17 Types of Digital Art Styles

Digital art is a dynamic form of art expression, that alongside technology tools incorporates a variety of styles and techniques that cater to diverse artistic visions, preferences and industries.

What makes one style of digital art different from another often comes down to the tools (like software and hardware) used to create them and the visual features they emphasize, such as colors, textures, or how detailed they are. Some styles might use simple, freely available software, while others might need more advanced programs and special equipment like high-tech drawing tablets.

Styles like vector art, digital painting, and 3D art are the pillars that hold the entertainment industry together, and although they differ in visual elements they emply, the sofltware and hardware they use, they rely on each other to push the evolution of digital art as a whole.

In this article, we will explore 17 digital art styles that have significantly influenced the field. We’ll also discuss the essential software and hardware used to create these styles, and highlight the artists who have made a lasting impact with their work.

Digital Painting

Digital Painting Art Style

Digital Painting consists of making art using digital tools and software mimicking traditional painting techniques used in watercolor, oil and acrylic painting. Digital painting is made using a combination of brushes, textures, layer modes and effects to create stunning images with complex compositions and illustrations full of life.

 

Some of the most common painting styles we can see in digital painting are realism, semi-realism, impressionism, expressionism, conceptual art, fantasy art and abstract art. Some of the most commonly used software in digital painting are Adobe Photoshop, the industry standard, Corel Painter, know for its realistic brush simulation, Procreate, popular among iPad users, Krita, a free, open-source favorite, and Clip Studio Paint, ideal for illustrators and comic artists.

In order to make digital paintings, having a graphics tablet, a pen display or a computer table with pressure sensitivity is a must. If you go for the first two options, then a desktop computer or a laptop with good characteristics will be needed as well, especially if you plan on working with professional software like Photoshop or Corel Painter.

Digital Painting Artists

The digital painting field has seen make talented artists, however only a few stand out due to their techniques, popularity, influence and style:

 

  • Craig Mullins: Often referred to as the godfather of digital painting Craig Mullins was among the first artists to use photoshop for professional concept art, creating cinematic quality pieces using traditional painting techniques merged with digital methods. His work has been very influential in the concept art industry and the digital art community and is a highly respected artist by many professionals all over the world.
  • Loish: Lois van Baarle, widely known as Loish is one of the most popular and influential artists that has made a significant mark in the work of an entire generation with her vibrant and expressive style. She specializes in character design, where through dynamic poses and vivid color palettes her characters practically come to life. Her work often features whimsical, strong female figures, and she has a distinctive style that mixes soft painterly touches with bold lines.
  • Aaron Blaise: Aaron Blaise is one of the most recognized and experienced artists in the digital art world, having worked in animation for movies like “the Lion King” and “Brother Bear” his contributions to the digital art community have marked the early years of many of us, and his work is characterized by his profound understanding of animal and wildlife anatomy. His digital paintings often depict realistic wildlife with a touch of whimsy and animation principles, making his artwork resonate both emotionally and visually with a broad audience.

Vector art

Vector Art Style

Vector art is a digital art form where graphics are created using mathematical formulas rather than pixels via a vector-based software. This allows the artwork to be scaled to any size without losing quality, which is particularly valuable for logos and printed media, where resizing images without degradations is very important.

 

Some of the most common styles we see in vector art are flat designs, where simple lines and clean, solid colors are used in icons, logos and illustrations, line art, where straight or curved lines are used against a plain background, geometric art, where geometric shapes are used for a more abstract look, cartoons, where bold outlines and bright colors are used to create characters for children media and animation.

Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inkscape and Affinity Designer are some of the most used and most popular software for vector art, with powerful tools, good performance and modern interfaces that makes them attractive for designers and illustrators alike.

While you don’t need a graphics tablet to make vector art, having one can make the work much easier, giving you more control over line shapes and curves. A computer with a high resolution display is a must in order to handle intense detail and large file sizes, and to be able to see and reproduce colors accurately for printed media and design work. While devices like the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencils allow artists to work on vector files, the app versions are quite limited, so we don’t recommend them for professional work.

