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Submitted on
November 9, 2007


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What is Digital Mixed Media?

Digital Mixed Media is a visual work of art created using two or more types of digital mediums.

So what exactly does this mean?  Lets break it down.  First lets define "digital."  When the word digital is used to refer to visual artworks it is referring to the method of creation.  Computers are used to create digital works, and submitting a work of art to one of the Digital Galleries implies that it was created via the use of a program on computer.

There are several basic digital art forms, and they are defined briefly here:

  • Painting/Drawing/Airbrushing: This involves using a mouse or graphics tablet along with a graphics program to create paintings or sketches directly in said program without the use of photographs unless for reference.  Programs used include: Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.
  • Photo-manipulation: The use of photographs (in most cases more than one) which are then altered via a graphics program is considered to be Photo-manipulation. Be advised that using filters or plug-ins is not a Photo-manipulation and all deviations altered in that fashion should not be put here or in Photo-manipulation, but in Digital Art > Miscellaneous. Also, using post-processing techniques like photographers would be able to apply in a darkroom is not a Photo-manipulation either but still considered Photography. These techniques include, but are not limited to, changing hue, saturation, color, contrast, levels, desaturating, inverting, etc.  Photo-manipulations can be performed in programs such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, the Gimp and others.
  • 3-Dimensional: Scenes or objects created through the means of rendering software that lets you set up the object and its environment (including position of objects and camera, light, atmosphere etc) as a first step. When you are ready, you have the option of rendering the scene in higher resolution for displaying your work. Programs used include: Poser, Maya, Cinema 4D, 3dsMax, Blender, Daz Studio, Terragen and others.
  • Fractals: Fractal images are created using mathematical formulas. Their characteristic features is that it consists of a geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole (it is self-similar no mater how far you zoom in). Programs used to create fractals include: UltraFractal, Apophysis and others.
  • Vectors/Vexels: The difference between a vector and a vexel lies in their nature: while a vector uses vectors to store the image information, a vexel stores the information in raster format. For the purpose of the Mixed Media gallery, the difference is negligible though. The reason for this is that as soon as you add another art form to vectors, you need to raster the image thus converting it to a vexel basically. Both art forms have in common, that their looks are similar: imagine a picture composed from basic shapes filled with solid color, a gradient or a pattern, that when stacked upon each other form your picture (posterized look).

:star:If you combine two (2) or more of the above digital art forms your work is now classified as Digital Mixed Media and should be submitted to the proper Digital Mixed Media Gallery.:star:

Examples: What Goes Into Mixed Media?

First let me show you a few examples, and afterwards a bit of an explanation:
1.The Balloon by 3Skulls 2. 3.::Angel Eyes:: by JunkbyJen 4.Two of A Kind - Spring by cosmosue

1. Here we have a fantastic example of photo stock used, 3-Dimensional text created in a 3-D program, and it looks like some hand painting, everything was put together in Photoshop after the artist gathered and made his resources.  (Photos + 3D + Painting = Mixed Media)

2. In this beautiful image we have a mostly hand painted image with a few background elements from photographs.  (Photos + Painting = Mixed Media)

3. Another wonderful example, this image is created using a stock photo,  some resources from other deviants (brushes, wings etc.), and also a lot of hand painting. (photos + painting = Mixed Media)

4. And lastly I chose to use one of my own works for an example since I know exactly what goes into my images its easier to say how I made it.  Here I have first rendered out some basic unicorns in a 3D program, in the background I have used a bit of 3D and photographs (very blurred out), for the foreground I have hand painted all the leaves one by one, for some of the water I used brushes.  The figures were painted over and changed greatly from my original renders.  (3D + painting + photos = Mixed Media)

What Should Not be Posted in Digital Mixed Media?

  • If you have only used a little bit of a second art form your deviation should not be posted in Mixed Media. That includes (but is not limited to): doing a sketch using one program or scanning it and painting the colors in digitally (this should go in painting!), adding some brushes to a photograph or playing with a series of filters on a scan or photo (both should go in Miscellaneous).
  • If you mix traditional and digital art, you need to determine which of the two you used more and place your deviation accordingly. Neither the traditional nor the digital Mixed Media galleries are to be used to post traditional/digital mixes!
  • If you do Manga/Anime art or Cartoons/Comics, please use the respective galleries to post your art. These galleries have been created to keep all these things in one place where they can be found and not just as another option that you can use whenever you feel like it. This also holds true for wallpapers (Customizations> Wallpapers) or Designs & Interfaces (such as websites, CD or book covers etc.)

In Closing...

Please be sure before posting in Digital Mixed Media that your work really is mixed media, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Want even more info?  Check out Digital Art > Mixed Media gallery now online! the original article by kuschelirmel

Also the monthly feature article "Digital Mixed Media Monthly"
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 1
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 2
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 3
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 4
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 5
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 6
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 7
:bulletpurple: Digital Mixed Media Monthly Vol. 8
Add a Comment:
joeyv7 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008
very helpful article - you saved me from asking a couple of very dumb questions about what's allowed, and what's not, especially with trad/digital works.
CamaroGirl666 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this explains a lot! thank you :hug:
hautegothique Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
it is very educational,enlightening and useful article.
thank you :aww:
E-Derby Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2008
Read a bit, learned a bit, appreciate it a lot.
spiritsighs Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been wondering if I should be posting my art under mixed media instead of photomanipulation for a while now. but it completely confused me. Thank you for this info. Now I know :D
Zaichick Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
great job on this article! I agree it needed to be clarified for everyone!
goodmanclothing Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007
defiantly good and nice idea to spread
MultiCultureFruit Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Professional Photographer
I really like these series articles that educate. I always try to put everything in the right category but every time I read one of these articles I think I misplaced something. I always read the gallery description ... perhaps the gallery descriptions aren't too clear? I mean it is also frustrating when you do put time into putting things in the right place because you realise the GD's already got enough to do etc etc to find out you probably didn't.
I guess I m dumb :? or so :giggle:

Any ways well written and very informative article thank you!
philho Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Good explanations.
I was confused by the dA explanation of vexels, I found Wikipedia's one more enlightening.
And indeed, I saw lot of traditional drawing/digital coloring to go inappropriately in the digital mixed media section...
Since this is a common case, perhaps it should get its one category, one day.
Haibra Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2007
useful .. thanks .. XD
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