Painting in Photoshop, vocation or job?

I was procrastinating this morning and came across this on YouTube.  I found the work quite incredible and the speed with which it was done – it was probably slightly speeded up but still, the video is only 3 minutes long!  Makes you wonder how quickly magazines churn these out minor touches doesn’t it?

The website of the person that did this work, Stephanie Valentine, is here and it actually has some very useful tips and tutorials for touching up work using Photoshop.  This person is that good, she has even created a tutorial on how to create an Avatar

This is obviously someone who is very talented to have done this and it often makes me wonder how the mind can be so creative, people who do this quite obviously are working in a vocational environment and are not working merely to pay the bills.  I think of people like Derren Brown, someone I hugely admire, who has studied extensively how the human mind works and then has created a series of programmes and live acts showing how the mind can be fooled into seeing/doing something completely different, it really is quite fascinating to watch – he actually convinced a person that they killed someone by using actors to do certain things at certain times, quite incredible.  But what is the difference between a job and a vocation?  Is a sportsperson a vocation?  I certainly think it is when I look at the sacrifices made by a lot of cyclists or athletes who will compete at the Olympic games.  But is a professional footballer a vocation??  Are they in it for the pure love of the sport?  There are many people out there who have totally tainted the “sport”, it is now a commercial business where lots of money is involved to kick a piece of leather around a grass field.  So does this mean one is still in a vocation when they are earning a lot of money from it??

I am now a commercial pilot, this is very often described as a vocation.  I have gone through intensive training to get my licence and it does demand a certain type of person to be able to do it… but only because of the short timeframe required to complete it by the airlines and the licencing authority.  Essentially what is happening is we are being taught how to do specific repeatable tasks and drills so that they become automatic, the quicker you can learn them, the easier it is.  The RAF tests for this using something called an aptitude test, it lasts nearly 2 days made up of different tests and they actually test you until you fail, the idea being that they see how far you can really push yourself, there is no end to the test so eventually everyone will fail and the test will end.  The thing with aptitude is that you either have a high aptitude or you don’t, it is not something you can practice and learn because it is testing the way your brain functions.  I am fortunate to have a very high aptitude, I find the tests very easy and logical and I love puzzles (my father-in-law had a wooden puzzle given to him a few Christmases ago and it was driving him nuts, so my wife asked me to have a look at it and I showed him how it worked).  Back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s I was in the top 5% of people who took the RAF aptitude test.  In commercial aviation the tests are much much easier, to the point of when I look back on my training here I realise that given enough time, anybody should really be able to complete the ATPL ground school and get a commercial pilots licence, just like most people will have a licence to drive a car.  This does not mean everyone will be good at it though, some people will sail through with capacity to spare and go onto become captains, others will find it more difficult and just about get across the line. 

Looking at the artwork done, to me it is quite plain to see that no matter how long I spent I would never ever be able to recreate this work, similarly even though I can sing and play music, I would never consider forming a band or going on X-Factor like some people do.  You can either sing or you can’t, you can paint or you can’t, no amount of lessons will fix either of these.  So is aviation really a vocation, or with modern teaching does it just take a lot of effort to get there and do the job?

Back to the original post, I have never really used Photoshop in anger if I am honest, I mostly use Elements for stitching panoramic pictures together, or I use Lightroom to adjust my raw photos to get the colours/white balance correct. I may give it a whirl when I have more time on my hands, but it will probably turn out crap because I don’t think I am very good at artwork (of course, I may just be highly self-critical).

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~ by globalste on March 7, 2012.

2 Responses to “Painting in Photoshop, vocation or job?”

  1. I think the worst possible situation is to be working at a job where you don’t love the work. Ideally you should be able to learn from it, get to express some talent and wake up enjoying it. I agree about the guitar – I learn stuff parrot fashion and slowly – I feel I could do 10 years practise and I’d just know a handful of songs really well.

    Photoshop – if you fancy just sketching and painting like you would with physical media get a nice tablet (one that uses a stylus) try artrage studio or autodesk sketchbook pro as cheaper sketching packages

  2. blown away by the creativity and the expression of imagination demonstrated in the painting time lapse…http://www.stval.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=53&Itemid=79

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