October 2011

Digital Art Rising

A sustainable producing garden with a healthy top soil.

With the invention of virtual graphic software and the rise of programs like Photoshop and Gimp, new forms of art have developed and spread in particular within some internet communities.

By: Lukas Heuberger
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Wien – Austria


Digital art”: This is the very wide term, basically covering every kind of art which is executed using a computer or other digital media. For today’s professional designers, photographs, illustrators as well as for some painters it is their everyday bread to work with digital graphic software, virtual brushes and paint as the costs for material, the variety of tools and new potentialities of their uses constitute the main advantages. With graphic tablets and pen displacing the old and imprecise mouse in the artist´s workflow even the feeling of painting as on paper is provided as well while technology still improves rapidly in this sector.

But eventually, using computers and graphic software for personal matters, got very popular for beginners and amateurs as well. Most likely because art in general is one of the best ways to take one´s mind off things, to express yourself and in addition it is simply fun to create something. The main reason for the popularity of the digital way to create art is obvious: It´s more simple than the traditional. Even if you don´t know much about techniques on virtual tools it is quite easy to reach a more or less impressing effect, there are tons of online tutorials explaining almost everything from theoretical topics like colour theory to exact step by step manuals to achieve a specific look on your photo or painting and there are easy and cheap possibilities to exhibit and show your digital pieces on the internet.



One of the most popular forms of working on virtual pictures, for professionals as well as for amateurs, is the so called “(photo) composing”. It is basically a form of digital collage where photos, painted elements and sometimes 3D-objects rendered (constructed) by adequate software are composed to a totally new piece by putting them on the top of one another in different layers, which are partly transparent and covering. Of course not all the elements fit together in the first place so you have to make all the single layers and objects look homogenous in colours, saturation and sharpness. The basic rules of composition, colours and co mainly applied are still the same as in photography and traditional painting. If you look around for book covers, CD– booklets, movie posters, advertisings… Everywhere you can find photo-composing and photo-manipulation in use.

With over 14 million members in 2010 the international portal “deviantart.com” was one of the first (digital) art platforms founded in 2000 with a, for this time, unique concept. DeviantART (the official typeset, commonly abbreviated as DA) basically gives people, professionals and amateurs, the possibility to exhibit their personal “artworks” on their own account, in their own gallery, where they can be discussed and rated by others. In general every form of digital art and everything that can be transformed into a digital format can be uploaded and then sorted into a variety of categories such as: Photography, Traditional Art, Digital Art, Anime and Manga, as well as Designs & Interfaces, Filmmaking and Literature to facilitate browsing and provide structure to the over 100 million submissions (August 2010). If you like a specific deviation (artwork) very much, if you find it very well executed or if you like the idea behind it you have the possibility to add it to your favourites, to comment it and even to write a critique. Certainly every artist can see which of his artworks has been added how often to who´s favourites and read and reply the comments and critiques. In this way conversation and interchange between artists gets encouraged. Furthermore the community provides a separate forum for art related discussions, social issues and even job offerings. Actually there are talented people who got into business being discovered by graphic studios on DA.

To appreciate extraordinary artworks and to get the artist behind them more attention from the community every day there is a selection of pieces released called the “Daily Deviations”, which consists of pieces nominated by users and then selected by the DeviantART-staff.


To get one of your works featured in this selection is quite an honour and unfortunately there are basically no official criterions for the selection which repeatedly is an issue for discussions in the forum. Because the more attention you attract on your account, for example by adding tons of other works to your favourites, the more likely it is to get nominated, but this kind of compelling attention ruins the idea behind favourites. So, of course, DeviantART is not immune against misuse and critics. Due to the anonymity the internet is also renowned yet a paradise for thieves and on DeviantART. There are some black sheeps who steal others work to claim it was their own, which is indeed very easy, because most of the artists release their work thoughtless for download. Despite of the possibility to add watermarks to the images and notify the administration in case of copyright and licensing violation, cases where others artworks were illegally used on prints and commercial products are not uncommon. But the awareness of the risk of theft is rising among artists on the web.

The basic rules of Composition,Colours, and Geometric Shapes mainly applied are still the same as in photography and traditional painting.

So if you are not exposed to that risk yet, that one of your artworks gets stolen, take it and implement one of your ideas for a picture that says more than a thousand words - it´s worth it.

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