Elemental Art
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 10 (October 2004)

Elemental Art

Entering Darkness (Excellence Award, Environment) Professional video-game artist Ivan de Andres Gonzalez of Spain generated this still image containing a photorealistic building with manipulated shadows for dramatic contrast.

The Old Sawmill (Master Award, Exterior Architecture) Rather than creating photoreal imagery, CG hobbyist Juan Siquier of Spain generates works reflective of his "perceived reality," including this scene of a building near his home.

After a long struggle, digital imagery finally has been acknowledged as a legitimate form of fine art, and, recently, this accomplishment has been recognized in coffee-table books showcasing CG works. One of the latest offerings is Elemental, a collaborative publication by Ballistic Publishing and Discreet that features art created with the software vendor's 3ds max DCC program. The imagery was selected on its artistic merit by an advisory panel of high-profile artists in visual effects, game development, architecture, and software development, as well as by a group from Discreet. The committee narrowed the nearly 1000 entries to 251 images from 147 artists hailing from 36 countries. The pieces were then allocated to one of 13 categories, with the best works receiving Master and Excellence status.

"Ballistic Media's first book, Expose, has been heralded as a watershed, demonstrating that 'digital' and 'art' do co-exist," says Kevin G. Clark, senior manager of corporate communications at Discreet. "Elemental continues this tradition and demonstrates that there is a new generation of artists who can create expressive, moving imagery within the digital realm."

As demonstrated in Elemental, CGI is being used to generate works that show the medium's artistic range. Nearly a quarter of the entries had an Interior or Exterior Architecture theme, a predictable volume, says Mark Snoswell, the book's art director and co-editor, given the growth of the visualization industry. Also, one in 10 entries fell into the Environment category, which features sets or locations, whether indoors, outdoors, underwater, or in space.

These two pages contain a sampling of images from the book that fall within those three themes. —Karen Moltenbrey

Daylight (Interior Architecture) For artist Chen Qingfeng of China, photorealism is an important aspect of his work as an architectural designer. This image, from a business project, focuses on the glass, and is balanced by the light and empty spac

Rising Age (Excellence Award, Environment) This work, from a short film by Jorge Seva and Sergio Miruri, uses full global illumination to mimic a photo by the Spanish artists on whom it is based.

Dawn on the Ancient Hall (Environment) Raphael Lacoste, a professional matte painter and art director from Canada, uses light to introduce atmosphere into his imagery, thereby establishing a specific mood. Here, the strength of the image is also a