What's Your Opinion--Digital Art or Traditional?

Discussion in 'Art' started by CatJack, May 5, 2004.

  1. CatJack

    CatJack New Member

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    Heyo!

    I'm a longtime fan of fantasy art. My favorites include Frank Frazetta, Michael Whelan, Boris Vallejo, Dean Morrissey, Brom, Barry Windsor-Smith---the list goes on and on. Several years ago I discovered art produced by computer programs and became fascinated by the look of the work. I started doing digital art myself--I've posted an image in the art gallery that some of you have taken the time to view (more than I expected)! Thank you for that.

    I'm wondering if people have a preference these days. Do you all prefer the look of traditional art produced with traditional media, or are you open to the computer generated art? I'm really curious about this. For those of you who are interested in seeing a digitally created piece of art, pop over to the art gallery. The image is called Lady Of Ravens. Then head back over here and let your opinion be heard.

    Will digital art ever replace traditional art? Do you want to see more digital art on fantasy book covers? Or is there something about the genre that demands traditional art produced by hand?

    Let's talk about it!

    Best,

    Mark-Wayne Harris AKA CatJack
     
  2. Glelas

    Glelas Seven Mary Four

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    Been leaning toward Digital Art lately.
    Nice job on Lady of the Ravens. What software do you use? I have been meaning to dabble in Digital Art whenever time permits but time never permits. :mad:
     
  3. CatJack

    CatJack New Member

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    Thanks for giving your opinion and taking a peek at the art, Meriadoc. I used Poser 4 for the figures and Bryce 5 for the environment. Which programs were you interested in to get your dabbling started? Have you ever visited the art forum at www.renderosity.com? I have a lot of images posted there under the name JackStr8 and they have a LOT of fantastic digital artists posting there. Check it out when you get a chance.
     
  4. Lani

    Lani Guarded by the Moon

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    I've moved this thread to the Art section of the site, so everyone interested can reply there.
     
  5. kahnovitch

    kahnovitch Kiss my axe!

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    I like digital art a lot and a friend of mine who dabbles in it, amazes me with what he can produce.
    I can't draw/paint etc for toffee so digital art might be a way for less maually dexterous people (like me) to actually create something.

    BTW I like your "Lady of the Ravens" but where does she keep her sword? ;)

    Did you sketch it out roughly first on paper, or just create it straight from your mind's eye?
    Also I'd love to know what software you use.
     
  6. Steph19041961

    Steph19041961 Artist

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    CatJack said: "I'm wondering if people have a preference these days. Do you all prefer the look of traditional art produced with traditional media, or are you open to the computer-generated art?"

    I would have to say, it depends on what I want the art for. If I am looking for a cover piece for Neo-opsis magazine, digital art is wonderful. For one think the work is already a computer file, so putting it into the layout and getting it printed is relatively simple. With a hand done painting there is the texture of the paint and the canvas, or paper, to worry about. The work must be photographed or scanned, and often colour corrected. When photographing an acrylic or oil painting, some times you have to use a polarized lens to reduce the glare off the paint, and there again you have to worry about getting the colours correct.

    When looking for art to put on my walls at home, I prefer an original painting, something where you can see and even feel the brushstrokes. I don't want a copy on my wall, because copies seem flatter somehow, and digital art has that copy quality to it.

    On a calendar, on a book, on my computer's desktop, in a movie, even on the walls of a gallery, I see nothing wrong with digital art. I like it, but when it comes to having a painting on my wall I want something that seems more solid.

    I can understand why many people think that digital art is easier to do than painting by hand. When you are painting by hand, and you make a mistake, you can't hit "Undo", whereas with digital art, if you have been saving all the way along, it is easier to go back a few steps and start again. You can remove that mistake with digital art, but being able to hit "Undo" isn't necessarily help. It can mean that the artist works and works on the same piece of art trying to make it perfect, and never quite gets there.

    Digital art can be as difficult as painting by hand, and it often doesn't get the consideration that other media get. Some people consider it cheating, but then some people think that using an airbrush is cheating. There will always be those people who will put down what is new or different, but I hope there will always be new ways to express art. When we stop trying to express ourselves within the inventions of our ingenuity, then we will be a dead people.
     
  7. CatJack

    CatJack New Member

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    As much as I've come to love digital art, I also would prefer an original piece of artwork on the wall in my house. Can you imagine--an original painting by Michael Whelan hanging in your living room!!!! When I was a kid I saw Jeffrey Jones at a convention. He had his famous Blind Narcissus painting with him. It is absolutely incredible. Anyway, when I started the thread, I was thinking of digital art on book covers instead of paintings.

    I would have preferred that this thread stay in the fiction section. I was trying to find out how much readers of fiction cared about the art that appeared on the covers of their books. I grew up loving both fiction and art.

    The image I posted in the art gallery was created using Poser and Bryce 5. I wish the people who peeked at it would post something here and let me know what they thought of it.

    So, do people care about the art on the cover of a book? Or is it as simple as an artist cares more than someone who is just a reader because a reader is focused solely on the story?

