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January 14, 2013
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What do you think of Photomanipulation?

:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What are your opinions regarding photomanipulation? I'm not talking about using different textures and brushes and renders to slowly make a photograph look significantly better, I'm talking about straight up taking five different pictures, putting them together one on top of another, and doing nothing more than changing some hues/saturations/variations/vibrances/exposures.

I hate to point out people in specific but *wazzy88 is a good example of what I'm talking about. Not a single element in the entire piece is uniquely created. It's one person's work inside another person's work while on top of a third person's work. And then a piece of texture on top (which is still a fourth person's work).

Some photomanipulations are truly creative and phenomenal; despite using nothing unique, they give the piece a completely new meaning and effect filled with emotion. Those I do respect. However, the vast majority of photomanipulations are not so creative. A lot of them are things that many people think "I thought of that before, but I didn't do it because it's not worth doing."

Unfortunately, the thing about such photomanipulation is that many people are simply too blind. They see a piece and they comment, saying that "this is incredible" or "you did a very good job, this must have been tough." But they don't check the stocks, they don't see the elements that created the piece, and they don't see how uncreative it is once they sift through it.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but it's simply my own opinion. Most (not all) photomanipulations are, in my opinion, completely and utterly useless, and the artists making them deserve no credit whatsoever in creating it.
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:iconghostinthepines:
GhostInThePines Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I find a lot of photomanipulations to be rather tacky... Some people responding have brought up collages as the traditional equivalent, but in my opinion, the only true uses for such a collage are for collecting personal memories (like in scrapbooking) or as a visual version of a brainstorming map. Other versions of collage get away from a form that serves the purpose of the comparison. (The overall picture has nothing to do with the elements of the collage - you can no longer recognize what individual pieces brought to the work as you can with photomanipulation.)

So if the type of photomanipulation being referred to by the OP is the "artisitc" equivalent of collages used for brainstorming/keeping personal memories, then how can it really be called art? All it does is give publishing/advertising companies a cheaper alternative to hiring real artists and paying them good money for their work. Bad photomanipulation puts actual 2D commercial artists out of business.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
It's just a digital collage. Collage and assemblage art are valid art forms. Surely if a traditional artist is making some sort of collage out of objects you don't expect them to hand-make the paper and the pop cans and the antique photographs they're gluing together.

It's sort of like saying that a music composer doesn't play any of the notes you hear, so they must not contribute to the piece of music in any way. Planning is also a creative activity. You might even say that it is THE most creative activity.

Now, a collage is a lot less complex than a piece of music, but there is no complexity requirement in art. Very simple things can be art too. You don't have to like them or be impressed by them but you don't get to draw a line and say "this wasn't difficult so it's not art". (Well, you do, but that definition is then only valid for you, and everyone else is free to think you're nuts.)
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student General Artist
I went to moma and there is a gallery for photomanipualtions before and after photoshop. Basically photomanipuatlions before photoshop is collaging.

In the end, it not always about the work created, its how the work is currently executed.
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:iconblackrosekane89:
Blackrosekane89 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
I want to

"But the difference between digital art and photomanipulation, and sorry if I've offended anyone, is that a terrible digital art piece will look terrible to almost everyone (it wouldn't look great, at the very least), but a terrible photomanipulation can still look absolutely fantastic"

Not true. People can be generally bad with photo editing/manipulations and it will look awful. [link]
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:iconnatsumoka:
natsumoka Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013   Digital Artist
It's pretty much the same with everything else. Take digital art for example. We get both the crappy cartoon/anime drawings and the really awesome ones.
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:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
But the difference between digital art and photomanipulation, and sorry if I've offended anyone, is that a terrible digital art piece will look terrible to almost everyone (it wouldn't look great, at the very least), but a terrible photomanipulation can still look absolutely fantastic, especially if the original works were absolutely fantastic. I have much less respect for photomanipulists because it doesn't take effort to make something look good if it's already comprised of good looking things.
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:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
As you pointed out there is a range of skills in the photomanipulation gallery....just as there are everywhere on DA.

But part of being an artist, is going thru the beggining stages. Some people will never get beyond the begging stages, and some will go on to create orginal work with more creativity.

There was a thread in here a while ago about creativity being learned or inborn, and the overwhelming majority of people said learned. Part of the process is doing the less creative and inventive to get to the more creative and inventive. I feel the same way about beggining photomanipulations as I do about the begging drawings of anime charachters with crappy anatomy.....they will get better....or they won't. But they are enjoying themselves and hurting no one, so why get upset about it?
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:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm gonna copy and paste my message since it responds perfectly to your post as well.

But the difference between digital art and photomanipulation, and sorry if I've offended anyone, is that a terrible digital art piece will look terrible to almost everyone (it wouldn't look great, at the very least), but a terrible photomanipulation can still look absolutely fantastic, especially if the original works were absolutely fantastic. I have much less respect for photomanipulists because it doesn't take effort to make something look good if it's already comprised of good looking things.
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:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Not so.

A terrible photo manip. looks terrible to me. Things with different perpectives, lighting etc. Really stands out and looks bad.

If they have the lighting right, all the perspective angles are the same, that is a skill, and does not deserve to be denegrated.

In short, I disagree with your whole assesment. While there is beginer quality digital art out there, I think it looks just as unskilled as beggining quality drawings/paintings.

And you are sounding jealous....why does it bother you so much?
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:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not jealousy as I have my own methods of obtaining publicity. I do enjoy discussing boundaries of art and what people consider art or not and whatnot. While it does not bother me much, it's a fun topic to discuss.

Of course, to any artist who actually understands these aspects, any bad job from any medium would look terrible. However, to untrained eyes, or mostly, people who don't understand anything about art, a bad photomanipulation would look far more amazing than a bad drawing.
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:iconglori305:
Glori305 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
I disagree there too.

