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Common Misconceptions: Digital Art

Hello everyone! This is the second installment of the series of “common misconceptions” surrounding different areas in art. This blog will cover the most prevalent myths that surround the medium of digital art. (it's chock full of super sweet images, check out the wonderful artists!)

:bulletpink: Digital Art requires less skill than Traditional art

This is probably the top ranking myth. There is no “shortcut” when it comes to making good quality art period.  It is not any easier to paint a beautiful image on a computer than it is with a brush and canvas. Most people who make that argument don’t really have any personal experience with creative software or they chalk up digital art as simple drawings in MS Paint.

:bulletpink: Digtial Art requires less practice, anyone can do it

Like any skill out there, digital art needs the same amount of practice as you would need with a pen and paper. Actually perhaps even a little more, because not only would you have to learn to handle a mouse/tablet, you would have to learn the software you were using. Some obviously pick up certain skills faster than others, but that shouldn't deter you from practicing like you would for anything else.

:bulletpink:You need expensive software/a certain brand of tablet to make good art

Also wrong! Sure the Adobe Suite is nice to have, but honestly, you do not need it to create wonderful works of art! There are many many many open source image softwares out there that seriously offer the same things for FREE. On that same note, if you choose to buy a tablet, please don't think that you have to spend hundreds on one! Yes, more expensive tablets have more settings, more options, better sensitivity ect, but if you're like me, it probably isn't wise to spend that much for one. Mine was $20 from Amazon, it's lasted me almost 3 years and I'm very happy with it. However, you don't need a tablet to make really good images either! A trackpad or mouse in an artist's hands can do amazing things as well! Here are some examples of really great artwork made without Photoshop or Illustrator for you skeptics out there:
The girl with the braid by shidehSupergirl II by dCTb Candy lips by Maddrum2011.05.29 - Falling Rain by todachios
Painter Classic/Corel                GIMP                     Inkscape                         PaintTool Sai
Remembrance by FilsdThese Changes Made by worksteadyGolden Swordsmen by SazarielFamily Portrait by mahaon
Pixia                       Paint.net                DAZ Studio                Apophysis

:bulletpink:Digital Art is "low brow" or kitsch

Kitsch and "low brow" art existed LONG before the advent of computers so it's incorrect to give this medium that label. I'm not one to say that all art is inherently good either, because that's impossible. However, there is a small trend I've seen circling about dA of people somehow thinking that digital art cannot also be fine art, that somehow it's a perversion of skills that others who work traditionally spent years honing and now it's become a fad. For starters, digital art isn't even the largest gallery on dA (it's not traditional either)...it's Photography! So before you grab those pitchforks, get a little insight ;) It's no secret that there are numerous fan groups here in dA (I'm a part of some of them myself!) so naturally there are MILLIONS of images relating to the fandoms, many of them are digital works. Some astounding, some not so much, but those images are not all the digital gallery has to offer. If you seriously think you can sum up the entire digital gallery in a mediocre Sonic the Hedgehog drawing, you're being lazy.

:bulletpink:Digital Art does not exist outside of the internet

This is also an incorrect idea. Digital art has been gaining more and more respect over the past decade and yes there are exhibitions out there around the world specifically for digital art and new media, I've been to a few and they are awesome! The Soho in New York has a gallery made specifically for digital media in fact. There are juried exhibitions for photographers and digital artists set up at exhibitionswithoutwalls.com. Here are some examples of digital exhibitions:

Collider 3: Transform, Enusu Kang

Superflat, Takashi Murakami

Nothing New, Lowell Nickel

If you guys have any more questions about myths surrounding digital art, post them here and I'll do my best to answer them (or find someone who can!) The next blog will be about copyrights and fair use :)

:heart:Xadrea
Add a Comment:
 
:iconflutterlily:
flutterlily Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are soo right I use an app on my ipad and a empty pen  with a wipe stuffed in it:D
Reply
:iconlizanabee:
LizanaBee Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
Having grown up with traditional art and then tried to expand into the digital realm... I feel like digital work requires a far more analytical approach than traditional artwork does to create (at least for me, it does). I realize that someone who basically 'grew up' working with the digital might feel just the opposite because of what they're most familiar with.

Trying to create things from scratch in photoshop always makes me grumpy because I just want to use a pencil that acts like a Pencil! lol I don't have fancy software and the tablet that I got years ago sits in a bag most of the time. For myself... I tend to use digital media just for basic editing (usually necessary because I'm not skilled at photographing artwork).

I must admit that I've thought many of these myths from time to time... at this point, I just figure that it's Different. Digital art isn't really my cup'o'tea, right now, but I do enjoy seeing other's work. I do grow jealous sometimes since it seems that digital work is already "prepped for prints" but ah well. C'est la vie, eh?

