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What are your thoughts on digitizing sketches?

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#1 AdirondackAstro

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 01:52 PM

I'm just curious if anyone digitizes their sketches? I have been going back and forth on whether or not I like it. Sure it's nice to round out the stars, but it leaves the sketch feeling a little too digital rather than the raw look of the sketch done at the eyepiece.

The last few sketches I've posted on here I'd take a picture of my sketch, invert, create an ocular view, and then replace all the stars using the brush tool. While the final image looks good all cleaned up, it seems to lose that sketch look and almost feels a bit more like a photograph rather than a sketch. This feeling really hit me as I was digitizing a sketch of M42 trying to smooth out the nebulous features and make it look smoother I couldn't get it looking quite right, and in reality the sketch itself looks pretty decent without doing much more than inverting it. The nebula loses the feeling that it has from the original sketch.

The reason I started attempting to digitize is so that I could show off star colors when there are orange, red, or blue stars in the FOV. Not sure how to accomplish that without digitizing the whole thing. Maybe just fill in the drawn stars to represent the color it should be without placing all the stars with the brush tool in gimp?

So what are your thoughts on digitizing your sketch? Do you just invert and leave it, or do you round out your stars, smooth out nebulous features, and completely digitize it?

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#2 scottk

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 02:06 PM

It's your art.

 

"It's a free country."

 

I used to do the opposite. I'd use mobile apps like Toolwiz to make real photographs look like drawings or paintings.

 

I often question modern astrophotography in the same way. After all the image stacking and enhancing is it even considered an "image" anymore, or is it more of a digital rendering? 

 

Whatever makes it purty I guess.


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#3 Greyhaven

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 02:33 PM

I don't really don't know where I stand on that issue. I'm not trained in art and the line between " sketching" and recreating a drawing from a " sketch" is blurred for me. I'm not saying right or wrong, but for me recreating from a sketch invites one's artistic soul to much leeway to augment or artistically justify the impressions in the sketch. That somehow makes the "sketch" more real and honest. That augmentation, digital or manual, should no longer be considered a "sketch" done at the eyepiece.

Grey


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#4 MikeTahtib

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 03:09 PM

I would say the goal of a sketch is to create an image that can be seen of something you have in your head.  Whatever medium allows that is good.  If the vision you have in your head is of perfect round stars, then digitize and clean away.  If it shows more hand-craftsmanship, then leave it.  I don't think there is a right and wrong. 

But there are preferences.  My preference would be for the sketch to capture as closely as possible the image seen through the eyepiece, so that would be one that shows less of the artist's hand, and be as perfect as possible.  The sketches I like the most are the ones that make me think "That looks just what I see through my telescope".  I see them as a way to communicate the eyepiece experience rather than a way to communicate some interpretation of that view.  A chacun son gout.


Edited by MikeTahtib, 26 January 2020 - 03:44 PM.

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#5 viewer

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 10:05 AM

I think there is a value in doing nothing but photograph the sketch, but guess that's more or less applicable only to solar. Once you invert you may as well do a few things more, that's ok.


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#6 frank5817

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 11:34 AM

If you post a sketch here you have digitized it. How else could you post it here?


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#7 viewer

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 01:19 PM

There is digitizing. And then there is digitizing.


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#8 Sol Robbins

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 01:27 PM

Making a sketched record of your observations can be, but not necessarily has to be a "work of art". Touching up a sketch after making it digital copy is a personal thing.

 

My take is that all my sketches scan differently. Same is true with camera photography in that your image can be under/over exposed or have hot spots. Lots of different things can happen. I guess its just best to be judicious in your approach. 

 

I use an ancient version PhotoShop so I can start with an image at say, 72 dpi and I recommend using a very large image size of 100 inches on a side to start. This way you can have a fair amount of control in your adjustments to achieve your desired outcome. It might look "cartoon" like starting this way when you "zoom" in, but when you set your screen size image down and zoom out to where it can fit on your computer monitor it starts to look more normal so gradations look smooth after any corrections you might make.

