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Digitizing

This week I haven’t been painting, but I have been creating in a different way. I have been sewing using my fabric panels. I love using one thing I have created and love, to create another thing which I know I am going to love. So this week, it is a throw blanket.

Sorry, not the greatest of pictures, but you get the idea. This isn’t finished, there will be one more cream-colored border around this part of the quilt, and then one final border around the cream border done in the blueberries that I used around the individual art panels.

Now, you may be wondering what that has to do with digitizing? What is digitizing? Digitizing is the process of taking a picture, like a piece of art, and making it into a digital file that can be used for all sorts of things. When I first started out painting and selling my art, I had a company in Anchorage do all the digitizing and printing. It seemed like it must be a hard and confusing process. Confusing, maybe, but not hard. When covid hit I decided being at home for an extended period of time was a great time to learn something new, so I learned how to digitize my art.

Once my art is painted, I use a camera (I have a Nikon that my husband purchased for me, but a really good cellphone camera can work as well) to photograph the picture in a natural light. I have a large sliding glass door on the north side of my house that lets in a ton of natural light but doesn’t get a whole lot of sun, during the winter months anyway, that I use as my natural light. I have learned that it is better to under expose a photo – not as much light, than it is to overexpose a photo – lots of light. This way I have the ability to increase the light in my pictures, as well as have a truer color to adjust, rather than a washed-out color that I can’t get back to the original.

I use Lightroom and Photoshop to crop, remove backgrounds, adjust color and light, as well as contrast, texture, and so on. I have found that I prefer the adjustments of color and light in Lightroom over the adjustments in photoshop. It may be that I am just more familiar with lightroom. But I prefer taking out backgrounds and adjusting size and things like that in photoshop. Fortunately, they share the pictures between them seamlessly.

Once I have the digital file, that’s when the fun begins. You can use the digital file for almost anything! I use my digital files to make note cards, stickers, journal covers, puzzles, playing cards, fabric, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless! I also love having the digital file on my computer now that I have a printer. I can manipulate the pictures, the sizes, how many to a page, etc. and then print. If I don’t like it, I sit at my own computer, here at home and do the adjustments. Once they’re done, I can reprint and check. This ability to digitize on my own, as well as print right here from home has cut out weeks and weeks of waiting, saving me time and money.

So, if you are an artist, I would encourage you to learn how to digitize your art. YouTube has a ton of great videos; I go there as a resource all the time. Lightroom and Photoshop also have a ton of tutorials to help in the learning process. The process wasn’t without a little frustration and confusion, I still have paintings that take more time and test prints than I would care for, but it is so worth the effort to have that digital image.

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