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15.4: Digital Art

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    Digital art uses digital technology as an integral part of creating artwork and has taken on many names previously, now generally called new media art. Digital technology transforms the way the art of sculptures, drawing, and painting is created and can take the forms of a digital installation, virtual reality, or net art and might be a single object or part of mass production on digital media. Digital art can be computer-generated, computer manipulated, scanned, or drawn on a computer and reproduced in actual materials. Digital paintings are created using software and can be viewed digitally or printed on paper or canvas. Software programs supporting art with two-dimensional characteristics are drawn with a stylus, mouse, or other types of input. What appears digitally is drawn using raster graphics to represent the information.


    Native Country

    Lillian Schwartz

    United States

    Pascal Dombis


    Hamid Naderi Yeganeh


    Scott Draves

    United States

    Helaman Ferguson

    United States

    Akira Toriyama


    Noriaki Kubo


    Eiichiro Oda


    Hiromu Arakawa


    Lillian Schwartz (born 1927) is an American artist and considered the pioneer of computer art. Most of her computer projects were during the 1960s and 1970s before the desktop computer was available, and Schwartz used the necessary computer process to scan pictures and then manipulate them on the screen. She liked to base her work on Leonardo da Vinci’s images for her experiments and used the portrait of Mona Lisa and a self-portrait by Da Vinci to superimpose one on top of the other (15.60). She used the technology to compare the faces and their features and the underlying structures to demonstrate how the Mona Lisa portrait is potentially a self-portrait of Da Vinci himself.

    15.61 Altered Mona Lisa
    15.60 Altered Mona Lisa

    Three-dimensional art uses the computer screen as a window and vector graphics to represent the data to create virtual reality works. 3D graphics are used for television, games, and special effects based on a variety of software programs. The software programs allow the artist to create geometric shapes, curves, and three-dimensional objects, as printers, are now available to let the artist print the artwork in the 3D format. The work can be collaborative and allow users to add their unique ideas to the artwork.

    Another way to create art in 2D or 3D is to code computer programs to generate the desired artwork that cannot be produced without the computer, the artwork then becomes real-time generative art. Some of the methods are data-moshing, fractal art, or algorithmic art, methods frequently used for movies and games to create photo-realistic works. Fractal art is computer-generated fractals that create images or animations and may be combined with non-fractal art into the end product. Fractals come from regular geometry, and use lines, cubes, or triangles as the base figure is transformed. An artist can input some algorithms as well as computer programs or just define specific lines, shapes, and colors (15.61, 15.62).

    15.62 Fractal Frame 1
    15.61 Fractal Frame 1
    15.63 Fractal Frame 2
    15.62 Fractal Frame 2

    Pascal Dombis (born 1965) is a French digital artist, and his work, Irrational Geometrics (15.63) is a digital art installation, created using algorithmic rules, the unpredictable forms are generated and gives a Surrealist look. He used simple rules like drawing a line and digital software to generate the formats through multiple iterations. In Test(e)~Fil(e) (15.64), Dombis generated a 252-meter-long installation by using thousands of lines of text from authors and generating them into a digital installation. Viewers can walk through the installation and read the words or letters.

    15.64 Irrational Geometrics
    15.63 Irrational Geometrics
    15.65 In Test(e)-Fil(e)
    15.64 In Test(e)-Fil(e)
    15.66 Electric Sheep fractal image
    15.65 Electric Sheep fractal image

    Scott Draves (born 1968) is a video artist who invented Fractal Flames using iterative functions to generate fractal images by mapping tones and colors. The fractals are generally drawn in 2D on a computer and then transformed by iterating, overlapping, transmuting, or copying the fractals. Fractals can become continually changing screen savers or printed as art (15.65, 15.66).

    Fractal image
    15.66 Fractal image
    A Bird in Flight
    15.67 A Bird in Flight
    15.68 Boat

    Hamid Naderi Yeganeh (born 1990) is an Iranian, an artist and a mathematician well-known for how he developed formulas to create tessellations and fractals or images of real objects (15.67). He writes complex programs to generate lines into shapes, altering a few lines, changing the shape, and developing different figures. He believes he achieved the boat (15.68) by accident as he continually changed the formulas.

    Helaman Ferguson (born 1940), who studied both art and mathematics at the universities, receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics, frequently made mathematically based sculptures. With another mathematician, he created a new Euclidean algorithm to include three or more variables called the PSLQ algorithm. He used the algorithm to create Umbilic Torus (15.69), a large sculpture standing 8.5 meters high. Ferguson used computers as a specialized tool creating virtual images for his projects, and for Umbilic, he had to compose a program for the computer of over 25,000 movements, written to control the robotic arms used to cut the material for the torus, a 3-dimensional form with a single edge.

    Umbilic Torus
    15.69 Umbilic Torus

    Digital installations, like sculptural installations, are a method to create and view large digital projects with projection techniques. They may be something for viewers to simply look at, or the viewer may become part of the installation. The installation is to enhance the viewer’s sensory perceptions or immerse the viewer in virtual reality. In a virtual space, a person moves through space, changing the images (15.70). Digital installations have the advantage of being tailored to fit in any space with different presentations, unlike sculptural installations, they are made to be in one space.

    Mixed virtual reality
    15.70 Mixed virtual reality

    Anime is a term referring to the Japanese animated productions made by computer animation or drawn by hand. They usually have fantasy-like themes made with colorful graphics and vibrant characters. Anime productions focus on the settings and use of camera effects instead of character movements. The proportions and features of the characters are usually emotive with unusual eyes. Manga followed the stories of anime in graphic novel form, replicating the heroes of animation.

    Akira Toriyama (born 1955) is a well-known Japanese artist who created Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball (15.71), one of the most popular series selling 230 million copies. Toriyama is honored as one of the people who changed how anime is created, an inspiration for any other artist. Toriyama facilitated Japanese animations' influence throughout the world. Noriaki Kubo, also known as Tite Kubo (born 1977), is known for his series Bleach. The Bleach 15.72) series was made into successful movies using the shonen style with a significant focus on action. He is known for quick cuts and dramatic angles and changes that form a distinctive angular look. Kubo does not use much art in the background but does use a lot of body mutilation or decay.

    Eiichiro Oda (born 1975) is best known for his series One Piece, selling over 345 million. Individually, different parts of One Piece have broken publishing records in Japan. He also worked with other artists and combined parts from their work to make Cross Epoch. Hiromu Arakawa (born 1973) is known for the anime Fullmetal Alchemist which was adapted into two television series where she often appears herself as a bespectacled cow. She started her career with the publication Stray Dog and now has a new series called Silver Spoon, which is more realistic than her fantasy series Fullmetal Alchemist.

    15.71 Dragon Ball Z.
    clipboard_ec674a941fd45eea46d1af57db60eeebc.png15.72 Bleach

    This page titled 15.4: Digital Art is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deborah Gustlin & Zoe Gustlin (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .