More thoughts on the differences between digital and traditional art forms

Onscreen view versus printed view?

If you have a look at the image above, seeing it on a screen, you are seeing it in much the same way that I did when I made it.  This is even more true if you are seeing this on an iPad.  Onscreen, the image is bright and lit from within.
The same image printed on good photographic paper is pretty cool too, but the fact is that print on paper loses something when it comes to digital art.  As I work on my screen, I have to keep thinking about how different the prints will look.
When examining the differences between digital art and traditional art, it is important to look at the physical object.  For example, if I make a painting on canvas, the object will be substantially different from a digital work.  But if I make a painting on canvas, then photograph it, or scan it, and then make Giclee prints from those reproductions, the difference goes away, because if I print my digital work with the same printer, with the same paper, the lay my digital print next to my canvas painting reproduction, both will be flat representations on paper of something that was created in a different medium.
I’ve heard a lot of traditional artists claiming that their giclee reproductions are superior to digital giclee prints because the original was made using traditional media.  I would suggest that the opposite is true.  The giclee reproduction from physical media is actually farther removed from the final print than a digital work is from its home file.
I can print an image I made on my iPad via wireless directly from the program I made it in. Only one step. That work on canvas we were talking about is many more steps away from the original. It was photographed or scanned.  It was then processed inside a computer, or transferred to negatives.  If it is a giclee print, it goes through several stages between the photograph/scan and the final output, usually involving the identical software that was used to generate our digital work.  In this case, shouldn’t we say that the digital work is truer in form than the traditional reproduction?  And when viewed onscreen, the digital work is truer still.


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