 

Vector Art Artists

Some notable artists in the vector art world are:

  • Yukio Miyamoto: Yukio Miyamoto is a very popular figure in the vector art world, particularly renowned for his mastery of Adobe Illustrator and his photorealistic vector illustrations which are very challenging to achieve and demonstrate the level of mastery that Miyamoto has over the software. One of the most striking aspects of Miyamoto’s art is his ability to reproduce the texture and subtlety of materials like metal, glass, and skin using only vector shapes. This meticulous attention to detail not only showcases the capabilities of vector graphics but also expands the boundaries of what artists previously thought possible with this medium.
  • Tom Whalen: Tom Whalen is an influential vector artist known for his bold graphic style that has vintage design and comic book art influences. Whalen’s work is characterized by the bold use of color and form, and his art is very popular in the world of pop culture posters. His posters for classic films and popular TV shows capture the essence of the subjects with sleek, stylized lines and shapes, making his work highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts of pop art.
  • Cristiano Siqueira: Chirstiano Sisqueira, also known as ChrisVector is a Brazilian illustrator known for his highly detailed vector illustrations that often blend elements of realism with graphic design. His work is widely known in the commercial sector, having worked for major sporting events like the FIFIA World Cup, ESPN, Nike and companies like Adobe. His portfolio showcases a diverse range of subjects, from athlete portraits that capture the intensity and focus of sports to fantastical, superhero-themed pieces that perfectly blend a comic book style with digital art precision

Digital Photography

Digital Photography Example

Digital photography involves capturing images using digital cameras or devices with cameras built on them like smartphones and tablets. Unlike traditional photography that uses film, digital photography uses electronic sensors to capture images and then save them as digital files, allowing the artist to review and edit almost immediately the captured images, transforming the process of photography completely.

 

Some of the common styles we see in digital photography are portrait photography, landscape photography, street photography, fashion photography, architectural and wildlife photography and sports photography. All of these styles showcase beautiful, unique moments, natural scenes, individuals or groups of persons for artists of commercial purposes, demonstrating the diverse and dynamic nature of digital photography in capturing the world around us.

Software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Capture One and DxO PhotoLab are most commonly used for photo management and photo manipulation, given they have extensive tools for retouching, compositing, editing, raw processing and correcting photographs that are very appreciated by professional photographers.

To take digital photographs you’ll need:

  • Digital Cameras
  • Lenses
  • Tripods and Stabilization
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Storage Devices
  • A Laptop or PC

Famous Digital Photographers

Some of the most popular digital photographers are:

 

  • Steve McCurry: Steve McCurry is a well known photographer that uses vibrant, saturated images that tell profound human histories, famous for his iconic photograph “Afghan Girl”, which was originally shot on film, however has technology evolved, McCurry continued his documentation of human stories around the world, capturing the essence of human emotion and the spirit of the places he photographs.
  • Cindy Sherman: Cindy Sherman is an American artist that explores the construction of identity and the nature of representation through her conceptual self-portraits, often transforming herself into various personas, using digital tools to alter her environment and appearance. Her transition to digital photography has enabled more complex and layered compositions, enhancing her ability to manipulate images and deepen the narrative she crafts through her portraits.
  • Annie Leibovitz: Annie Leibovits is one of the most celebrated photographers today, known for her ability to capture her subjects with profound depth and a narrative-driven approach, her portrait art solely focuses on capturing the personality and emotions of her subjects and her work has included photographing celebrities, politicians, and cultural icons, making her one of the most famous figures in the contemporary portrait photography world.

Pixel art

Pixel Art

Pixel art is a form of digital art where the images are created and edited using pixels as building blocks, where each pixel serves as an important component of the overall image. The overall aesthetic of pixel art is intentionally reminiscent of the early days of computer games, where the screen was visibly divided in piles due to technology limitations.

 

Some of the common styles we see in pixel are are isometric pixel art, where the X, Y and Z axis are shown at equal angles, and is often used for video game graphics; Sprite art, which involves creating a small character and “actions” or “interactive elements” of said character to be used in video games; and, Tilesets, which are collections if images (tiles) that can be grouped together in a grid to create larger images like maps or complex scenes.

