Experimentation is a great way to discover new visual directions for your work. A great place to share your experimental results is in the Psdtuts+ Flickr Group. Certainly, you can show the work you've created based on tutorials, but the community is also a vibrant place to share your visual interests.
Experiments from the Psdtuts+ Flickr Group
Recently, I wrote an article about creating original artwork. One section discusses experimentation and capturing random occurrences as great ways to create original work. Let's take a look at how the members of the Psdtuts+ community are experimenting. There are great experiments in process, and some diverse visual interests coming together to form original artwork. Let's check out what the members of the Psdtuts+ Flickr Group are up to.
1. Jucaru - Particles, Looping Shapes, and Disintegration
Looking through Jucaru's Flickr stream you'll see more than one experiment with these themes. Check out this disintegrating piece or this artwork that shows multiple looping shapes. The Joker composition below has particles, looping shapes, and disintegration all worked together into a polished composition.
2. Caio Call - Mixing Vectors with Textures and Photo Collage Elements
Caio Call has posted some of his experiments as tutorials on VECTORTUTS. Here are a couple Create a Vibrant Digital Collage Mixing Buildings and Vector Shapes on Paper and Creating Fading Light Vectors in Fireworks. In the image below he mixes saturated cyan and magenta colors with photo elements of models, nature, and street lights into an interesting digital collage. The vector elements are shown as black and white shapes.
3. Oligoelement - Flames, Type, and Photography
Oligoelement has been experimenting with various combinations of multiple popular styles and working on his overlapping vector style drawings. The work below is a stunning combination of flames, type, and image. You can view more work in his portfolio as well.
4. Kolbe Maisòn - Geometry, Shape, and Form
Kolbe has numerous experiments with geometric shapes. His Geometry set shows some of the basic exploration, but then he takes it further and bring these elements into his Photoshop compositions. Below is a cropped selection from the work Destination Lake, which bring numerous simple shapes into an interesting composition.
5. Justinvg - Paint Splatters Merging with People
Below is just one of Justinvg's many experiments with ink splattered imagery merging with people. Often the point at which the people dissipate is along the edge of a paint splatter. A variety of colors and compositions are explored with this technique. View his works Dripped and Smoke & Paint for further examples. The image below mixes in a high octane magenta and cyan gradient.
6. One Sick Boy - Dark Digital Collages
This artist mixes in some popular techniques and interests into his experimental work. You'll see things like trailing light painting, layered smoke, and disintegrating paint splatters, but each of these is mixed with One Sick Boy's pull towards darker seedy images. There are loads of experiments in his Flickr stream. Look at his Digital Illustration set to see how he pulls these diverse interests together into dark digital collages. In the work below he experiments with smoke collages.
7. NicholasGuarino - Mixing Light Painting, Texture, and Vectors
NicholasGuarino has numerous images of light painting and fireworks images. In the image below he's mixing his fascination with light photography with vector images and texture in Photoshop.
8. QuanVuDesigns - Mixing Oversaturated Colors and Images
QuanVuDesigns has been experimenting with creating surreal collages with the saturation turned way up. In the image below, the artist has a summer scene with a strong magenta and cyan combination. It looks like a summer theme, and the artist states it's based on a dream.
9. Alex Beltechi - Doodling and Rediscovering Experiments
Doodling is a great way to unlock your subconscious mind. Getting away from Photoshop and doodling a bit will give you new concepts to work with; you can then go back to your digital work with more ideas. There is a nice article about the role of sketching in the design process on the site to check out. Rediscovering old experiments can be a goldmine for reinvigorating your current work. Below is an old doodle of Alex's he came across recently.
10. Ramilaaron - Bending and Warping
Ramilaaron has been working with warping in 3D with C4D. The exported renders are mixed in photoshop with imagery to create unique designs. The experimental work below looks really interesting, notice the bent shapes being used to create shark imagery. While mostly abstract, it looks a bit like a trippy-cool underwater scene.
11. Erathic Eric - 3D, Texture, Bousquet Painting Style
Erathic Eric has been experimenting with combining Poser and C4D renders with texture and interesting blending combinations in Photoshop. He derives style and compositional inspiration form the Bousquet Painting Style. Here is Erathic Eric's Portfolio as well.
12. David Leggett - Negative Space
David does a lot of experimenting and often turns his experiments into tutorials after he's worked with the new concepts a bit. You can see his multitude of interests in his Flickr stream, mostly in his Resources and Tutorial Concepts Sets. Below he's experimenting with the basics of negative space, which is certainly an important skill to master in design and illustration.
Further Reading and Great Resources on Experimentation
If you're interested in learning more about Experimentation then follow the links below.
- Chihuly: I would be surprised if Chihuly has ever opened Photoshop, but there is so much you can learn from him. He has embraced chance occurrences and experimentation into the flow of his large projects and small individual items. His drawings are flowing, his paintings are rich with random colors, his glassworks are expressive, and his exhibitions are amazing. The videos on the site are worth taking the time to watch.
- The Peacock Tree: the image linked to here is an experimental design done by Nik. His site Shinybinary mostly shows his polished works with little explanation. His deviant art gallery will give you a deeper glimpse into his experimental nature.
- Experiments Flickr Group: this is a catch-all group for all sorts of Photoshop, photography, and art experiments.
- Slashthree: this is one of a handful of groups that you can join and submit experimental personal digital work too. The most recent theme is Afterlife and here is an example of one of the more interesting pieces submitted.
- Using Ink Drops in Your Digital Compositions: this tutorial here on Psdtuts+ shows how to capture inkdrop images and then work them into your compositions with Photoshop.
Keep experimenting and working with different visual interests. I remember running sandpaper through my printer, using my scanner to capture moving objects, playing with bleach on colored paper, and all kinds of experimental graphic looks when I was in design school. There's really no limit. After you've experimented, the goal is to pull this new direction you've discovered into a polished piece of digital art or design, which can be challenging!