Saturday, November 26th, 2022

Types of Digital Art Right Now Explained

Computer-generated Painting 

When you say “art” then you have to understand that that word encompasses all forms of sensual delights that could be found on earth.

However, with the changing life and times, the forms and media of traditional art have drastically changed, evolving in ways that made the world marvel at its own inventions.

Digital art has taken traditional art on to the screen but what it has achieved are the combinations of distinctly different genres of art to produce something that has never been witnessed before.

Not only has it made the modes of fine arts exceedingly easy, and accessible for anyone to understand, but it has also opened new doors and pathways to absolutely magnificent career options.

However, for all those who want to understand the concept of digital art should first know about the essential types of the same.

Types of Digital Art

Computer generated Painting

And that’s precisely what we’re gonna tell you all about in the following read!

Computer-generated Painting 

So, contrary to what you may believe, the term “computer-generated” doesn’t necessarily mean that the computer creates the image.

Here, the term “generated” stands for the indirect painting work where the artist doesn’t create their artwork by hand but instead instructs the computer on how to do it by using a set formula of languages.

Since as early as the 1970s, the calculations and formulas required to construct an image are managed “behind the screen.” In this scenario, the overall impact or effort of the artist on the final results can vary from anywhere between 0 to 100 %. 

Generated images can also combine painting with photography.

However, these generated images are usually raster.

In the following sections, we have attempted to describe all of the subtypes for the usual computer-generated images for you to know all about them.

  1. Fractal Art

Fractal art is a type of algorithmic art that is created by calculating fractal objects. These calculations are represented as animations, still images, or any other forms of visual media.

The form and process of the fractal art developed around the mid-1980s and has continued to evolve spectacularly with time.

Fractal art is a genre and category of computer art and more widely, of the digital art that is part of the new media art.

The mathematical wonder of the fractal is contained in the intersection of the fractals in generative as well as computer art. 

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Image via naviretlav.com 

The fractals are the essence of the generated art. It depends on the language and instructions used for the computer to make the art. This is mainly worked with the language of formulas in order to form lines, colors, and structures.

Some of these formulas produce patterns that repeat themselves infinitely on a loop. These are known as “fractals.” These geometric shapes and forms could be split into different segments, each of which is a miniature part or copy of the original whole.

Fractal art is usually created indirectly with fractal-generating. This is done in three parts:

  • Setting and arranging the parameters of the appropriate fractal software
  • Execution of the possibly lengthy calculation
  • And finally, evaluation of the end result of the product itself

In some instances, other graphics programs are also used to further alter and modify the produced images.

There are two main subtypes of Fractal art, namely, the Julia set and Mandelbrot sets.

  1. Mandelbrot Set 

The Mandelbrot set is an infinitely self-repetitive pattern that was originally studied during 1918 by the French mathematician Pierre Fatou and Gaston Julia. However, it was Benoit Mandelbrot who mentioned the pattern in his work about fractal geometry.

In the year 1978, Robert Brooks, an American mathematician who first programmed a visualization and thereby introduced fractals in the field of arts.

In the field of digital painting; however, the process to produce Mandelbrot images is predetermined. It is based on the Mandelbrot equation. While personal and individual choices could possibly be applied for colors but not for forms. Images formed are entirely the result of a process of selection.

  1. L-systems

In the year 1968, Aristid Lindenmayer, a Hungarian theoretical biologist, developed a series of geometrical patterns which could describe the process of growth in plants.

Regarding the painting software of the same name, the same mathematical framework is used to form patterns of lines, colors, and shapes.

The patterns for L-systems could also be used to produce self-similar and repetitive fractals such as those of the Mandelbrot set. The method is executed by the computer, and the results are entirely on the process of construction. 

The artist can or originate the image, adapt the rules, and determine the final result.

  1. Stochastic rules

The factors of chance and uncertainty are used to a great extent to generate multiple variations on a theme. The artist could make an initial choice from a collection or a gallery of images and use that to follow a certain line of action to acquire a mechanism and series of “push-button transformations” in the form of shapes, colors, lines, and other parameters.

Finally, many parameters could be changed to manually customize or alter the image. This method differs significantly from a process of selection to a process of play or a process of construction.

