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San Base: Computer Graphics Avant-Garde

Variation, Expressiveness And Artistic Approach, Continued

Tom's Hardware: Since a computer is generating the images, what is your role as an artist?

San Base: As an artist I create a main concept for the painting, select basic colors, shapes and the principles of their development. Modern computers don't possess a "true" artificial intelligence, in the sense that they cannot come up with images on their own, and they perform only what they are instructed to do. The computer is nothing more than a tool in this process.

It is no secret that many artists who have found a successful style and form have exploited it for many years by painting similar pictures without much creativity. A dynamic painting can do the same thing at much higher speed, generating many paintings per minute instead of the 2-3 paintings per week that most conventional artists can produce. The real challenge is coming up with an original idea for a dynamic painting as well as producing it; after that, a computer can mechanically generate variations.

The computer, as a tool, frees up my time to do what as an artist I do the best: create and innovate. Right now I have developed more than three dozen different dynamic paintings, each of which can generate millions of static images, and I have many more paintings in the works. However, what is more important is not just the number of images the computer can generate, but rather the unique experience that a dynamic painting creates in comparison to a static painting.

Tom's Hardware: Would you consider your technology to be closer to computer graphics or to a more traditional form of art?

San Base: Computer graphics is a generic term that encompasses two concepts: digital art and digital animation. Digital art can be purely computer-generated, such as fractals, or taken from another source, such as a scanned photograph or an image drawn using vector graphics software. Cartoons and video games are the most popular application of digital animations. The common denominator between computer graphics and what I do is hardware; the difference is in the implementation.

Animations are based on models created by designers and artists, which are rigid and predictable. All the movements on the screen are in strict compliance with a predetermined scenario. My art is based on a fundamentally different principle, where there is no knowledge of what's going to happen next, and no plan. All that is created becomes animate for a period of time and then vanishes for good. The painting is always in the state of flux. This is a departure from conventional examples of computer graphics as well as traditional art. I would consider it a new art form that is built on the foundation of both computer graphics and traditional paintings.

Tom's Hardware: Can you use a starter image or import shapes and let your Dynamic Painting engine manipulate them?

San Base: I've experimented with it, and in theory it should be possible to do something like that. However, it's not in the spirit of my current artistic direction, since my focus is on producing completely procedural art, rather than collages of existing images. For image tweaking there are many Photoshop plug-ins and other tools, and it has been done before. The area of procedural art generation is still largely unexplored and (to me) it's a lot more challenging and interesting. In the future I might still revisit the idea of procedural manipulation of existing images.