Will CG ever be considered as "art"?

After working with Blender for a few years, and (very) slowly getting into the world of 3d, I see one reoccurring idea that is rather disturbing to me… Artists can look at great CG works and see their artistic value, but the general public still seems to consider CG as simply “really cool images”. Why? I think it is because the perception of art in the past has been something you can touch or feel. Paintings, sculpture, these are what the public thinks of when they hear the word “art”.

The Solution: Print off your work.

Or is it? Paintings and other past works of art have their value party because there is only one copy. If it is lost the entire piece is gone forever. This is one reason we treasure such pieces from the old masters. However, with CG the case is different. Backup your work, burn is to CDs/DVDs, print it off 5 or 10 times. When such great masterpieces as we see being created today are so easily reproducible, their value is degraded. Why pay $1000.00 for a great CG picture when there’s an almost infinite number of copies available? Spend the money on something there’s only one of so it’s unique and actually worth that much.

The same problem is posed to all mediums of art created partially on the computer. Film, audio, anything with part of its creation done on the computer is susceptible to the viewpoint of “Hey, that’s really cool, but not ‘true’ art.”

Or is it even necessary for CG to be recognized as art? Today, I see the emphasis on CG to be something that entertains for a moment, instead of something that stays with you for a lifetime. The sheer quantity of art created today discourages anyone from really being noticed for their greatness. Artists today are in such industries as advertising and film - professions that don’t require as much originality and memorability. I’m not saying that these artists don’t create good quality work, but their work today doesn’t need to be as long-living as the work of the late masters. It just needs to serve the moment and make a profit, and no matter how much artists want to create great masterpieces, the demand for such work is almost nonexistent.

Artwork today is incredible, it doesn’t matter how great it gets, though - it’s looked at for a moment, called “cool”, and then dismissed by the general public. In 500 years, will people look back at the early 2000s and point out the masters? Or will they look back as we do today and comment on Michelangelo’s work instead?

Will CG ever be regarded as "art?

Well you print out your 3d art and then you make a handprint at the back with signature.

Just like any painting. The signature is sometimes more important then the actual picture.

Many artists died poor but after their death their painting got accepted. Just like 3d. Its practically a new concept. Sometimes it takes 50 years for some new art to be popular. It also takes the person that makes the art to be much on media and himself/herself to become known.

Like picasso and salvador dali did some outrages stuff to be noticed.

The answer to your question will be yes. It will be.

You might be confusing the word “art” with “fine art.” Fine art refers to pieces of art that are made just for the sake of art, in other words, art galleries and things like that. And yes, the money there is in the fact that you have a solid object that the artist actually touched, and is original, or at least a finite number of them exist (like Any Warhol prints).

And there has already been some fine art done using computer graphics. So by that definition, the answer is absolutely.

You bring up an interesting point about digital artwork though. If you get hired to create an image, you typically get paid for first print rights, in other words, they pay you, say $5,000 for a magazine cover, for the rights to use that image for the first print (which means if they go to the press again, they’ll have to pay you more). If someone really liked the cover, they can buy the original off you for $10,000. You can’t do that if you did the entire piece in Photoshop. So, your originals are your stocks and bonds, and digital illustrators unfortunatly don’t have those.

In that case, having them easily reproducable can be a problem, but not by much. You still get paid to make an image that someone wants.

That means it wasn’t done very well. If you just glance at an image, instead of “studying” it–for lack of a better word, you know how it is when you are pulled into a piece were you just have to get right up next to it–then the artist didn’t make a successul composition. And one problem with computer graphics is that it’s easy for someone to make something that looks photorealistic, which is often seen as a positive thing.

The same things that make good art, are the same things that make great CG art, and can be just as enjoyable, or just as terrible to look at.

Computer graphics, if done by someone with as much skill as a traditional artist, is still good art. CG is just a different medium.

medium: painter 7

of course cg is art

What else would you call it? There’s a whole lot of “fine art” that gets dismissed by the general public. If people don’t “get it,” they don’t usually care about it very much.

However, when movies like The Incredibles come out, people sit up and take notice. I suppose it all has to do with it’s appeal. I know that there’s a lot of modern art that I don’t “get” or care about…


just because you make an image doesnt make it art, unfortunatly, most 3D images are just that, a 3D image, just like a lot of paintings are just that, a painting… otherwise we’d be calling our wall paper and pretty much everything around us art. A buildind can be a work of art, but you hardly see any artist site for archetects not to mention people stopping in the streets and going “that building there is a work of art!” They get clasified as designs and designers, because they also have a functional purpose behind it, and also, let not forget the term “art” was around before computers. live with it.