Raster Painting

“Raster” stands for the format that is used to store images. It could even mean a mainstream term for a digital painting that uses this format. 

What happens in a raster painting is that the lines and colors are registered and applied pixel by pixel on the digital canvas. The photographic images are also stacked in the raster format.

The appearance of and procedures for creating these raster, or “grid” or “bitmap” paintings is pretty similar to the traditional painting techniques that require the use of real paint and brushes.

The image is created on the virtual canvas on-screen by putting individual strokes to form the complete the image. The final outcome is so realistic that all the characteristics of an individual painter’s hand are well preserved.

The only digital trait that could be seen is the flatness of the physical carrier. 

The issues with this medium are usually with the ability to enlarge the image. It so happens more often than not, that the length and width of the final creation are as small as a mobile computer screen with the resolution falling as low as 72 dots per inch.

Now, if you want to transfer the image to a physical carrier of a standard size that could be hung on the wall, it needs to be substantially enlarged to be done so.

This process usually involves manual corrections which is a tedious and time-consuming procedure. Manual enlargement is also a big complication for selling and printing raster paintings.

However, in the recent editions of certain raster painting programs, the technique of “scripting” which allows the artist to replay the brushstrokes on a larger canvas on the desktop.

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Vector Painting

“Vector” stands for the kind of format, much like raster, could be used to store images as well as can be known as one of the methods for painting digitally.

Every line and shape created in a vector painting is retained in geometrical formulas. The patterns and formulas respond to single-click operations that include change color, emboss, make transparent, flip group, cast shadows, etc.

The benefit that manual vector paintings provide is that the files for the vector format are small and they can be enlarged without losing out on sharpness just by entering different values for length and width.

The size and resolution of the vector images can actually be taken up to its maximum limit that the printer can take. The mathematical foundation of vectors involves “Bezier curves.”This is actually named after the renowned French engineer who developed these patterns in the year 1962, for Renault’s automobile design.

A manual vector painting is usually created by selecting basic shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. The artist can also paint them freehand and then transform their art using special vector tools.

The overall process of vector painting is somewhat like sculpting a definitive piece. It is more intuitive and spontaneous than creating artworks with raster.

The formula-based methods for vector painting don’t really allow to define too many characteristics or personal touches, for that matter.

However, a few individual and unique traits could still be felt in attributes such as composition, choice of subject, palette and gradients, painting concepts, atmosphere, etc. These can be further simulated to an extent by form. No brushstroke are involved in these methods.

Mixed Media and Hybrid Painting 

Painting media can include several combinations. Mixed media and hybrid paintings are created either by using different software for the same piece of painting or by using specific programs meant for hybrid painting.

The vector-raster combination for digital painting uses a combination of personal brush style of raster along with several forms of vector and its formula-based lines.

When you use different software for mixed or hybrid painting, they offer maximum contrast between soft and sharp and uni or duo-chromatic vectors as well as the broad color palette of raster. 

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Image via AM DeBrincat

Other popularly used combinations include manual vector with computer-generated, and photography with raster or vector painting and with computer “generated” artworks.

Certain hybrid painting programs (for example, ArtRage) make use of Bezier curves in the background to smoothen lines and curves of raster painting without requiring for the artist to intervene.

The procedure for painting in these media is usually pretty spontaneous. It is laid down on the virtual canvas stroke by stroke. The storage format is raster. 

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Image via AM DeBrincat

The smooth appearance of the final image created reflects a hybrid basis created by both vector and raster but not conforming to either, entirely.

Smoothing, in a way, mitigates the loss of resolution and helps ease the process of enlargement even when the software doesn’t offer “scripting.”


This is a technique that is used to compress two videos together, and removing the keyframe from the file, allowing the pixels of the video to “bleed” into each other. It could be created using software such as Adobe After Effects.

The process of data moshing involves manipulation of the data of the media files to get visual or auditory effects when the file is decoded. It could be done easily using free, cross-platform tools.

The latest, compressed video files have pretty complex methods of shortening the amount of storage or required bandwidth for displaying the video. Most formats won’t store the whole image for each image.

