What constitutes digital art? There is no correct answer to this question, but in its simplest form, digital art is a piece of work that is created using technology. It is also known as multimedia art or computer art.
Digital art falls under the broader category of new media art. It includes formats such as drawing, painting, sculpting, and even music.
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If you are interested in putting a new spin on traditional art using technology, then this guide is for you. In it, you will find the best digital art resources and courses that will help you become a digital artist.
What Is Digital Art?
Digital art is often entirely computer-generated. It can be created in one of two ways. First, it can involve taking an item such as a photograph or hand-drawn image and scanning it into a computer, then manipulating it using software and tools to enhance its appeal.
Second, you can create digital art entirely from scratch on a computer. To succeed as a digital artist, you should have certain art skills, such as passion, creativity, technical knowledge, and attention to detail.
What Is Digital Art Used For?
There are numerous digital art forms, and many software programs can be used to create this art. Below we have listed some of the most popular digital art tools.
- Photoshop. You should master this program if you want to fully understand digital art. With it, you can seamlessly alter or improve any photo. Unfortunately, you must have an Adobe subscription to use it. However, you can also practice with some of these free Photoshop alternatives if you are trying to save money.
- Affinity Designer. Affinity Designer is a vector graphic design tool. With it, you can create an illustration and use assorted tools like brushes and blend modes to add dimension to the project.
- Procreate. To use the drawing tool Procreate, you need an iPad. Then, get started drawing on your digital canvas by playing around with layers, text tools, grouping options, and blend modes.
- Clip Studio Paint Pro. This one is for manga and comic artists who love character design. This drawing and painting program even has a free trial on its website. Look no further than this software if you want to create realistic-looking digital manga and anime characters.
- Paintstorm Studio. This program is used by many professional digital artists. Paintstorm Studio is a digital painting tool available for all types of operating systems and devices. It is easy to use and comes with an assortment of paintbrushes, textures, angles, and a good linework tool with automatic correction.
Types of Digital Art
There are a few areas within digital art that you may want to specialize in. Let’s look at the three below so you can choose which appeals to you most.
Computer-Generated Visual Media or 2D Computer Graphics
2D computer graphics are typically used in the world of media and entertainment. When a traditional form of art, such as a painting, is scanned into a computer, it becomes a 2D graphic.
Many animated cartoons and children’s films are made using 2D technology. They are first drawn on paper, then enhanced digitally to make the characters come alive. If needed, an animator will further manipulate the drawings in programs such as Maya. 2D graphics can also be drawn directly on a computer using a mouse or stylus.
Computer Generated 3D Imagery or Graphics
Anyone who loves movies or video games will be familiar with or want to learn 3D graphics.
Any 3D element seen on TV or movies is created using a software program such as the previously mentioned Maya, or other programs used by game designers such as Blender or 3ds Max.
When a 2D object is rendered into a 3D program, it can be manipulated to a more detailed level, adding functionality to the object. The images are created using geometric shapes, non-uniform rational basis splines, or polygons.
This type of design may also be offered as part of a computer science degree.
Digital Installation Art
Digital installation art can take many forms. Some examples are video installations inside a gallery and laser projections. It is often an interactive type of digital art. It is meant to create an immersive environment that captivates the audience.
Learning Digital Art
Many agree that digital art has encouraged creativity among professional artists and non-professional designers.
If you want to study digital art, you should be prepared to make a significant time commitment. Everyone’s learning period will be different, but you can judge how long it will take to learn a certain skill based on the length of some of the digital art courses available online.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Digital Art?
As with all skills, it will take you longer to learn digital art if you don’t already know the basics. In this case, the length of time it takes will usually depend on which avenue of learning you decide to take, plus your understanding of the subject.
How to Learn Digital Art: Step-by-Step
Here are some basic tips you can start with to begin learning digital art.
- Learn the basics. If you have ever taken an art, computer, or math class, you’re off to a good start. These subjects will cover some of the basics of how you can produce digital art.
- Get familiar with the software. To get started, you should first download some of the digital art programs mentioned above, such as Maya, Blender, or 3D Studio Max.
- Get practicing. Follow some of the built-in tutorials for those who are new to the software, then work your way up to the advanced level to get a better understanding of these tools.
- Take a class or two. Now that you’ve started practicing on your own, it’s time to learn from an expert. Enroll in a class or join an online digital art course to get more experience.
- Seek inspiration. Every artist has their style. It’s not time to find yours. Look around for inspiration from the websites and portfolios of other digital artists, or in movies and books.
- Get certified. What better way to put a seal of approval on your skills than to get certified? Seek out certification in 2D or 3D digital art or learn animation.
The Best Computer-Generated Digital Art Courses and Training
Learning from a professional will help you learn digital art skills quickly. We have compiled a list of the best courses to help you level up your learning.
Online Computer-Generated Digital Art Classes
First, let’s look at some options for paid online classes you may want to take.