 

Then you can save a resized copy at 350 dpi and a size of about 6 to 10 inches on your longest side and then decide if you want go further. Btw, that's high resolution magazine print quality.

 

That said you you save various copies at any size you need, like a size that can be uploaded here. Whatever size you save a copy at, you can then mildly touch up the image to look its best without going overboard. This takes a little practice to get proficient.

 

In the end it you decide what's good or good enough.


Edited by Sol Robbins, 27 January 2020 - 02:35 PM.

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#9 stoest

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 03:21 PM

Maybe a slightly different topic but I thought about the sketch media and process a lot as I decided I wanted to sketch and I also thought that I wanted to do it all digitally.  To me it boiled down to what I wanted to accomplish by sketching and the main purpose for me was to observe better, record what I had seen, and if it left a record that might help someone understand what they might see under similar circumstances then that was a bonus. I also decided that I wanted to record as closely as possible what I was seeing through the eyepiece. I couldn't see any reasons why the media or process made any difference, whatever I wanted to work in was fine, from paper and pencil to going digital from start to finish.  

 

Now I've done one sketch and I'm working on a couple others, trying to develop a little skill with sketching on a digital device and I'm even more convinced that the process doesn't matter, do whatever interests you or is conducive to getting the results you want.  The only rules are the ones you apply to yourself.


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#10 AdirondackAstro

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 05:36 PM

Very great to hear from all of you who have responded so far. Will be interesting to get input from some others who's work I've enjoyed in the sketching forums.

My main point in making this was just out of curiosity on how everyone else feels about the sketch then being turned into a cleaned up version which no longer contains anymore of the original sketch after being manipulated. I sort of got the answers I was expecting.

For me I find that as much as I like the look in the end of the cleaned up drawing, it feels like I may have over exaggerate the sketch when I manipulate it in Gimp/Photoshop afterwords which felt like it was no longer exactly what you'd see in the eyepiece, even if I'm trying to stay true to the view I had, the digital manipulation/digitization of the sketch feels like it's less of what I saw, and more of an emphasis on the nebula/galaxy/globular cluster. 

Now to respond to each of you who have commented smile.gif

 

 

It's your art.

 

"It's a free country."

 

I used to do the opposite. I'd use mobile apps like Toolwiz to make real photographs look like drawings or paintings.

 

I often question modern astrophotography in the same way. After all the image stacking and enhancing is it even considered an "image" anymore, or is it more of a digital rendering? 

 

Whatever makes it purty I guess.

I agree, it is an art and we can do with it what we please, and there is no right and wrong way to do it. I might have to argue that the purpose of imaging objects is to really pull out detail that you could never see visually, along with the colors of the object. Without the image stacking and enhancing, I for one, would have never known what the horse head nebula looks like because I have never been able to see it visually. There are other objects that I could never make out through the eyepiece and long exposures and enhancing of the images really brings it forward to see.

Sketching feels like if you were to draw, say, a still life of a fruit bowl containing an apple, orange, and some grapes. You wouldn't add in a banana and a pineapple because that's not what you saw when you drew it. I feel as if once I start manipulating the image on the computer I start to add in details that I didn't necessarily see, and that feels like cheating. Or I over emphasize what I saw and instead of the object being dim and hard to see, I really brighten it up so it is more visible. When in actuality that isn't true to the view through the eyepiece. Not saying it's wrong to do that if that's what you wish, but I like my sketches to be a clear representation of what you'd see through the eyepiece of my telescope with my light pollution, and what to expect. Even if I try to not exaggerate my view, it seems to happen to a certain extent once I start manipulating it in Gimp/Photoshop. The final product is good, but not as true to my real view.

 

I don't really don't know where I stand on that issue. I'm not trained in art and the line between " sketching" and recreating a drawing from a " sketch" is blurred for me. I'm not saying right or wrong, but for me recreating from a sketch invites one's artistic soul to much leeway to augment or artistically justify the impressions in the sketch. That somehow makes the "sketch" more real and honest. That augmentation, digital or manual, should no longer be considered a "sketch" done at the eyepiece.