On top of that, the “specifications” that allow one to be classed as an artist or a piece to be classed as art is vast and varies but the last time i checked it didnt have one saying “click a button and let the computer do the 9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 million calculations for you…”
So, anything done in a 3D rendering app isnt really art, only the model /scene… and then that would only be classed as an idea because it is virtual, it is no more than a concept sketch compaired to an actual sculpure that required a lot more skill and effort… And no… dont even argue about how 3D modeling etc… is hard and skillfull because you’ve still skimped out on about 10 years worth of experience /knowledge and 5 years of pratical work when you press the render button… when <some famous artist> went to an art festival thingy, he didnt win because he got a compass out and made a perfect circle on his piece of paper there and then… he won because he did by hand, and the circle was perfect, without flawed…

Also, art is only worth as much as somone is willing to pay, the only reason “unique” items sell for a higher price is very simple, for one its that much more valuable to the buyer, the artist needs to make up for the money he might not be earning due to the mass selling - if you get an income of $2000 per month for mass selling, you cant spend one month making 4 unique ones and only getting $100 that month, and also… materials cost more as you are using less… esp in terms of printing.

what is necescary to make something art then?

that yellow cube on a purple plane WAS art, as ugly and simplistic, offtopic, and annoying as it was…
[I can’t find the thread perhaps someone else can…]

[and why does the monetary value of “art” matter in this discussion?]

I assume you were talking about this: https://blenderartists.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16126
Image links are dead though.


I assume you were talking about this: https://blenderartists.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16126
Image links are dead though.

there’s a live pic of a the gimp-ed version


As i said, the meaning of art is vast and varies, but one strong link with art is that is requires a high ammount of skill making it therfore a special talent in a way

a superior skill that you can learn by study, practice and observation; “the art of conversation”; “it’s quite an art”

The thing is, Not all paintings are art - i could paint a canvas a solid colour, simply because having squared blocked coloured canvases on my wall would look pretty ‘cool’ - and the paint has that added texture unlike painting a square directly on the wall bla bla bla… But does that make the piece Art simply because it was painted on a canvas? No?

But if i had a really big canvas or even… just a wall and painted a big square - it could be considered art because of the skill required… You try painting a 10by10 meter solid coloured square on a large wall, and see if you can paint crisp, stright, perfect edges and angles free hand with no flawds? Even pro painters will find that hard because painting for “realisism” such as a painting of a person is totaly different then painting a perfectly stright line for 10 meters.

Theres many types of art; abstract, -cubism etc… they all have special meanings, significant reasons, representations etc… the fact you may have wallpaper on your walls, the design could be artistic, it could have cubism which is clear art style but that does not make the wall paper art, it is no more than a design, a design which happen to be a distinct art style, just like have a print of <famous painting here> on your shirt doesnt make your shirt art, but the print is art.

A render of a cube is not art, maybe, in the real world if it was sculpted it could be art or infact, if it was painted with an almost impossible to work with material making somthing so simple like that a valued piece of work it would be art, but since most of the work is gone by using an application that does all the work, takes all the logic that you should of spent several years learning to be able to not only be able to paint it, but visualise exactly how it should look - i mean… dispite what you may think, each rendered image is almost random in a way… you are not perfectly sure what the light setup is actuall going to do to your scene, the fact that you can change you mind on the camera angles and everything else makes any image rendered less art and more of just a design /image.

besides, ive been doing a couple of renders of Eggs recently… i wouldnt call that art, would you? theres no significant value or reason, infact it was so i could test Uv mapping… am i a artist for rendering some random shape which came out looking cool and people liked it? i dont think so… art takes a little longer than 5 seconds, and the sad fact is, 3D most thing are not created for art… people create 3D characters to have a 3D character… they dont go on passing it off as art… but the 3D comunity like to think that because they made an image /original design it is art.

And yes, the pricing of art has nothing to do with anything.

So long as someone is willing to sit or stand and look at something somebody else has created, then whatever that content is, it will most likely be some kind of art.

Whether it be a painting, sculpting, a photograph, or a musical composition. Without an audience, nothing can be called art.

