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Why demoscene graphics aren't so cool?

category: general [glöplog]
And then there's a lot of *original* art that could be done by any PC user in less than 20 minutes:

http://digitalart.org/art.categories.php?ID=1
added on the 2003-06-02 17:07:29 by Wade Wade
I'm not trying to judge you, wade, but I find this mode of judgement extremely disturbing. First I must say it seems to me that it is a cultural construction. (Quite similar in my eyes to the judeo-christian focalization on "suffering" as a "value")

I don't think sweat automatically makes something valuable.

Too often i've found myself be forced (by what I would believe conditionning) to praise work because it required a lot of craft. In reality i've always felt after a great disappointment when the subject + topic + message + idea ... basically what makes the result human , wasn't up to par with the work involved.

In the same way than a badly executed idea is "rubbish", so is in my mind a masterfully executed void.

Unless we are only judging the craft, that is.

And to those who would like to simplify the issue, no, a "copy" is not always void of ideas.

added on the 2003-06-02 17:53:27 by _-_-__ _-_-__
and the whole "could I do that" thing is well, I think, missing the most interesting points of creating.
added on the 2003-06-02 17:56:30 by _-_-__ _-_-__
R3d: Sorry for misunderstanding..

..discussion grew better and more interesting.
added on the 2003-06-03 12:21:13 by Optimonk Optimonk
I found out that I might be biased when having a so low idea about scene art. After viewing more art at these sites today, it seemed like there exist a lot of images I didn't really liked. The fact is that I was just browsing the top's of the pages the days before. So it's like the scene at it's own average, with very few masterpieces inside the whole bunch of rotten stuff. However my first impressions while viewing the nonsene arts are still there, but we have already discussed why..
added on the 2003-06-03 12:38:41 by Optimonk Optimonk
Something else. Some people here wrote about the lack of originality in the nonscene art (too much cliche artwork, fantasy, manga, sci-fi). The same happens in the scene, with the very usual girl face, layer background images for example. Or the early Boris Valejo trend.
added on the 2003-06-03 12:42:23 by Optimonk Optimonk
There's a big difference i think between pieces which impress cause they show so much good workmanship, and pieces which move you, make you think etc - these are the true artworks. And the best ones combine art and craftmanship.

And is it just me or do people working on macs only produce shiny, pretty design type stuff??? We have a mac centre here, with the latest 3d software, photoshop etc., but everything they seem to produce looks pretty, shallow and empty!
added on the 2003-06-03 13:15:24 by psonice psonice
Optimus: What you say is correct in that final comment, but I think this is because the picture you entered as an example (girl+wolves) is one of those cliche things. Very nice technically and pretty to look at, no doubt, but inspiring is something else. Like I said, there *is* _much_ better nonscene, noncomputer art out there, but the people who made those, I think, won't be that inclined to enter the scene as a visual artist. If one finds one, though, that'd be very nice indeed.

(continuing the discussion) To me personally, I don't look much at the craft involved, but rather the end result, because the artist wouldn't release it unless he's content enough to give it to the public. And if it's an original (ie. no copy/wire/port/whateveryoucallit of an existing piece), refreshing style, I'll probably like it.

Because, if you have successfully developed your own style, then even "shallow" pictures will have a certain dimension of their own, they will differ in such a fashion from its kindred that you'll have that "different"-edge... and that, I think, is what attracts most people to a certain artist representing a certain genre. They prefer the innovators, the "different".

Or so I think. I must say I do like the other views posted here, and I adjusted my vision on the subject here and there because of them. This thread is not so much controversial as it is very interesting to read. Kudos to the other posters! :)

PS: Wade, that b/w picture rocks btw :). Was it a compopic, or used in a demo (if so, which one)?
added on the 2003-06-03 15:29:18 by Vip Vip
Vip, it's from Melon's Acid Trip, which can be found here.

http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=400&PHPSESSID=9579a15a33945c7c735d9716be834b 0b

The full pic is here:

http://www.back2roots.org/View/Mack%2001%2C1/

It still makes me sick with envy every time I see it. :)
added on the 2003-06-03 16:44:36 by Wade Wade
While there is much to be said for a well executed idea, the concept of obsessing over a single idea or concept to the point of exhaustion is another kind of art... at least in my mind.

Especially when an artist goes 'crazy' and develops an entire dogmatic system around a single flash of inspiration, I find myself in awe -- I wish I could have more of those [looks back to closet full of notebooks].

