Landing Heron

 

Landing Heron
Landing Heron

A white feathered heron lands with a splash in a shallow pond.

 
I created this using a variety of digital art tools, but primarily this one is about Topaz Impression which is what I used to give this the Impressionist stylized look.
 
It you want to know what Topaz Impression is, check out my overview of it on my blog: http://fineartbydaniel.com/2017/12/22/topaz-impression/
 
There’s plenty of other digital tools involved as well.  You can check out my resource list here: http://fineartbydaniel.com/resources/
 
Thanks for looking!
Daniel

As always I have prints and gifts featuring this image available.

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Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf

A menacing wolf snarls at you.

This was a quick work that I put together while experimenting with Topaz Glow.  It’s mostly just something I did for fun while playing around with art on Christmas night 2017.

As always I have prints and gifts featuring this image available.

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Topaz Impression

Topaz Labs produces some pretty cool products.  I’ve talked about Topaz Glow which you can use to giver your images a neon glowing effect, but my all time favorite product from them is Topaz Impression.

Wolf - Topaz Impression
Wolf – One of my artworks made using Topaz Impression

With this tool  you can convert your images into Impressionist Style Artworks.  All you need to do is load up your image, then select one of the many presets, such as “Monet”, “Oil Painting”, “Cave Painting”.  You image will instantly (well…almost instantly, processing for large images may take a minute or two) be converted.

You’re not limited to the presets though.  Once you’ve kicked things off, there are sliders that let you control the brush type, width, the stroke length and direction, etc.  You can get very elaborate.

Impression used to be a stand alone product.  These days though, it is a plugin for Topaz Studio.  One of the big advantages with this is that you can layer effects with multiple Topaz products.  Topaz Studio is free, but the Impression plugin will set you back about a hundred dollars.  That may sound like a bit much, but I’ve sold several prints of artworks made with impression and have easily recouped my cost.  

One of the things I find really great about products like Impression and Glow is that they can give a photo a really standout style, and when your competing against thousands of photographers, it’s that kind of style that gives you an advantage over the others.

Get Topaz Impression

A while back, I made a video to go over some of the features of Impression.  This was before it was a Studio plugin, but the functionality is pretty much the same:

Regards,

Daniel

Topaz Glow

My quick overview of Topaz Glow…

Glowing Shark
A Hammerhead Shark Image post processed using Glow

A hammerhead shark swims beneath the sea in this impressionist work featuring fluid glowing lines with an almost neon quality to them.

This was actually made from an older image of mine that was a realistic image of a hammerhead shark, created using digital 3D rendering techniques. I’ve altered it though using a tool called Glow From Topaz labs. It’s a really cool computer program that gives your images a wild expressionist look ranging from a style reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh to modernist neon impressionism.

 
Hammerhead
The Image before being processed in Glow

I’d seen a lot of photographers making sales with their photos that had been run through Topaz Glow. They looked awesome and I knew I wanted to give the application a try with some of my render art. It required me to update the drivers on my graphics card, but once I did that, it was easy to install and very easy to use.

I found that it doesn’t always make an image better, but for some it really had some great results. This particular image, I thought, turned out very well.

Glow used to be a standalone application, but now you get it as a plugin for Topaz’s flagship application Topaz Studio.  Studio is free and allows you to integrate most of their products.  Glow will set you back around 70 bucks, but it’s can pay for itself in just one print sale.

If you’d like to check out Topaz Glow, and I recommend that you do, click on the button.

Get Glow

By the way, that link is an affiliate link. If you click on it and should happen to buy glow within 30 days, I will get a small commission on the sale. It does not raise the price for you. For those of you who do buy, THANK YOU!

I’ve also done a video review of glow.  This was the older version prior to being a plug in for Topaz Studio, but the latest version is quite similar in what is can do. 

 

Regards,
Daniel

A Storm of Mammoths

A Storm of Mammoths
A Storm of Mammoths

A Storm of Mammoths

Winter is around the corner, and I wanted to post some art to get me in the mood. This one, a bit of Mammoth Art, is from my paleoart series.  I have Mammoths heralding the coming of the cold season. The first dusting of snow has fallen and a rabbit has ventured out to see what all the commotion is about. 

Most animals have a collective noun that names a group of them. For instance, a group of crows is called a murder, a group of chickens is called a brood, cats…a clowder, geese…a gaggle, etc.. However, there doesn’t appear to be a collective noun for mammoths. I guess being extinct deprives them of that. Well, I’ve decided that I like the word “storm” for a group of Mammoths, at least for this particular artwork. 

