The Digital Art Movement
The Digital Art Movement
As personal computers have become the dominant form of modern media, they have profoundly changed entertainment, research, the storing and dissemination of knowledge, and (perhaps not so surprisingly) how we create art. While computers began to affect movie production in the 1970s and 1980s (particularly with Industrial Lights and Magic / Lucasarts, the company that produced the special effects for the Star Wars series) it wasn’t until the 1990s that computers began to change movies and television on a fundamental level. Traditional animation, composed of long series of hand-drawn cartoon frames with subtle differences from one frame to the next, gradually began to be replaced by computer animation techniques, which used computer modeling software to create characters and backgrounds. Many traditional artists and animators found themselves with a difficult choice: either adapt and learn the new technology or be out of a job.
Digital art was not merely confined to the traditional animation industry, however. Large online art forums like DeviantArt soon sprang up all over the Internet, giving young artists a means to connect with one another, comment on each other’s work, learn new techniques, and search for pieces of art directly related to their interests. New online art forums like Artist.com also feature marketplaces which allow artists to sell their art directly to those who wish to purchase it. As these websites have multiplied, young artists face a unique problem: art is now easier than ever to publicize, but gaining a meaningful audience is made more difficult by the sheer amount of online competition. That is, the websites with a large percentage of unique monthly visitors tend to be more discerning in accepting new pieces from young artists. Oftentimes, artists new to the online market will have to spend time developing their talent and gathering a portfolio of gallery exhibits on smaller art websites before one of the larger, well-known markets considers their work.
As the digital art movement continues to adapt to new computing technology, we will continue to see new developments in computer programs like Adobe’s Photoshop series, which in its recent iterations has streamlined once-complex photo effects and operations down to simple presses of a button. Artists who are just now coming into these computer programs are often unaware of the long history of manual work that was previously necessary to accomplish the same special effects. In this way digital art has simplified the process, but it has also made discovering and learning the manual techniques for reproducing those effects quite unnecessary. We have yet to see the lasting effects this will have on various art forms.
Keywords: digital art, young artists, online art forums, special effects