using photoshop to enhance paintings

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tyneboy wrote
on 20 Jan 2014 10:35 AM

I have digitised all of my artwork with the aim of producing prints. I have enhanced some of these so as to get a better print i.e. adjusted brightness, contrast, saturation etc. I expect that if the artwork was digitised professionally this manipulation would probably not be necessary. Does the forum think that adjustments are justified, as a printer might carry out similar modifications prior to printing, or do they think that this work should be avoided in order to get only the authentic look of the painting.

As an experiment I have also used Photoshop to completely redraw the entire painting, using the digitised image as a template and this has produced a very much improved version. As many people produce images using computer programmes does the forum think that creating art this way is right or wrong 

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on 20 Jan 2014 11:55 AM


This is an excellent subject. Actually you have posed two questions. Here are my thoughts:

First, is it correct—or "justified"—to make modifications to a scanned image of a painting prior to having prints made?
Even though my paintings have been scanned professionally, most of the time some modification has to be made in the scan. This is just to get the scan to look like the original art. In the past, I have done color correction professionally. A lot of times, the color balance in the scan is good but the contrast or intensity of the color has suffered during the scan. What I try to do is simply modify the scanned image so that it looks like the original. If the scan is only for making prints, I do not believe there is anything wrong with making minor enhancements of color or contrast. However, if the digital image is to be submitted for judged entry in an exhibition, the image should not be enhanced, it can only be corrected to look like the original. Digital images for exhibitions are compared to the originals.

Secondly, is it wrong to make major digital manipulations to a scan, using the scan as little more than a template?
There is nothing wrong in doing this as long as the final product is identified as "digital art". If you have a painting and make drastic changes to it digitally, it is no longer a digital image of the painting. It is a piece of digital art based upon the painting.

I hope this helps and that there is further discussion.

Paul Sullivan

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dvselby wrote
on 20 Jan 2014 11:59 AM

All artists, through the ages, have used the tools to which they have access. I'd personally like to experience Da Vinci's version of P-shop if he were around today. As long as you're not trying to sell a goat for a sheep, go forward. Warning: since I've been relying more and more on digital media, my drawing skills have slipped. But I do love manipulating design--as did Degas, right? 

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tyneboy wrote
on 20 Jan 2014 12:35 PM

Thank you for your comments I found them most helpful and very much in line with my own thoughts. Your observation about what is a digital image and what is digital art made everything make sense. The type of art I think benefits from major enhancement is of the graphic ornate pattern type such as celtic design. I will try and post a before and after example

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