The Computer in the Visual Arts

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9780201386004: The Computer in the Visual Arts

Introducing a dynamic medium for artistic expression and graphic communication

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An excellent introduction to computer graphics, The Computer in the Visual Arts covers the historical evolution of the computer as it relates to the creation of artwork. Author Anne Morgan Spalter interviews contemporary artists for insights into their favorite techniques and approaches to planning, developing, and outputting their artwork. Anyone who uses a PC for creating digital art should look to this book for guidance on the technical, practical, and theoretical aspects of design and production.

Although the author uses plenty of technical detail, historical facts, and art theory, the book also includes a good deal of practical information. For example, The Computer in the Visual Arts covers popular software programs; explains different types of printers, including their benefits and drawbacks; and defines terms (helpfully, in boldface) succinctly, so you can learn the basics. The chapters on 3D graphics are a perfect example, explaining simple terms such as primitives and lofting; defining more technical terms such as fractals and other algorithmic processes; and offering hands-on insight into how artists use 3D software, special effects, and rendering processes creatively.

Chapters end with suggestions for further reading and exercises you can work through on your own. The book provides loads of information on composition--that is, arranging the form and color of artwork and deciding on the use of space and scale. There are many images from contributing artists with explanations of their approach to digital art, and more of these images are included in a four-color section. The appendices to the book discuss contemporary art periods such as modernism and postmodernism, elements of computer theory such as symbolic logic, and lists of URLs and books you can turn to for more information. --Kathleen Caster

From the Back Cover:

Introducing a dynamic medium for artistic expression and graphic communication

"This is a seminal contributionoa must-read for anyone interested in how computers are used in art and design. Spalter masterfully presents the principles and practices of this vital and rapidly growing field. She blends just the right amount of technology with applications and implications to the visual arts, in an easy-to-read, informative style.."
-- Andries van Dam, T. J. Watson, Jr. University Professor of Technology and Education and Professor of Computer Science, Brown University, and coauthor of the authoritative book, Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice.

"At last!" Those are the words that most often greet Anne Morgan Spalteris new book--an introduction to computer graphics uniquely focused on the computer as a medium for artistic expression and graphic communication--the first comprehensive work to combine technical and theoretical aspects of the emerging field of computer art and design.

Integrating theory, examples, and the concepts underlying all the major types of graphics software, Spalter explains the principles and practices that artist, designers, illustrators, and photographers simply must understand to take full advantage of this dynamic, visual medium.

Each program is presented as part of a larger picture, profusely illustrated with diagrams and art works, including many in color. Coverage includes:

  • Digital painting and photoediting
  • Digital design and layout
  • The building and rendering of 3D worlds
  • Animation
  • Multimedia
  • The World Wide Web

Chapters on input and output address the wide range of tools and techniques for working with art and design software, and for creating both screen-based and printed works. Excerpts from interviews with artists and computer scientists add perspective to both the origins and the future directions of the field. Although some of the bookis exercises require common application software, the main body of this text is platform- and application-independent.

"For years Iive been searching the shelves for a book like this, a book that gathers together the loose strands of the ecomputer arti movement.... She gives the whole pictureo pioneer artists, technical principles, artistic choices, creative uses and misuses, all with the freshness of the hands-on practitioner."
-- James Faure Walker has spent the past 10 years integrating computer graphics into his painting, and is currently a lecturer in painting/computer graphics at UCE, Birmingham, England.



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