However, the frames that do store a complete picture are known as I-frames (Intra-coded). These could be displayed without any extra information.

Datamoshing with Avidemux

Image via datamoshing.com 

Frames that don’t retain the whole picture need information from other frames to be displayed by either subsequent frames or previous ones. Such frames are known as P-frames (Predicted) and B-frames (Bi-predictive).

So, instead of retaining full pictures, the P-frames and B-frames possess data that only describes only the differences in the image from the preceding frame, and/or from the next frame. This data is way smaller than what’s involved in retaining an entire image, more so for videos where there aren’t all that much movements.

New Photography

The relation and association between photography and painting actually go back to a couple of centuries. Transforming an image into a painting by placing it on a digital canvas could be done by pushing a single button. The photographer actually uses the same software for transforming and editing photo as the artist who creates a digital painting.

The shared toolbox involves changes in artistic developments to develop a transition zone between photography and painting. 

The following are the two crucial elements that constitute new digital photography:

  1. Filters

A wide range of varying media filters can provide beautiful effects resembling that of a traditional painted textured to an ordinary painting or screenshot. These effects include watercolor, oil painting, etching, wood-cut, etc.

Stylized filters can place them in the visual framework of Van Gogh, Seurat, Pollock, and many others.

On the other hand, form filters could create effects like that of a mirror, wave, shear, multiply, or circle. Or these could break up an image in a kaleidoscopic formation of geometric forms that radiate from a central, focal point in perfect symmetry.   

  1. Mixed Media

Even when most transformations could be achieved by pushing a single panel, they are actually a part of a more complex procedure. This complex method combines many kinds and forms photographic, computer-generated, and painterly attributes in subsequent stages.

A legit workflow may include a photo or a screenshot taken and subjected to a transformation like a swirl. It is then put on the canvas as a component of painting. New photography that is applied as mixed-media makes an essential contribution to a modern visual language.

All photo-based art uses raster as its storage format.

2 Dimensional Computer Graphics

The composition of a 2D or 2-Dimensional work of art possesses the dimensions of length and width but not of depth. Any 2D artwork, including prints, paintings, and drawing, are composed of shapes.

These 2D patterns and images combine vector graphics or geometric models, raster graphics or digital images, mathematical equations, and functions as well as text to be typeset that is defined by font style, content, color, orientation, and position.

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These can be created using many Graphic software such as Illustrator or Flash.

The artist creates 2-Dimensional images entirely in a computerized virtual environment using painting tools that are capable of emulating natural media styles. That is why this form is commonly referred to as “Natural Media.”

The two essential elements that constitute and affect the very structure of every 2D structure are:

  1. Shapes

The shape of anything is a 2-Dimensional area is defined as one way or the other. It could be literally anything, including space, line, texture, color, and a variety of other factors.

The “shape” can be categorized into two main sections, namely, geometric and free-form.

The “free-form” shapes are also known as organic shapes.

On the other hand, geometric shapes are usually defined by names and by the contours that form that particular shape.

These shapes are classified by different names such as circle, rectangle, square, triangle, etc. The very factor that makes every geometric shape unique in their constituent contours that could be described mathematically.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have those shapes that defy the geometric structure are known as free-form or organic shapes. Free-form shapes are usually irregular, uneven, or asymmetric.

One of the primary reasons behind free-form shapes being considered “organic” is because they are mainly taken to be natural shapes that include rock formation, clouds, plant life, different organisms ranging from single-celled beings to massively-structured animals and, of course, human beings.

  1. Positive Shapes and Negative Shapes 

Every 2-Dimensional artwork consists of two basic natures of shapes: positive and negative. These are incorporated into the foundation of every 2-D piece of art, be it traditional or digital.

A positive shape is usually defined as the figure or subject matter of an overall composition.

It is explicitly and clearly defined by a value, texture, or a line.

While, a negative shape is defined in terms of space, or more accurately, the definition of “negative space.” Now, the concept and definition of negative space are best considered or thought of as simply an empty space or space that isn’t occupied by a definable object.

3 Dimensional Computer Graphics 

The 3 Dimensional or 3-D computer graphics use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data which is retained in the computer system. It is used for the purpose of performing calculations and executing 2D images.

