Computer processing has revolutionized the way we can create artwork. With current technology, we can create any image that we can conceive.
The movie industry has capitalized on the trend by producing films with computer-generated imagery (CGI). But you don’t have to be a big movie studio to create digital artwork. All you need are a computer and some basic gadgets.
A scanner can scan more than just paper. You can use it to scan objects too. That has some advantages over simply taking a picture of the object. First of all, a scanned object is isolated from the background. You won’t have to do the tedious work of digitally cutting the object out of the image background. Secondly, scanned images tend to be a higher definition with crisper borders because there is no movement in the scanner.
Many graphics editors have preset “effects” and filters that you can apply to any images. Now within seconds, you can create image effects that used to take hours.
With a digital camera, you can quickly digitize real-life scenes. Then you can take the images and merge them with other images or objects you’ve scanned. The image below is a scanned image of a painted unicorn figurine, merged into a forest scene. Some digital effects were applied to create a shadow and ripples in the water.
Filters and effects can also be applied to images to create new styles of art. For example, partial colorization and antique effects have become popular over the past few years.
Traditional art can also be enhanced digitally to make the overall image better. For example, the image below was originally a pencil sketch. I scanned it and added color, texture, and contrast.
Or you can scan traditional artwork and superimpose it into digital artwork.
Another thing digital art software makes possible is layering. You can take several images, give them transparency, and layer them on top of each other.
All you need to get started with digital art is a computer or smartphone. For computers, Paint.NET is free software that has many of the advanced features Adobe Photoshop has. For smartphones, many free apps have digital image editing functions. I use Google Photos, Instagram, and Color Splash. A flatbed scanner and digital camera can also come in handy for digitizing objects and scenes.