The Digital Renaissance

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The Digital Renaissance
ďThat just wonít do,Ē I thought as I stared at a newly rendered image. Itís almost like a photograph and thatís not what I want. I recalled how I would struggle for days to capture a feeling in an oil painting. Now, some thirty-five years later, I am still struggling. Only now, I have traded in my palette knife and oils for surface maps and meshes. New tools but the same old struggle.

In the early digital days of Apples, C-64s, Ataris, et al., there were few if any applications that allowed the level of expression that I am offered today. I now have a plethora of applications to choose from with an unprecedented array of options for digital self-expression. This evolution took less than 20 years.

Are we tracking along similar lines as did earlier artists? Many of us strive to render photo-perfect images. Is that not what the early masters were doing? How many of us rendered a flag to portray our solidarity with NYC and the World Trade Center? Why create when there are photographs available? Perhaps self-expression or recording history in artóthe same age-old reasons.

The merging of computer aided design, art, and rendering has forged a Digital Renaissance of sorts. What we are experiencing now is a birth of the New, through digital tools and a vast, interconnected community of digital artists. We can see art in real time as the artist completes it thousands of miles away!

Renderosity is a gathering of artists, just as artists gathered in Europe in great halls to discuss art. Those art communities spawned great artists; will great art be spawned from this community of digital artists? Will we follow in the footsteps of our ancestors in discovering new ways to express ourselves, starting with photo-realism, will we be forging into gaussianism, scatterism and beyond? I donít know. I do know that some of the art posted on Renderosity will one day be recorded by historians as an important part of early ďdigital art.Ē

While I sat staring at my pristine render wondering what was wrong, I realized that I was not searching for a photo realistic render at all, but a more impressionistic landscape. Maybe itís just a phase Iím in. I wonder how many others are going through a phase as well? Future historians may or may not write about what is happening here, today, but I assure you recorded or not, it is happening!

There is web site that maintains games and emulators for early computer systems. It lists some of the early, fixed palette, pixel-by-pixel gaming artists of some twenty years ago. I smile to know my name is listed there. Twenty years from now, as I relax in front of my wireless digital picture frame gallery, running turn of the century works from the Digital Renaissance, I will smile, because your name will be listed there.




About ddm:

Artist, Engineer and occasional armchair philosopher. Over the last 30 years, Doug has sold traditional large canvas artwork, developed and sold computer game software and artwork, and showed and sold traditional B&W fine art photographs. He is a published digital rendering artist, and has already booked 5 shows in 2003 of his current digital photographic impressions artwork.

Throughout the 70's, he painted and sold artwork using traditional mediums such as oils and pastels. Then as co-owner of Artworx Software Company Inc. in the 80's, he developed several popular software games for the emerging computer market. In the 90's his artistic efforts turned to traditional photographic artwork, working exclusively in B&W from 35mm to 5x7 large format. Then in the late 90's he experimented with digital rendering tools such as Terragen, Poser, Bryce and 3D-Max, and was published in Taschen's 2002 Digital Beauties book.

Over the last several years, he has combined his knowledge of traditional B&W wet darkroom techniques and his traditional artwork background with software and computer skills to develop a new look in photographic art. Something he calls digital photographic impressionism, a blend between art and photography.

In addition to operating his own business, Final Impressions, he is also working on a limited edition
digital art book and is in the process of building a community of other Alternative Process Digital
Photographic artists.

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We're happy to announce the launch of the Magazine Interact Forum's Back Room, "The official online extension of Renderosity Magazine"! This will be the place to go for editorials, magazine excerpts, discussions, and plenty of surprises. Also, if you haven't done so yet, you can subscribe to the magazine or buy single issues.

To find your way there, go to the Magazine Interact Forum, and click on the link to the Back Room at the top.

Every couple of weeks, we'll be highlighting an article, review, or editorial from past issues of the magazine. Our first feature is an editorial from Issue #1, "The Digital Renaissance" (pdf) by ddm (Doug McFarland).
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