

Around this time I was starting to look at the possibility of printing my “long” designs onto textiles or fabric, as scarves or throws.  Despite hunting high and low for printers, (I even engaged in a month-long conversation with several traders on Ali Baba to discuss this), it all came to nothing.  I was not prepared to invest in thousands of dollars buying  my own flat-bed printer, or a specialised printer that would do banner printing.  Nor was I looking to print my own designs in bulk and try to market and sell them myself.

So I had to contend myself with knowing that I COULD venture down the pathway of a textile designer if I wanted to and if I had the money to invest, but meanwhile, back in the land of the living, I would have to be satisfied with having my artwork on canvasses and posters.

Now for the next big leap…but first, I had to discover several inspirational women artists who crossed the gap between Art and Industry.  I have written about these women in my previous posts: Angie Lewin, Orla Kiely, Florence Broadhurst, Kathe Fraga, Sonia Delaunay, Kate Spade.  I’m sure there will be more to come.  It was through these women that I realised that my own art and designs did not have to just become prints or posters, they could perhaps be large panels to decorate a room.  I knew for my designs to be wallpaper, I would have to create repeats…but I could create triptychs and have 3 canvasses hang side by side to create a large picture, or perhaps I could create 2 panels horizontally that could be used to decorate the wall of a stairwell?

I was reading an article in Vogue Living Australia, and was captivated by the Chinoiserie wallpaper in the photoshoot.  The wallpaper was by de Gournay http://www.degournay.com, and get this – it was HANDPAINTED.  This, of course, was the technique used in the old days, before screen printing and digital printing.  And, as I researched further, I was struck  by how many artisans were out there creating beautiful, handpainted and handmade wallpapers for the discerning homeowner.  Now you can have ART on your walls permanently, not just hanging frames and canvasses.  In fact, your wall BECOMES Art.

And so, in a roundabout fashion, this is how I came to discover my newest fascination – Handpainted Wallpapers.  I shall write more about various artisans that I will no doubt discover on my travels on the internet, so do bookmark me and check in often!

Okay, so yesterday I was calling myself a Mobile Photography Artist & Designer.  That’s supposed to be a catch-all description of my creative endeavours.  I can’t call myself an iPhoneographer, as I use a Samsung Galaxy S4 now and not an iPhone.  I can’t call myself an Androidographer either, as I use both iOS and Android devices and Apps to create my images.  I can’t call myself just a mobile photographer, as my work contains elements of Art and Design therein. Some of my pieces fall under “Art”, while my designs for CD Album covers and mock-ups fall under “Design”.

Last night, as I was pondering this dilemma, I came across this interesting point of view by one Taylor J.  http://taylorjorjorian.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/the-photography-lie/ Taylor makes a strong argument that if there are elements of photography in a processed image then yes, it can be called photo manipulation.  But if it includes elements of photography and digital art (vector art, clipart, fractals, computer illustrations etc) then it needs to be re-categorised as Mixed Media. I find myself agreeing with Taylor on this point…but as an artist I would add that artists whose work exist as digital files should really call themselves Digital Mixed Media Artists.  Mixed Media in the traditional sense involves physical works i.e on tangible products on physical substrates such as canvas, paper, card, metal etc.  A Digital Mixed Media Artist works on a computer or smartphone or tablet, phablet or any number of devices that use digital technology.

So, perhaps I should be calling myself a Digital Mixed Media Artist then?  That would make Photography purists like Taylor happy, as it means I’ll be off their turf and out of the competition. However, that might make the traditional Mixed Media folk upset, though, as I could then be encroaching on Their territory. And then, what about my work that exists on Print On Demand sites like Society 6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, Fine Art America, Artist Rising, Saatchi Online, etc…when they get printed out onto canvas or paper or metal and delivered to the customer as a tangible object, does that not make me a Mixed Media Artist instead of a Digital Mixed Media Artist?  Also, would it then be even considered Mixed Media, as the medium then is only canvas/paper/metal/etc, and not a combination of different materials, as defined here by DeviantArt:

http://cosmosue.deviantart.com/journal/Educate-Digital-Mixed-Media-214158590

DeviantArt by the way has an entire forum devoted to this genre, which features debates and feedback from members as to how they should categorise their work on the site.  In a nutshell, this is DeviantArt’s definition of Digital Mixed Media:

What is Digital Mixed Media?

