The question of what constitutes 'art' is a topic that is hotly discussed. Into this fray, I throw out my own perspective on the matter. First, I do not qualify any of my works as "art". I will relegate the term art (for purposes of this discourse) to mean: "something I would hang on my wall, or display in an art niche". In this regards, I am not sure I even have something I would hang in my office.
This does not discount the art of creativity, nor the art of mastery over the digital domain. There is 'art' to be found in everything. Grace, form, function, balance, symmetry, etc. An appreciative eye will notice the art that abounds in plenitude in the life that swirls about us.
I consider myself a technician. Although I own a plethora of 3d programs (Maya, Houdini, Max, C4D, Poser, Vue Infinite, and god knows what else), seems the program that I exclusively use is Bryce. To me, Bryce is the ultimate "artists" program. It can't do a darn thing really. To get realism or affect out of Bryce requires infinite tweaking. One might find a 100 tutorials on how to make ocean waves, and no 2 of them are alike.
I once had a commentor post a suggestion on my piece entitled 'Ambivalency', suggesting that I shoudl have made cambered edges. In any of the programs above, that is simple, just click the button and you have instant cambered edges. There are infinite controls over objects in the major programs. There are NO controls over objects in Bryce. This is what makes Maya or Max so complex; they have controls over every aspect of object creation and manipulation you can think of. This is essential for professionals that need to model and create within a time frame.
I am not a professional. I derive the most enjoyment from trying to make Bryce do things that Bryce was never really intended to do. I will make cambered edges, it just takes hours and hours to do so. I like to take works that were created in Max or C4D and try to reproduce them in Bryce. Many are virtually impossible (such as works done by 'ges' (cinema 4 d renderosity gallery artist). If a person only familiar with Bryce gazes upon his works, they are mind-numbing in their complexity and beauty. Much of the "skeleton" aspects to his work are a very simple matter to create in C4d, using the array, twist, and bend functions.
Bryce has no such functions. That to me is it's joy. My greatest pleasure is to see a comment: "how in the heck did you do that in Bryce"?
I like to model or create simplicity. I like to take those things which are in the realm to re-create by any beginner, and enhance them to the ultimate level of presentation. I will take some spheres and throw them on a ground plane. We all can create spheres. But then I custom tweak the materials, set camera angles and FOV, I work extensively with lighting, and I am a stickler on rendering. I work hard to take the mundane, and try to make it compelling, yet doable by anyone.
Initially I noticed that everything about Bryce is pretty unrealistic. The terrains are awful. The stock materials are awful. When I started Bryce, I spent 6 months just to get a terrain to look 'photo-realistic'. (that is my goal in all my works). This led to mastering the terrain editor. Next was the materials, which lead me deep into the DTE. Armed with this knowledge, I notice that in most people's work, where the water edge meets land, they all had hard lines. This is not realistic at all. That was my next challenge. Next I noticed hard shadows---again, unrealistic--which lead me into the details of rendering.
Bryce is infinite. I have taken a few steps into that realm of Infinite Possibility. I do so by working exlusively on one thing at a time, totally absorbed in mastering that single aspect. My goal always is 'photo-realism', and I compensate my artistic lackings with what little technical acheivements I have acquired. To me, scale, lighting, and rendering is everything. If I ever evolve into being an 'artist', those skills will have to be present regardless. Until then, enjoy my spheres! :)