Grey

I'm definitely not trained in art either, but I agree with what you're saying. If I'm trying to represent what I saw at the eyepiece, and then I go into Gimp and add more detail, or brighten something that was actually dim to begin with, it doesn't quite feel like a sketch done at the eyepiece. More of a representation, or an artistic impression of what was seen at the eyepiece. Even if I don't try to enhance it, it seems like it happens anyway. I want to remain more honest to what was seen.

 

I would say the goal of a sketch is to create an image that can be seen of something you have in your head.  Whatever medium allows that is good.  If the vision you have in your head is of perfect round stars, then digitize and clean away.  If it shows more hand-craftsmanship, then leave it.  I don't think there is a right and wrong. 

But there are preferences.  My preference would be for the sketch to capture as closely as possible the image seen through the eyepiece, so that would be one that shows less of the artist's hand, and be as perfect as possible.  The sketches I like the most are the ones that make me think "That looks just what I see through my telescope".  I see them as a way to communicate the eyepiece experience rather than a way to communicate some interpretation of that view.  A chacun son gout.

I also feel like I want my sketches to capture as closely to what I saw for the time I was looking through the eyepiece. I like rounded stars, but maybe that is something I can do to my original sketch once I get inside under regular lighting. Once you start editing the sketch to include rounder stars in your photo editor of choice, you (I) start to manipulate more of the image which always seems to be less of what I saw, and more of what I know the object looks like in images. 

 

I think there is a value in doing nothing but photograph the sketch, but guess that's more or less applicable only to solar. Once you invert you may as well do a few things more, that's ok.

You don't necessarily have to do a few more things to the image once you invert. You could invert and leave it as is, just so that the sky and stars are the appropriate color. 

 

If you post a sketch here you have digitized it. How else could you post it here?

I get what you mean, but I don't consider it to be digitized until you have manipulated it in a photo editor to round out stars, brighten/dim nebula, or change a few thing from the original sketch. I don't think it is a bad thing to do it, but it seems pretty difficult to keep it looking like it did at the eyepiece once you really get into editing the image in you image editor of choice.

 

There is digitizing. And then there is digitizing.

Care to ellaborate on what you mean by this? Do you mean digitizing as in scanning/taking a photo, inverting and that being it. And then digitizing as in scan, invert, redo all the stars, smooth out nebula, and completely change up what your original image started as?

 

Making a sketched record of your observations can be, but not necessarily has to be a "work of art". Touching up a sketch after making it digital copy is a personal thing.

 

My take is that all my sketches scan differently. Same is true with camera photography in that your image can be under/over exposed or have hot spots. Lots of different things can happen. I guess its just best to be judicious in your approach. 

 

I use an ancient version PhotoShop so I can start with an image at say, 72 dpi and I recommend using a very large image size of 100 inches on a side to start. This way you can have a fair amount of control in your adjustments to achieve your desired outcome. It might look "cartoon" like starting this way when you "zoom" in, but when you set your screen size image down and zoom out to where it can fit on your computer monitor it starts to look more normal so gradations look smooth after any corrections you might make.

 

Then you can save a resized copy at 350 dpi and a size of about 6 to 10 inches on your longest side and then decide if you want go further. Btw, that's high resolution magazine print quality.

 

That said you you save various copies at any size you need, like a size that can be uploaded here. Whatever size you save a copy at, you can then mildly touch up the image to look its best without going overboard. This takes a little practice to get proficient.

 

In the end it you decide what's good or good enough.

It is definitely something left up to whoever sketches on what they like to do more for their final image whether that be leave it completely alone, do some minor touch ups, or completely redo the sketch digitally once you have it on your computer. I'm not saying any version is better than the other, just curious on everyone's take on it. As I said in my original post, something (to me) feels like it gets lost once I start smoothing out nebula or galaxies in Gimp, and it starts to lose the look that I saw through my eyepiece. At that point I feel less like I can say "This is how this object looks through my 8" SCT in bortle 6 skies," and more like I'm saying "This is what I wish it looked like." I think that maybe my goal with sketching is to give anyone new to astronomy (someone who just got their first telescope wondering what things will look like) an idea of what nebula and galaxies really look like. I know some people actually expect to see hubble type views through an eyepiece, and I'd hate to manipulate a sketch so much that what I drew isn't what is actually visible. If you know what I mean?