Digital Mixed Media is a visual work of art created using two or more types of digital mediums.

So what exactly does this mean?  Lets break it down.  First lets define “digital.”  When the word digital is used to refer to visual artworks it is referring to the method of creation.  Computers are used to create digital works, and submitting a work of art to one of the Digital Galleries implies that it was created via the use of a program on computer.

There are several basic digital art forms, and they are defined briefly here:

  • Painting/Drawing/Airbrushing: This involves using a mouse or graphics tablet along with a graphics program to create paintings or sketches directly in said program without the use of photographs unless for reference.  Programs used include: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.

  • Photo-manipulation: The use of photographs (in most cases more than one) which are then altered via a graphics program is considered to be Photo-manipulation. Be advised that using filters or plug-ins is not a Photo-manipulation and all deviations altered in that fashion should not be put here or in Photo-manipulation, but in Digital Art > Miscellaneous. Also, using post-processing techniques like photographers would be able to apply in a darkroom is not a Photo-manipulation either but still considered Photography. These techniques include, but are not limited to, changing hue, saturation, color, contrast, levels, desaturating, inverting, etc.  Photo-manipulations can be performed in programs such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.

  • 3-Dimensional: Scenes or objects created through the means of rendering software that lets you set up the object and its environment (including position of objects and camera, light, atmosphere etc) as a first step. When you are ready, you have the option of rendering the scene in higher resolution for displaying your work. Programs used include: Poser, Maya, Cinema 4D, 3dsMax, Blender, Daz Studio, Terragen and others.

  • Fractals: Fractal images are created using mathematical formulas. Their characteristic features is that it consists of a geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole (it is self-similar no mater how far you zoom in). Programs used to create fractals include: UltraFractal, Apophysis and others.

  • Vectors/Vexels: The difference between a vector and a vexel lies in their nature: while a vector uses vectors to store the image information, a vexel stores the information in raster format. For the purpose of the Mixed Media gallery, the difference is negligible though. The reason for this is that as soon as you add another art form to vectors, you need to raster the image thus converting it to a vexel basically. Both art forms have in common, that their looks are similar: imagine a picture composed from basic shapes filled with solid color, a gradient or a pattern, that when stacked upon each other form your picture (posterized look).

      
:star:If you combine two (2) or more of the above digital art forms your work is now classified as Digital Mixed Media and should be submitted to the proper Digital Mixed Media Gallery.:star:

OK.  How about “Digital Art”?  Would that not be a better all-encompassing definition of what I do?  The Free Dictionary defines it as:

Digital art, contemporary art in which computer technology is used in a wide variety of ways to make distinctive works. Digital art was pioneered in the 1970s but only came into its own as a viable art form with the widespread availability of computers, appropriate software, video equipment, sound mixers, and digital cameras toward the end of the 20th cent. and the subsequent development of increasingly sophisticated digital tools. A boundary-shattering style, digital art can combine and transform such elements as painting, filmmaking, photography, digital design, video, installation art, sculpture, animation, and sound.

Presented on video screens, digital works may be created of abstract or figurative forms in the artists’ choice of millions of shades of color, and may be manipulated so that the images appear, combine, morph, and/or disappear. Digital art also includes works, many of them interactive, made to be viewed on the World Wide Web
. Sculpture, too, can be a digital art as a result of rapid prototyping, a technique that “prints out” three-dimensional forms from computer-designed models.

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/digital+art

I suspect that might be quite a good fit. Technically speaking, yes, smartphones use similar technology to computers, to the extent that my mobile phone may be considered a mini computer.  However, to label myself a Digital Artist fails to take into account that I create my art using solely Mobile devices.  The only time I use a computer is in rendering images to suit given templates on various sites; any other time and I’m on my smartphone or tablet, which are “mobile” or portable devices. So, maybe “Mobile Digital Artist”? But, although that does take care of the “mobile” part, it doesn’t address the fact that my work often includes elements of Design, including the use of Fractals, Vector Art, Graphic Art, Clipart.  “Mobile Digital Mixed Media Artist” is too much of a mouthful…

