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Is it cheating? - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
Is it cheating?
Ok discussion time:

Is it cheating to use the brightness/contrast, color balance or levels tools on a finished piece of digital work? Im talking strictly digital here. While its nice for presentation purposes to fiddle with contrast and stuff on real media work, I feel its dishonest presentation to make it not look as close as possible to the original, so I just alter it enough to get the scan to look like the original. BUT on digital art I find that when im done I really need to tweak some settings cuz I don't always get things as light or dark as I want or the right hue I want, or sometimes I like to, when im done, see what other colors look like and sometimes I like them better.

But is it cheating? The way I see it, the tools are there for me to use, but I can't help but feel a little guilty. Im wondering if I should post before and after pics of something digital I did so you can see the difference, theres really not much of one, but its noticeable if you look at it.

*edit* heres a before and after of an icon I did for bloodhoundomega (Bloodi the final is in your email inbox)
I had attempted brighter colors as you can see but they just didn't turn out exactly as I wanted so I upped the contrast and a little of the color balance. Not that huge of a difference but noticeable. I mostly do this when something doesn't turn out exactly as planned, I still have a hard time seeing colors in the context of color theory, i try to make them brighter but they end up muted because of the colors i put them next to. Oddly doing this makes me go "oooooooh" and I apply what I found out to the next project and so on instead of just saying "well I can just shit something out and use tools on it later". XD

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Current Music: Whatever Gutter is listening to, I think a Perfect Circle

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From: dirtylittlelie Date: October 16th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel that...you know, it's your work. You made it from start to finish digitally, and who cares if you tweak some colours to make them lighter or darker? It's still the same picture, and you still did all the work.
In real media, if you want something lighter, you can colour white coloured pencil over it or whatever...and to make it darker, you can colour a darker colour over whatever you already have. Concievably, in digiart, you could do the same, but the colour would cover the other colour completely. Contrast/brightness just makes it a different shade, so that you don't have to re-colour the whole thing.
So, to me...it's not cheating whatsoever.
artonis From: artonis Date: October 16th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's cheating, after all it is one of the upsides of digital art. Also, you still need to have an eye for color to reach an improvement that way.

It is especially bad in 3D art, some people consider it first grade treachery if you change the image that pops out of the renderer in any way. Which is complete nonsense.
xianjaguar From: xianjaguar Date: October 16th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not 'cheating' at all. Not even in the slightest. The tools are there....use them!
neongryphon From: neongryphon Date: October 19th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with all of the above; I consider it anything but cheating myself. Why would you need to feel guilty for utilising the programme to its full potential?
Tweaking the levels is no different from any other feature, like a Gaussian blur on screen mode or some such fiddly nonsense with grouped layers and the dodge tool. Same sort of results, different methods.
Feel proud that you know when and how to make your work look even better.
emlan From: emlan Date: October 16th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well using the UNDO button is kinda cheating too since you can't really use it when drawing by hand you know ;D If it's all digital you can use all digital instruments available.

Tweaking a natural media piece is ok too unless you are selling the original and upload a tweaked picture as ref of it though. Unless it's for tweaked prints. I suppose it is better to really try and get the colors right the first time but hey, effort.
dreamaria From: dreamaria Date: October 16th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's cheating at all. The tools are there for you to use, why not put them to use?
From: kilojara Date: October 16th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like Xian said, it's a tool, so you can use it. When you start using the dodge/burn and start throwing lens flares that's when I'd start to worry.
hbruton From: hbruton Date: October 16th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absoulutely not. It's just another tool. For that matter I see no problem with tweaking scans of traditional pics too.
fierycatthing From: fierycatthing Date: October 16th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I use the levels tool on occasion with my digital work, to give it more "POW!" I guess you could say. I see nothing wrong with levels, color balance, and brightness/contrast tools; simply because those are just presentation tools. And to get it less obvious that I used them, I'll paint over and smooth it out a bit.

