Take advantage of technology to challenge your practice and work outside your comfort zone. Digital technologies can bridge the gap between media and creative contexts, widening your audience and the critical components of your work. 


The pandemic forced many parts of our world online and changed the way we consume content. With many artists, galleries and exhibitions online, adding a digital element to your practice is worth considering. Digital is both a medium for creating and a platform to showcase your work. Traditional painting isn’t going anywhere, but perhaps there is room for some cross disciplinary experimentation. 


One way is to explore green screen technology. Green screen (also known as chroma keying) can manipulate physical work with a digital element, such as a video, to create a layered digital collage. 

Chroma key is commonly used to create setting and worlds for film and TV. It takes a color and makes it transparent, letting us replace it with another image. It's effectively a form of video collage, combining a foreground and a background element together to create a single image. 

Although Hollywood spends millions on visual effects, the same technique can be utilized with relative ease on a smaller scale using Liquitex Acrylic Gouache. A good key (the term used for turning a color transparent) is generated when a color is solid, with little variation in tone or pigment, and is flat and matte. Acrylic Gouache is very effective at creating block color for keying, with little variation and brush strokes.

Today, the effect is easy to replicate with a camera and computer/smartphone using software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve or iMovie. We're using Adobe’s Premiere Pro in the video below to show the principleS. Let's go! 


Useful tips

Paint your green element in a bold, opaque green Acrylic Gouache with your smoothest brush or roller. You want to create a consistent tone and depth - as flat as you can - as this will make it easier for the software to identify it. 

Premiere Pro has an effect called ‘ultra key’ which you can use to drag onto your green element. Use the eyedropper tool to pick the green to manipulate. Once that’s done, whichever clip is directly below it will now show through anything in that color within the image. 

Check out a wild range of effects you can achieve. We've gone for floating clouds, but there's no limits. Have a go and share the results with us on our social channels.

Thanks to London-based multi-disciplinary artist, R. Dawson, for help with this feature.