 

Maybe a slightly different topic but I thought about the sketch media and process a lot as I decided I wanted to sketch and I also thought that I wanted to do it all digitally.  To me it boiled down to what I wanted to accomplish by sketching and the main purpose for me was to observe better, record what I had seen, and if it left a record that might help someone understand what they might see under similar circumstances then that was a bonus. I also decided that I wanted to record as closely as possible what I was seeing through the eyepiece. I couldn't see any reasons why the media or process made any difference, whatever I wanted to work in was fine, from paper and pencil to going digital from start to finish.  

 

Now I've done one sketch and I'm working on a couple others, trying to develop a little skill with sketching on a digital device and I'm even more convinced that the process doesn't matter, do whatever interests you or is conducive to getting the results you want.  The only rules are the ones you apply to yourself.

Very good point, it is a choice you can make and do whatever you feel best shows what you saw through the eyepiece. Honestly the thought of doing the sketch from start to finish digitally never even crossed my mind. I don't feel like I'd be able to represent the object I'm sketching with as much shading or realism digitally start to finish. Not saying it can't be done, but I haven't had much luck keeping the realism when I edit them digitally. I suppose if I'm going for as realistic as possible, maybe I should lay off the digital manipulation, and keep it as my hand drawn sketch with just an inversion of the image in Gimp with minimal, if not any other edits done to it. 


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#11 MikeTahtib

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 08:18 PM

Interesting, I hadn't considered the possibility that you would inevitably be tempted to dress it up to look more like the astrophotos we all love to see, uncertain if maybe you really did see that whisp of nebulosity, or maybe you just remembered it from that great pic on astrobin.  When you spoke of digital editing, I imagined just touching up the things you didn't do well by hand, the things that as an imperfect sketcher working in the dark, perhaps not the most comfortable position, didn't come out quite the way they looked.  So now I say my preference would be to correct only those things that are obvious mistakes, slips of the hand, errors in capturing what you actually did see.  I suppose the real trick is remembering which is which.


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#12 Ivan Maly

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 08:39 PM

Mike, I think the main question is whether you want to stop at having a sketch or use it as a base for a drawing. The value of a drawing is as an expression of the old art of scientific illustration, and you are likely to achieve a more faithful rendition of the original view in the eyepiece. The value of the sketch is more akin to that of a memento, with all the warts and limitations. If you go for a drawing, digital tools are a fine approach and a pretty powerful one. And there are even folks who sketch at the eyepiece digitally! So in my view the digital vs. non-digital question is less significant than whether to use your sketch as a base for a drawing. I used to produce drawings (some completely digital) and now I stop at just making the paper-and-pencil sketch. It's just evolution of interests.

 

P.S. Here, a sketch is something that is completed at the time of the observation (or perhaps an equivalent of it, if you can rely on "photographic" visual memory). A drawing is something that is based on a sketch and uses techniques that are more laborious or demanding of workspace illumination to translate the conventions of the sketch into a more precise rendition of the original view. In principle, an astronomer can produce a drawing at the telescope, but this is unlikely especially if you are observing a faint object at a remote dark site.


Edited by Ivan Maly, 27 January 2020 - 08:49 PM.

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#13 David Gray

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 07:10 AM

Digital rendering not my thing but there is no need for any of us to be snobbish or purist about it – fine those who find it best for them – I have a simple message to misgivers there......*Don’t like: don’t look*....

 

The root of my own approach is to represent and maintain faithfully the scene depicted (at the scope).  That approach is my way to honour/respect the requirements of such as the BAA Sections I have (still do) contributed to since the mid-1960s; and was inspired by the observing/rendering principles of such as Antoniadi, T.E.R. Phillips, Dollfus, J.B. Murray et al. 

 

In my case a simple good quality HB pencil (planets etc.) is the main basis along with various stumps for blending - pastels/stumps white watercolour pencils on black for DSO and similar. Even so I know that good careful digital work is also accepted by such as the BAA – the late Peter Grego perhaps a pioneer; some were terming it Cybersketching.

