Digital Art

This month’s Playdate is Digital Art

Most of us are already familiar with image editing programs. In fact, their use has become so widespread that the name of a particular program has become synonymous to altered photos. Some people’s awareness of the power of image editing programs are usually limited to cropping unwanted objects or the removal of pimples and other blemishes, though, so for our BNP playdate this month, we’re going to share how we used image editing programs to create whimsical art using a combination of photographs and drawings.

Materials Used:

  • Digital camera
  • Strobe Lights
  • Black backdrop
  • Reflector
  • Graphics tablet
  • Headdresses for the mermaid and merman
  • Sketchpad
  • Pencil
  • Computer

Programs Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop (for the background and photo manipulation)
  • Adobe Illustrator (for the supplementary drawings)

Estimated Duration:

Depends on familiarity with photo shoots and image editing programs, but for this activity, it took us about a day for the photo shoot and the required preparation before that and another day for the actual photo manipulation process.

Estimated Difficulty:

Moderate. The activity required a fair amount of editing, so you would need to be familiar with the different tools commonly used in image editing programs.

Number of People on the Team:

Ten people assigned with the following roles:

  • Illustrator
  • Make up artists
  • Hair Stylists
  • Costume Designer
  • Digital Artist
  • Photographer
  • Production Assistant

First Phase: The Photo Shoot

A good number of people who manipulate photos usually use stock images in order to save time and effort on producing the photographs, but since we wanted to get a feel of the whole process from the very beginning, we decided to work with a photograph that we’ll be taking ourselves. The concept: an underwater scene featuring a mermaid and her son.

To give the activity a jumpstart, we had one of our illustrators do some sketches of the poses that would be done, and after we’ve picked the ones we liked, we started to prepare the things we’re going to need. The staff was recently joined by four more people, so dividing the work amongst ourselves had come easy with some acting as stylists and costume designers while the others work on setting up the backdrop, strobe light (for additional lighting), reflector (to spread the light evenly), and tripod (for steady shots).

With everything finally set up, we proceeded to do the actual photo shoot by taking pictures with different poses. We then picked the photo that we liked the most and saved it for the next phase of the activity.

Second Phase: Photo Manipulation

Day 1 saw us preparing the photographs that will be used for the photo manipulation, but now that we’re done with that, we proceeded to the next phase – the photo manipulation.

We mentioned before that we decided to work on an underwater theme, but at the last minute, we decided to make the subjects only partially submerged underwater so we can play with the background and subjects more. We did this by cropping out the lower body of the subjects and replacing them with tails drawn by one of our illustrators and attaching them to the upper body of the subjects later.

Our digital artists then started to do some retouching, starting with the removal of blemishes up to the balancing of hue and saturation. We started drawing the background with the use of an image editing program and a graphics tablet.

You might want to note that this wasn’t particularly difficult because our artist is accustomed to using these programs and devices, but if you’re not that comfortable with image editing programs and graphic pens yet, you might want to draw your chosen background on paper first then upload them to your computer later. It’s totally up to you, though.

After the background was done, our digital artist added some finishing touches to the manipulated photo by doing some additional color blending on the skin of the subjects and adding some highlights on certain features before finally declaring the project complete.

In the end, the activity consumed more time than what we initially set aside, but we had fun goofing around with the photographs, not to mention some of the staff discovered talents that they never knew they had (Hint: it has something to do with salons and the people in question weren’t girls. Peace, guys! Oops!), so it’s definitely something we wouldn’t mind trying again given the chance.