Question: If digital artists want their efforts to have significant impact do they need to create, not only, brilliant computer generated imagery, but also thought provoking concepts?
Originally, computer generated graphics was not considered as a form of art. Its main objective was created through needs set through a specific task. Digital art did not follow changing trends in the visual art culture but instead it was guided through mathematics, geometric shapes and lines. It has come a long way in such a short period of time. Its objective now takes many forms, from the pursuit of realization through perfection to allowing more viewer participation through interactivity. These objectives could have only been achieved through the ability to generate new innovative ideas. The advance in technology has made the production of digital art much easier.A reduced importance on an individual?s dexterity means that computer arts are more focused on the creativity and imagination of an artist. It is a new medium in which artist can have the freedom to experiment creatively and the amount of nice looking work you can produce is limitless.
Some of the best examples of traditional art involve the artist being innovative and taking creativity to a whole new level. In a sense, digital art is similar to traditional art. The computer is just a new form of canvas and the software just equipment used to create art. Much inspiration from digital arts is also taken from classical art. The main difference between digital and traditional art is that digital art allows the artist to create art easier and quicker as it is less focused on the routine found in the creation of traditional arts, and this allows the artist to focus more in the creation of new innovative ideas through problem solving and creative experimentation. Instead of being limited to a canvas or sheet of paper, digital arts breaks down this barrier which allows artists to explore whole new ways of experimenting with art. Data processing software is now able to produce art in a way that traditional methods cannot keep up with. In today?s visual culture, there is a trend to change objects so that they are used in a way in which they were not meant to be used. Image editing software, such as Photoshop and Inkskape, is so advanced now that this task can now be done with ease.
Originality plays a great role in the production of great art. Most groundbreaking concepts have been developed by going back to the origins. Many look back to traditional arts and move into areas previously unexplored.Some have experimented by putting image after image and playing them in order to create the illusion of a moving image. By starting from the ground up, the artist does not need to follow the lines in which many other artists use, but instead, head onto a completely new area which can generate all sorts of possibilities.
Digital art, however, does not absolutely need to consist of thought provoking ideas. Much of the art today, found in many games and movies are produced mainly for moneymaking, by copying concepts that are already successful and making it look better. This immediately puts barriers which limit the creativity of any artist producing it which could take shape as aiming the product to suit a target market, or simply just to keep it affordable. The game industry is a good example. Many new games don?t have much in the way of new content. Many are just copies of older games which have improved graphics and nothing different in terms of game play. People would most likely purchase a game because it looks impressive and feels familiar rather than purchasing one that they don?t know much about. This has led to people judging games because of the graphics alone.
ToPeople, making objects look good may see this as an improvement but there is no proper creativity put into this. This isn?t necessarily a bad thing as this does show the potential the original concept has. However, there is a certain limit to how much this can be done before it can no longer be improved, and therefore requires the development of new creative ideas which is important in a society in which entertainment is important as people begin to have more leisure time. Taking the production of film for example, if computer art was based on only producing good looking imagery, we would of made a good looking film but may of not moved on to CGI or 3D film.
Thought provoking concepts are responsible for the creation of new forms of medium, but whether or not the art produced from that medium looks good or not determines the success of it in the public?s eye.
Innovative concepts have led to computer arts being used in many fields. Some include education, as a new means of interpreting information. The American military produces games such as ?America?s Army? for recruitment. From web design to movie production, it is mostly the imaginative and creative examples that you will remember.
Charles Chuck Csuri is considered a pioneer in digital art, producing the world?s first computer generated art. A professor at the Ohio State University, he was the co-founder of CCP, which was one of the first computer animation companies.
Even in the earliest stages of digital art he explored many fields including real time art where the objects on screen would react to what is happening in reality, the stochastic (randomization) process and looking at virtual space. He also mixes his traditional art with computer art which produces art which is very cubic and precise but also contains some organic elements to it.
Csuri uses computer technology to explore new ideas. In his presentation ?Beyond Boundaries? for the Ralph Regula Schools Computational Science Lecture Series he says that he ?uses the computer as a search engine instead of making a picture piece by piece.? Not only is he famous for his groundbreaking work but he is influenced through the basic truths about the universe, in some cases leading him to form objects out of long 3D strings in space. Csuri is an artist that likes to look back in time at the very origins of not just artists, but scientists and philosophers. In the same presentation, he says that ?true innovation takes place when artists look at the same fundamental issues of the philosopher and the scientist.?
Another example of an innovative digital artist is the American artist Lillian Schwartz. Also a pioneer of early computer art, she also used technology to analyse traditional pieces as well.
Like Csuri, her work has been acquired in the museum of modern art due to her effective techniques. Not only has she experimented vigorously with different techniques, but she has also written many books about the contribution of computers in art. She believes that if art is only admired solely for its craftsmanship, then art produced on computers can be regarded as artwork as they have the ability to be more accurate and faster.
She is well known for the Mona Leo, the combination of two self portraits; one of the Mona Lisa and one of Leonardo. In this example, she brings up that the Mona Lisa could actually be a form of self portrait by Da Vinci as she put the halves of the portraits together to find that the lines join perfectly. Schwartz?s obsession with Italian renaissance art has proved invaluable in the restoration and examination of traditional art forms. She even aided the construction of 3 dimensional models to aid the preservation of historical buildings through understanding how the structure was built.
She has received many rewards for her work, including the ?Computer-World Smithsonian Awards? for her effort that she had put into the development of new fields in arts. According to her narrative biography, (http://www.lillian.com/bio/) these awards were awarded for ? the Application of the Computer as a Medium in the Arts, including Graphics, Film/Video, and Special Effects, pioneering work in the field of Virtual Reality; and in special editing techniques in Media and Arts & Entertainment?.
Schwartz also did scientific research in areas such as visual/colour perception, and sound. She made a significant impact to the field of computer arts by ?developing many effective techniques for the use of computers in film and animation.? (http://design.osu.edu/carlson/history/lesson9.html - Lillian Schwartz - 2nd paragraph)
Her work is in high demand around the world and her films have won numerous awards. Without her contribution, digital arts would not be as advanced as it is today.
I believe that if imagery is to make an impact today, the most creative concepts must be developed. Impressive imagery is also very important as these concepts, as creative as they are, cannot succeed if it doesn?t appeal to the viewer. A successful mixture of an interesting concept and good art is needed but in an age where producing good looking art is relatively simple, it is the thought provoking concepts are most important, and now that more and more areas are being creatively explored, finding genuine thought provoking concepts are becoming more difficult. That in mind, there are also vast areas that are still to be explored.
Technology is merely a tool for artists, the computer making the production of art less repetitive, but without any creative input into a piece of art, it will quickly be forgotten.