The software you need to make pixel art is not necessarily the same you use for digital painting, although some of them have features that allow you to make pixel art on them, some specialized software like Asepite, Pyxel Edit and Piskel work better. Some of these software are paid, while others are free, but have less features.

 

While pixel art can be made with just a mouse, many artists use drawing tablets for more precise control, early stages of design and composition and to manipulate the pixels with ease, but what is needed is a high resolution display to see clearly your work, especially when working with detailed images.

Pixel Art Artists

Some notable pixel artists are:

  • eBoy: A collective known for creating complex pixel art pieces often referred to as “pixoramas.” Their artwork typically features intricate cityscapes and has been used in a variety of media, from posters to apparel and advertisements.
  • Paul Roberston: Renowned for his work in video game pixel art, particularly for his animations. His style is vibrant and detailed, often filled with imaginative creatures and fantastical themes.
  • Junkboy: Known for his work at Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, Junkboy’s art is characterized by its unique blend of pixel art and modern design sensibilities.

Fractal art

Fractal Art Examples

Fractal art is a form of digital art that uses mathematical formulas to create complex, detailed pieces that look similar no matter how close you zoom in on them, these patterns are called fractals, and they are patterns that repeat at different scales, they are infinite and often resemble shapes seen in nature, like tree branches, snowflakes or coastlines.

 

To make fractal art you need software like UltraFractal, Mandelbulb 3D, Apophysis and Fractint, besides that you’ll need a high-performance computer (especially for 3D fractals) and a high resolution display to appreciate the intricate details of fractal art.

Fractal Art Artists

Some of the most notable fractal artists are:

  • Benoit Mandelbrot: the father of fractal geometry.
  • Julius Horthuis: known for his cinematic and immersive 3D fractal environments.
  • Daniel White: one of the pioneers in exploring 3D fractals.

Digital Collage

Digital Collage

Digital collage is a form of digital art that combines various digital elements into a single composition; this technique involves using digital tools to merge photos, graphics, text and textures into a single piece of media, creating a layered, complex piece. In contrast with traditional collage, which uses physical materials, digital collage is made using software, giving more space for creativity, flexibility and experimentation.

Some of the common styles we see in digital collage include photomontage, which combines several photographs to make a new surreal or abstract compositions, mixed media, which integrates drawings, texts and other elements to the composition, surrealism, which inspired in the art movement combines fantastical elements defying logics or proportions, and pop art collage, which uses elements from popular media with vibrant colors and satirical messages.

Software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Corel Painter, andAdobe Illustrator are the most popular choice for digital collage and photomontage artists due to their image editing features, like layering, masking, blending and digital painting, plus their vector-based capabilities and components that make possible to make commercial art out of these pieces.

To make digital collages you’ll need a computer or laptop with high processing power, a graphics tablet or a tablet you can draw and edit your images on and a high resolution display with color accurate configurations, especially if you plan to print or reproduce your digital collages in some printed form.

Digital Collage Artists

Some notable digital collage artists are:

  • Erik Johansson: Erik Johansson is a Swedish photographer and visual artist renowned for his surreal and mind-bending digital collages. Johansson’s work often challenges the viewer’s perception of reality by seamlessly blending elements of multiple photographs to create new, impossible scenes.
  • Julie Cockburn: Julie Cockburn transforms found photographs into striking pieces of art by adding layers of embroidery, paint, and other materials, which she then digitizes and manipulates further. Her work is particularly noted for the way it recontextualizes vintage portraits by overlaying geometric patterns and vibrant colors into the fabric of the original images.
  • Matt Wisniewski: Matt Wisniewski is an artist based in New York, celebrated for his ethereal colleges that blend elements of nature with human figures. His digital artworks create a sense of harmony and dissonance simultaneously by fusing images of natural landscapes with urban and human forms.

3D Artwork

3D Artwork

3D artwork refers to art created in a three dimensional space using digital tools, it includes everything, from sculpted models to environments and animations. This art form can be visualized from multiple angles, providing a more realistic representation of objects, characters and scenes.

