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Thread: Is 3D modeling a visual art?
April 25th, 2012 #1
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Huh? I've always considered sculpture to be a visual art. Granted there's a strong tactile element to it, but the same could be said for painting.
3D modeling definitely resembles sculpture more than any other art form, though.
April 26th, 2012 #3
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April 26th, 2012 #4
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April 26th, 2012 #5
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April 26th, 2012 #8
Hm. Creating objects feels very similar to physical sculpture. A lot of the tricks of the trade are the same (for example, making sure you frequently check your object from all angles so you don't make a sculptural howler).
But thinking back to the modeling I did, I seemed to spend the bulk of my time on textures, lighting and camera work.
I must say, 3D was easily the most fun I ever had at work. Until the tools got so complex I felt lost.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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April 26th, 2012 #9
For me sculpture is all about navigating 3 physical dimensions with my hands and in the end digital sculpting is all created on a flat surface. So yeah - all the feeling, smell and taste(?!) that you get with actual sculpture is not there, just leaving the visual aspect.
April 26th, 2012 #10
I hope this thread won't go down into some kind of "what is art" debate but with a sculpture twist.
Anyway, I personally believe it's akin to sculpture. That said, when I was in fine arts, my teachers didn't even consider ANYTHING made with a computer to be art... especially not 3d modeling (mind you, that was 14 years ago). I think it's just a tool, like a chisel and hammer, even if you don't put your hands on piece itself. It takes the same kind of reflection and thought process when shaping something. In some situations, it also require anatomical knowledge and/or the ability to think in 3D.
What I miss the most when modeling in whatever software package, is the stereoscopic view we have when working straight on a piece of material (from real life I mean). A screen feels terribly flat at first and you have to orbit a lot more then IRL so your brain can pick up on the topology. At least that's what it felt like when transitioning to digital
I gotta run but this subject is really interesting. Thanks Jeff!
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April 26th, 2012 #11
Eh? Isn't sculpture a visual art? I mean, sculpture is primarily meant to be Looked At, no? If something in the real world is a three dimensional object primarily meant to be handled (sat on, driven, used for food preparation, used as a marital aid, etc,) then it's probably not sculpture. If it's primarily meant to be Looked At, it's probably sculpture, and hence visual art.
But I'm not sure I'd equate 3D with sculpture anyway. With 3D on a computer, there is no real tangible object you can handle physically, all you can physically do with it is look at it - everything else is virtual. And what you're actually looking at is pixels on a 2D screen...
So what you're really dealing with is a 2D representation of a 3D concept that only exists in the abstract and intangible world of code... So in a way, you could say 3D art is closer to drawing a picture from imagination, in that you (or the computer) are taking something that only exists in an intangible way and rendering it as a 2D image. (A 2D image that looks 3D by virtue of the same rules that make any 2D image look 3D...)
Or something. (I haven't had my tea yet this morning.)
April 26th, 2012 #12
Interesting replies...and for the most part similar to how I feel about it.
Just for some clarification...I teach 3D Modeling...in a college Art Dept. I raise the question because I'm usually dumbfounded by students who do not consider it under the auspices of "art", whether visual (2D) or sculptural (3D). Not that my students argue with me on the point, it just strikes me as odd they don't even consider the question.
On the whole sculpture being a visual art....sure, it is primarily, but there is a significant difference between something that exists in 3D space vs. 2D (or essentially 2D). That was where I was drawing the distinction between "visual art" and sculpture. Sorry for not defining better up front.
IMO modeling exists somewhere between 2D and 3D...it is of course visual and relies on fundamental visual principles...it can also be helpful to think in terms of both subtractive and additive sculptural methods of working while developing the model.
Thanks for the responses...I've just been interested in what others think about it.
April 26th, 2012 #13
It's certainly a visual medium, but art seems to be a very vague word with no clearly defined, universal meaning that everyone can agree on as far as I know (so any debate about what constitutes "real" art is really just opinions on what a word means based on personal preference, which makes no sense at all). Here's what Merriam Webster says though:
Definition of ART
: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>
a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : liberal arts b archaic : learning, scholarship
: an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>
a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art
a archaic : a skillful plan b : the quality or state of being artful
: decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter
See art defined for English-language learners »
It's definitely visual and it fits the above definition, so I don't see why it wouldn't be a visual art. In terms of dimensions it's obviously closer to sculpture than painting, and with 3D printers it becomes even more vague. At the end of the day, they're all just words though. Oh well, back to learning how to visual art!