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Visual Alchemy: The Fine Art of Digital Montage [Paperback]

Catherine McIntyre
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Jan 2014

Catherine McIntyre, like many fine artists, created traditional art for decades before encountering the versatility of digital imaging technology. Free of her Rotring pens and scalpel, she now uses Photoshop to create her montages. Visual Alchemy explores McIntyre’s sources of inspiration as well as her methods, offering an aesthetic guide to composition, color, texture and all of the other means of communication that artists have at their disposal. While these concepts and techniques make use of Photoshop, they will apply to any digital imaging program and indeed to any medium, whether traditional or digital. Featuring McIntyre’s own art as well as that of artists around the globe, Visual Alchemy is an invitation to discover the artistic possibilities of picture making through digital montage.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (6 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415816572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415816571
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 23 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Catherine McIntyre is a computer artist living and working in rural Scotland. She qualified at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, with a B.Des. (Hons) Illustration, First Class and an M.Des. Illustration and Photography.

Catherine is an artist and illustrator. A monograph, 'Deliquescence', was published by Pohlmann Press in 2000, and her work has been published in magazines and books worldwide. Her new book, 'Visual Alchemy: the Fine Art of Digital Montage', is the result of fifteen years of work, research and exploration.

Thematically, she likes to create something new out of the old. There is a truth in using aged objects which have been loved and used, which carry the marks of a life and tell a story; they give depth and veracity to computer art which might otherwise become very clean and unrelated to real experience. The presence of the old within the new technology links the images to our past and to our deepest selves.

Her work can be seen at

Product Description

About the Author

Catherine McIntyre is a digital artist living and working in rural Scotland. From a traditional illustration background, she now uses Photoshop alongside collage and montage techniques. Thematically, McIntyre works with still life and nude subjects to explore the light and dark of life. She often develops something new from the old and incorporates found objects and drawings with photography to create textured and layered visual meditations. Her work has been published in books and magazines worldwide and is in private and public collections in the UK, US and Europe. Her work may be viewed online:

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on image making 18 Jan 2014
By jimread
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The best book on photography I have ever had the pleasure to read, that may seem an odd comment but Catherine's art is photography based. Very few books go into the why of image making, this one does and in great depth. Any photographer even if they are not interested in montage should have this book on their shelves, they will derive inspiration and pleasure from the images as well as Catherine's words.

If like me you are interested in digital montage then this book will be your constant companion. I first became aware of Catherine's work in the days of Photoshop 4. I can recall being utterly gobsmacked by her work, so beautiful, such control of colour and with faultless composition.

She takes us through the process of making an image from scratch emphasising that you the reader should use what you are interested in. The old artistic method of copying is advocated, in my experience this is the best way to find out how to do it, 'Them as never made a mistake never made anything'. The images in this book will give everyone something to grasp at something to start with, something that they can say to themselves, 'I know how I can do that'. And then as Catherine says surely with a smile, '... your own vision will soon take over'.

The book does not contain great lists of Photoshop steps, she assumes that you will know the basics of layering and of selection. She does give some 'advanced' tips in the method chapter she does explain about the equipment you may need, non of it very expensive, older versions of Photoshop have all the tools to make the images in the book. The techniques are really quite easy it's the application that counts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and powerful 16 Jan 2014
By Geb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So here's an absolute must have for the digital artist. Renowned digital artist Catherine McIntyre weaves her magic spell on the reader and inspires the professional and budding amateur to new heights. The book is a surprisingly easy read, packed full of really practical hints and tips on creating unique images. Catherine uses her background in fine drawing and painting to guide the reader on acquiring source material, through composition and on to sophisticated image manipulation. And it's beautiful. The book is worth the cover price for the photographs alone! Alchemy is about turning base into noble, and with this to guide your hand, you too may touch the philosopher's stone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book by a remarkable and unique artist. 6 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my best buys this year. I believe she is working on a new book now, and I am looking forward to getting a copy of that too
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been photographing for many years, and recently became interested in montage. I have no formal photography or art training, but this has given me an excellent grounding on concepts of art as they relate to the subject of montage.

Filled with illustrations to demonstrate topics visually, the author gives a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the art of montage, but doesn't give in-depth Photoshop tutorials, (leaving that to the plethora of existing books on the subject). She does, however, simplify workflow into what are the important steps to take in Photoshop, with some pointers on what works well/less well.

Highly recommended.
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