Computers And Digital Caricatures: New Technology Always Means Dawn Of New Art Forms

Whenever a new technology shows up a new art form is sure to follow. Computer generated art and digital caricatures appeared almost as soon as computers had screens: from pictures constructed out of text, to Photoshop-type master pieces. From two-dimensional animation and now on to the explosion of 3-d programs -- all the way up to computer- generated feature length movies you can hardly tell apart from reality. (I'm thinking of Pixar's latest: The Incredibles, and the whole second set of Star Wars movies). 

Awesome opportunities for caricaturists

In a word, the computer has made it's way into everything we do - caricatures no less. In fact there's some awesome computer generated art being done on the spot at regular drawing gigs with 3 tools: Corel Painter, a Wacom drawing board and a "Pixel pencil" (and of course, a lap top computer, so, well, four tools :-). Check these links out below for more info and some great sites.

Rhoda Grossman: A caricaturist and author from way back. She's written books on really wild text building techniques (for Adobe Illustrator), and Photoshop techniques, as well as teaches digital caricaturing. Rhoda is a sweetheart of a person and it seems like she's always laughing. (I met her the National Caricaturist's Convention in San Diego in 2000). She draws on a Wacom Tablet (and pencil), into Corel Painter all through her portable laptop computer. Make sure you click on Rhoda Draws A Crowd "Digitally" button when you get to her site -- that's her computer-aided caricature drawing page.


More Digital Caricatures - drawn live, from a pixilated drawing pad:

Jeff Mandell (from NCN) - here's an example of a guy who makes a living doing computer generated caricatures both at gigs and and in the studio :

Click here to check out Jeff Mandell's computer generated caricatures.


Here's the two main ingredients you'll need to get your hands on to start drawing live digital caricatures:

1) The Wacom Drawing Tablet: Click here to find out more about Wacom Tablets.

2) Corel Painter (By the way - Corel has more info on the Wacom pad and pencils/pens at their site)

Buy Corel Painter IX and receive the Getting Started with Corel Painter IX Training CD FREE.



Crazy Photo Manipulation: Conan O'Brien, Photoshop 
and the world of "Goo"

Here's another twist on computer art: digitally distorting photos like Conan O'Brien does on his hilarious "If They Mated" shtick. What's different here from say what Rhoda Grossman and Jeff Mandell do above is take an already published photo and rework it with Adobe Photoshop or in a program Like "Goo". ( Click here to read about "Goo").

Click on this next link to check out Conan's (and his pros) hilarious productions: 

Conan O'Brien's "If They Mated" Shtick


Digital photo manipulation lessons:

Own some version of Photoshop or any computer graphics program? Click on this next link to learn how to do the same in Photoshop LE with these digital art beginner lessons using Photoshop LE -- ( not so much caricatures but
a neat primer on using your computer for making great works of art):

Click here to check out Photoshop LE beginner lessons.

Click on this next link to see some great Photoshop-generated exaggerations (like you see on late night with Conan O'Brien). These computer manipulated photograph caricatures were compiled during an online contest. Some of these are just plain great! Check 'em out. (Make sure you click on the "Photoshopping: Celebrity Caricatures" link when you get to the following page): 

Click here for a giant page of Photoshop-altered face exaggerations.

Want to sell your photo distortions? Here's a primer on legal issues 

And just FYI, if you try to sell your pictures - and they're not your own - or you're using someone else's likeness to make money, make sure you read this primer on the ethics of using copyrighted photos (I know, there's always something legal issues...just when it starts to get fun :-):

Click here to learn more about copyrighted photos and Photoshop.


3-d Caricatures and Animation Programs

And that leads me to the part of digital art I'm really excited about these days: animation and all this new 3-d software like Maya, LightWave, 3dStudio (all three very expensive programs), and the most amazing, affordable 3-d program I've ever come across: Animation:Master. I'm going to concentrate on art and animations drawn and generated in "Animation:Master" -- since 1) I own it and 2) I'm inspired and so impressed with the results people are having with this software. I mean complete animated films are being built with it. The "storyboarding*" for Jurassic park was done completely in Animation:Master. I mean if it's good enough for Steven Spielberg and Hollywood it's good enough for me :-) 

[*Storyboarding is the art of working out -- through drawings -- of a how a director wants his film crew to film the action and is an actual guide for how the the actors will move through the view finder on the camera. And further, is a guide for the set builders. And you didn't think your drawing skills would get you anywhere :-) Google the word -- storyboarding -- and you'll see what I mean.]

Your First Amendment rights

This area of caricature and three-dimensional animation programs just explode in opportunities for caricaturists. I mean you can write and animate your own movie with all your computer- generated caricatured celebrities, politicians, and public folks. In fact, as long as your intention when making these little caricatured movies is to graphically animate your high octane opinion of the person you're lampooning or attacking, you're protected under First Amendment freedom of speech constitutional rights. Just like Jib-Jab. If it's your opinion, then it's your right. So have at it. (But know what comes around, goes around. You are forewarned. :-) ".

Here's an awesome Ted Koppel animation / look alike built in Animation:Master (again :-). It's called "Rampage 2 Intro". When you get to this page hit the play button at the center / bottom of the page that opens:

Click here for the Ted Koppel caricature look-alike animation.

And here's a great little President Clinton done in 3-d (done in Animation:Master of course):

Click here to check out some awesome 3-d caricatures of President Clinton.

(Click on "Gallery" when you get there. And if you want to see some awesome  - and free -  3-d tutorials and really see and get a feel for volume, make sure you click on "Tuts" (tutorials). 

Click here to check out some awesome 3-d caricatures built by Jim Talbot in Animation:Master.  

I know, I'm really pushing this Animation:Master program, but I'm not getting any money for promoting them - I just think it's that fantastic of a program. Here's several sites to get you excited about extending your growing drawing and caricature skills into the realm of three dimensions. The first one is Gary Martin's 3-dimensional cartoon site.  


And here's a couple more sites that showcase great 3-d art and animation. Assignment: as you look through all these pages and sites, pay special attention to the highlight and shadows contained within these creations. You can learn an immense amount. (They ahve whole crews that do nothing but write the coding and arrange the light and shadoing for the feature lenght computer-generated cartons. Also pay attention to how three-dimensional all this art looks -- and remind yourself you're viewing it on your two dimensional screen :-). Check it out:

Click here for 1) ""


And 2) 

Click here to read more about and see how these guys have built a whole business out of 3-d charachter building. Very instructive.

And here's the most affordable, amazingly complete 3-d program I keep on plugging: (Steven Spielberg actually used Animation:Master as the storyboarding program for Jurassic park! Ithink I already said that's worth repeating :-)

Click here to read more about "Animation:Master".

Here's a monstrous tutorial resource on how to use this program (makes a lot
more sense if you own it of course):

Click here for an "Animation:Master" tutorial.


Traditional Art

And very lastly. I though i';d just throw this in here. Here's a more traditional art, but done on computer type of page. It's the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. Not a huge site but some good links and a good source to maybe stir up your brain's  brainstorming centers:



Okay! That hopefull got you excited about the direction computers, animation, and digital caricatures are headed here in the y2k's. 



Kasbohm & Company's 

© Copyright, All rights reserved 1997-2005