However, I would advise not becoming completely dependent on those tools. Though they are a nice help if you finish an image and wish to create more contrast or tweak colors without going back and completely repainting. :3
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: October 16th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh im not. like i said a lot of it is just minor tweaking, theres not usually a huge difference but I still feel sorta guilty. im wondering if i should post a before and after pic.
brown_wolf From: brown_wolf Date: October 16th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it's a purely digital work, then it is far from cheating. Heck, I use them to make my drawings look moodier.
From: silber Date: October 16th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, the question alone is odd. That is like asking if it is cheating to use a hammer instead of a stone for putting in some nails. Tools are tehre for usage. Nothing more, nothing less. This whole cheating business I so often hear about is purely low self esteem fandom related anyways. Art is art, it does not matter how it came into beeing.
hbruton From: hbruton Date: October 16th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*applauds enthusiastically*
drake_anaya From: drake_anaya Date: October 16th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like painting digitally with very low contrast, because the washed-out look appeals to me; but sometimes it just comes out too washed-out and some brightness/contrast tweaking becomes necessary to make the image suitable for viewing.

Is it a shortcut? Definitely. Does that mean it's cheating? I don't think so. My Illustration professor has been stressing the importance of shortcuts to our class - use them sparingly if you can, but know when the time is right. If you have a deadline, using that contrast adjustment filter could be the difference between seconds and hours of additional work.

if the work is for yourself, and not a deadline, then... just do what makes you happy. ;) I'd personally take the quicker route either way.
akeyla From: akeyla Date: October 16th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dont think its real baaahd cheating, I do it very rarely myself (often because people complain that with their settings they saw "nothing") but mainly because I never really think of doing it. Then again i am not digiting a lot. And again, heck, we're creative, why not? if it makes the final piece better, why not? And yes, of course it shows new versions of looking at something, or I can imagine it being an interesting technique especially in the fantasy section (just sprung to my mind now, must be many other versions).
So, no baddie. Although I'd observe it, cause if you repetively do it over years with aaaahhl the work then I'd think over if it were not time to try and paint in that color/lighting "effect" stile from the begining with. It is somewhere "healthyer".
hey, I'm a dork. I never got to answer you about the Rider... at first I knew you had your last days with your BF and I really didnt want to bother you, then, when you wrote me sometime after my net broke and i was at sick bay...
May I ask, is Silber still coming to you sometime-ish before FC-ish? cause I really do not feel like feeding the friggin postman, and I'm afraid for oversea I'd have to ask more because if not I'll be half through my material price already...
take care fluffy :)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: October 16th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nah hes not coming to FC unfortunately D: Also I don't know if I can afford it now even at the already discounted price, due to traveling recently im kinda running on empty, hence my impromptu bout of icon commissions. I still love the pic but I feel like Im running you around on this, Im sorry! D:

Its up to you, if you don't mind waiting a little longer until I get paid for this commission im working on (i didnt get paid as soon as I thought i was going to) and an optiobn is BBF is going to FC so he could bring it with him that way, or you could attempt to sell it again and get a much better price perhaps? up to you totally =)
shadow_weaver From: shadow_weaver Date: October 16th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not cheating at all. It's a good thing to realize how a new process or tool can improve your art. It's no different then adding more colors or more detail to something when you see it 'still needs something else'.
martes From: martes Date: October 16th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
If the original picture is digital, I don't see how it's cheating.

I would consider it cheating if the original is real media, scanned in, manipulated, and then you don't make a note of it when presenting the art.
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: October 16th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right, I would consider that false advertising, especially in the case of art for sale.
akeyla From: akeyla Date: October 16th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Zliiiittzzzzze! I love zliiitzzzzeeeh!
he needs hairgel and a tie *ducks away from objects flying from Bloodi's side*
There is definitly a difference to the better if you use tze tooolz, and yes, if you get the AHA-effect then I believe you are definitly on the right way :) sometimes it really requires seeing the sample to understand the other version ;)
What I meant with over-usage and "cheapo" is "those coolios" who put that super sparkly glow-sunset shine crap (sorry) over all their stuff . Filters somewhere make an artwork loose that "something" of a handwriting. Makes things alive like here, yes, but sometimes (not your sample) its as if you used the pink marker to underline your effect to be sure its really seen.

great art :) was just thinking of you yesterday cause I saw a Harpy sculpture that looked just like one of your scetches (I mean, not not exaaactly but it had that same special note in the design)
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