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loretta lux and ann arbor
February 29, 2004 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Photoshop is fourteen years old this month. I am sitting in its hometown and have version 7 on my Gateway. Loretta Lux was trained as a painter and now uses digital images via photoshop for her art. (NYTimes article) News photographers have lost their jobs for using it. Some would argue that photoshop is a new medium and I would agree. I will use it next to shape the images that will promote my sons' landscaping business.
posted by JohnR (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Photoshop was unveiled in February 1990, during a leap year.

So technically, it's only three and a half years old.

*Raises pixelated glass of champagne*
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:10 AM on February 29, 2004


Some would argue that photoshop is a new medium and I would agree.

No.
posted by angry modem at 7:19 AM on February 29, 2004


To expand on angry modem's eloquent rebuttal in my opinion PhotoShop isn't a medium. The medium is computer graphics even if the eventual target is print. Photoshop is just a tool, like a paint brush, spray can, chisel or your hands.

The News photographers didn't lose their jobs for using Photoshop, they lost their jobs for deception. Again, Photoshop was just the tool. People made deceiving images prior to Photoshop or computer graphics, it's amazing what a skilled developer can do with a couple of source images or some creative dodging and burning.
posted by substrate at 7:27 AM on February 29, 2004


SmartDalek - 1990 wasn't a leap year.

I think you started on the champagne a little early.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:29 AM on February 29, 2004


True, but the bottle's an '88 vintage!
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:46 AM on February 29, 2004


Aaaah... Photoshop. Bloated, flawed, beautiful!
For a while there (from 5.0-7), I was using photoshop almost exclusively in my artwork, and pretty much daily at work as well. I began expecting other applications to look and act like Photoshop (Damn you, Quark!).

It may not technically represent a new medium, but I think it is safe to say that Bryce, Photoshop and Flash all encourage different styles and outcomes. Have a look around the web and see the stark differences between works done in Photoshop and Painter.

I use photoshop in my art because:
- It can be unpredictable, like watercolors
- It can be controlled extremely tightly
- I can do generations on a single image, kind of like printmaking
- I don't have separation anxiety when I print and give a piece away or sell it. I can just print another. :)
- I can easily incorporate sketches, paintings and found objects using a scanner or a camera

Now, all I need is a tablet PC that is powerful enough so that I can get rid of the wacom tablet I'm currently enslaved to. I once had the great fortune of taking a class at Tufts with a fella named Rick Berry, an artist doing great digitl work (he did the first digitally created art piece for a book cover - Neuromancer by William Gibson.

In any case, Rick had 10-12 of us sitting in the dank basement room under the gym that the Mac Lab had been relegated to. We'd do quick sketches in photohop, save the image to a shared drive. We'd then pick a piece that interested us, that we saw something unique in, work on it for a short while, save it back to the drive with a slightly altered file name, and then pick a new one. By class end, there were hundreds of images - some good, some sublime, most were drek. Slowly and surely, he taught us some interesting way to do collaborative artworks and use eahother for inspiration. It's a lesson I keep with me to this day.

But, I digress (and at length) - Happy Birthday, Photoshop - you're a bit fatter these days, but you're still my friend.

Other people doing wild things with Photoshop:
Craig Mullins
Phillippe Guyenre
Joachim Barrum
Mikael Noguchi
posted by kahboom at 8:05 AM on February 29, 2004


I use photoshop in my art because: [....]
- I don't have separation anxiety when I print and give a piece away or sell it. I can just print another.


I'm no expert, so I assume PhotoShop is the only software package offering this feature?
posted by spazzm at 8:27 AM on February 29, 2004



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posted by JohnR at 8:45 AM on February 29, 2004


I don't think Photoshop is a new medium, but it definitely opens new media, at least to me. Just last week, I took four pages of disparate pencil drawings, scanned them, and put them back together in Photoshop to create a comic book. I could use the healing tools to erase pencil marks that didn't entirely erase, deepen the contrast on some drawings that were terribly smudged and not quite fixable on paper, created perfect frames around each image with stroke, and inserted all the text in a perfect Comic Book font (Anime Ace, if anybody's curious.) I never could have done all that just on paper- I don't have the skill, but Photoshop made it possible. I have Paint Shop Pro, and it's just not as intuitive and smooth as Photoshop is. It may be bloated, but it's brilliant all the same.
posted by headspace at 8:48 AM on February 29, 2004


Happy Birthday, Photoshop - you're a bit fatter these days, but you're still my friend.

