Continuing the photomanip conversation

16 min read

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Aeirmid's avatar
Hey everyone! :wave:

There has been a lot of chatter in our community lately over what a photomanipulation  is and isn't, and how our gallery differs from other galleries / artistic categories.

A good many of you-- individuals as well as groups-- have written or shared "What is a photomanipulation?" journals and blogs over the past couple of days. It really shows how much you care about the community, and I applaud you for it. :aww: We all can learn a lot from each other.

As a Photomanipulation Community Volunteer, I wanted to share my understanding of it and to offer all of you my support.

So . . .

What is a photomanipulation?

As we are all aware now, dA espouses the following definition:

Photomanipulations are images that have been composed of two or more photographic elements to create something new.

We have all seen that sentence 100 times by now and could probably say it by heart. That's a good thing! ;)

I know that this definition has been dissected already, but I want to point out three words one more time, just for good measure:
  • TWO. There must be two different images you're combining. No simple changing of hues, applying filters, etc. and calling it a manipulation.
  • PHOTOGRAPHIC. They must be from photographs, i.e. not brushes or paint.
  • NEW. You are doing more than enhancing a photograph. The product is completely separate and distinguishable from its parts.

By now we can all recite this definition, right? I think that is awesome because it is strengthening our identity as a community. And the way we define ourselves is the way others will define us.

So, let's think for a moment. What if I have a deviation in which I used a photograph of a model and added some glow, then liquified some features and painted on make-up?
:pointr: NOT a manip. This would go under Digital Art > Other [NOTE: this is "Miscellaneous digital art containing a mix of various digital mediums/programs."] or Digital Art > Mixed Media [NOTE: Deviations of two, or more, digital art forms including paintings, drawings, photomanipulation, 3D works and vectors/vexels images.].

What if I use a 3D model on a photographic background, then paint over it, etc.?
:pointr: NOT a manip. This one goes under Mixed Media.

What if I added a butterfly from a separate photograph and pasted it onto a photographic model?
:pointr: Technically, this is a manip. Maybe weak, but it is a manipulation by definition.

Now let's say I have two photographs of my own, and I lay them such that one WHOLE photograph was over the other (obviously with reduced opacity or other "darkroom" effect so you can see both images), perhaps with some brushes.... photomanipulation, right?
:pointr: Wrong. That's digital darkroom deviation -- specifically, it's a digital overlay.

Did you catch the key word? Digital overlay uses two WHOLE, overlain images to create one product that is enhanced... rather than bits and pieces of this and that to create something entirely new. Think about texturing, for example.

Digital overlay is not a subject in which I am especially well-versed beyond what I have written above.  If you want more information from a definitive source that gives excellent examples and explanations:

Darkroom Digital: The RestructuringThe community asked, we conversed and listened, and tonight I'm unveiling the new hierarchy of Digital Darkroom. I AM EXCITED. ARE YOU EXCITED? I AM EXCITED. :iconyeyexcitedplz:
Overview of Digital Darkroom
While most photography galleries on dA have pieces that are judged based on the merit of the technical aspects in-camera, darkroom invariably takes it a step further and considers how it looks as a finished unit - photo to be viewed online or in print - and as such, submitting to darkroom is like saying "this is my work as it should be viewed in real life". Thought is inherently given in darkroom submissions either to the merging of the images in multiple exposures and overlays, or of the process going into making the final image, like the post-production in digital photo-editing software or merging of images to increase dynamic range. Most pieces in darkroom fit equally

I do hope this information clears things up for people, if it hadn't been cleared already. :D

OK. That's settled. What about our DDs?

Some of you might have noticed that my last journal asked about YOUR opinions about what photomanipulation DDs should be like. If you missed it, here is the journal:

What is a photomanip Daily Deviation?Hello everyone! How are you?
deviantART policy defines a DD as an image that [a staff member or volunteer] finds impressive or otherwise interesting enough to deserve being brought to the attention of the community-at-large. In other words, it is a deviation that ROCKS and that we think everyone should have the pleasure of seeing!
DDs are important because:
They bring personal exposure to the artists who are featured AND, to a lesser extent, to the artists who suggest themThey bring attention to the photomanipulation community and show everyone what we are all aboutThey provide a way of touching or influencing people on a large scale by providing a powerful messageThey give people something to strive toward and serve as a source of pride.Thus, it is an honor and a privilege, but also a significant responsibility, to be able to award them.
While I select Daily Deviations, YOU are able to suggest excellent work (including your own) to

I got some really great responses, and I truly appreciate your input on this issue. Essentially, what you said is that the deviation should be technically very good but also it needs to mean something and be novel. I couldn't agree more.

Here is what I PERSONALLY look for in a photomanipulation I want to feature:
  • It needs to make me say, "Whoa!" .... if not immediately on opening the suggester's note, then when I zoom in to scrutinize the details.
  • It needs to be interesting to the eye.
  • It needs to be technically excellent.
  • It needs to be unique.
  • It needs to show some heart. You can tell when someone puts time and thought into a deviation, right? ;)

Of course, it has to fit the standard rules (credit the stock, note me, and no DD in the past 6 months).

