Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1960s, various names have been used to describe the process, including computer art and multimedia art.Digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art.
After some initial resistance,the impact of digital technology has transformed activities such as painting, literature, drawing, sculpture and music/sound art, while new forms, such as net art, digital installation art, and virtual reality, have become recognized artistic practices. More generally the term digital artist is used to describe an artist who makes use of digital technologies in the production of art. In an expanded sense, "digital art" is contemporary art that uses the methods of mass production or digital media.
The techniques of digital art are used extensively by the mainstream media in advertisements, and by film-makers to produce visual effects. Desktop publishing has had a huge impact on the publishing world, although that is more related to graphic design. Both digital and traditional artists use many sources of electronic information and programs to create their work.Given the parallels between visual and musical arts, it is possible that general acceptance of the value of digital visual art will progress in much the same way as the increased acceptance of electronically produced music over the last three decades.
Digital art can be purely computer-generated (such as fractals and algorithmic art) or taken from other sources, such as a scanned photograph or an image drawn using vector graphics software using a mouse or graphics tablet.Though technically the term may be applied to art done using other media or processes and merely scanned in, it is usually reserved for art that has been non-trivially modified by a computing process (such as a computer program, microcontroller or any electronic system capable of interpreting an input to create an output); digitized text data and raw audio and video recordings are not usually considered digital art in themselves, but can be part of the larger project of computer art and information art. Artworks are considered digital painting when created in a similar fashion to non-digital paintings but using software on a computer platform and digitally outputting the resulting image as painted on canvas.
Andy Warhol created digital art using a Commodore Amiga where the computer was publicly introduced at the Lincoln Center, New York in July 1985. An image of Debbie Harry was captured in monochrome from a video camera and digitized into a graphics program called ProPaint. Warhol manipulated the image adding colour by using flood fills.
Amidst varied opinions on the pros and cons of digital technology on the arts, there seems to be a strong consensus within the digital art community that it has created a "vast expansion of the creative sphere", i.e., that it has greatly broadened the creative opportunities available to professional and non-professional artists alike.
Whilst 2D and 3D digital art is beneficial as it allows preservation of history that would otherwise have been destroyed by events like natural disasters and war, there is the issue of who should own these 3D scans - i.e. who should own the digital copyrights.
Digital visual art consists of either 2D visual information displayed on an electronic visual display or information mathematically translated into 3D information, viewed through perspective projection on an electronic visual display. The simplest is 2D computer graphics which reflect how you might draw using a pencil and a piece of paper. In this case, however, the image is on the computer screen and the instrument you draw with might be a tablet stylus or a mouse. What is generated on your screen might appear to be drawn with a pencil, pen or paintbrush. The second kind is 3D computer graphics, where the screen becomes a window into a virtual environment, where you arrange objects to be "photographed" by the computer. Typically a 2D computer graphics use raster graphics as their primary means of source data representations, whereas 3D computer graphics use vector graphics in the creation of immersive virtual reality installations. A possible third paradigm is to generate art in 2D or 3D entirely through the execution of algorithms coded into computer programs. This can be considered the native art form of the computer, and an introduction to the history of which available in an interview with computer art pioneer Frieder Nake.Fractal art, Datamoshing, algorithmic art and real-time generative art are examples.
3D graphics are created via the process of designing imagery from geometric shapes, polygons or NURBS curvesto create three-dimensional objects and scenes for use in various media such as film, television, print, rapid prototyping, games/simulations and special visual effects.
There are many software programs for doing this. The technology can enable collaboration, lending itself to sharing and augmenting by a creative effort similar to the open source movement, and the creative commons in which users can collaborate in a project to create art.
Pop surrealist artist Ray Caesar works in Maya (a 3D modeling software used for digital animation), using it to create his figures as well as the virtual realms in which they exist.
Computer-generated animations are animations created with a computer, from digital models created by the 3D artists or procedurally generated. The term is usually applied to works created entirely with a computer. Movies make heavy use of computer-generated graphics; they are called computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the film industry. In the 1990s, and early 2000s CGI advanced enough so that for the first time it was possible to create realistic 3D computer animation, although films had been using extensive computer images since the mid-70s. A number of modern films have been noted for their heavy use of photo realistic CGI.
