Fine Digital Art : Digital Art Technology

Digital art is a general term that covers all manner of computer art and other media. It covers using any form of digital technology to produce art, rather than more traditional art media, such as paint or ink.

Creating digital art

There are various ways in which digital art can be created. One obvious method is to scan objects or items which could themselves have been created by traditional methods such as drawing. Once these have been scanned and have become digital files, they can be used as the basis for manipulation using suitable software.

Digital photos are another source which can be changed, combined or transformed using photo editing software to produce digital photography. Drawing programs have become extremely sophisticated and can now be used to combine the effects of traditional media with the advantages of digital technology. Skilled artists can use these programs together with tools like a stylus and tablet to mimic the appearance of, for example, oil paints with the advantage of having them dry instantly and the ability to undo any mistakes.

But is it art?

There is also the question of exactly what can be called digital art and how much digital input there has to be for an item to be considered truly digital. A conventional work that has been scanned and cropped clearly would not qualify, while a photo collage with extensive editing would be acceptable. Digital artists also need to think about the ultimate output of their artwork. Advances in printing technology mean that printing on canvas and other media can give excellent results, but does the ability to reproduce an item many times devalue the work of art? If it is no longer a unique item, is it art?

Generative art

Another field of digital art is generative art, whereby the artist uses the computer itself to produce works of art. The artist has to supply a set of rules for the computer to use, which may be some form of program, and often includes a random element too. This combination of rules and randomness can produce varied pieces, some of which may not be successful, but which always have an element of surprise. For example, an artist could create a program that draws a line, the direction of which is determined by generating a random number and using that number as the angle to draw.

Many digital artists turn away from the more traditional forms of art and have embraced new media in all its glory, adding sound and motion to their work as well as moving into 3D and interactivity.

Displaying digital art

For many artists, the attraction of digital art is the ability to share the work widely online so it can be seen by a large number of people. They turn to sharing and networking sites in an attempt to display their work in the hope that they get noticed and raise their profile in the art world.