But cases like that are exceptions to the rule (which most of you seem to agree with: it's not the labor, but the ability to communicate an inspired idea that makes art great).

I remember a few years ago talking with a few friends about how the internet was going to make it harder and harder for really great artists/musicians to stand out - and now, as I go through hundreds of websites a day on my 3mb connection, I can't help but feel at once frustrated and ecstatic: this technology has given us the ability to see so much more, and yet it seems there's less worth looking at.
added on the 2003-06-03 17:08:14 by GltTcH GltTcH
I see the point about the creativity in graphics. Personally, I find it very hard to realise my own motifs in any detailed form, so I have a lot of respect for people who can.

But I think the main difference between scene and non-scene artists has something to do with the "oldskool" values of the scene where individuals try to impress people with their skills rather than works of beauty.

The scene used to be about man vs. machine: there was a kind of honour about breaking records, achieving the impossible and pushing hardware to its limits. This was the same for a lot of pixellers who would try to outmatch scanners or try to outdo their colour/resolution limitations etc.

The sort of artists who got respect in old times were guys like Uno and Facet who experimented with new dithering techniques or artists who came up with effective anti-aliasing methods etc.

I think the motives behind scene art and non-scene art have always been very different. And now there is a lot less competition between the artist and his/her tools because today's software (and hardware) has very few limitations. So credibility seems to be more about the end result these days with less focus on the technique.

I'm not suggesting that it's wrong, but it's one of the aspects that separates scene and non-scene artists and critics.

added on the 2003-06-03 17:10:21 by Wade Wade
Optimus: i get your point. There is too little art in today's demos. Another reflection of it is that a mega-demo compo is somewhat more boring than 64k intro compo: you have a lot of resource for paintings, which is not used. I don't take an excuse of graphics being hard to integrate in today's 3D engines: hell, use handpainted bacground, integrate 2D sprites and so on... Watch Anime movies to see how it can be done. For example, legal download: http://www.intothematrix.com/
Toon rendering has been a popular effect in the demos thee years. (hint, hint)
However, there are real sparks of art in the demoscene. They usually appear in Wild Demo compo. Optimus, watch more wilds!

-i.

PS. Tomcat: please explain that sudden hatred towards Photoshop. Do you also hate ink and paper and everything the artists had been using for ages?
added on the 2003-06-03 22:19:32 by eye eye
Optimus: i get your point. There is too little art in today's demos. Another reflection of it is that a mega-demo compo is somewhat more boring than 64k intro compo: you have a lot of resource for paintings, which is not used. I don't take an excuse of graphics being hard to integrate in today's 3D engines: hell, use handpainted bacground, integrate 2D sprites and so on... Watch Anime movies to see how it can be done. For example, legal download: http://www.intothematrix.com/
Toon rendering has been a popular effect in the demos thee years. (hint, hint)
However, there are real sparks of art in the demoscene. They usually appear in Wild Demo compo. Optimus, watch more wilds!

-i.

PS. Tomcat: please explain that sudden hatred towards Photoshop. Do you also hate ink and paper and everything the artists had been using for ages?
added on the 2003-06-03 22:41:11 by eye eye
Wade: I fully understand and respect your viewpoint, as I'm someone who chose to do c64 gfx because of the challenge imposed by the hardware - 16 fixed and different colors (no freely selectable 4bit gradient there), 320x200 resolution at the very best, only so many colors per 8x8 pixel block (and thankfully no gfx cards to remedy this). The labor involved when finishing pictures on there is pretty intensive to say the least.

But even though you can enjoy the effort yourself (and that's why you do it in the first place - the art and whole creation process belongs to you), the others only see the finished product, not the blood, sweat and tears, so being innovative becomes key if you want to be recognized, making the effort nigh obsolete.

But there's an analogy to what you're describing, Wade. There's a "normal art" form where painters go to incredible lengths and spend aeons to make their paintings look so realistic that they're almost photographs (the term evades me right now - I think it's quite simply "photorealism"), until you actually feel the texture on the canvas, upon which you go "Whoa" out of respect for the painstakingly hard work. Feels kinda similar to scene graphicians trying to beat the scanner, ne? ;)

(time for a commercial break)

Being a part of the "hard labor" pixelling scene is fun, by the way: the challenge is high, the road is full of discoveries and the feeling you get when setting that last pixel to the color you want is tremendous.