Anyway... thank you for the article. :)
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:iconoharya:
Oharya Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013
"Digital Art requires less skill than Traditional art

There is no “shortcut” when it comes to making good quality art period. It is not any easier to paint a beautiful image on a computer than it is with a brush and canvas. "


I call bullshit. Traditional art don't give you any chance to mistake. You need to know a shitton of techniques, buy extra good paper, extra good brushes, extra good paint just to make your work look at least decent. There's much difficulties in the process of painting itself.
Reply
:iconlizanabee:
LizanaBee Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
I used to think this, as well... but buying the special paint, brushes, paper, etc is akin to buying the expensive programs, tablets, and computers that the digital work is created with.

Yes, in traditional media mistakes are often much harder to fix... but if one is familiar with their medium, they're usually not entirely irreversible (I'd also argue that the feature of traditional art that makes us work with our perceived mistakes can be a great strength rather than a weakness)

Great art can be made in both realms without the fancy materials... is it different? Yes. Is it necessarily easier? I don't think so. Depends on what you started with and how you think (as with any medium).
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:iconoharya:
Oharya Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
Disregard that, I suck candies. I realised I was wrong - it was just a matter of my lack of skills.
Reply
:iconthe-loony:
the-Loony Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
I don't wholly agree.

If youīre a digital artist, there are many ways you can make your work easier by using several different programs - presketch architecture or just perspective, create a 3d model which is painted over, the use of grids is extremely easy in digital media aswell as tracing outlines.
etc, etc.
but what is certain, is that the process of creating a painting, even with so much help by way of using different aiding programs or sth. similiar, does NOT require less skill.
the artist still has to create atmosphere by the right choice and placement of FG and BG, colors, motion, .... blah blah.

so my conclusion is: in digital art you can create more impression with less time/effort if you know how.
but even that is an art form by itself ;D
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Time in art making isn't really an issue for me, because at the end of the day if it's done and I'm happy with the outcome, that's good :) There are things you can do to shorten the length of time it takes to make something, but even that requires skill, not everyone is going to understand the algorithms and tricks to even make a 3D model ;)
Reply
:iconthe-loony:
the-Loony Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
time in art making is an issue in the idustry tho. it concerns you as a professional. =/

But it doesnīt matter - i already said so too: a good artwork requires skill, whichever media or process you choose.
Everything comes right down to the artists themselves. itīs up to them to make the decision how to use media, whether to make it a ritual, a personal artwork into which you put your very essence, or make it simply so it suits the needs of the client.
the digital way can be just as meditative, enlighting and educating as the usage of traditional arts, tho those offer more different features of their own.

i myself do a lot of digital work. but i'd recommend to every artist to try out as many different media as possible, simply because it will broaden your horizon so greatly. (and the other way around)

once more: in the end it remains the artist decision how to create art. and itīs up to the observer, to decide what to make of it.
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's true :lol: I've got a few deadlines coming up myself. I was just talking about in general when people say things like "how long did this take you" at some point that really doesn't matter if the work is good :)
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:iconthe-loony:
the-Loony Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student General Artist
yeah, with some stuff thatīs totally true :D
Reply
:iconblakkfox:
BlakkFox Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I went to a comicon once and I was surprised that some very talented/professional comic artists had said myth 1 when I said I was a digital artist.
It really shocked me, considering that they were obviously educated about art...especially when they're at a comicon.
A place for geeks and nerds alike, lol.

Just like 3D, it's just a medium to work with.
You have to know how to work with the same elements that traditional artists do.
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
A lot of people feel that digital art is easier simply because you can create faster (in theory, but hey a 20 hour painting is a 20 hour painting) and of course ctrl+z. Being able to erase a mistake doesn't make something easier, if anything it's more annoying because you can literally sit for hours trying to draw a straight line :XD: I digress, anyways, I think it's a shame that they thought that. I can understand why they may think that, especially if they all still ink by hand and do that, but the digital process really doesn't require less skill. One cannot simply "pick up" Photoshop and be Degas!
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:iconpilvi91:
Pilvi91 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice to see someone using paint.net. My computer's too old and slow to handle any program bigger than that. xD
Not that I use digital much, my hands are too shaky to draw with a mouse.. I'd like to try a tablet tho since I like trying all kinds of different media. :)
Great journal tho, I see a lot of people fighting over digital/traditional which just seems a bit pointless to me.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Paint.net is a useful little fella :)
Reply
:iconbrimercedes:
BriMercedes Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'd go as far as to say digital art is harder. It's more convenient and arguably cheaper to create (if you already have the hardware and software), but it's a pain in the butt sometimes and requires a will of steel to master.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I'd agree, it's definitely cheaper especially if you go the freeware route, but it takes an extra ounce of patience none of us are born with XD
Reply
:iconakgreene:
akgreene Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you for putting this up - it was an interesting read, and good to look at as well. Thankfully, my college offers digital art, though they're kind of... slow with moving in that direction. I'm trying to learn mostly traditional, and transfer over some techniques and knowledge so I can apply that. However, I do think that - indeed - digital art is harder to learn:

It gives a smaller range of movement, even working with a tablet.
Some of the digital effects, though it's possible to fuss with, need you to learn how to tamper with filters and such (like watercolor effects in digital).
Pen nibs for a tablet are more expensive than paint brushes.