I think I’ll stick to “Mobile Photography Art & Design” for now.  At least there, no one will think I’m treading on their toes, stealing their limelight, muddying their waters, dragging down their standards, changing the course of their history.  Because there, the terrain is as yet uncharted and while one may meet fellow mobile photographers, they all have their own definitions of their work, and they all have different views and opinions as to what they are.  It’s like the Tower of Babel, many voices, no leader of the pack.  On sites where I post up my work, I simply have to find the best fit, and sometimes it will fall under Mixed Media, sometimes under Photo Manipulation, sometimes simply Digital Art, even Collage or Design or dare I say it…Photography.  My point is, these days it is nigh on impossible to peg someone neatly into a pigeonhole and make them stay there.  I’m not even sure if I am a pigeon  ;-)

We live in exciting times. Fast paced is a misnomer, our pace of life in the 21st century is more “lightning speed”, why walk when you can fly?

“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”

This was said by the American writer Elbert Hubbard, and the amazing thing is that it was said over a hundred years ago. (Hubbard lived from 1856-1915).  http://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Elbert_Hubbard

Hubbard observed this in humanity in the years before television became a household item, decades before the Space Race, a century before the iPhone was born. Now that really puts a perspective on things. We live in exponential times, whirling ever faster into some unknown vortex…if Hubbard found his times fast, he would be gobsmacked at the rate things change and evolve in this century.

The second half of Hubbard’s quote is equally relevant. Someone in the 1960s (the days of mainframe computers) would have pooh-poohed the idea that someday computers would be so small that they would fit in the palm of your hand. But it happened, and sooner than one would imagine. And someday very soon, computers would simply be chips implanted in our brains…the technology is already out there.

The same thing that happened to computers has happened with Photography. As an emerging artform, Photography was embraced by many, and as more and more enthusiasts pushed the envelope, it created a demand for the technology to improve and develop. In other words, it evolved, feeding itself and on itself like an ouroboros. And it didn’t do this slowly, either. As the technology evolved, cameras evolved too, from bulky, heavy set-ups, to smaller, handheld ones like the Brownie, to the Polaroid camera with its instant film, to the disposable camera, high end DSLRs, mirrorless technology, and the smartphone camera.

Similarly, but along different lines, the telephone evolved from being a boxlike contraption on the wall, where to make a call you had to go through an operator or interchange, to the smaller household telephone, to the first mobile “bricks”, and now to an entire gamut of smartphones. Phones used to be a necessity for some, now they are status symbols.

Where the two technologies converge is in the marriage of camera to telephone. Some genius decided not too long ago, that, as both the camera and mobile phone were handheld objects, why not integrate the two? And so the Smartphone wars now include specifications for their built-in camera capabilities. Throw into the mix the new genre of photo editing Apps, and there you have it – mobile photography.

A recent article in the news asked the question:

The death of photography: are camera phones destroying an artform

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/dec/13/death-of-photography-camera-phones

The article debates the democratization of traditional photography. This is a salient question, and I’ve often wondered about the subject of democratization…with all the advances in technology and communication, and with everything being so easily accessible in the modern world, it’s apparent that these days EVERYONE is an artist, writer, poet, photographer, musician, film maker, chef, computer scientist. Hell, if you wanted to, you could even be more than one of the above, and/or all of the above. Of course, Universities still offer qualifications to students, as they are a benchmark for achieving a certain standard in a given subject. Most learning however is done online these days, and most information is readily available, so if I took it into my head to be a doctor (substitute your preferred profession here), I could technically do all my academic learning through searching keywords on Google, and my practical learning through YouTube videos or software simulators. Whether or not I’d be any good as a doctor, is another matter.

So, to go back to the question of is photography dead? No, I don’t believe it is, it’s simply evolved beyond what we know and are familiar with. It’s split from the “traditional” norm into several branches – DSLRs for the “serious” photographer, high end cameras (because everyone needs a Ferrari/Porsche/Lamborghini etc of cameras, right) and smartphone cameras for the “avant garde” movement, which includes mobile photography artists. Disposable cameras have largely been relegated to special events like weddings where the guests can take home their own captured memories of the event, or share them with the newlyweds. 35mm film photography, which not too long ago used to be the norm, is now viewed like some quaint throwback novelty, the same way we would view Polaroid cameras or Twin Reflex cameras.

