Assessing The Worth of Digital Art
There has been a discrimination against digital art as well as similar forms of computer-generated art. Digital art is greatly misunderstood and under-appreciated by the general public; most people expect painters to use real brushes, canvases and paint but they can't imagine what to picture when someone tells them that a painting was made digitally.
Some wrongly assume works of art can be created with a few clicks of the mouse because that is the only experience they have of computer software. They usually have a different opinion when they are shown and explained the reality of doing such artwork.
How Is Digital Art Made?
When we use the term"digital art" we refer to computer-generated works of art, which includes drawing, painting, sculpting and multimedia. We do not count in graphic design and web design as they both have different purposes which usually involves giving a specific message to a targeted audience.
Digital art isn't harder or easier than traditional art; it only uses a different tool-set; one of its most important components being a computer. Whereas the traditional painter will use a white canvas stretched on a wooden frame, a digital painter will instead use a white digital canvas on a program like Photoshop, Corel painter, ArtRage or Gimp to paint straight on the screen. Many digital artists own a tablet which allows them to use a pen to draw, like the traditional artists who uses pencils and brushes. The creating process is very similar when it comes to drawing and painting; only the mediums and tools changes a bit from canvas to monitor, from real ink to digital ink.
While a digital painter often has at their touch a wide variety of brush types, colors (virtually all the colors of the spectrum) as well as a very useful system of layers granting the creator the ability to go back and forth (to work under and above coatings of paint without affecting the content of the other layers). Digital artists up until recently were unable to recreate the 3D texture of a physical painting, but Photoshop has been developing a 3D feature for such functions. Unlike his traditional counterpart the digital painter does not have to wait for the paint to dry to keep on working which is one of the let-downs of oil paint.
One of the main advantages of digital art is the low cost in long-term capacities. Once the artist is equipped with a tablet and creative software - some are free - they never have to worry about purchasing new canvas, brushes and paint, materials that can be quite costly. They only need to be updated every few years.
If you watch a digital painter, drawer or sculptor execute an artwork, you'll see computer-generated 3D isn't easy. You realize that creating a work of art on a computer is much more than just a few clicks. It is a discipline that requires practice, dedication and patience.
Where there seems to a major break between traditional and digital art is in the value of the work. Why are physical paintings regarded with such admiration, unlike many digital works?
The Value of Intangible Objects
How much is worth a work of art whose original cannot be touched? Is the value lower because the artwork, being computer-generated can be broken down to a series of zeros and ones? Which make up any digitally produced item.
Traditional artworks are said to be "one of a kind" pieces that can be traced back to their physical original and are the ones collectors will often pay thousands to millions of dollars to add to their private collection and are rare and/or popular artworks, while art enthusiasts with smaller budgets, will gladly pay for reproductions. In comparison digital art has often been criticized to possess no original. It is however a wrong assumption. Surely digital art can be printed and just like photography, it gains value when produced as a limited edition. And while many digital copies of an artwork might be floating around the internet, the original still exists. It is different in some aspects to the copies; the original is a high-resolution image with several layers and in a format such as .PSD (Photoshop) and it can be printed in very large formats without ever losing quality. The original file is often small and fits perfectly on a USB portable hard drive, but it does exist.
To obtain the same rarity phenomenon found in traditional paintings, with digital tools, one would have to create a work of art, print only one copy and then proceed to destroy the original file to ensure no more copies of the work are ever printed. The remaining poster would become the last and only guarantee of the rarity of an object, however, not its popularity or value.
The answer to what makes a work of art more valuable than another, be it traditional or digital is usually vague but it can often be a hazy mix of the style that's currently trending at the time of its purchase, the appreciation of collectors for a certain artist and last but not least, mere luck.
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