Digital installation art constitutes a broad field of activity and incorporates many forms. Some resemble video installations, particularly large scale works involving projections and live video capture. By using projection techniques that enhance an audience's impression of sensory envelopment, many digital installations attempt to create immersive environments. Others go even further and attempt to facilitate a complete immersion in virtual realms. This type of installation is generally site-specific, scalable, and without fixed dimensionality, meaning it can be reconfigured to accommodate different presentation spaces.
Noah Wardrip-Fruin's "Screen" (2003) is an example of interactive digital installation art which makes use of a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment to create an interactive experience.Scott Snibbe's "Boundary Functions" is an example of augmented reality digital installation art, which responds to people who enter the installation by drawing lines between people indicating their personal space.
Notable art theorists and historians in this field include Oliver Grau, Jon Ippolito, Christiane Paul, Frank Popper, Jasia Reichardt, Mario Costa, Christine Buci-Glucksmann, Dominique Moulon, Robert C. Morgan, Roy Ascott, Catherine Perret, Margot Lovejoy, Edmond Couchot, Fred Forest and Edward A. Shanken.
Fractal art is a form of algorithmic art created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still digital images, animations, and media. Fractal art developed from the mid-1980s onwards. It is a genre of computer art and digital art which are part of new media art. The mathematical beauty of fractals lies at the intersection of generative art and computer art. They combine to produce a type of abstract art.
Interactive art is a form of art that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose. Some interactive art installations achieve this by letting the observer or visitor "walk" in, on, and around them; some others ask the artist or the spectators to become part of the artwork.
Generative art refers to art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist. In some cases the human creator may claim that the generative system represents their own artistic idea, and in others that the system takes on the role of the creator.
Software art is a work of art where the creation of software, or concepts from software, play an important role; for example software applications which were created by artists and which were intended as artworks. As an artistic discipline software art has attained growing attention since the late 1990s. It is closely related to Internet art since it often relies on the Internet, most notably the World Wide Web, for dissemination and critical discussion of the works. Art festivals such as FILE Electronic Language International Festival, Transmediale (Berlin), Prix Ars Electronica (Linz) and readme have devoted considerable attention to the medium and through this have helped to bring software art to a wider audience of theorists and academics.
Computer art is any art in which computers play a role in production or display of the artwork. Such art can be an image, sound, animation, video, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, video game, website, algorithm, performance or gallery installation. Many traditional disciplines are now integrating digital technologies and, as a result, the lines between traditional works of art and new media works created using computers has been blurred. For instance, an artist may combine traditional painting with algorithm art and other digital techniques. As a result, defining computer art by its end product can thus be difficult. Computer art is bound to change over time since changes in technology and software directly affect what is possible.
Electronic art is a form of art that makes use of electronic media. More broadly, it refers to technology and/or electronic media. It is related to information art, new media art, video art, digital art, interactive art, internet art, and electronic music. It is considered an outgrowth of conceptual art and systems art.
Information art, which is also known as informatism or data art, is an emerging art form that is inspired by and principally incorporates data, computer science, information technology, artificial intelligence, and related data-driven fields. The information revolution has resulted in over-abundant data that are critical in a wide range of areas, from the Internet to healthcare systems. Related to conceptual art, electronic art and new media art, informatism considers this new technological, economical, and cultural paradigm shift, such that artworks may provide social commentaries, synthesize multiple disciplines, and develop new aesthetics. Realization of information art often take, although not necessarily, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches incorporating visual, audio, data analysis, performance, and others. Furthermore, physical and virtual installations involving informatism often provide human-computer interaction that generate artistic contents based on the processing of large amounts of data.
Karl Sims is a computer graphics artist and researcher, who is best known for using particle systems and artificial life in computer animation.
Digital painting is an emerging art form in which traditional painting techniques such as watercolor, oils, impasto, etc. are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, a graphics tablet and stylus, and software. Traditional painting is painting with a physical medium as opposed to a more modern style like digital. Digital painting differs from other forms of digital art, particularly computer-generated art, in that it does not involve the computer rendering from a model. The artist uses painting techniques to create the digital painting directly on the computer. All digital painting programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects. Included in many programs are brushes that are digitally styled to represent the traditional style like oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal, pen and even media such as airbrushing. There are also certain effects unique to each type of digital paint which portray the realistic effects of say watercolor on a digital 'watercolor' painting. In most digital painting programs, the users can create their own brush style using a combination of texture and shape. This ability is very important in bridging the gap between traditional and digital painting.