 

His obituary here....... https://britastro.or...rence Grego.pdf

 

My preference is to indicate that fine granular lunar texture; well apparent, but too fine and complex to render ‘fleck’ by ‘fleck’;...so my using the texture of whatever drawing surface – a ‘cheat’ in itself it could be said and without any digital applicating.  I use Corel Graphics and that has texturing effects simulations of all kinds but not that convincing to me in relation to what I’m after....preferring a 'natural' paper texture!

 

I’m fine with any honest sketching approach that adds to the rich variety of presentations we see on this Forum.  Further to say I get the impression when some see computers etc. involved they seem to have the notion all that is needed is to click *Start* sit back and watch the rendering magically appear in minutes – seconds even.

 

Well I can say in my experience it can take hours (especially mouse drawing) even copying in an original pencil sketch which usually is done in 20 minutes +/- 10 minutes at the scope.  Thus my resorting to a manual digital-rendering/copying owing to failing to get a faithful scan – and soon abandoned that practice......

 

But I hope to give more on that presently (when/if time) detailing my very simple approach, to maintain sketch-integrity, using a digital camera; and how I get the uploaded sketch with virtually zero messing of the depicted impressions ready for posting.  

 

I think the most major of my digital ‘interventions’ are when such as the ambient lighting has affected the ‘scan’/camera-shot  and does not close enough represent the original; then some mild lightness/darkness adjustments are applied with Corel’s Effects Tools. After all the original hardcopy is there for reference. 

 

I see nothing amiss using the technology for a correction when it was the technology that caused the departure from the original in the first place....To me that is digital intervention of the benign sort.......am I wrong....???!

 

Dave.


Edited by David Gray, 28 January 2020 - 09:08 AM.

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#14 hokkaido53

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 10:19 AM

I digitize all my sketches and store them on a hard drive. That is the best way to preserve them. (I keep the originals in manila folders, in a metal file drawer - after first spraying them with a fixative.)

I use GIMP software partly because it's fun to play around with. I add a second layer to the saved sketch, then use the Brush tool to create pinpoint stars over the sketched stars on the bottom layer of the drawing. Then, I switch to the bottom layer and delete the squiggly-pencilled stars. I do a similar process with nebulae, using the Airbrush tool.

Roy in New Mexico


Edited by hokkaido53, 28 January 2020 - 10:24 AM.

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#15 Asbytec

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 10:37 AM

I create my sketches in digital form. Easier to share. One can make them look right, they don't have to be on paper. If paper, go ahead and digitize them for long term and sharing online.

Edited by Asbytec, 28 January 2020 - 10:41 AM.

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#16 cloudbuster

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 01:14 PM

"...For me I find that as much as I like the look in the end of the cleaned up drawing, it feels like I may have over exaggerate the sketch when I manipulate it in Gimp/Photoshop afterwords which felt like it was no longer exactly what you'd see in the eyepiece, even if I'm trying to stay true to the view I had, the digital manipulation/digitization of the sketch feels like it's less of what I saw, and more of an emphasis on the nebula/galaxy/globular cluster."

 

 

For me it's the opposite; I started using GIMP more and more when I noticed that the end result got more realistic and showed better what I had seen through the eyepiece. Nowadays all my sketches are fully digital ones. 

 

But that's just me. It's great to see that everyone uses the method that he or she prefers, resulting in all those unique sketches (or drawings) for us to admire on the sketching forum! What a shame it would be if we would all be doing the same thing...

 

Regards, Martijn


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#17 viewer

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 11:48 PM

Came to think of even I am 'manipulating' my solar H-alpha sketches. I get the inverted picture 'right' by turning it 180 degrees before adding info and photographing.  


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#18 nightofnit

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 07:43 AM

Great topic. I just photograph my sketches as they are, including not-so-great star shapes. I find that the more often I sketch, the better the sketches get. I fear that processing my original sketches to make them look better would interfere with the improvement of my sketching skills. I know that my sketches will never look like photographs, but I've seen some awesome sketches on this forum that inspire me to keep trying


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#19 viewer

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 08:10 AM

Yes you can see the sketch as something you actually did with your hand on paper, trying to get the features as well as you can. To see the outcome and possible development is interesting.