This artwork was created digitally using 3D art applications as well as painting applications.

Do you want to know how this is made, go here.

Tools I used to make this?  Check out my resource page.

Prints and gift featuring this image are available.

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What is Photoshop?

Photoshop, a  product description

Photoshop is the single most powerful and most used computer application in the world for art and photography.  Most people who have spent any time doing digital art or photography have used it.  However, as you may be new to digital art, I’m going to introduce it as if you’ve never heard of it.
 
Sepia Image
A image with a sepia tone filter applied using Photoshop
Photoshop is a digital image manipulation program, that is, it’s an image editor.  You can do all sorts of things to an image as a whole with it, such as adjusting brightness, contrast, etc.; moreover, you can use it to apply various filters to image, for instance, giving an image a sepia tone.   You can also edit parts of the image, such as painting on it with virtual brushes.  In fact, you can create an entire digital painting with it. And, it works particularly well with tablets and styluses (I personally use it with a Wacom Bamboo).
 
Until I got into 3D rendering, Photoshop was all I needed for doing digital art.  For several years, I needed nothing else.  There is so much that you can do with Photoshop. There are so many books on how to use it that they could fill a library, classes you can take, and thousands upon thousands of Youtube videos on how to use it.

How to get it 

Photoshop
Photoshop with one of my images loaded.

For a long time, Photoshop was a rather expensive application that you had to buy at a place like Best Buy off the shelf.  Later on, you could buy it online and download it, but even then, it cost hundreds of dollars.  Now however, Adobe (the company that produces Photoshop) has made it available through a subscription model.  That makes it way more comfortable to try out.  As I write this, you can get a monthly subscription as low as 10 bucks a month.  

 
It’s something you might want to check out…
 

Watch Me Get Photoshop

I recorded myself actually getting the latest version of Photoshop.  So if you want a video walk through of how to get it, here you go:

Fire Dragon

Fire Dragon
Fire Dragon

A great red dragon with massive wings perches a top a rocky outcropping. Black smoke drifts from it the nostrils of its horny head as it gazes far and wide over the land. Clouds fill the skies overhead and snow capped mountains like the horizon. Dry yellow grass grows upon the hill where the dragon has landed.

Prints and gifts featuring this image are available in my print store.

Do you want to know how this is made, go here.

Tools I used to make this?  Check out my resource page.

Learn More

Woman with a Parasol

Woman With A Parasol
Woman With A Parasol

NEW ARTWORK!

A woman with a parasol stands on a hill covered in wild flowers. Her dress billows in the wind. Behind her, a couple of horse rest in the distance.

I hope you like my newest artwork.  This is based on Monet’s painting of his wife and son. I’ve obviously made a few changes to the subjects, removing the son and adding the horses, changing the direction wind and the position of the sun. After all, this was inspired by Monet’s work and not meant to be a copy. Monet’s “Woman with a Parasol” is probably his work that has influenced me the most. I tend to favor the low viewing angle looking up at a subject, and that image was where I likely acquired that preferece. While I’m a big fan of impressionist works and do some of my own works in that style, I wanted this one to be in the more figurative style that is typical of the majority of my works. It was really quite fun to make.

Prints and gifts featuring this image are available in my print store.

Do you want to know how this is made, go here.

Tools I used to make this?  Check out my resource page.

 

Go To The Print Store

How I Make Art – 3D Rendering

Overview

Rendering, also called “digital rendering” or “3-D rendering” is a relatively new form of art made possible by the existence of computers. Essentially, it is the creation of two-dimensional artwork using a computer to generate an image. The artist describes the scene in a way that the computer can understand. The computer then uses that description to simulate a 3D reality from which it takes a virtual snapshot. That snapshot can then be left in digital format or be printed out by the artist.

Modeling

Sculptris
Sculptris, a digital sculpting program.

The first step in creating render art is the creation of a virtual model. This is analogous to sculpting a model from clay in the real world. The artist begins with a virtual lump of clay, often a sphere or cube, then molds model by stretching it, twisting it, and adding on to it. The process can get rather elaborate. Model making software can cost thousands of dollars, but there are some free applications, such as Blender 3D (which I use) that are quite capable of producing high end models.  A few such applications are:

Skinning

A virtual model really only defines a shape. Generally, modeling software will let you define how the surface of that model appears (color, texture, reflectivity, etc.) but, more complex models call for skinning. Skinning is the process of creating of what is known as a UV Map. A UV Map is a special picture file that can be wrapped around a model to give it a surface. It’s sort of flattened version of the model analogous to the pattern one uses to cut material for clothing. Modeling software will help to create the UV Map, but I use image editing software, such as Photoshop or GIMP, to actually color in the UV Map.

