February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R || 85 ning track, in the gym, at the office, the local grocery store, and at home. In all of these areas, images of wearable styles and creativity intertwine with motion, shape, and art. With all of the advances in digital tech- nology, now we should start to weigh the pros and cons of traditional art aspects with those of digital. Which process will advance wearable fashion's demand? Which medium has the most ap- peal, if not tomorrow, but in a fu- ture, propels visual art and print applications down a completely un- known new road? How can digital art be compared to traditional art, and how can we determine if the two methods can show a graphic designer that one cut choice is more preferable than the other? The computer is a complete origi- nation tool for the artist. It provides a clean workspace with the abil- ity and freedom to make mistakes. Many traditional artists look to the computer as an important tool and extension to aid their craft; not as a controlling factor in their cre- ative process. However, although it comes down to personal preference, human interaction while drawing can be more satisfying and some may feel that you just cannot obtain the same tactile experience from digital art. The techniques involved for both are diverse. So, will this diversity between the two mediums mean that designers and developers work- ing with apparel decoration see the advan- tages and benefits of both mediums, and embrace the art form which best suits their final graphic print application method? FINISHING DETAILS The final choice for traditional or digital will depend on what the finished wearable article is going to become. What will the garment and its graphic say to a customer walking by the finished product in a store? Will it be a standard T-shirt design, or will it be a sports performance piece? For example, hand-drawn art has long been preferred by many screen printers, while digital art is critical for direct-to-garment printing. It is also important to account for the finished style of the graphic; classic filigree is well done by hand, while blocky structures will be easily replicated on the computer. Also look at who is creating the designs; there will be great traditional artists, and beautiful digital art generators. Both will have their followers. How each piece of art will be chosen for each piece of clothing will depend on what the end user will want to show off. But, at the end of the day, when the graphic is finally released to the general public, will anyone actually care if the finished art piece is traditionally hand- drawn or computer generated? As long as it looks great when applied to the finished product, does it actually matter? It can be said that traditional art on paper or canvas has more value and visually looks more natural. A hand-drawn graphic can show and highlight the individual art- ist's graphic signature and finesse in the way each art piece has been conceived and applied. Pure sculp- ture, shape, color, and the value of knowing that the art form has not been digitally conceived can be seen as a winning edge when com- parisons between one medium or the other are considered. For digital art, there is no doubt that computer-driven graphics are efficient in producing detail that is superbly crafted, completely repeatable, and free of untidy pencil, ink, or paintbrush dis- tortion. The ease of organizing and preparing a design without a foundation substrate is a great advantage. Photorealistic graphics can be easily generated with speed and accuracy that could never be produced by hand. When ev- erything is considered regarding whether digital or traditional art has the greatest benefits, it will come down to individual choice and personal preference. In a changing world where traditional and new age art will always have their place, it will be interesting to see whether the boutique artisan experience outguns repeatable mass production or vice versa. Regardless, and the argument of digital versus traditional apparel customization is here to stay. While often messier, hand-drawn graphics allow for physical contact with the work being created. (Image courtesy Colleen Ridges)

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