Some of the most common 3D art styles are realistic, which mimics the reality from textures to lighting and details to create lifelike images and animations; stylized, which uses exaggerated or overly-simplified forms, colors and textures to convey a particular aesthetic vision; abstract, which employs geometric shapes, unconventional forms, and creative interpretations of subjects; and low-poly, which uses a small number of polygons for a retro or simple effect.

Among the most used software for 3D art we can find Autodesk Maya, Blender, ZBrush and Cinema 4D, used for modeling, sculpting, animation, simulation and rendering. Some of these software, like Blender, are free and some others, like ZBrush and Cinema 4D are paid.

To make 3D art you’ll need a very powerful computer, with a high performing CPU and GPU and more than enough RAM to handle the intensive processing requirements of 3D rendering and simulations, you’ll also need a 3D input device, be it a graphics tablet, a 3D mice or an additional keyboard to program shortcuts and interact better with the software and 3D models.

3D Artwork Artists

Some notable 3D artists are:

  • Beeple: Famous for his daily digital pieces and a landmark NFT sale, Beeple uses various 3D software to create vibrant and often surreal visual artworks.
  • Andrew Kramer: Known for his work in motion graphics and visual effects tutorials through Video Copilot, impacting many who work in the visual effects industry.
  • Stefan G. Butcher :Renowned for his monster series, Bucher combines 3D rendering with real ink splatters to create unique artworks.

2D Animation

 

2D Animation

2D animation involves creating the illusion of movement in a two dimensional space, where characters, creatures, FX, backgrounds that are created in flat environments instead of using 3D. Animators use frame sequences to depict motion, where each frame is slightly different than the other and then played in a sequence to simulate movement. 2D animation has a rich history, from the early days of cinema to the advanced digital techniques of today. Despite the rise of 3D animation, 2D remains a popular and influential medium due to its artistic flexibility and emotional appeal, it continues to evolve with technology, incorporating new tools and techniques that are used in entertainment, education and marketing.

Some of the common styles we see in 2D animation are:

  • Traditional Animation: Classic hand-drawn animation where each frame is drawn by hand. It’s known for its fluid motion and artistic character.
  • Vector-Based Animation: Uses computer-generated vector graphics, which makes it easier to manipulate because the images can be scaled and transformed without losing quality, popular in kids’ cartoons and shows.
  • Motion Graphics: Involves animating graphic design elements primarily used for media branding, music videos, and advertising.

The software used for 2D animation varies depending on the style and purpose, for example, Adobe Animate is widely used for vector-based animations, Toon Boom Harmony is the industry standard for TV and film, known for its range of tools, After Effects is used for motion graphics and animations used in commercial and film post production and Clip Studio Paint used for anime and traditional frame-by-frame animations.

To make 2D animations you’ll need a graphics tablet, a high performance computer and if possible, a set of dual monitors for the several timelines, tools and windows of your preferred animation software.

2D Animator Artists

Some notable 2D animators and artists are:

  • Hayao Miyazaki: Hayao Miyazaki is maybe one of the most popular and respected figures in the world of animation, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, his films are celebrated for their depth, beauty and storytelling, where stunning hand-drawn environments and complex characters explore themes of nature, humanity and spirituality. Films like “Spirited Away”, “The Princess Mononoke”, and “Howl’s Moving Castle” have captivated the hearts of more than one generation, inspiring many artists and animators to pursue creative careers. Miyazaki’s dedication to traditional animation techniques, even in an era increasingly dominated by CGI, has made him a strong defender of the 2D animation art.
  • Genndy Tartakovsky: Genndy Tartakovsky is known for his distinctive style that blends sharp geometric designs with fluid, dynamic motion. As the creator of iconic shows such as “Samurai Jack” and “Dexter’s Laboratory,” Tartakovsky has influenced the landscape of Western animation with his innovative approaches to storytelling and visual composition.
  • Rebecca Sugar: Rebecca Sugar, creator of “Steven Universe,” represents a newer generation of 2D animators who are breaking ground in both the style and the contents of their work. “Steven Universe” is loved not only for its unique and expressive art style but also for its progressive portrayal of gender and relationships, setting new standards for cultural representation across all children’s media.

3D Animation

3D Animation

3D animation is a technique in digital media where objects and characters are modeled in 3D and then animated to appear moving within a digital environment. This method creates realistic animations, as characters and objects can be viewed from any angle, providing a new depth of perspective that wasn’t possible with 2D animation. 3D animation is commonly used in film, television, and gaming industries, where studios craft vivid, immersive worlds that capture the viewer’s attention and draw them to the digital realm.

Some common styles we see in 3D animation is photorealistic animation, which mimics the real world as close as possible, cartoon animation, which uses exaggerated motions and stylized designs, usually seen in children’s shows, abstract animation, which focuses on non-realistic designs and effects that challenge the physical laws of our world, and motion capture, where the movement of real actors is tracked via sensors and used to animate digital models more realistically.

The software used for 3D animation is Autodesk Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D and 3DS Max, and the hardware usually consists on a high performing workstation, composed by a great CPU, an amazing, high-end GPU and lots of RAM, a good quality display, and a motion capture system if that’s the route you’re planning on following with your animations.

Some notable animation studios are Pixar Animation Studios, Dreamworks Animation, and Blizzard Entertainment, which have produced some of the most famous, iconic and successful films and games in the industry and continue to work on wonderful animation projects that push the boundaries of art and storytelling in animation.

Concept Art

 

Concept Art

Concept art is a form of illustration where artists convey ideas that are later used for films, games, animations, or comic books before it is put into the final product. It’s mainly used to visualize environments, characters, objects like vehicles, weapons and other props and provide a visual representation of them before they are fully developed. Concept artists use their imagination to bring those ideas to life and use them as beacons to guide other creators and even inspire other artists in the creative team.

Some common styles we see in concept art are photorealistic, which gives a clear and direct representation of the envisioned scene, character or object, stylized, where a unique art style is used and is often seen in animation and video games, environmental, where the main focus are backgrounds, light settings and scene compositions, and character design, which involves creating character, from their looks to their personality expressed in the details on their clothing, accessories and physical features.

The softwares used in concept art is about the same that artists use in digital painting, given this is only in the early stages of a game, it’s much easier to change sketches and drawings than to change full 3D models and illustrations. We have Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, Procreate, while for environmental art we have SketchUp and Blender.

To make concept art you need a drawing tablet, like a Wacom Cintiq or an iPad Pro, although a good graphics tablet is always preferred, especially if you’re taking the professional route, a high resolution display, and a computer with great processing power, especially if you’re working in environmental concept art.

Concept Artists

Some notable concept artists are:

  • Feng Zhu: Feng Zhu is a highly respected figure in the concept art industry, known for his vast contributions to both the film and video game sectors. Over his career, Zhu has worked with major companies such as Electronic Arts, Sony, and Microsoft, helping to shape the visual direction of various high-profile projects.
  • Ralph McQuarrie: Ralph McQuarrie played a pivotal role in the creation of the “Star Wars” universe. His early concept art for the original trilogy was instrumental in bringing George Lucas’s visions to life. McQuarrie’s illustrations of characters such as Darth Vader, R2-D2, and the stormtroopers, as well as his depictions of key scenes and environments, were foundational in establishing the iconic aesthetic of the series.
  • Syd Mead: Syd Mead is often referred to as a “visual futurist” because of his ability to project and create future-thinking concepts that combine future technology with imaginative art. His work on films such as “Blade Runner,” “Tron,” and “Aliens” has left a lasting impact on the science fiction genre, offering visions of the future that are both inspiring and cautionary.

CGI Art

CGI Art

 

CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery, and refers to artworks created entirely through computer software. This broad category includes 3D models, animations, and digital paintings that produce images or effects for movies, television, video games, etc. While concept art is placed at the early stages of media design, CGI is usually the final result, fully developed, produced and rendered, ready to use and be displayed to the public.

