Digital Art Programs and Devices: The Future of Painting
A new art form is emerging and is becoming one of the hottest trends in technology. This emerging style of painting from life with computers and iPads is called Digital Plein Air. In this new evolving style, artists take technology out to the field and capture the world around them in digital paintings.
Digital Plein Air
This complex yet intuitive tool, allows artists to quickly come up with sketches and later on, add colors, shades and shadows to their painting. It is different than the traditional Plein Air painting style by being based on fast sketches and brush strokes and a faster work flow. This fast-growing field opens new possibilities for professional and armature artists and marks a revolution in art in which Artists discover the quality and versatility of digital painting as a new medium, different than photography and traditional oil painting.
Plein Air is describes the act of painting from life outdoors. The 19th century impressionists were the first ones to go out and try and capture nature and light in its natural setting. Today, artists still use Plein Air painting and landscapes paintings are still popular. “The opportunity to capture true color and light unfiltered by the shortcomings of the camera continues to be the best way to hone the skill of “accurate seeing” Says Shaddy Safadi, a Digital Plein Air artist.
In the past decade, artists have started painting digitally, taking their computers outside combining modern technology with old tradition and this was the beginning of Digital Plein Air and digital impressionism. A whole movement of digital impressionism was born The setting required for Digital Plein Air is a bit more complicated the old-fashion Plein Air painting: large umbrella with a rubber grip to be held by the nano clamp, nano clamp to connect the umbrella and tripod, tripod, camping stools, Wacom tablet or an iPad, shade box and Energizer that will add 3-4 hours to battery life.
Brushes for iPad
One of the most popular apps for digital painting is Brushes, the 2010 Apple Design Awards winner. Paintings produced with this app have appeared on the cover of the New Yorker more than once and it is widely used. Brushes’ greatest advantage is its simplicity. It has a simple user interface and in one finger touch you can access your gallery and edit your work. At the bottom there is a tool bar featuring paint bucket, color picker, brush, brush properties, layers and eraser.
When painting, the artist only needs to use one tool, the brush, and there are more than 20 brush selections that can be easily customized. It automatically saves paintings so you never lose work and also allows you to transfer files through iTunes or directly to Flicker so you can immediately upload your paintings online. Another great feature Brushes offers is the ability to playback paintings; it records and let the artist replay each and every single step of the process.
Brushes costs $9.99, which unfortunately isn't cheap. However, brushes come with the Brushes Viewer app, which is free software for your Mac. It’s a great app especially for the non-tech-savvy Artist.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
Another painting app for digital painting is Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It has an intuitive user interface and many artists use it since it has fast workflow and ability to store large number of projects. It offers a huge variety of brushes, airbrushes, pens and pencils, each can be customized in many ways. Sketchbook pro has some unique features like the Dynamic Symmetric Drawings which calculate the symmetry of your painting or the layers icon which lets you add a few layers. There are a lot of features with will take you longer to learn, and some complex control options which make it a bit harder for those who don't consider themselves "techies." But it remains a powerful painting app, and is available for $4.99 on the iTunes store.
Procreate is another app for painting. Its trademark silica drawing engine gives artists the option to mix and blend colors on a canvas and save canvases in different sizes. There is a wide selection of brushes and the option to create completely new brushes. It can create up to 16 layers and a 100 redo/undo states. This app goes for $4.99 on the iTunes store.
Art Rage is popular software for Wacom tablets but can be also used on iPads. Its interface and tools are built into the system and it offers brushes, airbrushes, watercolors, paint rollers and palette knives. It also has the option of canvas presetting and properties, layers and blending, spraying fine mist paint on the canvas, and “understanding” the thickness of the paint and how wet it is. Artists say that Art Rage has more of the authentic feel to it. This app saves the work automatically and artists can export it to their computer for additional editing.
There is a discussion whether digital art is a legitimate form of art and some critics of this method claim that digital art is a shortcut of old mediums like painting or sculpturing. It has also been argued that digital art is not real art since it is computer generated and each art work has infinite copies, but since the world has been changing rapidly in the last decade, digital art have become more common. As in the 19th century, artists still create based on creativity, design and the world around them. If the world has changed, then it will be reflected through their work. The way an artist creates his art is secondary to the process of creation itself and since art needs to push boundaries by definition, digital art is doing just that, so why not call it art?
Those who criticize digital painting seem to miss the great thing about it: you not only have the final product but also the entire process captured, which is impossible in other mediums of art such as traditional painting. It requires understanding of art, creativity, design and technology and it embodies the new style of mesh-culture.
1) PR News Wire: The Future of Painting
2) News Softpedia: How to Paint Using an iPad by Artist Nick Pugh
3) Shaddyconceptart: What is Digital Plein Air?
4) CNN Tech: On the iPad, finger paintings goes digital
5) Digital Art Secrets: Creating Art on the Apple iPad