Computer Arts is a term usually appied to works generated entirely with a computer. It is a subset of digital art. The film industry makes heavy use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). In the 1990s, and early 2000s CGI advanced enough so that for the first time it was possible to create realistic 3D computer animation. The film The Phantom Menace was widely noted for its heavy use of computer arts.

More affordable computers and software provide several advantages for thrifty artists. Compared to the price of oils, an easel and canvases, a PC and the occasional trip to the copy shop make computer arts an attractive alternative.

The simplest means of creating CGI is 2D computer graphics such as how you might draw using a pencil and a piece of paper. In this case, however, the image is on the computer screen and the instrument you draw with might be a tablet stylus or a mouse.

More advanced is 3D computer arts, where the screen becomes a window into a virtual environment, and you arrange objects to be “photographed” by the computer. Of course the image generated is 2D, so you can always take it into your paint program for additions.

Typically, 2D computer images use raster graphics as their primary means of source data respresentations, whereas 3D uses vector graphics. What may be considered the native art form of the computer is to generate art in 2D or 3D entirely through the execution of algorithms coded into computer arts programs. Fractal art is an example.

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