Digital Illustration
Illustration by Maria Rabinky

RMA Illustration

Digital illustration or computer illustration is the artwork created of digital tools to produce images under the artist’s direct manipulation, usually through a pointing device such as a tablet or a mouse. You can distinguish it from computer-generated¬†art produced by a computer using mathematical models. An artist uses a digital pen the same way as a traditional pen, pencil, or brush, so it doesn’t matter which tool an artist use. The result is up to the artist’s skills.

Digital art is also distinct from digital manipulation of photographs. It is an original construction from scratch. Artists may incorporate photographic elements into such works, but they are not necessarily the primary basis.

There are two main types of digital illustration tools:¬†bitmapped¬†(also known as “raster”) and¬†vector¬†applications. Bitmap software applications are painting programs, such as¬†Adobe Photoshop,¬†while vector applications, such as¬†Adobe Illustrator, are called drawing software. These terms represent the difference in look-and-feel between the images created in each type of software. With a¬†bitmap application, the image’s content is stored digitally in fixed rows and columns of pixels. The artwork is created in separate layers to isolate and manipulate all different areas of the image. A bitmap image keeps the information about each pixel’s hue (color), luminance (brightness), and saturation (intensity of color). When the artist moves the pointing device over an image area, new colors and values are applied to the subjacent pixels. Digital painting tools allow the easy creation of soft-edge imagery, including effects such as glow and fuzzy shadows and textures such as fur, velvet, stone, and skin, and are also applied in photo-retouching.

The digital artwork is stored digitally as resolution-independent mathematical formulae describing lines (open paths), shapes (closed paths), color fills, strokes, or gradients with vector-based tools. Vector paths are built of anchor points and path segments using the pointing device to click and modify. An artist can then edit and incorporated it into larger projects. Digital drawing tools typically create precise lines, shapes, and patterns with well-defined edges and are excellent for working with complex illustrations such as illustrated maps and other intricate artwork. Digital illustration may include both raster and vector elements in the same work. We can save a bitmap image file in a format that embeds a layer of vector information, and a vector image file may include imported bitmap images.

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