Some of the most common styles we see in CGI art is Photorealistic, which is used in film and television for live action shows, stylized, which is used in animated films and video games, and simulation-based, which uses physics engines to simulate real-world behaviors like fluid dynamics, smoke, fire and water movement.

To make CGI Art you’ll need software like Autodesk Maya, Blender and Cinema 4D, and regarding hardware, a high performing workstation is a must, as well as a graphics card and if possible, render farms, which will help with the rendering time in animations.

CGI Artists

Some notable CGI artists are:

  • Andrew Kramer: Known for his visual effects tutorials on Video Copilot, Kramer has been influential in the democratization of CGI techniques, making high-level skills accessible to amateurs and professionals alike.
  • Ken Perlin: A pioneer in the field of CGI, Perlin developed the Perlin noise function, which is widely used in CGI for generating natural-looking textures and effects.
  • Beeple (Mike Winkelmann): Recently famous for his work in digital art and NFTs, Beeple has been creating and selling vast, detailed digital landscapes and abstract designs using various CGI techniques.

Anime Art

Anime Art

 

Anime art refers to the style of drawing and animation that comes from Japan or is inspired by it. The anime art form originated in Japan in the 1910’s and has become globally popular, characterized by its colorful graphics, fantastical themes and eye-catching characters, anime covers a wide range of genres and appeals to diverse audiences, and is used in a variety of media, including TV shows, and movies. This art form focuses on world building, storytelling, character design and cinematography.

Some of the common styles we see in anime art are realistic, where anime aims for proportionally accurate representation of characters and backgrounds, Chibi, where exaggeratedly cute proportions are used to convey a more child-like appearance, Moe, which focuses on young and cute characters designed to evoke a feeling of affection in the viewer, Shoujo, which features characters with long limbs, large eyes and flowing hair to emphasize beauty and “romantic emotions”, Gothic, which is very elaborated, often covering themes of fantasy and horror, and Mecha, which focuses on highly detailed and complex designs of robots and machines.

The software used for anime art varies according to the skill level, intent and production stage. For drawing anime art and manga, software like Medibang Paint, Ibis Paint and PaintTool SAI is commonly used, for illustrations and background art, software like Adobe Photoshop and ClipStudioPaint are the best, and for animation, ToonBoom Harmony, OpenToonz, and also Clip Studio Paint are the most used software.

Anime Artists

Some notable anime artists and creators are:

  • Akira Toriyama: Akira Toriyama was one of the most iconic manga and anime artists, best known for creating “Dragon Ball,” a series that became a cornerstone of global pop culture. Toriyama’s distinctive style, characterized by dynamic character designs with bold, expressive features and amazing action sequences, has defined an entire generation of anime and inspired countless creators all around the globe.
  • Makoto Shinkai: Makoto Shinkai has been acclaimed for his visually stunning films, such as “Your Name” and “Weathering With You.” Shinkai’s work is renowned for its breathtakingly detailed and beautifully saturated depictions of both fantastical and everyday settings. His ability to capture light and landscape in a nearly photorealistic yet warmly inviting way makes his films visually unique in the anime industry.
  • Masashi Kishimoto: Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of “Naruto,” is another pivotal figure in anime and manga. His series has not only been one of the best-selling manga and anime franchises globally but has also influenced an entire genre of anime storytelling. Kishimoto’s art is notable for its fluid motion and expressive character designs, capable of conveying intricate emotions and thrilling action.

VR Art

VR Art

 

VR (Virtual Reality) art refers to the creation and experience of making art using virtual reality technology. VR Art involves painting, creating and manipulating art in a three dimensional environment accessible through VR headsets. Viewers experience these artworks as if they are inside or part of them, offering a completely new perspective compared to traditional two-dimensional art forms.

Commons styles we see in VR art include immersive installations, which blend visual and auditory elements to create a sensory experience, sculptural simulations, where artists use VR to sculpt and model figures and objects that can be viewed and interacted with in a virtual space, Abstract experiences, where artists play with perspective, scale, movement and perception in ways that are impossible in the physical world, and narrative journeys, where the environment and interactive elements serve as props to unfold a story-driven journey.

