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Proper Camera To Photograph Artwork- *New Images

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#1 markseibold

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 04:58 AM

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I have been allowing a friend to re-photograph all of my large pastel sketch work. It is amazing how much more accurate the colors come through to appear as closer to the original pastel art. Look at a side by side comparison. The new image is on the left; the old on the right. Due to site protocols I have diminished the screen size to fit the two together but I'll post successive windows to show the details in larger separate images for your examination. This was the early August 4th 2009 moonrise from Mount Tabor Portland through trees and golden smog. The new images seem to have an added dimension as the separate layers of chalk overlays show through to increase the true luminosity of the original art. I would welcome any thoughts, questions, and criticisms. Thanks, -Mark

#2 markseibold

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:00 AM

New photographed image through high quality camera
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#3 markseibold

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:01 AM

Old image through consumer-grade camera

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#4 frank5817

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 09:10 AM

Mark,
The camera does make a big difference in the brightness, balance and colors in the sketch. A remarkable improvement in appearance of a previously excellent sketch.

Frank :)

#5 Jef De Wit

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 12:11 PM

Mark
I read that you re-photographed some of your sketches in the other post. So when opened this post I knew that there was an old and a new image. Strange, but I thought - without reading the texte - that the right one was the new one....

#6 jayscheuerle

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 01:46 PM

The old one has the increased sharpness and higher contrast that's typical of digital images these days. It appears to miss some of the subtleties that the new one picks up, in both color and texture.

Did you adjust the original to look more like your drawing? I found that a few minutes of tweaking could make the old look closer to the new, but again, without the subtleties.

It's nice to have the richness right off the bat! - j


#7 Shannon s

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 06:30 PM

WOW!!!!!! It now has its own glow.

#8 markseibold

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 04:05 AM

Frank, Jef, Jay, and Shannon

Thanks for your interest and input. Yes, as many of you are aware, there are many things going on that open up a wide variety of what we [see] in an online image. Without mentioning of course, we are not looking at the original hand sketched artwork in an online screen; as it is merely an electronic anomaly.

You have all put up with my obsessive interest in why we do this [or why I do] and why the electronic images are not the same as seeing the original pastel sketches, so I must thank you for allowing my long winded art psychology responses. Some will argue that it is a moot argument, but this is my very concern, that many assume they are seeing the original in an online screen. The process behind what we do is much more than that. Look at Jay’s beautiful Jupiter image for example. Until he revealed all of his Photoshop work, many probably assumed that he only did all this with a couple clicks of the mouse in Photoshop. He actually put in much of the preliminary hand sketched artwork into the beginning image that his wife especially seems to appreciate as she probably watched him in this long arduous process outside at the eyepiece. Then he exercised great efforts through the Photoshop artwork. I would still like to hear why his wife likes the original before the Photoshop work.

My style is different and probably best described as ‘old world’. I do very little if nothing to my images in Photoshop aside from maybe a little brightness/contrast adjustments to compensate for exposure at the camera. I used to clean up smudges but just leave them now or try to avoid smudging by carefully keeping the art covered with a clean paper sheet while I rest my hand on the work surface.

Although my old Sony Cybershot 5 mgpxl camera does an amazing compromise to photographic images, it can only do so much. I was always bothered by how rough and lacking my pastel images looked in the photographs online. That is why I choose to save and show the originals in lectures. The new Sigma 35mm digital camera my friend is using has a lens alone that goes for about $1,000. This must make some difference in showing the details in my sketches.

To answer your questions, I never use the sharpening option in Photoshop for my art as I believe it adds an artifact of noise, not really there in the original sketch. I have used it in my photographic work only, albeit only a little at times if it brings out details, but if it adds a false image, especially in artwork, I would never use the 'shapen' control. I do nothing if only to adjust to compensate the camera exposure by slightly tweaking the brightness and sharpness in Photoshop to the best to show closest to the original art. I did however notice that my friends photo studio tungsten lights were filtered with a blue Wratten film. I believe it is to duplicate the proper Kelvin Temperature of north daylight. I think it is a little too blue. So I slightly tweaked the blue down in the final photo images as a last touch in Photoshop. One of you still made the comment about the blues in the art being predominant in the new images.

Some of you commented that the old original image looks sharper in line detail. I am not sure why it appears that way. I think it is pixelation noise that you are seeing. Perhaps the accurate color in the new images takes over in the perception of the simple line image. I suppose you could take several different digital camera images of artwork and compare them side by side, that goes for scanners too, or any electronic recording device; you will probably see every image to vary slightly. As a fun experiment, just take a look in any large art history pictorial of familiar masterpieces; say Monet’s Impression Sunrise or Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night. You will notice in some of the book prints that there are reflections on the canvas photos in places as the photographers had rights to light the artwork when photographing for publishers; other images are way off in color, some look faded, some prints are dark, muddy and colorless, some are even blurred as possibly reproduced as multiple generations allowed by copyright. Have you ever looked at an original Van Gogh? You would not believe the experience! I watched dozens of people in tears, crying in a large exhibit a few years ago at the LA County Museum as they stood in front of the large origial self portraits of Van Gogh. This is the true power of real traditional hand done art.

