|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
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
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,
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
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 sticky...like 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
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"
Click here to check out some awesome 3-d caricatures built by Jim Talbot in
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
And 2) Anzovin.com:
Click here to read more about
Anzovin.com 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 above...it's worth repeating :-)
Click here to read more about
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.
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
Okay! That hopefull got you excited about the
direction computers, animation, and digital caricatures are headed here in the