Of course, there will be detractors who will deny that camera phones can be anything other than gimmicks, a passing phase, sub-par photographic devices for Joe Bloggs in High Street. I guess these “serious professionals” have to justify their continued existence in a constantly changing world. On the other hand, there are those “traditional” photographers who have happily embraced the camera phone and use it alongside or even instead of their DSLRs professionally. There’s talk that the resolution of images coming from a mobile phone’s camera can never be as high as that of a DSLR. Tell that to the likes of the Nokia Lumia 1020 which boasts 41MP. For the more “standard” camera phones, the saying “There’s an App for that” goes, or, when there isn’t an App for that, there are proprietary software programmes previously meant for traditional photography that a mobile photographer can tap into. As Hubbard said “The man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it”.

Even print shops are evolving from being the place to send your film rolls to, and get your negatives back from. (What’s a negative?!) These days, you can print your own photos using a machine in the Technology section of stores, and they can be ready in just minutes. And you don’t have to print the whole roll, you can simply self-select the ones you want printed. What’s more, you don’t even have to go to a shop to print your photos anymore, just kick back with a cuppa and let your home printer do it for you! Print shops are wiseing up to this loss of business, so now they are reinventing themselves as large format printers, specialist printers, picture framing shops, print-your-images-on-unusual-substrates-such-as-aluminium specialists, photography galleries, photographic artist event venues etc. Adapt, or die.

When photography went digital, the film roll largely went out the window. Now, that was a big change for photography, and even though that evolution had its detractors in die-hard traditionalists who insisted that the only “proper” way to be a photographer was to have your own darkroom and develop your own prints, But Time passes, and views change. Or, if they didn’t, their voices became fainter and fainter. On the plus side, “traditional” film photography is now viewed as an artform, and some photographers make a living out of it. The rest are charging down the digital highway.

The second part of the question raised by the article is: are camera phones destroying an art form? I say no, they are not. Camera phones are merely the next stage in the evolution of photography, creating a whole new genre, that of “mobile photography art”, which now blurs the lines between conventional Photography and Art. As mobile phones get ever more sophisticated, so do their built-in cameras, which in turn creates a new generation of artists with their own demands on photo editing and Art Apps, which App Developers are happy to indulge. Artists are incorporating photography into their work, and Photographers are incorporating Art into their images – actually, this has been going on for a long time and is now old news. Granted there are now billions of mobile phones in circulation, and by default, billions of camera phones in use, so it is that there are billions of photographers amongst us.

Yes, to preserve the high standards of Photography and ensure it survives democratisation, there is a need to sort out the wheat from the chaff. This undoubtedly is an Herculean task, but thankfully billions of people are quite content with just sharing their holiday snaps with their social circles and moving on. For those who collect Art, fear not, there are thousands of online galleries and bricks-and-mortar galleries that curate Photography in its various guises, and show you only what they consider the best, so you can choose to be surrounded only by beautiful images. Yes, there is a lot of babble out there, but that’s why we have sites like Flipboard, where you choose what you want to read or see, and social networking sites like Facebook etc, where you choose whose feed you can see and who can see your feed. Without such filters, you would go into information overload for sure!

When I first picked up the iPhone and found out there was such a thing as “iPhoneography”, I was overjoyed. It meant I wasn’t the only nutter out there turning my images into something other than what my iPhone’s camera had captured. I then discovered communities of “iPhoneographers” online, all seemingly having sprung up overnight. Then I got my Samsung Galaxy S3 (now S4), and although there aren’t as many “Androidographers” out there, it doesn’t bother me, as 1) I am not a purist and I love both iOS and Android systems and will use both happily, and 2) things keep evolving so I like to think of the whole genre as simply “mobile photography art”. My own work includes elements of graphic design, so I my strapline reads “Mobile Photography Art & Design”.  That too, might change, depending on where my creativity goes next.

So no, photography is most definitely not dead, it has not been killed by the camera phone, it has evolved and is still evolving.  What has changed is people’s perception of what constitutes photography.  In my next post, I’m going to turn this thing on its head, anyway, and surprise you with something else altogether!

Please note that these are merely my own observations and opinions and you are not obliged to agree with them if you feel strongly against them. :-)

Last year, I got it into my head that I wanted to learn about textile design, specifically how to print seamless repeated patterns. The subject was as obscure to me then as the Tibetan language, but I bought myself several books on textile designs and digital printing, and away I went down the rabbit hole. I marked my progress by recording my experiments here on my WordPress blog, more for my own reference than for anything else…you can see my explorations in the 30 posts titled “Not Quite Photoshop…but close”.