Indeed. I still have my original Photoshop 3.0.5 disks: eight 1.44MB floppies. I reinstalled it recently for fun. There's a lot of 'missing' features but it's still a very capable program.
posted by zsazsa at 9:20 AM on February 29, 2004


So technically, it's only three and a half years old.

Even if it *had* been introduced on a Leap Day, it would still be 14 years old. It just wouldn't be it's 14th birthday.

/quibble
posted by kayjay at 9:26 AM on February 29, 2004


spazzm: digital rights management can do wonderful things :)
posted by kaemaril at 9:46 AM on February 29, 2004


So, all you photoshop junkies...what sites would you recommend for learning the intricacies of the app?
posted by dejah420 at 10:06 AM on February 29, 2004


Photoshop is just peachy for photo manipulation. It's not, by any stretch of the fevered imagination, the best tool for creating new art from scratch.

There are several applications that do a really nice job of simulating various media. Procreate Natural Painter seems to be at the top of the heap.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:38 AM on February 29, 2004


I'm the exact opposite of an artist but have just spent 10 hours this weekend making quite pretty prictures with Photoshop. Cheers.
posted by meech at 11:04 AM on February 29, 2004


True, but the bottle's an '88 vintage!

you altered the label, didn't you?
posted by quonsar at 1:34 PM on February 29, 2004


I assume PhotoShop is the only software package offering this feature?

As has already been mentioned, Corel's Painter is also well regarded as a tool for doing artwork from "scratch" on the computer. Personally, I find that all the brushes that try to simulate other media (like chalk, oil pastels or what have you) kind of miss the point. It doesn't make much sense to me to simulate other media with a computer - art made on a computer shouldn't have to copy other media to be legitimate.
posted by kahboom at 8:08 PM on February 29, 2004


It's not, by any stretch of the fevered imagination, the best tool for creating new art from scratch

Well, that's a fairly sweeping statement. How could you possibly know what the best tool is for any particular artist?

Have you actually looked at Craig Mullins' site? I'd say his fevered imagination is served quite well by Photoshop.
posted by crumbly at 8:19 PM on February 29, 2004


I love Photoshop and Painter. I also like ball point pen and drawing with ketchup on my soy burgers. This thread reminds me of one of my favorite quotes on creative tools:

The music is not in the piano

- Clement Mok
posted by Scoo at 9:10 PM on February 29, 2004


JohnR - it's a tap, right?
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:57 AM on March 1, 2004


Kahboom: Personally, I find that all the brushes that try to simulate other media (like chalk, oil pastels or what have you) kind of miss the point. It doesn't make much sense to me to simulate other media with a computer - art made on a computer shouldn't have to copy other media to be legitimate.


If you're starting from scratch, I would agree with you. However, if you're a trained (or self-taught) artist it makes a heck of a lot of sense for pixels to "work" in the same way that you've come to know real media will.

I use PS for photo editing and preparation (ok, so I use C1Pro and then PS but who's counting), but for "digital art" it just can't hold up to Painter's increased flexibility.

The hardest part for me about painting in PS is getting the *texture* you want. Right there is the reason Painter's "real world emulation" brushes won it a convert here. But, oh!, if only they shared more keyboard shortcuts!
posted by devbrain at 7:02 AM on March 1, 2004


Photoshop has allowed me to control light and ink in a more exact way than I ever thought would be possible.
It changed my life.

In regards to 'art', I think it has a long way before most people are accepting it for what it is and understanding what kind of options it opens up for the visual artist.

Trying to paint with it in the traditional sense is a waste of time(in my opinion).
posted by llama3 at 10:18 AM on March 1, 2004


Wonder what it was about this post that called all the lurkers out of the woodwork (myself included). Hmmm.

I found it hard to paint in Pshop as well until I began using layers and brush opacity more efficiently. I hardly use any brush other than a simple round one. Of course, having a pressure-sensitive tablet doesn't hurt.

P.S. llama3 - love your work and site.
posted by kahboom at 12:48 PM on March 1, 2004


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