    Can we keep talking about it for a little longer? :)
     
  8. Steph19041961

    Steph19041961 Artist

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    Okay... the problem here is that I am both an artist and a reader, so maybe you don't want to know what I think.

    Tough... you are stuck with me answering. :)

    The cover of a book is very important. And even though I'm not supposed to do it... I do judge books by their covers. When I am looking for a new book to read, it is the cover that gets my attention. If it is a dull cover I probably won't buy the book.
    I am giving the wrong impression there...
    I will buy a book with a cover that I find unappealing if I know the writer is a good one, but if I don't know, about the writer and it has an unappealing cover, I won't buy it.
    Digital art on the cover of books can be very dynamic, or it can be so much like a painting that you can't even tell the digital from the painting. If I look at an original painting vs. a digital print, I can tell which is which. But look at the cover of a book; the art could have been done in any medium. Most paperbacks are digitally printed, so it doesn't really matter if it was an oil painting, a watercolour, an acrylic, or computer generated art.
    There are some styles of art that are best express as computer art, and there are some stories that go well with those styles.
    Some stories go better with a more traditional look, but computer art can look just as traditional as a painting, when you put it on the cover of a book.

    I guess I am saying that it doesn't matter what the medium is, it's how well it goes with the story.
     
  9. CatJack

    CatJack New Member

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    Thanks for the responses, folks! I'll always be interested in opinions on this topic, so hopefully we'll get some more feedback before the thread dies off :)
     
  10. murray vincent

    murray vincent fantasy artist

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    Digital art. art of the new world computer generation. as a tool its sheer wizardry, and combined with the use of traditional art techniques its got to be a great thing to mess around with. I find that I dont really know much about computer art as I practice the trad way of painting,but Id love to have a go someday.
     
  11. knivesout

    knivesout unconditional roach love

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    I don't really see a distinction here. I'm lucky enough to have some very talented artist friends who work in either traditional meida, digital media or both. What I've learned from them is that it's the creative vision that is most important - any means used to realise this vision are valid.
     
  12. abrock

    abrock Registered User

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  13. D. Skinner

    D. Skinner New Member

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    I think digital is very promising but still seems a bit stiff compared to traditional art.

    But I'm no expert and I do like a lot of the digital I've seen, especially in SF art.
     
  14. Kirby

    Kirby Hlœgiligr!

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    I believe there is a certain essence of line that 3D has yet to capture. (without a heckuvalot of work first!)
    (My background is that of an "animator", moved from the traditional pencil realm into the 3D realm, this is the basis from which I speak!) :)
    Whilst the lighting can be made quite dynamic in 3D modelling, and there is the repeated ability to re-render the image until you are satisfied with it, sometimes I think the flow of lines goes missing.
    (Unless of course, the person setting up the picture goes into the nitty gritty detail of setting up proper musculature/pose, and can get the character mesh to do what he or she wants with minimal difficulty - that is almost impossible, by the way. Computers have their own conspiracy theory at work, I swear !)

    I don't have anything against a good bit of computer generated artwork, but I find that (for me), doing it that way is more of a headache, and much less fun. I think of it as the "many disciplines v's one pencil" thing - where you can render line, light/shading, shape, pattern, texture, hair, cloth, element-disruption etc., all with a single pencil. But to do the same with three dimensional models, you have to learn how to "manage" each of the above disciplines in the computer environment before you can apply them, along with mesh modelling skills (a fun little ballgame in itself!), if you aren't working off a pre-built figure!

    The trade off is how real you can make something look - but then, if old masters could do it with oils, the only advantage that 3D images have today, is the ability for them to be rendered from more than one angle, once you have your scene set up. (much like taking a photograph, once you have established your scene.)

    If you are talking about image manipulation in a programme like photoshop, I regard a lot of what I've seen as the visual equivalent of rap or trance. (samples taken from a photograph, and fiddled with.) Sometimes the result is interesting (like one with a clever use of compositing), sometimes it just looks like every other tweaked (read "distort facial features!") image. ;) IMO.
    Again, it offers the good, the bad and the ugly, but that can be said of art in general, can't it?

    I like to sketch sometimes in Photoshop - the use of "layers" is the biggest advantage that Photoshop has over traditional artwork, I think.

    What I think that digital art work takes away, is the knowledge of how something should look "the first time around". Like, being able to erase mistakes, rather than leaving them there to learn from so that you don't make the same mistake twice. I haven't yet decided if that's a good thing or not.

    Always a good subject for debate, the digital v's the traditional!

    I think I am a traditionalist at heart, though.
    And it is satisfying to have something to hang on your wall at the end of the day.
    :) ~ Cheers.
     
  15. D. Skinner

    D. Skinner New Member

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    HI all! I regret my extended disappearing act from the discussion but I experienced a fatal sytems crash and had to replace my old computer.

    I am still somewhat attracted to digital art and even though I am an ignoramus on how to operate art programs and such I think the day is coming when digital will convert even us skeptics.

    In fact I wonder how long it will be until digital art is shown in museums if it isn't already.