Now go to the internet. There are really no copyright rules. Anyone can put up anything beyond control 24/7! Then manipulate it electronically to the n’th degree. How do we know what we really see in the Internet? Some of my friends see my originals after only seeing them online earlier. Some of them are pleased, some disappointed that the original pastel paper does not shimmer and shine like Darmar varnish on an oil painting canvas. So the internet renders the pastels with a further glimmer in the screen, mimicking an oil painting that is not really there on the original pastel paper. Others just say, wow! Can I have that one for my home? I cannot sell them, so I guess I’ll be giving them away to relatives and friends soon.

I think I’ve said enough.. . :question: :foreheadslap: :tonofbricks:

Mark

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#9 jayscheuerle

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 06:29 AM

Kudos to you, Mark!

Years ago, I was trying to find an image of Monet's "Impression: Sunrise" to use as a comp. I couldn't find two sources that looked the same! Check it out in Google Images. It's absurd!

When I was in art school, I was envious of those very few with the innate talent of drawing or painting. It's a beautiful and wondrous thing to watch someone who has the ability to make their images sing, seemingly without effort. I've known three people like that in the past 25 years. It's so inborn that they take it for granted. I'm not even sure if they still work in the art field.

Though my degree was in Illustration, I'm more of a problem solver who has some design sense. I'm comfortable with my limitations and work around them in ways that make up for my lack of raw talent.

Seeing "real" work like yours, so energetic and fresh, just makes me smile and shake my head at the fact I just don't get how you guys do it. Thanks for sharing! - j

(even if it IS just sharing a digital copy) ;)

#10 CarlosEH

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 02:52 PM

Mark,

Your new image of the Full Moon does exhibit better contrast, sharpness, and a richer color than the original image. It is interesting how re-imaging a piece of art brings out different aspects of the work. Using whatever camera or scanner available to you your renderings are always first rate.

Carlos

#11 Shannon s

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 03:03 PM

A good point Mark. It is in the eye of the beholder. Some people stick to raw and original, others do the computer manipulation thingy. I would love to be able to do what my wife does in photoshop. I just don't have the patience to learn. I've always been pencil and paper. That's it, simple me, my style what I see is what you get, how I want to do it. If we all did the same things there would be no point to any of this. Yet we all have our own style. Back in art school the teach would put everyones stuff on the wall, after that quarter's studies, and before any names were said we all knew who did what just from thier style. Thats what makes us all Artists of different mediums. Even when looking through the eyepiece of my 12"er at M42 I can't see any color, I should be able too, my wife does but I can't, im not color blind either. Nobody sees anything the same. You do great work. You can tweak this add that change this move that, but it is still yours. Sometimes it is hard to be happy with any of it, believe me sometimes you just want to wad it up and throw it away. You can tweak forever and never finish. Sometimes you just have to move on. Just do what you do and people will love it. :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

#12 mike bacanin

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 03:19 PM

Hi Mark,

I never tire of your beautiful astro artwork. To see it in higher quality reproduction is even better!

Regards
Mike

#13 markseibold

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 07:53 PM

Seeing "real" work like yours, so energetic and fresh, just makes me smile and shake my head at the fact I just don't get how you guys do it. Thanks for sharing! - j

(even if it IS just sharing a digital copy) ;)


Jay again, Shannon, Frank, Carlos, Mike

Thanks to all of you,

In response to Jay's comment about how we do it or that it is raw talent, I am one of those you mentioned earlier that is not satisfied with what I do. I am actually very frustrated about this art work. Imagine that people send emails wanting to have it yet they do not want to pay for it? If you know of any work I can take as a paid artist that is in need these days, I'd like to hear from you. Everyone in Portland is losing their jobs at the same time everyone is moving here from all over!

I have people asking me to lecture about it; then there are no honorariums or stipends. That is fine, as I enjoy the talking and providing the presentations because there is always someone in the lecture hall that will learn from it, but I think many misunderstand what artists are really doing. It is really a simple slow intuitive process that takes time in our fast paced world which has lost the appreciation for time. Yet others will sit in front of a TV for hours of totally wasted and unproductive time.

As for talent? I think anyone can do what I do. I feel that part of it is cheating and breaking the rules so to speak. Many people are stifled into thinking that they need classes or degrees or to follow some sacrosanct laws or rules to do this. It is actually just the freedom to do it! It takes unconscionable amounts of free time unrestrained by other obligations intrusions. Of course the process appears to bore some people as it is easier to just turn on a TV and seemingly be entertained. Note that the greatest artists, musicians, writers, etc. have created their greatest works while alone and not intruded upon by normal life’s obligations. I believe that if anyone can concentrate enough, undisturbed, they can create great art.

