A picture is worth a thousand lines of code

January 10, 2006

The term “digital art” is not incredibly appealing. It has connotations of a rigidity dissimilar to all other art. In a way, it feels less free. For some reason a lot of non-artists are of the opinion that art should be specifically hand-made, without the “help” of technology and tools. This conflicts with digital art because technology is not only used as a tool to create art, it is the fundamental medium in which it is created. A few posts down you’ll see why I personally am attracted to digital medium. It’s non-physical and intangible. In this way it is art, visually created, but remains in one way or another in the same form as when it was created: an idea. Also, in this way it has the opportunity of being the most abstract form of art.

To make things clear I believe that the difference between a painter and an artist is the creative mind. A painter has the skill, the artist has the idea. If you are a painter but cannot invent an artistic idea, you are not an artist. If you are an artist who doesn’t have the skill to paint, you are not a painter (obviously). Art is not about paintings or scupltures. It’s about ideas. And by all means expression of that idea in any way; physical, non-physicial, audible or inaudible, visual or non-visual. My last art teacher, who I didn’t spend much time with, didn’t consider himself an artist; he considered himself a technician of the arts. Digital art has expanded on art in a way that removes the physical skill commonly associated with artistry. It is not intellectual skill. Computer programmers, graphic designers, and others have now been able to create and express ideas through a medium not associated directly with the “fine” arts of painting and sculpture. Without this burden, digital artists (or technoartists as I’ve heard) can create visual representations more real than any super-realist, more abstract than an Islamic temple or Jackson Pollock painting, and so on.

Take a look at this picture (click here to enlarge) and decide for yourself if digital art could or should even be considered “rigid.” It surpasses and expands art and thus giving it more freedom:

Edit: Here are some other incredible super-duper-realist computer generated portraits and face studies. Care of the CGsociety/CGtalk.
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?threadid=308052
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=225468
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=219323

Take notice that each portrait has almost pitch black eyes. I’d imagine that colorized eyes would detract from it’s realism, however if you zoom in on the man’s eyes there is an excellent reflection. There are, unfortunately and expectedly, parts of each portrait which reveal a computer-esque (ie, unnatural) property. For instance, the woman’s forehead, the man’s hair, and the young boy’s eyebrows. But conversely there are parts of each picture which are remarkably realistic, even surpassing or equaling photorealism. Such as, the resolution on the woman’s lips and cheeks, the man’s skin texture, and the depth in the picture of the young boy.

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