Fun With Photoshop
Ideas And The Digital Drawing Board

Photos © 1999, Rick Sammon, All Rights Reserved

How do we get ideas? This is a question man has asked since the time of the great Greek philosophers, Aristotle and Plato. The answer differs from person to person, from culture to culture, and from idea to idea. I don't claim to know the answer, but as a digital artist/ photographer, I know one potential source of ideas: digital imaging programs, like Adobe Photoshop and Bryce 3D.

These programs have opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. I now see and shoot differently--knowing that elements in a scene can be used in digital imaging programs to create visions from my mind's eye.

One such example is what I call my "Predation on Planet Bryce" image. While working in Bryce 3D, I felt like I was exploring another planet. Some-how, perhaps because I'm involved in the study of coral reefs, the idea of creating a predation scene popped into my mind. So, I looked through my slide file and found a picture of an eel with its mouth agape. Perfect.

Then I found a picture of a raccoonfish--a tasty subject, for an eel. In Photoshop, I "cut out" these fishes from their background using a Photoshop plug-in called Extensis ProMask. Then I imported the images into Bryce 3D. Once in Bryce, I placed the fishes in the scene using wire frames. I then put the raccoonfish in a bubble just for fun.

Finally, I selected the "fine art" rendering mode and pressed the render button. After 12 hours and seven minutes, my 5x7"/ 219dpi/4.5MB file image was finally rendered--on my PowerMac 6500/225.

As you can see, my final image is not exactly the same as the rendered image. That's because, after all my hard work, I followed Ansel Adams' advice: "A print is never done." So I went back to the digital drawing board--for even more fun.