Rigging

Certain complex models might call for something known as rigging. Rigging allows the artist to reposition certain parts of a model rather than having to remold a whole new one. For instance, if I create a model of a human form, I may want to be able to reuse that model in different poses. Rather than shaping a new model for every pose, I can rig a single model virtual skeleton. I assign groups of polygons to certain “bones” and then define how those bones can move in relation to one another.  I use Blender3D for this.  But other applications include Poser and Daz Studio.

Layout

Vue a program for creating 3D enironments

The layout stage of rendering is where the artist defines the spatial relationships between objects in a scene. The objects are models created in the prior steps. This step also includes defining the light sources for the scene as well as atmospheric aspects of the image such a haze and fog.

Rendering

This is the step that is handled by the computer (or network of computers – called a render farm). The computer uses advanced mathematical algorithms to simulate the effects of the light and atmosphere upon the objects set up during the layout phase. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to many days depending upon the complexity of the screen. The final product is a CGI, computer generated image, usually in the form of a bitmap or JPEG file.

Post Production

Editing an image in GIMP

This is the part that would be more familiar to traditional artists. In the post production phase the image is loaded into image editing software such as Photoshop, Corel Painter, or GIMP. The artist then makes adjustments to the image ranging from simple color changes to painting new parts.

Printing

The final step in the rendering process is the production of the physical work of art. This is done by using any number of computer printers. They can be a simple standard inkjet printer printing on photo paper or monstrous wide format printer printing on canvas. I prefer the latter. High quality prints on canvas are often called giclées, though now, most places just call them canvas prints.


If you’d like to see a high speed demonstration, here is an hour long session condensed into two minutes:


It’s a complex way to create art, involving skills of multiple artistic disciplines, but the results can be quite spectacular. It’s a form of creation that is new to the art world.

Digital Art in general is received much like photography was over a century ago when it was a young art form. There’s no reason that digital art won’t achieve similar recognition in the coming years. Imagine if you had the opportunity go back to New York in the early Twentieth Century and pickup a work from Alfred Stieglitz when they were brand new…

Would you like to know more about some of my art secrets and see lots of my art: sign up for my mailing list.

Also, a quick word from our sponsor.  Though mostly I make digital art, occasionally I go the traditional art route.  When I do, I get my art supplies from…

Blick Art Materials

Hey Everybody!

Welcome to my website!

This being my first blog post.  I’m going to tell you a bit about who I am.

My name is Daniel Eskridge, and I’m an artist…at least I am some of the time.  I have a day job as a software engineer.  But in my spare time, I create art.

I grew up in north Georgia in the metro Atlanta area, and I live there now, north of the city a bit.  I’m in my mid-forties, married, and have three kids.

I’m a classically trained artist in such formats as drawing, painting, scupture and photography and have degrees in both art and computer science from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!).

For many years, I primarily did oil and acrylic paintings.  However, being a software engineer by day,  I’ve always been around computers and have was experimenting with digital as far back as the mid 1980’s.  When my youngest son was born though, I decided to get the hazardous chemicals out of the house (which included all my oil paints), and I went all digital.

I first started to like art when I was a kid.  I read lots of science fiction and fantasy novels and was always fascinated by the cover illustrations.  I first learned to make art by copying such artists as Larry Elmore, Kieth Parkinson, Michael Whelan, Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta.

Naturally, my first genre of choice was fantasy, but over the years, I’ve branched into the paleoart, wildlife, and Western genres.  I’ve also produced several non-genre realist works.

I spend a great deal of time outdoors, so nature and organic forms play a large role in my art.  Particularly the place where I grew up (and still live), northern Georgia and the foothills of the southern Appalachians, inspires a lot of my work.

Sometime around 2010, I discovered something called print-on-demand websites.  These are websites that allow artists to sell their works directly to customers in the form of custom-specified, on-demand, ink jet prints.  I tried uploading a few of my works to various sites and found that they sold!

Not only did my art start to sell, but I also started getting illustration contracts and setting up licensing agreements.

Nowadays, I don’t have much time for contract work with a rather intense day job and a baby daughter in the house, but  I do take the occasional commission if it fits.  Plus, I still manage to create at least one new artwork per week — and if you want to hear about all of my latest works as well a see some of my favorites, subscribe to my email list.