The Art Studio NY
- Provider: The Art Studio NY
- Where: Online
- Time: Varies
- Cost: Varies on class
The best way to learn a creative skill is to tap into your creativity. Whether you enjoy art as a hobby, or you want to become a professional digital artist, taking one of these online, pre-recorded classes from The Art Studio NY will give you a better understanding of many traditional art styles.
In these classes, you can learn how to draw manga, cartoons, and comics, or study life drawing.
Intro to Procreate: Illustrating on the iPad
- Provider: SkillShare
- Format: Pre-recorded Online Instructor-Led
- Where: Online
- Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes / 19 lessons
- Cost: Varies
Get the hang of creating art on your iPad with this program. In this online class taught by a full-time illustrator, you will learn how to create digital illustrations on Procreate, which will feel as natural as drawing with pencil and paper. You will learn how to use all the tools of the program, and how to create a timelapse video.
Animation for Illustration: Adding Movement with Procreate & Photoshop
- Provider: SkillShare
- Where: Online
- Time: 51 mins / 11 lessons
- Cost: Varies
Further your Procreate skills by learning how to animate objects and characters in this pre-recorded video course. Designer and illustrator Libby VanderPloeg teaches this digital animation course that combines the use of Procreate and Photoshop. In it, you will learn how to add movement to your art using a few easy steps.
Best Online Live Computer-Generated Art Classes
Although there are not many in-person digital art classes at the moment due to COVID-19, lecturers and professionals are willing to teach you online through live sessions or bootcamps.
Figure Bootcamp with Marc Scheff
- Provider: smART School
- Where: Online
- Time: 14 weeks starting January 2021
- Cost: $1,050
This is a beginner level course that requires three hours of commitment per class, once per week. If you are a self-taught artist who wants to turn your paper drawings into digital masterpieces, this intensive course taught by Marc Scheff will help you get there.
It starts with the fundamentals of drawing, then dives into life drawing and a drawing bootcamp. Classes are available throughout fall and 2021.
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Motion Computer Graphics Master Academy
- Provider: CGMA – CG Master Academy
- Where: Online
- Time: Starts on January 24, 2021
- Cost: $699
Learn from the industry’s best with this eight-week online course, taught by Ferdinando Spagnolo, which includes personalized feedback. If you want a career in art, video games, or visual special effects, this is the class for you.
This is the perfect course for beginners who want to take the leap into the world of motion graphics, or for those wanting to sharpen their existing skills.
Gnomon – Visual Effects & Animation
- Provider: GNOMON
- Where: Online
- Time: 10 Weeks – 1 Class Per Week
- Cost: from $993 to $1,323
Join GNOMON, known as the MIT of visual effects, and get started in this class led by Ron Lemen and Dave Pasciuto. They will teach you everything you need to know regarding animation and digital art concepts. The teachers are both industry professionals with experience working in Hollywood.
Digital Art Books for Beginners
Check out the books listed below to read all about digital art and computer-generated design. They’ll add some new information to your coursework or personal digital art studies.
Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop, Nykolai Aleksander
This beginner’s guide to digital painting in Adobe Photoshop is the latest in a series of books by the same author. This book provides a comprehensive guide to the basics of digital painting in Photoshop.
Whether you’re new to this artistic medium or looking to improve, this book offers up a wealth of advice on how to improve workflows and perfect your techniques.
Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques of Digital Art Masters (Digital Art Masters Series), 3dtotal.com
The team at 3dtotal.com has compiled this book full of helpful tips, tricks, and techniques for those interested in concept art or animations. It teaches beginners digital painting techniques and figure drawing and adds digital inspiration with techniques used by professional digital artists. It also includes images showing how to create a unique piece from start to finish.
Digital Painting Tricks & Techniques: 100 Ways to Improve Your CG Art, Gary Tonge
This book provides all the information you will need to transform your digital painting using brushes, lighting, special effects, layers, and speed and matte painting. It details over 100 expert tricks that will provide quick and easy solutions to all aspects of digital painting.
Best Digital Online Resources
Once on your educational journey to learn digital art, there are many online resources to support your growth. We have listed some of the best online digital art resources below.
You can find some of the best free sources for digital artists on this website.
Anyone has access to free advice, tips, and methodologies on this website. Check it out if you want to learn more about digital art and different forms of digital painting.
Robert A. Marzullo of Ram Studio Comics is a professional storyboard and comic book artist, and he’s sharing what he knows on YouTube, Udemy, and Skillshare. He primarily teaches students how to use both Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint, so you should have one of these programs so you can follow along.
Should You Study Digital Computer Generated Art?
Learning digital art will equip you with many skills that are applicable in different industries, like TV and special effects. You will also become more talented at thinking creatively.
Sign up for one of the classes above and check out some of the other books and resources while you build up your skill set before seeking a career in digital art.
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