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What is Software Art?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2016
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Also known as computer art, software art is artwork created with the use of software programming. The creation of this art form is managed by amateur and professional artists who seek to create various types of images using software. The software package used may be either commercial software products or carefully designed proprietary software. At times, software or computer art may refer to interactive visual displays as well as static displays designed for viewing only.

While some people consider software art to be any type of art that is created using computer software, others draw distinctions between different electronic creations. When the artwork is designed for display on the Internet, it may be referred to as Internet art or browser art. Along with non-interactive images that are found on the World Wide Web, some also consider video games to be a type of software art. This is because software is used to create the images and also provide the animation for those images when the game is in progress.

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Since the advent of the desktop computer, the concept of software art has gained attention in many quarters. Amateur enthusiasts may refer to their homemade creations using scrapbooking software as being software art. More serious art students may utilize various programs to create highly detailed electronic images. Just about any type of artwork can be created today using software, ranging from still-life portraits to rustic scenes and even art pieces that are highly eclectic in design.

As with most art forms, software art may be created for the enjoyment of the artist, or be intended for sharing with a larger audience. For example, a homeowner may use software to design a virtual pen and ink sketch, or wall art using a wide range of colors. The art can be saved as a file, then printed and framed for display in the home. The file can also be shared with others if desired, or stored for retrieval later if the owner wishes to alter the color scheme or make other changes over time. This approach to wall art can allow the homeowner to routinely change art pieces within a room without going to a great deal of time looking for the ideal piece.

Over the years, software art has gone from being more or less a hobby or a specialty art form to a recognized medium that is worthy of respect along with more traditional means of creating art. To this end, a number of festivals and celebrations devoted specifically to the various forms of software art have appeared in countries around the world. Just as with images created using canvas and paints, these works are put on display, sometimes printed into hard copy lithographs, and other times displayed on large monitors.

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