Graphic art software is a subclass of application software used for graphic design, multimedia development, stylized image development, technical illustration, general image editing, or simply to access graphic files. Art software uses either raster or vector graphic reading and editing methods to create, edit, and view art.
Algorithmic art or algorithm art is art, mostly visual art, in which the design is generated by an algorithm. Algorithmic artists are sometimes called algorists.
Joseph Nechvatal is an American post-conceptual digital artist and art theoretician who creates computer-assisted paintings and computer animations, often using custom-created computer viruses.
Desmond Paul Henry (1921–2004) was a Manchester University Lecturer and Reader in Philosophy (1949–82). He was one of the first British artists to experiment with machine-generated visual effects at the time of the emerging global computer art movement of the 1960s. During this period, Henry constructed a succession of three drawing machines from modified bombsight analogue computers which were employed in World War II bombers to calculate the accurate release of bombs onto their targets. Henry's machine-generated effects resemble complex versions of the abstract, curvilinear graphics which accompany Microsoft's Windows Media Player. Henry's machine-generated effects may therefore also be said to represent early examples of computer graphics: "the making of line drawings with the aid of computers and drawing machines".
Casey Edwin Barker Reas, also known as C. E. B. Reas or Casey Reas, is an American artist whose conceptual, procedural and minimal artworks explore ideas through the contemporary lens of software. Reas is perhaps best known for having created, with Ben Fry, the Processing programming language.
Golan Levin is an American new media artist, composer, performer and engineer interested in developing artifacts and events which explore supple new modes of reactive expression.
Fractal-generating software is any type of graphics software that generates images of fractals. There are many fractal generating programs available, both free and commercial. Mobile apps are available to play or tinker with fractals. Some programmers create fractal software for themselves because of the novelty and because of the challenge in understanding the related mathematics. The generation of fractals has led to some very large problems for pure mathematics.
The history of computer animation began as early as the 1940s and 1950s, when people began to experiment with computer graphics - most notably by John Whitney. It was only by the early 1960s when digital computers had become widely established, that new avenues for innovative computer graphics blossomed. Initially, uses were mainly for scientific, engineering and other research purposes, but artistic experimentation began to make its appearance by the mid-1960s- most notably by Dr Thomas Calvert. By the mid-1970s, many such efforts were beginning to enter into public media. Much computer graphics at this time involved 2-dimensional imagery, though increasingly as computer power improved, efforts to achieve 3-dimensional realism became the emphasis. By the late 1980s, photo-realistic 3D was beginning to appear in film movies, and by mid-1990s had developed to the point where 3D animation could be used for entire feature film production.
New media art includes artworks designed and produced by means of new media technologies, comprising virtual art, computer graphics, computer animation, digital art, interactive art, sound art, Internet art, video games, robotics, 3D printing, and cyborg art. The term defines itself by the thereby created artwork, which differentiates itself from that deriving from conventional visual arts. This emphasis on medium is a defining feature of much contemporary art and many art schools and major universities now offer majors in "New Genres" or "New Media" and a growing number of graduate programs have emerged internationally. New media art may involve degrees of interaction between artwork and observer or between the artist and the public, as is the case in performance art. Yet, as several theorists and curators have noted, such forms of interaction, social exchange, participation, and transformation do not distinguish new media art but rather serve as a common ground that has parallels in other strands of contemporary art practice. Such insights emphasize the forms of cultural practice that arise concurrently with emerging technological platforms, and question the focus on technological media, per se.
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, simulators, computer animation and VFX in films, television programs, shorts, commercials, and videos. The images may be dynamic or static, and may be two-dimensional (2D), although the term "CGI" is most commonly used to refer to the 3-D computer graphics used for creating characters, scenes and special effects in films and television, which is described as 'CGI animation'. It was first used in the 1986 film Flight of the Navigator, although an earlier, more crude version of CGI was featured in the 1984 film, The Last Starfighter.
Joan Truckenbrod is known for her work in digital art, and is credited as being one of the earliest pioneers of digital art in the 1960s. She uses sculptural forms in video to explore "the simultaneous experience of multiple realities that is evoked through ritual." An essential aspect of her artwork is "making things by hand, integrating hand construction with the electronic imagery of video".
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