Technical difference between CGI and traditionnal art

Hey guys,

I don’t post alot of thread in here…but I’ve got an idea/concept that I try to get out of my head (i.e. make the project happen) but I feel that with my knowledge and with the aspect of the project, I can’t guide myself alone in this thing.

So here I am, asking for your help on a very simple concept:
What are the technical differences between CGI (2d digital painting, 3d modelling, etc.) and Traditionnal art (sculpting, painting, drawing, etc…) ?

It’s a tricky question for sure. The question might be more easely answerable under another format. Maybe “What are the technical advantage of working in CGI instead of traditionnal art?”

For exemple, a computer let you use command such as ‘undo’ to remove a mistake, or it gives you the possibility to use real-time calculation to generate procedural textures (or even fractal 2d/3d shapes), etc.

My point in the end would be to exercice myself in a very special project (maybe a dumb one…). I’d like to strip down my CGI/3d creation workflow to the bare minimum so I can work with the basis and pure human creation.

One point I’d really like to work with is the uniqueness of a traditionnal piece. When painting or sculpting, the end result is a very precise thing. It’s either a painted canvas or a real model that can’t be multiplied. In CGI, you end up, most of the time, with a .jpg that keep getting multiplied everywhere (on your HD, on your webspace, on different galleries…even in printed form…) and you miss the ‘unique’ feeling of the piece itself.

I’d like to know if you guys have any other idea/concepts I could work with…I’m mostly looking at the creation workflow elements.

Or just ignore this thread if you think it’s dumb! :stuck_out_tongue:

It is a “funny” area of overlapping tool sets, at least for me. I really enjoy starting large drawings in pencil, always have since “early” on, 3’ x 4’ scale, just for the freedom of arm movement and visual relationship to the large figures. However, during the past number of years several of my drawings, including the current one, take a funny route. Starts as a large scale, fairly refined drawing, that in the past I would continue to rework until finished, still do on some, but others, hit a point where I decide that what the “drawing wants” is more saturated color and development than I am likely to create with my choice of media, (pencil, graphite, colored pencil, watercolor). I then scan (in a series of small sections) the drawing in, then stitch them together in Photoshop, back to the original size, usually at about 200 dpi (larger gets slow and unwieldy). What is cool about this is that I then deconstruct the image into a 2.5D layered assembly, and start adding the color and sketch effects that I would have done anyway, but now the I have Undo, and Multiple versions, Weird DeadEnds, Spontaneous Discoveries, just like “normal” drawing. Sometimes I output it (or parts) full scale and draw back over it again, before scanning it back in and returning it to the process.
The crucial thing for me, if to keep the original drawing style on top of all the additional layer effects and stay away from making it too nice, so I don’t clean up my scribble lines, except where I would have erased them anyway. But the fact that I can make it computer perfect is not a reason to do so, at least not for me, but trying to use the new set of tools in conjunction with the “old tools” while keeping the best of both.
There is a fun thread over on BlenderNation (Cibertito) which is the collision of 2D and 3D, at least their version.
I know of several artists who “output” a digital image, then add some paint to each of the prints to individualize them, maybe a bit of a “dodge” but it works for them, so who am I to say. Some of my pieces are drawn over as finished, some are digital outputs of whatever went in to the process. Inherently, unless I print them all at the same time on the same paper, just like other editions, then always look a bit different. Enough for now.

Thanks alot for the reply.

Somehow, the act of working on the image once it’s done with another medium didn’t cross my mind…I never really did any painting, and suck at drawing…but it could become really interesting to experiment with paint over a printed render. Hmm very nice.

Thanks for sharing that, I feel like I’ll enjoy this project even more now :smiley:

I tried with traditional method of painting. The big difference is that you can’t undo and it gets messy. Other than that people seem to like more a oil-painted image over a digital one. No matter how ugly the oil-painting is.

well, i’ve done both ways… started of with canvas/paper and end up with digital image…(some of these you can see on the forums here too)
and, i have started with digital (blender, gimp), and then print it out on thick paper and continued there, mostly with water based media because it mixes nicely with printer ink.

both enjoyable methods… it really depends what you want to end up having… for example, if you are doing something that ends up hanging on somebodys wall, it’s always nicer to hand out real thing, instead of poster print… and, it’s ofcourse unique.


i think CGI doesn’t come close to reality because of the limited color space it uses. sure we have 0-255 shades of red, blue and green and we can mix those to get millions of colors, but those are not enough IMO to create a realistic media. With traditional art, you have all ranges of color that you can think of and more. There are colors that can only be produced when mixing materials that are very rare and that exist in very few locations on the planet.

When photography went digital, we were able get the prints within an hour instead of a day but the result always sucks because there isn’t enough color space to represent the true image. That’s why i think some artists especially ones that had a great amount of exposure to traditional media don’t prefer going digital.

CGI, of course, is by no means limited to the “#RRGGBB” color-space …

Anyhow, my definition of “CGI art” is that the computer was used at some point and in some way to synthesize some portion of the image, i.e. “algorithmically.” In other words, there is something in that image which was “not there” … which was “never actually there” in real-life.

I have no qualms about using the digital computer in any role of art-making. but I generally associate the specific term, “CGI,” with only one of those roles: synthesis.

The average human eye can only discern about 10 million colours so I think we are covered with sixteen million colours that computers currently give us. When you print out an image the printer colourspace is smaller than that of of a computer screen you can’t recreate the full 16 million colours that your screen shows you. that’s where its always a good idea to convert any computer image to cmyk colour space before printing.

my question is does uniqueness make art. I ask this in the context of some of the old school guys who made graphic prints where you could make hundred copies of the same work.

Uniqueness defintly doesn’t make art. Art could be anything really. I’m just trying to explore a particular concept.

Thanks everyone for your feedbacks, really appreciated!