Digital Art – Is it Really Art?

Most people think art has to involve a brush, paint and a canvas. But today there are so many more forms of art. Practices that utilize digital technology for a range of artistic works are called Digital Art. Other names for this are new media art, computer art and multimedia art. This trend all began in the 70s with the use of personal computers for artistic creations.

This new media art has transformed traditional activities of painting, drawing and sculpture. To put it simply, a digital artist is anyone who uses the computer to enhance, embellish or create his or her art. Digital art is a contemporary art term used to create prints or other digital media.

Although I received my degree in 2-D Art, I also consider myself a digital artist. I have many oil paintings, watercolor, pastels, and drawings, but I truly enjoy the new ability to create art on the computer. In the past I have presented some of my digital creations to galleries, they said that people are slow to consider it as “art”.

If you saw the movie, A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, you will witness the 3-D effects of digital art, which produced the special effects. Mainstream media also extensively uses the techniques of digital art. As it took several years for acceptance of electronically produced music over the past three decades, a general acceptance of the value of digital art will eventually come.

Personally, I can draw a picture, scan it into the computer and then color it or put special filters onto it to create a unique masterpiece. Some critics argue that a computer program is the one that made the art, but I would like to submit that the artist is the one who decides when it has actually created a work of art, rather than the computer. I know this is still quite a controversial subject. Some digital artists can create a masterpiece created in a similar fashion to a non-digital painting on their computer, actually using digital brushes and digital paints and then printing it on canvas. Some people cannot tell the difference.

It is interesting that digital photography and digital printing is now an acceptable medium of creation and presentation by major museums and galleries. Some museums have begun to accept digital art printed on canvas. Perhaps one reason why the art community finds it difficult to accept digital art is the erroneous perception digital prints that can be reproduced endlessly. To appease the masses, some artists erase the image file after the first print so it is truly a unique artwork.

There are many different kinds of digital art.

* Algorithmic art – generated by an algorithm or arithmetic

* Generative art – many similarities with systems found in various areas of science

* Art software – Corel Painter, ArtRage, Studio Artist, ArtWeaver (free for Windows)

* Computer art

* Cyberarts – produced through a process, any one of whose steps was influenced by such software or hardware

* Electronic art – makes use of electronic media or, more broadly, refers to technology and/or electronic media – video games

* Evolutionary art or Dynamic Painting – exploits the process of evolution to create an artwork which continually changes according to an evolutionary algorithm – fractals – screensavers

* Fractal art – created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still images

* Video art – relies on moving pictures and comprises video and/or audio data

* Digital illustration and painting – use of digital tools to produce images under the direct manipulation of the artist, usually through a pointing device such as a tablet or a mouse

* Machinima – the use of real-time three-dimensional (3-D) graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation

* Digital photography – a form of photography that uses digital technology to make images of subjects

* Movie special effects – The illusions used in the film, television, theater, or entertainment industries to simulate the imagined events in a story are traditionally called special effects

* Photo manipulation – application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception through analog or digital means (Photoshop and many more)

There are plenty more but, I think you get the idea.

Some examples of digital art