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Old 21 April 2018, 05:41 PM
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Psihala Psihala is offline
Join Date: 28 February 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 8,257

Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
With digital art, I don't see any difference between the original and copies and wouldn't consider one to have more value than the other.
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, I'd just like to use your post as a jumping-off point.

There are Photoshop source files from professional digital artists I respect that I would dearly love to get my eager hands on (so to speak).

With physical art, take say a Van Gogh. There isn't any 'real' difference between the original and a molecular level copy, but the for me the original was in the presence of the man himself, each one of those strokes was placed there with his hand. The copy might show you exactly where he placed the brush strokes, but they weren't placed there by Van Gogh. I would love such a copy of Starry Night, but I wouldn't expect to pay anywhere near what the original would cost.
Point taken that a bit for bit digital copy of a source digital document is indistinguishable from the original, I still have issues when certain comparisons are made between non-digital media to its digital counterpart.

That said, an intact Photoshop source document, with all its layers intact, can tell me volumes about how an image was created that have nothing to do with a physical connection between the artist and the work in question.

Depending on the intended use of the final image, the original is usually of higher resolution (in terms of dots per inch) and, likely, a different scale dimension-wise, in that its usually larger than the final image. Some artists flatten the layers at the end of a project to save on disk space, but many will at least make one final backup with the layers intact in case a creative or technical issue is discovered. The layers might show me alternate color schemes, the uncolored line-art on a separate layer (more on that in a bit), variations or other elements that didn't make it into the final version, or how the artist handled a particular challenge.

It may not be the same as being in the physical presence of something a great master of old touched, but looking at the layers of a digital file gives me a different connection to the artist; in that I may get a window into how they approach their work.

I'm certainly not discounting the arguments on the technical reasons why digital originals might not be different from their resulting copies... as it's the other side of this double-edged sword.

Unlike a physical painting, where an artist might sketch lines in pencil on a canvas and then paint over them as part of the process of building up a painting, a sketch in digital media need not be (and usually isn't) on the same layer as the color layers. Assuming I have not commissioned a digital work, in which I can negotiate to gain possession of the non-flattened, high-resolution Photoshop files, were I to gain access to another artist's source Photoshop files, or even back-ups of them, with the layers, line-art and all the digital watermarks intact, there is nothing preventing me from claiming ownership. I would, in effect, be in possession of an 'original' work.

Digital artists know this. I'm sure some fear it for exactly the reasons Beachlife mentioned.

Its also why I'm not likely to ever see those files of the artists I admire.


Last edited by Psihala; 21 April 2018 at 05:48 PM.
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