That is why we have the people who come in doing beginer quality art expecting only priase, and upset that they are told to work on human anatomy.

People who do not make art, are very impressed by the most basic of artists. Only those who understand things like lighting and propoportion will notice the problems.

And the begining qualtiy photo-manips don't make the front page, just like the begining quality fanart does not, becuase this is a site full of artists and no matter how much attention they are getting it is not the acclaim of the artist community. It is the acclaim of those who do not understand enough to know better.
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:iconblackrosekane89:
Blackrosekane89 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
"People who do not make art, are very impressed by the most basic of artists. Only those who understand things like lighting and propoportion will notice the problems."

This is very accurate. When I got started in photography, my images were out of focus, blurry, horrible lighting, but the public loved my stuff. Same thing with my drawings when I first got started as a young teen. My drawings now look completely different, but they get the same reactions as they did when I started and they were terrible.

People who don't do artworks themselves are very easily impressed.
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:iconkafine:
kafine Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013   General Artist
So, a lot of people are very bad at it. That can be said of amatuers working in any medium. It's not something photomanipulation uniquely needs to be brought to bear for.

I personally don't have much interest in it, but on occasions when my work has required it I have found it very difficult to do convincingly.

The only thing that really bothers me about photomanipulation is when people do it and then try and pass it off as a painting.
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:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm gonna copy and paste my message since it responds perfectly to your post as well.

But the difference between digital art and photomanipulation, and sorry if I've offended anyone, is that a terrible digital art piece will look terrible to almost everyone (it wouldn't look great, at the very least), but a terrible photomanipulation can still look absolutely fantastic, especially if the original works were absolutely fantastic. I have much less respect for photomanipulists because it doesn't take effort to make something look good if it's already comprised of good looking things.
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:iconkyteglory:
KyteGlory Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
It's the internet. Of course most it's crap, and of course a lot of the crap gets more credit than it deserves. What's new?
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:iconhopelesspandora:
HopelessPandora Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student General Artist
I agree with you except for the part when you say "despite using nothing unique." Those who create breathtaking photomanipulations have a unique vision or idea intended for the photo being manipulated. That, and good technique are what separate good photomanipulations from bad ones.

On the whole, I agree that there are probably many photomanipulations, deviations in general, that are getting undeserved attention, but it all relates back to the knowledge of the audience. I'm sure some deviants are ignorant in what constitutes as good or bad, especially in areas of digital art and photography. Then again, it all comes down to personal preference and how much one is willing to learn about the actual subject.
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:iconnelchee:
nelchee Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Unless the person is using copyrighted and trademarked work (which the deviant you mentioned does, I see some Disney characters there) photo-manipulation is a valid art form.

Most art people create is "completely and utterly useless" to anyone but the artist who created it. So why say photo-manipulation is special in this respect? It's not. Some people like "useless" manips, some like "useless" character sketches. The point is to do what you enjoy, not to make something "useful".

Crafting and "upcycling" is often about collecting items and combining them into a new and original piece of work. So is it about the objects used, or about the person giving those objects a unique perspective? In my opinion, it's the latter. The value is greater than the sum of the parts.
Calling this easy just seems like you haven't done something like this yourself, so you don't really know what effort it takes.

But sure you may say that's my opinion just because I did manipulations too... ;) using my own photos, though. I don't like having to give credit for stocks haha :P
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:iconjeff-h:
Jeff-H Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Of course there's a very thin line between what I think is "ok" and what I think is "not ok" in terms of photomanipulation. Taking your own pictures still incorporates photagraphy and your own perspective/view of things. It still requires talent. I guess you can say that my entire argument here is about skill and creativity.

Skill, in my opinion, is a one of the biggest things I look for in art. Everyone's opinion is different, but I personally think that skill is one of the most important features for an artist. Some photomanipulations I see are not creative at all. Sure, the overall final piece may look appealing, but when I and many other artists think about it, it's really just a crying eye with a globe inside the eye (this example was just thought up by me, I mean no offense to anyone who actually made a piece that is what I explained). It's basically taking a simple idea like that, sifting through deviantart or google images with simple search techniques, and then putting them together in a 5 minute effort that anyone can accomplish.

In my opinion, to make a photomanipulation "true art," there needs to be more than just a simple idea and search engines involved. They would need understanding of how light works, they'd need to do their own retouching to make the lighting and shadows work perfectly (some of the pieces that *wazzy88 have do not even do that, they are just take a random hand with some light on it and do some minor erasing, no retouching, some lighting angles are completely wrong). They'd need to know how to make everything fit so perfectly that it doesn't look like a photomanipulation at all, it looks like a completely original piece. Making the entire piece fit with style, essence, color themes, lighting, etc.

An example of something I'd call "bad" is having a piece where half of it is hyperrealism, while the other half is semi-realism. For example, painted hair on top of a photo of a face. It's a clashing of style that simply does not work (kudos if the artist can make it work, because making different styles work together is also an extremely difficult task).
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:iconnelchee:
nelchee Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
A lot of artists don't have any "understanding of how light works" as you put it, so I still don't see why photo-manipulation is special.
There is good photo manipulation and bad photo manipulation, and everything in between. As is with all other forms of art.

"It's basically taking a simple idea like that, sifting through deviantart or google images with simple search techniques, and then putting them together in a 5 minute effort that anyone can accomplish."

And a lot of drawings are like that as well. Some OCs and fan art sketches look like it took 5 minutes to accomplish, and yet they do get a following if it's a popular show or whatever.

So honestly, I think you should apply all the criteria you judge the manips on and apply them to all other forms of art, and you'll realize there's nothing about photo-manipulation that makes it inherently prone to abuse more than other forms of art.

It's just another form of art. No more, no less.
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