Illuminating Animal Manipulations
I'm sure we all know about the fantastic human-based manipulations that projecteducate has been featuring throughout the month so far, so I wanted to bring to light my corner of the manipulation genre - animal manipulations.
I personally specialize in equine manipulations (where a horse is the main subject). Equine photo manipulation makes up a large chunk of the non-human manipulation community. It's pretty much the only thing I have photo manipulated, and I've been doing it for about 6 years. Most equine manipulation artists come from two main sources - role playing games (RPGs) and online horse sim games - but many have now moved past those and manipulate for the love of horses and the love of our art form.
The photo manipulation genre, especially in animal-based manipulation, has a little stigma surrounding it - some people believe that our art form is "easy", or that it's frivolous and lacks substance. I'll share some of my fellow manipulators' thoughts on this and on our art form.
"Well, a lot of people who aren't in the community seem to look down on equine and lupine manipulation. They think it's just mainstream, or something people are doing to try to get popular. Maybe, that's true in some cases; but for the majority of us, we do it because we truly love the subjects. Horses, wolves, tigers, or whatever it may be. It's done out of a love from the heart, not a want to get noticed or popular. The sincere love of the art is what drives us to perfect it and work on it for years and years, some of us the majority of our lives, long after others have given it up and moved on. It's a passion, for me. I may have my ups and downs, but equine art heals me. " duskbeguile
"You can use an extreme range of emotions on a non-human manipulation with any animal/pose you chose to use. It gives you a lot more creative freedom and you learn to understand atmospheres and colors and how they'll affect everything - where as with a human manip you're limited to the expressions of the models or even the poses available to give a specific emotion. With, say, a horse he could be rearing and you could illustrate that he's angry, sad, heart broken, happy, giving up, challenging life, etc. With humans you have to find the right 'expressive' pose for the feelings you want to express in an image." manicmondays
"I'm not that great but, I've spend on and off about 10 years manipulating. I'm 100% self taught and I can tell you, learning the art of photo manipulation is JUST as difficult to learn and involves just as much practice as any other medium. At this point, I've even been offered positions as a teachers aid for graphics classes. I like my story because it goes to show that you CAN learn from scratch and go from "nothing" to "something" if you put in the hours, and without the expensive courses and classes. If you have a dream, pursue it.
I wish others (not all others, but most others) could see that what we do does indeed require skill. We're not just copying and pasting images together... we're creating something different out of something else. Almost like sculpture. Plus, it requires the same amount of knowledge in colour, placement, concept and vision. We still try to capture the intensity of our feelings, only, we use other imagery means to portray that intensity. Good manipulations still tell a story, maybe even more so that your average painting." xXNamaste
"The one thing I love about working with animals(mainly horses) is there is a lot more freedom in it, or to me anyway. You can go crazy with the fantasy, lol. Horses are such beautiful creature, they evoke all sorts of emotions in a person, and that's the reason I work with them so much." Charlie--X
So in a way, animal manipulations require just as much skill, if not more, and can portray just as much emotion as human manipulations, digital paintings, or traditional art can. I myself spend over six hours per equine manipulation - that's as much time as a full-blown, colored, full-body piece of digital art takes in some cases. Animals require just as much painting over and modification as humans do, if not more - humans have hair, but horses have double the hair on their manes and tails and other animals are just furry all over and that often requires entire repaints. Photo manipulation today has really expanded and fused with digital painting - some digital painting is now a standard part of photo manipulations.
Typically, I've noticed animal manipulations take one or more of the following paths: realistic, painted, emotional, or fantasy. Because of the work involved in creating manipulations, each manipulation artist really has his/her own unique style, each of which leaves its own powerful impact. Let's take a look at a few that keep with this month's theme, "Illumination". Really take a look at each one and you'll feel the emotions portrayed with the unique style of each artist.
Each of these pieces of art was a labor of love. Imagine all of the hours that were put into each one. So many of them show strong emotions - longing, freedom, sorrow, joy, pride.
If you'd like to see more fantastic animal-based manipulations, I strongly recommend you take a look at the art in these groups:
It really does take a lot more practice than it might appear. Give it a try yourself one day - this is really a fantastic and fun genre of art with so much possibility. You might surprise yourself in how much creativity animal manipulation allows.