I’ve done a lot of work in Photoshop – both for work and for fun – and something always amazes me when I go back to look at a good piece: whether it’s a simple image or a really involved picture, the number of layers, smart objects, layer masks, etc. are always more than I remember. And, most of the time, that’s the key difference between an average image and something that gets a lot of attention.
Consider this image by my buddy, Tony2Nice, which has more than 55 layers – not including those that were merged at some point during the process:
Working with digital media allows lots of freedom, but it also requires seemingly non-stop repetition and attention to detail. Where a painter might just switch colors and splash on a few strokes to add dimension, digital artists point & click, ad naseum.
I’ve done a little video work, too. So I know that really good video work involves a lot of the same endlessly echoing mousework. But it wasn’t until I watched the video below that I understood how tedious that digitally produced music could be. What follows is a reproduction of The Prodigy‘s “Smack My Bitch Up” by a Ukranian DJ, using nothing more than Ableton, a few choice samples and a hell of a lot of time. (And I thought Photoshop demanded a lot of layers!)