I’d still like to hear why Jay’s wife likes the rough unrefined sketching rather than Photoshopped. There are many discussions these days about Kindle Books, i-pods, Wi-Fi’s oh my! And did I forget the over text messaged and twittered world today and why the younger generation is losing something very critical to our existence.

Mark

#14 JayinUT

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:24 PM

Mark,

I have to restate yet again that I always find your work thought provoking, creative, engaging and enlightening. I can see something in the picture different, a new detail, a highlighted area, or an interpretation that I had not considered before. A great example was your Apollo and the Moon piece from a while back. Your work challenges my mind to think, and for that I thank you.

#15 markseibold

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 05:19 AM

Jay

Thank you and I'm glad I could challenge you to think. God knows I am not doing the thinking sometimes as I expend all my useful energy on producing all of the visual image at hand ;) :question:

As you mentioned that Apollo 40 Yr Anniversary piece I produced last July, I decided to compare the old image of that one too with the new photos, so here it is (a small rendition) with added close-up detail of what was actually observed in the eyepiece, Plato. This Italian paper was an accidental mistake of use as it has an extremely rough texture.

-Mark
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#16 markseibold

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 06:40 AM

Here is another comparison, not my favorite but it was one of the two I have won with over the photography twice; still hard for me to believe. This was the Moonrise with Saturn conjunction Jan 13th 2009.

The old camera image is on the left; the newer camera on right; both with inset detail showing close-up chalk strokes.

I can imagine that some may not especially like the newer images, being less contrasty but with finer detail and truer color. Blame it on a camera costing over five times as much as the original? :question: -Mark

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#17 jayscheuerle

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 09:15 AM

Mark, on my monitor, the shadow-side outline is barely perceptible (almost imperceptible) on the image on the right. Is that how it was rendered? - j

#18 markseibold

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:16 PM

Jay

As I looked at both photographs for nearly an hour last night; adjusting these photos in Photoshop slightly for what I thought was the best compromise for the web, I was not satisfied as to how each camera recorded this particular pastel rendering. As you mentioned earlier seeing Monet's Impression Sunrise in the web and how much each reproduction varied 'absurdly'.

So here again today, I sit looking at the original sketch in daylight. In your question, you got me to pull out the original and yet again photograph it with the older Sony consumer-grade camera just to make a quick test example, with the color setting on the camera at 'Auto' which Sony seems to have a very good sensor for lighting color. I turned the studio light with Blue Wratten Filter for simiulated daylight onto it and aimed the camera from an angle, *note the perspective viewing from the left. I have always been bothered by straight photography lighting as this is not really the way we see things in real life. (Hence why I have always tried to phoptograph my art in north daylight) In these photographs, they are seen from angles; and light is from ‘angle of incidence’ in many scenes in life. Imagine how much an image can vary when telescopic optics come into the play!? Furthermore this particular image was done in haste as it was the last sheet of paper I had available that night. The ridgeline textured paper, I found objectionable and would not prefer to use it again. I later received questions from people who saw the online image and thought that I photographed a live image of the moon from a TV screen, believe or not.

So I think your question is a good one. The dark side shadow of the moon, I actually rendered quite dark as it should be at gibbous phase; nearly percetable to the eye when observing as oppsed to a younger crescent phase. In the original photo I probably contrasted it up a bit to show the brighter details but that also caused the shadow side to look unrealistically brighter than the original artwork. I guess we should confirm that all artwork was photographed with some International Standards in the Internet. I cannot imagine how an ‘Art Law’ like this would be adhered to. So much for artistic license! :foreheadslap: :question:
:roflmao:

*See several candid photo images taken moments ago below to render the shadow in close to what I am trying to show as its true original rendering.

Mark

with studio lighting *Note other recent Lunar Impact sketch that is too close to the studio lighting to the left and thus is overexposed- [Lighting placement is critical when photographing art] >
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with natural daylight >
*In next window below >

#19 markseibold

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 04:26 PM

I promise, lastly this is the final image in natural daylight that I will post here as I feel that I have over-extended my own original post with superfluous images- I hope this may help any who decide to photograph their art as an example to comparison in lighting the art. *Most artists would probably increase contrast a small amount to this following image but the problem arises in similar to photo exposure averaging in harsh lighting scenes that the camera cannot do what the human eye does. *See HDR Photography in many web sites, now soon to become the new standard in many camera manufacturers- It will shoot several images simultaneously and then run them through a computer program to see close to what the human eye sees in harsh light, from deep shadows to bright highlights. >

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