Edited by viewer, 29 January 2020 - 08:13 AM.

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#20 Asbytec

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Posted 29 January 2020 - 08:49 AM

Since I don't use any light while observing, my notes are very messy. But I can read through the mess. I doubt a scanned image would be legible to anyone, including me over time. I have to get everything down in GIMP in short order.
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#21 WolfFang

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Posted 30 January 2020 - 09:38 AM

Great discussion! I've really enjoyed reading through this thread as it has both brought out different opinions but also civility in discussion which is lacking in other corners of the internet outside of this forum. 

 

It's important to realize that medium choice is one of the most important choices when creating an artifact like a sketch or drawing. However, "sketching" in our terminology has become more broad than the dictionary definition of the term. In my opinion "sketching" is anything done by hand to represent what is seen or thought to be seen when looking through the eyepiece. 

Would you say someone who uses paint instead of graphite or charcoal was not making a "sketch"? I probably would not say that, so why would I say someone who uses digital tools isn't making a "sketch"? 

If you come back into the light and notice some stray marks that need to be erased, would you call that not a "sketch" because it wasn't done directly at the eyepiece? I wouldn't say that either, so where is the line between touching up some marks and touching it up completely in a digital format?

 

Same with inverting a sketch and noticing that some accidental smudges that weren't apparent before are now glaring. Would I lose my sketch status for touching that up digitally?

 

I think it's important not to limit or gate-keep terms like that because no one really benefits. We all lose if we start deciding what is and isn't ok to do creatively.


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#22 Asbytec

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Posted 30 January 2020 - 12:02 PM

As defined in art, a sketch is a rough hand drawn study of the subject. Sometimes a sketch has it's own merit, but often a sketch becomes a completed final work not restricted to pencil and paper. So whether we finish our published work in another medium, a sketch is part of the process of a finished work. So, I'd argue a finished work is suitable for the sketching forum.

I agree with Wolffang above, we should not limit our creativity. We all lose if we forgo the ability to share our observations.

I prefer computer aided drawing for another reason. It allows us to publish directly into a digital format suitable for sharing an observation in digital media rather than hanging on a wall.

Edited by Asbytec, 30 January 2020 - 12:06 PM.


#23 AdirondackAstro

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Posted 30 January 2020 - 09:33 PM

I have to say there has been some great discussion in this thread, and I'm happy to see everyone's take on sketching. While I'm not trying to criticize anyone for digital manipulation of their objects, I was just curious where everyone on here stood as far as that is concerned. I guess the thing that made me really ask this was just that I was, as MikeTahtib mentioned above, finding myself adding what I thought I saw once I started editing the image in Gimp. I wasn't staying true to the original sketch, to the point where it no longer felt like it was what I saw, but what I thought I saw, and how I've seen it in images. I have nothing against that either, I love artist interpretations of astronomical objects, but I just want to have my images look like they did through the eyepiece the best I can. I feel like I start to lose that the more I edit my images. I want people to look at my sketches and think "That's exactly how it looks through my eyepiece with that type of scope." I want to show it off saying this is what you will see with this gear. 

 

Maybe I'll take a step back from digitizing/digital manipulation of my sketches, and leave them as is aside from inverting and adding info to the final images I put online. Maybe leave any of the digital editing more as practice to try and perfect my technique on cleaning them up without over doing it.

 

I appreciate everyone's input so far in this discussion. It has been great hearing everyone's take on this, and look forward to any further discussion this may spark.



#24 WolfFang

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Posted 30 January 2020 - 10:21 PM

I think is important to recognize that if you want a perfect scientific representation of a target, get into AP. But sketches do something else. They represent the experience of looking through a telescope. That experience is something that extends over time and is internalized. That’s the important part.

