As regular readers of this blog and/or viewers of my DeviantART gallery probably know, my art tends to have a fairly distinctive “vivid” look to it. Although I’ve briefly explained how I make my art look like this a few times before, I thought that I’d look at it in slightly more depth in this article.
Before we begin, I should point out that this technique only works for scanned and/or digitally photographed art. As such, you’ll need a graphics editing program of some kind or another. If you don’t have one, then there’s a fairly good free open source program called “GIMP” that can be downloaded here.
Anyway, after I scan my drawings and paintings, they generally tend to look slightly “faded” and kind of (for want of a better description) flat and lifeless. They don’t really stand out or jump out at you. They’re just ordinary, boring and inoffensive.
To show you what I mean, here’s a direct scan of two drawings I made in 2010:
Now, here’s one of my more recent paintings from a few weeks ago – as you can probably see, the whole picture stands out a lot more:
So, how do I do this?
Simple. I just adjust the brightness and contrast levels of the picture digitally after I’ve scanned it.
It can take a bit of experimentation to get the levels right, but I generally keep the contrast level fairly high (eg: 60-70) and keep the brightness level fairly low (eg: -20 to -60). Seriously, you’d be surprised at what a difference this can make to your picture.
Since “brightness/contrast” is a fairly basic thing to adjust, almost all graphics editing programs will usually have an option that allows you to adjust them.
Yes, it doesn’t matter if you are using an antique version of Paint Shop Pro from the 1990s (like I do) or whether you’re using the latest version of Photoshop, this option will be there somewhere.
For example, if you’re using “GIMP“, then the “brightness/contrast” option can be found in the “colours” menu at the top of the screen:
Anyway, once you’ve found it, just lower the brightness slightly and raise the contrast and your picture will instantly look a lot more vivid and interesting.
Sorry for the astonishingly short article, but I hope that it was useful 🙂