Just to list a few things... On the other hand, oil paints and canvas, for instance, can quickly run very pricey. You'll also probably get more use out of your program and tablet. It's not necessary to update every year, while you are constantly using up supplies in traditional.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
From talking to other students in my area of painting, a lot of colleges are either strictly oil paint and no digital (because the computer is the devil XD) or so digitized they scoff at painters and make it difficult for traditional work to be created. I don't understand the divide between the two because they can work well together (extremely well).

And yes, in the long run, digital is cheaper, so that's one of the big pros of it :)
Reply
:iconsilverybeast:
silverybeast Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013   General Artist
I'm a living proof that digital isn't easier and the computer doesn't make the art for you :lol: Even now that I have my tablet and drawing digitally has gotten a lot easier (=natural; drawing with a mouse is a pain for me) my traditional stuff is still much better.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Same here :XD: It's really like learning how to draw again. I distinctly remember learning how to write my name when I was about 3 or 4 (which was a little torturous because my name isn't short :lol:) and when I finally got a tablet it was the same thing all over again XD
Reply
:icontheshadowkitty:
TheShadowKitty Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
If I compared the amount of work I finish in Digital media to the work I finish in Traditional.... I love working on SAI, but I rarely finish anything in it. I much prefer my pens and my letrasets and erasers. It feels easier to me and I know my limits with traditional, where with SAI I get a great idea in my head but simply can't live up to it with SAI or Photoshop. I'll be damned for anyone who tells me that Digital is easier XD The only thing I find Digital easier for is sketching. Currently I prefer sketching in SAI and then printing/tracing the sketch and inking/colouring on paper...
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:iconelegantgeisha:
elegantgeisha Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Always good and useful to try to explain misconceptions! :)
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:nod:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013
Change the category to Editorial. :C
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I did to begin with, and I keep changing it and it keeps showing up as personal so I have no idea :XD:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
Weird! o_O
You did submit with sta.sh didn't you? Contact +help just in case it's a bug.
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Nope I did it the old fashioned way :slow: But I usually upload blogs that way and haven't had any issues with it before :confused: I do know there was some kind of issue with group blogs in the past, but I'm not sure if this was the same issue. I'm going to put in a ticket to be safe.
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
Aaah, that's why. o_O
They have changed the format for blogs appearing in the portal to be for sta.sh ones.
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
So, in order to change categories you have to upload blogs via sta.sh? Did not know that XD It's not a problem, just seems rather silly :lol:
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013
Yea, that it is. Sta.sh also enables multiple users in group to edit it as well.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Okie dokie, would there be a way to update this through sta.sh then?
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconkidoa:
kidoa Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Pardon, I have to disagree for the first point. Probably, it differ from one people to another, but I find that Digital art is indeed easier than Traditional.

Lets say, Two artist with same skill level on each media, have a mach.
- A Traditional artist will decide and draw all of his idea on that single medium (Paper, wall, canvas, etc) with very limited room (A4, A3, A2, etc). On the other hand, a digital artist will have a small starting point, then grows up as his idea grow. If it too large, he is free to crop/resize the canvas. Also, in traditional media, you cannot zoom-in without breaking your eyes. In digital however, you're free to draw as detail as you might wish.
- Sketching, A traditional artist needs erase, erase, and erase. Sometimes he should be careful otherwise his medium (paper) will become unusable (Also, there is a limit to paper stock). A digital artist however, can erase all of his like without worrying anything besides his pen-nib. Or he could freely clear layer to scratch his idea many times. Of course there is a way for traditional artist doing a brain storming before scratch something on his paper. Having a small sketchbook is another way. But like I said, there is a limit to paper stock.
- Inking, you really need years of practice to make a very smooth line without spilling out of basic sketch. Otherwise, he would only waste a paper and effort. A digital artist however, could ink with a lot of ways. There are: pen tool, curve tool, line tool, or vector tool. If his inking out of boundaries, there are ways to fix it like: eraser tool, or ctrl-Z (I really whish to have this kind of option on traditional media)
- Painting/Coloring, This should probably be clear if you're a digital artist. It really is easier in digital media than in traditional media. There is no layer on traditional media, and you really should have more knowledge about color mixing to produce a color of your wish. In digital? Color picker/mixer, nuff said.

