Sunday, August 10, 2008

sorting and collating pixels

If you are a pro graphics person, whatever your title or stick I'm sure you have much love for Photoshop or Illustrator or any number of MS platform applications. The ease of use and of access is great stuff for anyone, but wait. You have to fork over so much dough to own these applications. Art materials have always been a pain for me, my extra moneys were always slated for more immediate needs. So, though skeptical about open source and Linux, I had to give it a shot. GIMP, the long time graphic champ has won over many converts. Having never owned Photoshop, I haven't been plagued by not having it. I've enjoyed the freedom of not having learned it first. Gimp is OK for photo work but photos are not my area of interest. I like to draw. Here's a shot of GIMP on my desktop..........
GIMP has lots of fancy filters, scanner control, format conversion and a scripting language so you can customize it even further. Then I checked out a few other pixel blasters like, Gpaint which looks and feels like MS Mpaint and mtPaint which is an older Linux graphics editor. Then there is KolorPaint and Krita which are part of the KDE desktop suite. The one I find really useful is Xpaint. This is also an older graphics editor but I think it is more useful if you want to draw. It looks like this.........
The interface is older but it is fun to draw stuff on this application. Again, my focus is on digital fine art graphics. But you could do all sorts of graphics and the tools are free. I'm going to throw in Inkscape too because it is a wonder. If you want to get into scalable vector graphics but can't afford Adobe products, Inkscape can stand up on it's own. And it looks like this........
So, I am learning to use what I have at hand, pushing pixels and slinging vectors with free graphics tools. It is much the same as with any art medium, you might afford the best paints and photo processing services or you can pound your own pigments, mix your own photo chemicals.
To the artist the process learned to get ideas into an artistic form is a pain but once the workflow ceases to be a hindrance, all sorts of things can happen.

I go to the library, they have for a smallish city, a big mostly MS oriented computer section. There are a dozen Linux books and a few open source software books. Yeah, you could use Photoshop and Illustrator books and convert them for GIMP and Inkscape work. But the books they have are not for new beginners, amateurs, and would-be artist. They are also focused on photography. So, in that light, digital fine art is still a new thing in the art world, in spite of all the digital media in the world. I really have to thank folks who do video tutorials and post them on the internet. If you want to do other than cartoon or game art, photo or film editing or even web design and desktop publishing, free and open source graphics applications can propel you into a whole other world.
If you are looking at your 11"x8 1/2" page printer, thinking this is the limit for your art, you need to rescan the horizon. Us draftsman have known of wide printers/plotters for years now. You could send your scalable vector file to a service that will print it out for you in larger formats. Some plotters have come down in price so you can own one if you have the resources. That desktop photo quality printer on your desk is but a sample of a larger world. Some of these wide plotters will also print on canvas instead of paper, some inks have archival quality. This is all factual info of the possibilities of digital art. It blows the art market based on the rarity of one of a kind art work, out of the water. It's something to think about as you stroll through the Linuxville countryside.

No comments: