Having spent eight years using Photoshop for good and mischief, in recent years I’ve stepped firmly away from compositing The Ultimate Warrior piledriving Buzz at the moon landing and into the world of serious photo editing and digital art. It’s a trend I’ve seen developing a lot recently, a considerable number of today’s digital artists and retouchers I’ve spoken to started out as I did. Some of the most beautiful work from the most modern of art forms has its roots in the early 2000′s, Photoshop 6, and putting Chuck Norris in space, just because suddenly, we could.
Photoshop turns a digital image into Lego bricks and the new user into a child. By the time that child grows up, he/she has an intimate knowledge of a set of tools that surpass the old dark room tricks a thousand times over. It’s easy to look down on the teenager holed up in his/her bedroom custom building glitter text for their myspace, or selectively colouring an object from a snapshot, but to do so, even from those generic online tutorials, instills an understanding of animation, paths, masks and curves.
I’m sure my early efforts were looked on in much the same way by those who had been users of Photoshop from a decade previous, but I had a grand old time compositing the Fresh Prince’s Uncle Phil into the codec communicator from Metal Gear Solid. Whimsical, amusing to a narrow audience, but not entirely pointless.
To the next generation of teenage photoshop users – I fully support your endeavours to turn your self-taken mobile phone snapshots into something resembling the poster art from Twilight. Those of you who don’t get bored will be the professional photo editors, retouchers and digital artists of tomorrow.
Just remember, when I was a lad we didn’t have adjustment layers.