#25 Asbytec

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Posted 31 January 2020 - 12:27 AM

I guess the thing that made me really ask this was just that I was, as MikeTahtib mentioned above, finding myself adding what I thought I saw once I started editing the image in Gimp. I wasn't staying true to the original sketch, to the point where it no longer felt like it was what I saw, but what I thought I saw, and how I've seen it in images. I have nothing against that either, I love artist interpretations of astronomical objects, but I just want to have my images look like they did through the eyepiece the best I can. I feel like I start to lose that the more I edit my images. I want people to look at my sketches and think "That's exactly how it looks through my eyepiece with that type of scope." I want to show it off saying this is what you will see with this gear. 

It's a valid concern. The problem, as I have come to know it, is sketches tend to be a static composite of detail we see over time and are never really a single snapshot of any given moment. So, in a way, sketches - not unlike digital images - are somewhat embellished with respect to the visual view or snapshot. And necessarily so, sketches are passive renderings while observing is a very dynamic process. The best way to accurately represent what we see is to create a short GIF file.  

 

As far as adding stuff we think we saw, yes, we have to be careful so as not to further misrepresent the visual view by embellishing it with detail we did not see or detect. There are different levels of seeing detail from that which is easy to that which is almost impossible. The more difficult details lay at the border of our imagination and we have to draw the line somewhere. It's fair enough to sketch what we readily see, even if fleeting, it's quite another to sketch what we interpret as having been detected because it often does not register to us as it really looks in a digital image. Yet, with some practice and some investigation through confirmation of such detail, we can see borderline detail we thought we saw, or actually did detect, and determine what that detail might have been.

 

We find so very often, digital images of the same object we observed do not often resemble the visual experience. We simply cannot include detail we see in a digital image simply because it is in the image and utterly absent from the visual view. But, I assert, with practice, verification, and confidence, we can include detail at the margins of our imagination that was detected. It's very hard to portray the actual appearance of that difficult detail as it is not easily seen, nailed down, or described accurately because it is very dynamic. But just because it is dynamic, does not mean it was not detected. That difficulty observing marginal detail is the way a particular detail appears to us visually, and it happens to be clearly defined in long exposure digital images we might use to verify something is actually there to be seen. If it is there to be seen and we see it, can we not say it was seen? So long as the fleeting effects on our eye are consistent to our satisfaction and can be determined not to be spurious or a figment of our imagination. 

 

It's probably impossible, or at least difficult, to render a static sketch of only one of the many variations we interpret or detect of a single static detail firmly established in an digital image. So, I tend to sketch the difficult detail as it really is because I cannot, without a GIF file, express how fleeting and difficult it was to nail down visually. But, the experience was (I hope, and upon verification) that particular detail detected in a difficult and fleeting way. Difficult and fleeting is how that particular detail appears to us, so we can say with confidence we have seen it. Rather than actually seeing it in the first order, we've actually detected it's as being there rather than having seen it. Because we really do not see the effects that detail has on our eye in the same way we clearly see a stop sign in broad daylight. We simply recognize something as being detected and look for the reason why we saw what we saw by verifying something is there to be seen and, within reason, resembles what we saw.

 

It's hard to sketch the idea of recognizing something is there "trying" to be seen. I always approach a visual observation as the image "tries" to show itself, if we let it and "trust but verify" it. Open minded with no real expectations and certainly not expecting to see it as a digital image. (Actually, I tend to think of preconceived notions are bogus. I think that because mine are rarely met, whether it's image orientation or detail that can be seen by a camera but not visually or visa versa). Very often visual offers something different and unexpected rather than all we might expect to see. So, should we preclude it?

 

I think not. We worked hard to see all we can, this is what sketching teaches us and why it's such an important observing practice. We really learn to see and trust what we see because it often is there to be seen. And, quite often not seen or not there to be seen, as well. When we push the boundaries of our own physiology by actually observing something small and faint, in the real sense of paying attention to it rather than just looking at it, we have to understand the difference to sketch what we see. 

 

I think is important to recognize that if you want a perfect scientific representation of a target, get into AP. But sketches do something else. They represent the experience of looking through a telescope. That experience is something that extends over time and is internalized. That’s the important part.

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Edited by Asbytec, 31 January 2020 - 12:34 AM.

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