The software used to make VR art is quite different to what we usually see in digital art given this is a new art form, and can only work if you have a VR headset, so don’t be surprised if you can’t download them or find them right away. Some of them include Tilt Brush by Google, Oculus Medium, and Adobe Aero.

To make VR art you’ll also need a VR Headset like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Valve Index, controllers and trackers to follow your hand’s movements and allow you to interact with the VR world, and a high performing computer to run VR software.

VR Artists

Some popular VR artists are:

  • Goro Fujita: An artist who explores the possibilities of VR art, creating animated scenes and interactive experiences that showcase the potential of the medium.
  • Elizabeth Edwards: A VR sculptor who uses platforms like Tilt Brush to create detailed and expressive 3D models, pushing the boundaries of digital sculpture.
  • Anna Zhilyaeva: Known for her VR paintings that blend traditional techniques with modern technology, creating dynamic performances where she paints live in VR.

Datamoshing

Datamoshing

 

Datamoshing is a digital art technique that manipulates images and video data to create visual “glitches” and distortions, involving altering, adding or removing pixels or keyframes from video files to confuse video compression algorithms, resulting in non-controlled visual effects where images smear or blend together. While this is not a mainstream art style, it’s become quite popular and seen in trends recently, playing with perception of reality, and in meme culture.

The two main styles are P-moshing, which consists of removing P-frames, resulting in pixels and colors blending in striking ways, and B-moshing, which affects B-frames and results in unpredictable distortions.

The software used for datamoshing varies, going for plug-ins like Datamosh, Apps like MoshUp and video editing techniques used in softwares like Avidemux. You’ll also need a computer with good processing power as datamoshing can be resource-consuming, especially when working with high-resolution videos.

Datamoshing Artists

Some popular datamoshing artists are:

  • Takeshi Murata: One of the pioneers in the art of datamoshing, his work “Monster Movie” uses heavily processed video clips to transform a classic B-movie into a psychedelic cascade of colors and shapes.
  • David OReilly: An artist and filmmaker known for his innovative use of digital media, including datamoshing, to create unique animations and films.

Photobashing

Photobashing

 

Photobashing is one of the many digital art techniques used in concept art to create highly detailed and realistic images by combining photo elements with digital painting. This method allows artists to combine real life elements, textures and objects and then manipulate the lighting and atmosphere to create cohesive concept art pieces.

Some of the common styles we see in photobashing cover realistic environments, fantasy, sci-fi, urban design, industrial design, and character and creature design. Software like Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, Krita and Corel Painter are the primary tools of artists that use this technique, not only for their digital painting capabilities but for their powerful layering, masking and blending features. To use this technique you don’t only need a good grasp on digital painting and photo manipulation but also a powerful computer, a graphics tablet or pen display and a high resolution monitor.

Photobashing Artists

Some notable photobashing artists are:

  • Feng Zhu: Known for his concept art in the entertainment industry, Zhu often uses photobashing techniques to quickly develop complex scenes and refine them with digital painting.
  • Maciej Kuciara: An industry veteran whose work on major motion pictures and video games showcases his skill in blending photographic elements with digital art to create vivid, realistic scenes.

Webcomics

Webcomics

 

Webcomics are comics that are made and published primarily or exclusively digitally, they offer a wide range of genres and can be episodic, series or standalone stories. Webcomics might not be considered a form of digital art by everyone, however given how they have captured the attention, heart and minds of millions of people all around the world, they clearly show the power and influence of digital creativity, making them a solid form of digital art.

Some of the most common styles we see in webcomic art are anime and manga style, influenced by Japanese comics, Cartoon style, commonly used in slice of life and humor comics, Realistic style, commonly used in dramas and thrillers, Classic style, following the classic american comic book style, and Noir Style, used in mystery and crime webcomics where a dramatic and moody atmosphere is required.

To make webcomics you need a digital painting software like Adobe photoshop, but software that has more comic-oriented tools will be much more useful. Clip Studio Paint, Medibang Paint and Procreate are popular alternatives due to their easy-to-use interface, powerful drawing tools and comic paneling tools.