Pardon, I don't intend any offense. I just tried to make my point that Traditional art is indeed harder than digital. As a former traditional media user, I really feels the difference. I know exactly how hard it is to work on a single piece of paper. On the other side, I also feels how easy it is working on a digital media. Well, a couple of month to get used to it still needed tho :)
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I'll still have to disagree, there's pros and cons to both, but neither are easier than the other. Being able to erase and rework is a pro, but not an extreme advantage. Having a grasp of color theory is what makes good harmonious paintings good, not having a color picker. You can put a paint brush in someone's hand and a full palette, but that's not going to give them an advantage unless they know what they're doing. I do both and honestly I don't see one being easier than the other. I'm more comfortable with painting traditionally, but that's where I began :)
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:iconangelandchangeling:
AngelAndChangeling Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It took me longer to get used to drawing on a tablet than it took me to get into practice drawing traditionally. I almost cried in frustration the first couple weeks I had my tablet because I couldn't get anything to turn out right, and I had no idea why I suddenly sucked so much more. Using it has led me to advance greatly in my skill both in digital and traditional drawings, though. I don't think I'd be where I am now without it.

Also, as far as great free art programs go, I am in love with FireAlpaca! It's available for Mac and PC and it's my favorite art program.
Reply
:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes drawing with a tablet takes a LOT of practice :giggle: but it does help out a lot with traditional drawing as well and hand eye coordination :D
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:iconangelandchangeling:
AngelAndChangeling Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup!
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:iconthementalpatient:
thementalpatient Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
These are very well made points. As a traditional artist myself, I am no less impressed with digital art and those who utilize digital programs. I can't imagine it actually being easy. I actually would like to own a tablet someday, as it probably would be much more cheaper than having to keep buying supplies lol. The art world, and commercialism of art is becoming more fast paced with digital art on the rise. However, traditional methods have not died out, and I hope they never do! Regardless of the tool of the trade, the end result is what matters. Good article.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I just think of the addition of technology in art as opening more possibilities not boundaries for the former mediums. Digital additions to traditional works are allowing things to happen that artists could never dream of before :D
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:iconmidnightgates:
midnightgates Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this article! I started from MS Paint to Photo Impression to Photoshop CS3 (now) and I'm still using a mouse for my digital art. Although it takes a lot of work getting used to these programs and tools (and depending on how detailed I wanted the finished work to be), I'm still proud of my end results :love: People still think that doesn't take a lot of work? Sheesh -____-;
No matter what the medium is (digital or traditional), you still have to learn how to use the tools to get your finished result.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, people think just because you can erase that makes it easier. If the ability to erase is all you're thinking about, you should probably look at what you're doing already :XD: People don't seem to think there's a learning curve to digital software, that it does all the work for you and that is NOT TRUE :XD: I can just as easily spend 100+ hours on a digital painting as I can on a traditional painting :giggle:
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:icondarlingmionette:
DarlingMionette Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
great article :3 side note: it's not Painter Tool Sai. It's PaintTool SAI
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks :XD: corrected
Reply
:iconbloodmoonequinox:
BloodMoonEquinox Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student General Artist
Excellent article! :clap: I once thought that digital art was "easy" until I actually attempted it--I've probably put more effort into learning various digital programs than I have learning to draw traditionally. :D

And you absolutely don't need fancy, expensive programs to make good digital art. I've been trained on PS CS5, but I much prefer GIMP! ;)

I also learned something new by reading this article: I didn't know that DAZ 3D studio was a free program! I'll definitely be playing around with that for quite awhile... :plotting:
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I LURVE me some GIMP :giggle: I have the suite (had to buy it for school) but I'm finding GIMP to be more user friendly and having fewer steps in between to do things :giggle:
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:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
love this! even though i've only drawn some things in MS paint, i find the artists who say that digital art is "lazy" laughably stupid
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:thumbsup:
Reply
:icongauveldt:
gauveldt Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013
Tablets probably require more practice than traditional pencils or markers because they have a different feel from my experience (are more slippery) and even artists with a lot of practice (I watch many on LS who have tablets) are using CTRL-Z (undo) often because some strokes take several attempts for the artist to get looking right.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
There are different pads and pen nibs that some brands have to offer, but they are very expensive, so most end up with the ones which are slippery (like mine XD)
Reply
:iconkiwichameleon:
KiwiChameleon Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013   General Artist
That's a very valid blog entry and I totally agree. I also had my fair share of the "digital art is easy because you just press one button" issue, and since I work traditionally and digitally, I understand both positions. I think the only real advantage of digitally created artwork is, that you can indeed go back to a picture and alter it, or even alter it during the creation. This is not possible with most traditional media; that's the only point I would have added. Bottom line, you need to the basics for either method.
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:iconxadrea:
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes a solid grasp of the formal art elements is key for both mediums. There's not a program out there that can conjure up a good composition for you :XD:
Reply
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