(now to put this into perspective again)

But it shouldn't be hailed as "the one and only scene art" imo - the other ways are here to stay (and usually a bit faster *envy* :) and as long as the pictures are little feasts of creativity and originality, I won't complain anytime soon (as the author will very likely have spent his sweet time on the whole thing too) but rather give the gfxer the credit (s)he deserves.

And I agree on the b/w picture too - it's absolutely a marvel to watch. Maybe one day, I'll have the privilege of doing something equally great.. ah well, one can always dream ;). Cheers,

Vince.
added on the 2003-06-04 00:36:31 by Vip Vip
have any demos used pics by any famous real artists (eg. van gogh, picasso etc)? Not exactly in 'scene spirit', but it could be good if done the right way, like if a picasso style 3d world was done with cel shading, interspersed with some real picasso.

Or scenes from pictures could be done in 3d similar to 32 degrees in the shade...
added on the 2003-06-04 10:22:51 by psonice psonice
psonice: run Fly-Bye from Farb-Rausch and notice the painting on the wall. :)
added on the 2003-06-04 10:26:43 by eye eye
Optimus: i had taken a more precise look at CGTalk, the site you pointed out. Beyond what appears on the front page, picture quality is usually very mediocre. So, from this site, you can't really say that demoscene artists are worse than those there. Having been myself at the Breakpoint GFX compo, i have seen a couple of absolutely wonderful pictures - one of them in incredible, poster-print detail. There comes to mind that breakpoint imposes no restrictions on the graphics, beyond the requierement that it's not a rip: it may be in any graphics resolution, you can freely combine 2D and 3D and scanned/photo parts. I believe that's how modern scene GFX compos are to be held.

Hell, as long as creation steps are shown, the viewer can figure out all of the restrictiones which the artist has imposed on himself by themselves, so it isn't even requiered to impose any external restrictions. I believe sceners are all aware of technically aware people. :)

-i.
added on the 2003-06-04 10:40:49 by eye eye
Midiclub: yes, i remember that, but not what picture it was on the wall...

Can't run it now though, lunch break has ended, i have to do some actuall work ;(
added on the 2003-06-04 15:26:38 by psonice psonice
http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=03/06/04/07195079;cmt=15

funny people are having the same discussions about painting
added on the 2003-06-04 20:50:28 by _-_-__ _-_-__
That's interesting. Looks like there were rippers and scanners back in the Renaissance period too.

Actually I know a lot of famous artists used lenses and some more recent artists even used overhead projectors. From now on I'll demand to see some working stages before buying any expensive artwork. :)
added on the 2003-06-04 21:43:15 by Wade Wade
Look for lines across the painting too - half of these old grandmasters used a photo scan and a photoshop filter, then knocked out several copies on a cheap inkjet.

Perhaps there aren't really any great artists, just people painting cheesy spaceships, babes and dragons, and people who are really skilled cheats.
added on the 2003-06-05 10:17:52 by psonice psonice
That's exactly why artists changed course after photography was introduced: there was no glory in trying to reproduce reality anymore. Concept gained over technique and being able to express your concept well is what matters then and now. That's how all those new art forms appeared, which are much richer in content than the paintings of the old masters, which basically were photographs commissioned by the rich.

And I wouldn't call the classic painters skilled 'cheats'. They developed tools to make the drawing of outlines easier, all the rest, the painting and coloring, which make up 90% of the remaining work, is done by them. Not many come close.

In that time, they drew to make money, and as far as I know, in any industry directed at profit, people try to be as efficient as they can to increase their production.

I love this controversy, as it really makes us think about what we're doing, what it's purpose is, what art _is_. The answer's still far away, but at least we've set a few steps in some direction...
added on the 2003-06-05 15:46:09 by Vip Vip
So once we painted what is, and what was.

Now, we can capture these things in perfect realism, frozen in time, or in motion, or in 3d.

So, we turn our attention to creating what will be and what never was.

But still, I find the best art in pictures of people and places.
added on the 2003-06-05 16:29:12 by psonice psonice
"the scene used to be about achieving the impossible and pushing hardware to its limits."

god i'm so sick of reading/hearing that line...
added on the 2003-06-05 20:20:51 by _ _
go ahead, whine, make my day. those who whine
that "OLD PIXELERS" ARE TEH TRUE oldschool dudes,
well they would use photoshop today... up yours.
make graphics, dont talk like you know something
about graphics if you dont even look todays photoshop stuff. well blaah

i suck ass
added on the 2003-06-05 20:50:34 by uns3en_ uns3en_

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