You’ll also definitely need a graphics tablet, a pen display or a tablet computer with enough processing power to handle said software.

Notable Webcomic Artists

Some notable webcomic artists and works are:

  • Sarah Andersen – “Sarah’s Scribbles”: Captures everyday life and personal idiosyncrasies, resonating particularly with young adults and discussing themes like adulthood and societal expectations.
  • Meredith Gran – “Octopus Pie”: This webcomic is a slice-of-life story set in Brooklyn, New York, featuring two women navigating their post-collegiate years. The art evolves over time, starting with a more cartoonish style and gradually becoming more detailed and expressive.
  • Gabriel Picolo – “Icarus and the Sun”: Piccolo gained fame through his detailed and dynamic illustrations on social media, leading to his popular webcomic based on Greek mythology. His use of vibrant colors and intense character expressions draws readers into his dramatic reinterpretations of classic tales.

AI Art

AI Art

 

AI art refers to the media created with the assistance of artificial intelligence, which involves using algorithms and machine model learnings to generate new artworks or transform already existing creations. AI systems analyze data, learn styles and apply them to create visual pieces, music, and even literary works.

There is no defined “style” in AI art, since AI learns and replicates already existing styles, however there are different types, like generative art, which mimic human art styles and uses algorithms to develop images that can range from abstract patterns to detailed landscapes. Neural Painting, which analyzes photographs and creates a new piece using a style learned from other artworks. Adn Style Transfer, which merges the style of one image with the content of another, creating a hybrid that maintains the contents of one image but adapts the style of the other.

Some of the software used for AI art are Midjourney, DeepArt, RunwayML, DALL-E, ArtBreeder and Google’s DeepDream.

Digital Art vs. Traditional Art

Digital art refers to art created using digital software and digital technology as part of the creative process, this means using software like Adobe Photoshop, drawing tablets, or even programming languages to create images, sculptures, animations, installations, and more. Traditional art involves creating art using physical art mediums and materials, like canvas, paint, clay, marble or photographic films, traditional art techniques include drawing, painting, sculpting and other creative methods that don’t involve the use of digital tools to create.

While digital art can start from traditional are (like scanning and painting over your sketches and photos) and traditional art can use technology (like using projectors or cameras to capture subjects and reference images) they differentiate the one from the other at the core creative stage, where one uses only physical mediums and the other uses only technological ones.

What digital art and traditional art have in common are the fundamental skills required to understand and execute artistic principles like composition, color theory, space and form. Whether digital or traditional, the artist needs to have a good grasp of the basics as well as creative expression to evoke emotions and provoke reactions from the viewers with their work.

The main differences between digital and traditional art, besides the tools and techniques used to create the art are the portability and replicability of the art, while traditional art has the “one of a kind” benefit that makes every piece so valuable, digital art can be easily stored, transported, reproduced and shared, making the “value” of it not comparable to a traditional art piece. The market audience and reach are another major difference, while traditional art is more fine art oriented, digital art is more public oriented, being easily shareable, it also reaches a wider audience faster than traditional art.

Digital Art Styles vs. Traditional Art Styles

The distinction between digital and traditional art styles has its roots in the mediums and techniques used, although fundamental concepts and techniques do overlap, traditional and digital art differ in how much each medium is capable of achieving.

Some digital art examples like digital painting and drawing have the same principles as traditional art, however when we talk about 3D modeling, vector art and photo manipulation, the limitations of traditional art are considerable.

Modern artists often blend traditional and digital methods to create hybrid styles. For instance, an artist might start a piece with pencil on paper, scan it, and then complete it using digital tools, however certain styles and mediums like the ones we see in impressionism, abstract art and expressionism are still not be able to be reproduced by technology, making traditional art styles and traditional painting techniques a unique experience.

Ultimately, both digital and traditional art styles offer unique advantages and challenges. As technology advances, the line between these two forms continues to blur, providing artists with an ever-expanding toolbox from which to draw their vision and creativity.

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