    And selling for millions of dollars. :D
     
  16. Abby

    Abby enslaved to my writing

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    Hey there. I'm a professional artist in both the traditional and digital fields, and having worked in both, my opinion is that they both have pros and cons.

    I understand that you probably didn't mean that the computer produced the artwork by itself, but this is a common misconception. People seem to think that all a computer artist does is press a few buttons, type a few commands, and voila! They have a finished masterpiece! Or a finished videogame, or a Flash film, or whatnot. But the computer is just a tool, and has nothing to do with the creative process or the vision. Unless you're manipulating pre-existing images (photos or someone else's art), the vision comes entirely from you.

    I think the best use of the computer is for digital painting. I know that Joel Payne (http://www.gicleeart.com/spotlight.htm#jpayne) and lots of other artists will use Illustrator or some other program to sketch and/or color a drawing. It's no different than using a canvas and paintbrush. The end result is difficult to tell apart from a "real" painting. Just like with traditional drawing, this takes a LOT of skill, talent, and practice to be able to master.

    Flash artwork and animations can also be difficult--even impossible--to tell apart from traditional 2D cartoons. Again, there is a traditionally trained artist behind these computer creations, if they look any good. :)

    3D art has its own look. I don't particularly like or dislike it, but I think it's strong for certain things (robots, urban landscapes, accurate lighting and evocative mood), and weak with other things (people, furry animals, naturalistic landscapes).
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2004
  17. melloni

    melloni New Member

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    :3

    I think the battle between digital and traditional is really quite stupid.
    I've tried both traditional and digital mediums and I've found that, personally, I prefer digital, because of the freedom to experiment without mucking up your canvas. Also, there isn't the cost of paints and canvases, that's a nice touch. Okay, PSCS2 (what I have) is pretty damned expensive, but I'd prefer to pay once and big rather than get to a crucial stage of wet-in-wet or something and find you've run out of burnt umber. DX
    I like the range you can get digitally. You can get them traditionally, of course, but you can't buy paints in an RGB colour scale.

    I just find it annoying when people say how digital is so much easier than traditional and how it requires so much less effort 'n' all, because it really doesn't. It's no easier, or harder, than traditional, in my opinion. Those who give up traditional media and switch to digital because they've heard it's not as hard are completely wrong. Those who talk about less control needed are also wrong, because I think it's actually harder in some areas to control a tablet, especially for things like hair. You can go into incredible detail digitally, but man is it hard. You have to have absolute hand-eye co-ordination. I'm not saying it isn't that way for traditional media, but I've spent longer with Photoshop than a brush and canvas, and it certainly seems that way for me.
    It isn't always that easy to distinguish between traditional and digital media, although things like the ends of strands tend to give it away, because digital will often fade away and paint won't usually. But there are definitely some digital paintings I've seen that look absolutely like acrylics/oils/watercolour/ any number of other things.
    Digital is usually smoother, because it has no pre-decided texture. That's another thing I like. You can do the most incredible realism with PS and a tablet (or for that matter PS and a mouse, it's not impossible.) I mean, we've all seen Linda Bergkvist's stuff, right? Sometimes, you'd think it was a photo if not for the fact it had purple eyes or whatever...

    But anyway, that said, probably the same/a big summing up of what everyone else's said (who likes digital), and now that you've fully been able to recognise that I like essays, my opinion is simply: I like digital. ._.

    Now, feel free to flame, I'm here all day.
     
  18. James Carmack

    James Carmack Jo'ou-sama no Shimobe

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    The world is definitely big enough for both traditional and digital media. In time, I'm sure digital will simply be seen as another option, like choosing between oil and watercolor.
     
  19. Ranke Lidyek

    Ranke Lidyek Guest

    I agree. I think even novels will become more multi-media in many respects. Collaborations with sound/music/art departments and churned out as team efforts in the future with animated sequences and so forth.

    Or, so I hope. I think the digital medium is as valid as watercolor or oil. I worked with both and now prefer the digital medium, actually. For me, it is painterly and intuitive, just another set of supplies needed. I have extensive art and even a little storyboard snippet on a website for a novel I wrote. Mainly, I've done it for fun--I even am scoring music and so forth and plan on animating extensive sequences and a full storyboard for the book.

    What's great is that now the average person can actually manage such large projects and achieve a somewhat satisfactory result.

    It's a brave new world...
     
  20. Skylynx

    Skylynx New Member

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    The digital art challenge

    As a professional artist, I do both, also. Most artists getting into digital are find it difficult to render texture. Colors are filled into areas as just a color, making the object look flat and unreal. Traditional painting allows you to place pinpoint variations of colors together side by side, which gives an overall effect of realism and play of light on a surface such as human skin or a tree trunk, or animal hide. Digital allows that, too, but you have to know how. If I want to render a red dragon in digital, I choose the tiny circle tool and choose about three or four shades of red, then do a kind of pointilism all over the surface area. This takes a lot of time but makes a huge difference. It's a lot faster if you have a pad and stylus instead of the mouse. When looking at other's art, which I love to do, I skim by a hundred pieces of digital art on web pages and do a screeching halt when I see the rare one that shows mastery of the textured effect.