Renewed Value For The Digital Artisan In 2018

ID 660139
Updated 1/2/2018
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digital art, source Bob Duffy

I have a renewed personal passion around digital art.  Actually it's been a long standing passion, but for 2018, I'd like to kick it into gear and do something formally and professionally in the digital art space.  In the coming weeks and months you'll see content from me, and others in this space. 

My Background

I have a varied skills. I can code, read and play music, have started up companies and large corporate programs, and was a bit of pioneer in something called web 2.0.  But if you had to put one skill and passion first among all of that, it's art and more to the point digital art.  For many years, I had used my art skills to compliment my primary job. Either as a web designer in the late 90s, to evangelizing mobile app development and now VR development.  By digital art, I'm not talking about digital photography, I'm talking about creating something new that doesn't exist and doing it digitally, either pixel by pixel or vector by vector.  I've been doing this since I owned a Vic20* in 1982, learning to code vector animations.  I progressed using any software of the day on through to modern tools like Sketchbook*, Blender* and VR tools like Oculus* Medium* and Google's* Tilt Brush. 

The Technology Challenge for Digital Art

Many people I work with are very knowledgeable about what is needed to code a good application.  There are things you should or need to do to make sure the code leads to good performance.  This is key to the technology ecosystem.  The silicon is not worth much if the code doesn't take advantage of the hardware's performance.  This is why many technology companies have Developer Programs.  Getting code to take advantage of the hardware is not usually intuitive and it may never be.  This is because as the hardware, tools and development systems get better, new challenges and techniques emerge.  It's a never ending cycle, and to be at the front of the technology to take advantage things like AI, there's more you need to do. There's always more to do.

The same goes for the things we look at and experience in the software.  The digital assets which appear, allowing us to interact and experience an application, similarly need to be planned, developed and implemented to get the best results out of the hardware.  There are ways to do this, if not done well, might be "expensive" and costly to the performance, as well as techniques to follow that enhance the realism and experience.  Just as with code, balancing these things is not always intuitive. The balance of inexpensive yet good looking, requires constantly learning of methods and techniques to make the work better and better.  And just as the ecosystems educated and skilled coders, it needs educated and skilled digital artisans.

The Emerging Opportunity for Digital Art

For the better part of 35 years the PC and software industry has been working with digital artists to produce great looking and valuable experiences in 2D.  While 3D has been there for animation and film going back that long, and in gaming for the last 20 years, virtually all of those 3D digital experiences have been created and consumed in 2D.

However now with VR and AR systems we are at the start of a shift change in digital assets needed for a computing experience.  As AR and VR systems get more feasible, more mainstream and more wearable, more and more digital assets required for those experiences need to be 3D in the way of design, experience and functionality.

And as we see time and time again, at the nexus of challenge and opportunity we tend to find break through innovation and experiences that amaze and delight us.  Truly amazing stuff is ahead for digital art.

Thus, look for me to explore this space. To produce content, drive conversation and surface the talents, skills and work to help inspire this space forward.

Meanwhile you can check out some of my posts related to digital art and VR

  1. Vertex Color to UV Map in Blender 
  2. Painting in VR with Tilt Brush 
  3. Sculpting 3D Assets VR Using in Oculus Medium 
  4. Democratizing 3D Content via Tilt Brush and Adobe's Project Felix