The forms of digital visual arts - "Label" time

Jan 17, 2020
4 min read

The primary forms of digital visual arts

I tend to very often "label" everything. I like structure in some instances, and therefore I decided to write a short article on forms of visual arts to make it a little bit clear what possibilities and ways could digital artists go. It's also good to have some categories so that you know what are you looking for. Digital art itself is a massive topic with many styles, techniques and groups. I read tons of articles about this, but most of them are referring to a similar structure as below:

Digital Photography

Digital photography is combining art and "science" of producing and manipulating digital photographs. It is the process of using electronic and computing appliances to capture, create, edit and share digital images (photos). It contains different technologies to provide electronic or computer-based photography services. The purpose is to to create, publish or use digital photographs on computers and(or) the Internet.

Photo by Tyler Casey / Unsplash

Photo painting/ Photomanipulation

This form combines the disciplines of photography and painting. The artist uses image editing and painting software to go beyond darkroom techniques to add further expression to the image. It has multiple methods such as airbrushing, age progression, photo-cutouts, darkroom manipulation etc.

Digital Collage

Digital Collage is a technique of combining many images from varying sources into one image. It is most commonly achieved by the use of layering techniques in image editing and painting software. It uses a similar production process as a handmade collage. Sometimes digital collage and photo manipulation are incorrectly associated together or swapped, but that's a not correct. Photomanipulation refers to one single image composition, and digital collage is like an onion - layered and placed from multiple pictures on top of each other.

2D Digital Painting & 3D Digital Painting

There are two types of digital art tools - for 2D and 3D painting. The 2D (2 dimensional- x and y) tools enable you to paint or draw on a flat surface as a tablet, just like painting or drawing on a piece of paper or canvas. Everything you see on your screen is 2D. The 3D (3 dimensional, x, y and z) tools are different. In 3D, you can create in three dimensions. 2D art is used as a base for 3D art. 2D artist and 3D artist are usually two different people.

2D Digital Painting
The artist creates 2D images in the virtual computer environment with the use of painting tools that emulate natural media styles. Sometimes referred to as "Natural Media". Commonly known software as Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fresco, Krita, Gimp etc.

3D Digital Painting
The artist uses rendering and 3D modelling software such as Maya, Blender, Autodesk 3ds Max, etc., to essentially sculpt in virtual space. 3D digital painting became very popular with the arrival of 3D printers.

Vector Drawing

The artist uses vector drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, etc., and creates the image totally in a virtual environment. The shapes and lines can be filled with various colours, patterns and recolored easily. Vector drawing has a harder-edged or graphic look. It is also a non-destructively scalable.

Algorithmic / Fractals

Algorithmic art is created exclusively by mathematical manipulations. Also called "computer-generated" art. The architecture here lies in the invention of the mathematical formulas themselves. The programs are written to take advantage of the display capabilities of the hardware. The art also lies in the creative intentions and subsequent selections of the artist(mathematician). Some discussions are going on if Fractal art is an actual art. "Algorist" is a term used for digital artists who create algorithmic art.

Integrated Art / Mixed Media of Digital Art

Integrated Art is the "mixed media style"of the digital art world. The artist combines any number of techniques to achieve specific and extraordinary results. It is very often misinterpreted as mixing digital art with traditional art, but that's not the case.The digital environment is much less restricted than conventional mediums in this type of integration and manipulation.

I am focusing mainly on 2D digital painting, and from time to time, I do some photo manipulation or digital photography. But that usually starts with an idea or because I need something a little bit different. There is plenty of space for everyone in digital art, but very often a digital artist focuses on a single form.

Every form requires a lot of studying and practising. And more you put on your shoulders the less space you have to grow in a particular way.

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