That being said, I encourage you each to think about others in our community (and yourself) who make a difference with their art. Who is outstanding but perhaps underappreciated? These are some folks you should be recommending for DDs.

Positivity and Unity

I want to conclude our conversation with a bit about positivity and unity. We have the best and worst of it as photomanipulators. Our best side is that we produce some rockin' deviations that make all of dA stare in awe, and we have great friendships and people we care about. Our worst side is that we sometimes like to label ourselves superior to others. I would like to offer each person in this community a hand of friendship and say that every one of us-- from the best photomanipulator on dA down to the person who is doing well just to paste a model on a background-- is a valuable member of the community. We sink or swim TOGETHER, so maybe we need to have the attitude that everyone is worthy of support and encouragement, regardless of how technically proficient they are.

That's the reason we work hard to improve our skills. That's the commitment and the passion behind art creation. In our hearts, we want to belong to something. I'm here to tell you that you do belong; you are a part of this community. :heart:

As a CV, you learn even more about how others see your community. I can tell you that people see us as one group, for better or for worse. So, no matter how big of a rock star you are, you are one of us, and we are with you. And even if you can't paint hair or crop cleanly or blend images or match colors, you are one of us. I think this is a very positive thing, and I think we need to build upon our strengths.

Will we all be friends? No, of course not. I'm sure there are people who do not like others, and there are people each of us is not fond of, either. But, we belong. There is ownership here. There is identity. And that's the gift we need to continue to foster.

Thanks for reading all of this. :heart:

Jade :dalove: :community: :devart:

© 2012 - 2021 Aeirmid
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IdaLarsenArt's avatar
By the way is there yet a gallery moderator for the 'Digital Art > Mixed Media' category?
Aeirmid's avatar
I think that goes to the general digital CVs currently.:)
IdaLarsenArt's avatar
Yeah I think you are right..
Hopefully we will get our own GD in time :D
Aeirmid's avatar
I would think they'd need to define that category better first, as people treat it as a hodgepodge when they don't know where else to stick stuff, but I'll make the suggestion (or you can, on the Suggestions forum). I feature some MM stuff going by the 2+ images = photomanipulation rule, but generally it's ^alicexz and ^Syrilla.
IdaLarsenArt's avatar
Yeah you're probably right :nod:
I hope they will at some point though :)
IdaLarsenArt's avatar
Well distinguished between the categories! Couldn't be more precise! :clap: :D
Aeirmid's avatar
thank you so much. ;)
IdaLarsenArt's avatar
You are most welcome :D
tallouh's avatar
so i got to thinking this morning while waiting for caffeine to kick in, are my manips in the right folder.

i use images but i also use brushes on a lot of them. would that still be solely manipulation or once i add in another element like brushes would it then be mixed media manipulation?
Aeirmid's avatar
well.... yes and no. My understanding is that if it is 2+ images with like, painting-over or brushwork, etc., it is still a photomanipulation. BUT some would say it depends on the amount of paint there is. Like, this: [link] could probably have been placed in MM because it is almost entirely painted/brushed, and one could argue that I need to move it. However, it meets the two-photograph rule of thumb for photomanipulations.

This one here is properly placed in MM: [link] BUT notice that it only uses 1 photographic image.

The rule I've been going by is 2+ photographic images = PM. So, if you're just brushing up one image, that would probably be Digital Art > Other or MM, depending on how much paint you're using (touching up versus creating something entirely new).

Clear as mud? :/
tallouh's avatar
yes clear... i dont paint over anything.... i'm an old fashion mouse type of gal. you know the dying breed. ctfu. i can def see how the first should be in something other than photomanip cuz it's clearly painted over.

i was speaking more like when i use a cloud brush or bubble brush...sorry if i wasn't clear... but this def helps :)
Aeirmid's avatar
Yeah and looking back at my words, a MM can still be paint + photomanip. Do you mean when you're using a cloud/bubble brush on ONE photo or on a PM? I'm still going with the 2+ images, even with paint, creating something brand new, as photomanips, although I can see that it is really a bit murky right there because it would get away as MM if the paint is really heavy, like in the first picture I shared above. I DD'd a picture the other day that also could have been MM because it was half painting, but because it had 2+ photographic images, we saw it as a PM. I will see if I can find better clarification. :)
tallouh's avatar
on a manip with many photos brought together... sometimes it's hard finding the right clouds and i'm fond of the cloud brushes colby17 has done
Aeirmid's avatar
Totally a manip!!
tsheva's avatar
Nicely done :D
tamaraR's avatar
Lovely journal entry. Very useful. :D
damilepidus's avatar
Great info hun! :hug:
Aeirmid's avatar
kuschelirmel's avatar
Aeirmid's avatar
EerilyfairDesign's avatar
Wow, thank you for all this information. I did not know for exactly how this distinction is made between the different styles!
Aeirmid's avatar
glad it was helpful. :)
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