Because of this, the definition of art fluctuates and changes. It’s always subjective, open to opinion and criticism.

Just my views.

Computer graphics make it easy to create “great photorealistic stuff” --which many confuse as the ability to create art.

“Art” itself is often treated as an undefinable term, particulary when you get some looser calling a large class vat of urine with a giant cristus in it, or placing a flag on the ground to stomp on, as “art”. Art is a clearly defined word, and can be easily understood with, as with anything, the requisite time and effort to learn something about it.

People know what they like when they see something, but this does not qualify as a knowledge of art.

In Caravaggio’s time, there were plenty of people painting all kinds of things in the various schools of art. What made him great was his understanding of the emotion and effect of light in the composition of a piece, which both before and for some time after, was simply ignored (or misunderstood) by other artists.

The same thing happens today. Here on the forum, for example, (and anywhere else you can google “3D”) you can easily find a great deal of great models, etc., posed or not, with backgrounds, etc… But these don’t count as ‘art’ until you compose them into a unified, emotional and/or thought-provoking piece. This requires more knowledge than how to mesh model. And that knowledge underpins all forms of art; it is not exclusive to 3D CG.

The essence of art is to touch the individual considering it. The more profound that touch, the better.
I go further to say that art is redeeming: it carries one out further and higher than he is accostomed. Whether the piece be sad, or joyous, or horrific, or just plain whimsical, it should stir the soul.

Commercial art is still art (well, some of it at least :wink: ), but it is a ‘lesser’ art because its purpose is always the same: sell the product. Fine art deals with deeper things.


Speaking of the reproducible art debate, some of my best CG art seems to be the accidental pics, like I’m making something, but I don’t mean to take it a certain direction and it just ends up looking really good. An example of that is the pic of Suzanne I did sometime ago when I was messing around with the Grad shader. I tried putting on the same shaders and whatnot, but cuz I didn’t write down my original settings, I was only able to fake SSS once.
Just cuz I can print out the picture multiple times doesn’t mean I’ll be able to make the same effect again by accident.

Art is a feeling, not something you see.

The answer to your question is Yes, it already is. Maeda for instance.

@lukus: So…apparently theres no difference between the yellow cube with interesting lighting and the incredibles? :wink: No matter what the medium, it takes skill to produce the desired result. The more complicated, the more dificult to achieve the result. DaVinci wouldn’t know what to do with a mouse and I imagine that John Lasseter would be hard pressed to paint the mona lisa. The point being, its just as hard to create decent 3D art as it is to create a master peice. You’re being extremely close-minded by limiting ‘art’ to a handful of mediums.

let not forget the term “art” was around before computers. live with it.

Communication was around before telephones. Your point? A change in medium doesn’t necessarily mean a change in concept.

I don’t agree. There being just one original makes the piece a collectible and therefore valuable but the quality of the art is a different thing altogether. When you get both together, you get something that is very valuable.

Using computers is just an easier and more reliable way to make art and in some respects the difficulty is what gives some art its status too. Yes you can make a 3D model but with undo systems and a huge amount of tools, it becomes much easier than using a block of stone, a hammer and a chisel.

I personally consider the original Pixar films quite highly. More so than some recent full length CG movies because they made them using tools that were so unbelievably basic. The first personal computer was produced in 1984 and Pixar’s first film was released in 1989. That was when state of the art gaming was a NES and yet they made a film quality release.

The trouble I think is that there are a limited number of concepts to derive from what we see around - ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ so to speak - that successive pieces of art become parodies of artwork produced decades before. But that happens in other artforms too - music for example.

As z3r0 d pointed out, CG doesn’t have to be 3D either. Here’s another example:


Now as to what constitutes art then we have to go through the same discussion that we’ve had a few times before. I will suffice to say that I don’t think art is restricted to any particular media, it’s what’s done using the medium that counts.

the question isn’t “will it be considered art,” as much as it is “when.”
It isa form of art. I don’t see why it couldn’t be. My definition of art:
Anything that requires skill, talent, creativity and imagination.
Music is art, CG is art, animation, photography, novelism/story writing, game design and acting and so on are all art. CG just isn’t as widely appreciated as painting, or drawing or music or film because it is still young.

Maybe i should test this by submitting one of my CG’s to an art museum.

Or start a CG museum? :smiley:

Or start by not digging up threads dated 2005

I hope not.
kinda. I hope cg-artist will be seen as working people as anyone else.