Months later, I’m pleased to report that whilst I still fumble about in the dark with Photoshop, I now know a good thing or three about creating repeat patterns using only my Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 10.1 and iPad2, along with iOS and Android Apps. And I’m glad I went through all those months of research and experimentation, because it led me to discover the wonderful works of ANGIE LEWIN.

Angie Lewin’s work is right about where I would like to be now, creatively speaking.  She uses wood engraving, linocut, silkscreen, lithograph and collage, and her subjects are drawn from Nature and include seedheads, dried seaweed, seed pods, grasses and feathers. Angie is an Art school graduate, with a firm grounding in drawing and illustration. She also runs a fabric design business with her husband, called St Jude’s Fabrics.

Here are some links to Angie’s work in interior design settings and as greeting cards, to whet your appetite. If you are a budding mobile photographer/artist, take a leaf (haha, pun!) from Angie’s book (in more ways than one) and aspire towards her level of perfection!

http://www.stjudes.co.uk/angiepdf/homeantiques_nov2008.pdf

http://www.art-angels.co.uk/cat/angie-lewin

http://www.onebrowncow.co.uk/stationery-cards/angie-lewin/cat_57.html 

http://www.theblankcardcompany.co.uk/acatalog/ANGIE_LEWIN.html

All of which I find very inspiring, as it is my fondest wish to see my own creative output on cards, posters, bedlinen, curtains, rugs, china etc etc. I’m sure you will be inspired by Angie’s work too!

http://www.angielewin.co.uk/pages/about-my-work

http://www.stjudesfabrics.co.uk/collections/angie-lewin

I will leave you here with some examples of Angie’s work, taken from Angie’s book “Plants and Places”, which is available on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and The Book Depository. I have it on order, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!

ANGIE LEWIN 305671_501829546502953_1733013205_n 542650_501829679836273_645078713_n 396351_501829513169623_1146589934_n

I’m currently exploring the areas of image blending, royalty-free clipart, colour replacement/removal and tolerance levels. I love how I am able to create the illusion of paint spatters and of depth by simply playing with the levels of a particular filter. How I can turn something perfect into something that looks accidental by design.

The filter in question that gives me this freedom is called “Colour Replace (RGB)” and it’s found in the App “Photo Editor”. Just a simple filter using sliders to control the colour and tolerance levels, but it certainly makes things much more interesting. Another filter within “Photo Editor”, called simply.”Colour Replace”, gives a more overall change of colour, but can be used in conjunction with “Colour Replace (RGB) to give even more variation to play with. Here is a screenshot showing both filters sitting side by side in the App.

image

The image I have created in this tutorial is called “Deep Sea Creatures”. It utilises royalty-free clipart from Dover Publication’s “Haeckel” book on ornamental organic forms. The background came from a Percolated image of a Frax snapshot I’d created earlier. (Percolator and Frax are iOS Apps that I use on my iPad 2, then transfer to my Samsung Galaxy S4 for further use, via the excellent universal App “Photo Transfer”).

image

I used Photo Editor’s Colour Replace (RGB) filter to change the background colour and remove some of the detail from the image. I needed areas that were clear so I could add other elements to the image. Too cluttered, and the image wouldn’t work.

image

Next, I used the App Litho to add texture to the image. I chose something that gave the impression of depth or layers. Litho is a versatile, universal app (iOS and Android) that I’m enjoying using now that developers have at long last ironed out the various kinks and bugs from it. Well done, gents!

image

I added 2 Dover clipart images using Litho, which offers image blending in numerous modes.

image

I added some colour and drip effects to the background, still using Litho.

image

The result was too dark, so I moved the image to Photo Editor to clear it up and brighten the overall effect. I decided the “seaweed” that the drips had created were too colourful, so I changed them to a grey colour.

image

Then, I used Snapseed to tweak the image, to bring out more details of the sea creatures.

image

Apps used:
Percolator (iOS)
Frax (iOS)
Photo Transfer (universal)
Photo Editor (Android) (by dev.mcgyver)
Litho (universal)
Snapseed (universal)
Clipart (Dover Publications)

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

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