Digital Fine Art by Tom Greenbaum


The creation of Digital Fine Art, as with the creation of any form of art, is a synergy of inspiration, technique and presentation. Computers and digital media enrich our lives and support our creativity in ways never imagined a few decades ago. Digital Fine Art is a natural, evolutionary outcome of the advance of human technology and is an important part of our culture.

Art, science, mathematics and technology are not completely different, independent endeavors. Each is influenced by and interdependent on the other. For example, the artistic technique of perspective, which creates the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface, was first developed by al-Haytham, a mathematician, physicist and scientist around 1000 A.D. He studied the science of vision and optics and laid the groundwork for the Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci who applied the principles of perspective in the creation of wondrous works of art.

Excerpt from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci

"Those who are in love with practice without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whether he is going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory, and to this Perspective is the guide and gateway; and without this nothing can be done well in the matter of drawing."

Today we take perspective for granted. Can you imagine living during the Renaissance, and your amazement at viewing a perspective painting for the first time? You look at a flat canvas and your mind is fooled into believing that you are peering through a window frame at a real three-dimensional (3D) scene. Is this magic? Is it mathematics? Is it art?

The computer aides the modern-day artist in the composition of 3D images, replacing the drafting tools of the previous era, however, this is just one function that the computer may provide to the artist. Digital artists have a large array of software and hardware tools at their disposal. The manipulation of form, space, color, shade, shadow, light, movement, texture, transparency, reflection, luminosity and radiance are all a part of the digital artist's palette.

The computer does not compose and create art by itself. Works of art do not issue forth from a computer by themselves; any more than a brush, paint and canvas can magically cause an inspired oil painting to appear.

It is true that there are artificial intelligence (AI) proponents that have programmed computers to create art pieces with minimum human interaction. In this case, is it not the program code that is the creative work? Some people believe that the computer may be able to perform truly creative acts. However, in the case of Digital Fine Art, let there be no doubt, a human being is the true recipient of inspiration and the causal source of the creative act.

The subject matter and composition of Digital Fine Art is as varied and diverse as art of any other media. The challenge to the digital fine artist to create an artifact that satisfies both the heart and mind is the same as any other artist (or scientist, or engineer for that matter).

Recent advancements in printing technology benefit the patron of Digital Fine Art with large-format, archival prints that will last for more than 100 years. The quality of the Digital Fine Art print is a true reflection of the original, purely digital, virtual ideal of the artist.

Although the image of digital art on a computer screen can be beautiful, stunning and evocative, the Digital Fine Art print is a collectible artifact that can be appreciated on a very personal level and treasured for a lifetime.

Detail from Golden Spiral

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Copyright 2012 by Tom Greenbaum. Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Albuquerque, New Mexico