3-Dimensions scenes and shapes could be created digitally using specialized 3D software such as 3D MAX, AutoCAD and Maya, etc. 

These images can be stored for viewing later or may be displayed in real-time.

There are three basic phases or stages involved in the creation of 3D Graphics. These are defined for you as follows:

3D modeling. This is the process of forming and structuring a computer model of the shape of an object.

Layout an Animation. This is the process of programming the motion and placement of objects within a scene.

3D rendering. these are the computer calculations that produce the image based on the placement of light, surface types, and other qualities.

Pixel Art

Pixel art consists of the kind of digital art in which the image is formed at the level of pixels. It makes use of faster graphics software and is definitely one of the very first types that was developed in the digital art department.

This form is developed by using raster graphics software where the images could be edited at the pixel level.

In fact, each one of us has enjoyed some form of pixel art and continued to do so without even realizing it.

For example, most computer video games are based on pixel art, and nowadays, phone games are based on the same techniques as well.

The beauty of this type of digital art is actually composed of the 8-bit and 16-bit computers and video game consoles, along with other limited systems like graphing calculators.

Mostly, the color palette available for pixel art is considerably limited when it comes to size. In fact, some pixel arts use only two colors.

Making or altering pixel art objects and/or characters to put them in video games is, at times, known as “spriting.” This is a term that actually originated from the hobbyist community.


Image via brisbanepowerhouse.org 

In all likeliness, the term “spriting” has come from the word “sprite” which is used to define and describe a 2-Dimensional bitmap in computer graphics, which is used in tandem with other bitmaps to build a larger scene.

Integrated Art

Integrated art is pretty similar to what we understand as the “mixed media” of the traditional art world. Well, this is the same thing for digital art.

Artists usually combine several different techniques in order to get unique results. The digital environment is comparatively way more lenient and unrestricted in this sort of manipulation and integration than conventional mediums.

Dynamic Painting

Dynamic Painting is a form of Generative Art. Now, Generative Art is defined as the type of art which is entirely or in part has been created using an autonomous system.

In the present context, this “autonomous art” is usually a non-human form that independently ascertains features of a particular artwork which would otherwise, would require decisions taken directly by the artist.

In some instances, the human creator, that is, the artist themselves, may assert the “generative system” represents their personal artistic idea, and in other cases, the systems may take on the role of the creator.

Dynamic painting or “Generative Art” is often recognized as a form of algorithmic art. This means that dynamic painting is an algorithmically determined computer-generated artwork procedure. It actually covers a wide range of art-forms.

The different types of it are:

  • Music
  • Visual Art
  • Architecture
  • Live Coding
  • Software Art
  • Literature

Digital Illustration

Digital or computer illustration involves the use of digital tools to create images under the direct management and manipulation of the artist themselves. It is usually done with a tablet or a mouse.

It differs from computer-generated art solely on the fact that the latter is produced by a computer that uses mathematical models that have been created by the artist.

It also deviates from the digital manipulation of photographs. It is absolutely an original construction that’s done “from scratch.”

And although the elements of photography could be incorporated into these digitally illustrated works, they may not be the primary basis. 

The two primary types of illustrating tools that are required for these digital art projects are “bitmapped” that’s also known as “raster” as well as vector applications.

The Bitmap applications are usually known as “painting” programs like Adobe Photoshop.

And on the other hand, software like Adobe Illustrator that is also known as “drawing programs” are ideal for vector applications.


The process of photo painting uses an essential combination of painting and photography. What the artist does is use paint software and image editing to substantially modify and build upon the traditional techniques of photography along with the techniques used in the darkroom.

The methods and techniques of photo-painting involve the modification of the structure and basic composition of the original photographic image.

The software that is primarily used for adding and altering the effects of the image is Photoshop. You actually have the option to paint of any photographic digitally the same way you paint anything on a realistic canvas using real paint and brush in the traditional way.

You can add numerous effects to the image by using extensive digital brushstrokes to get the desired result. Apart from that, there are several other tools and filters that will help you achieve the kind of results you wish or even more amazing ones than what you had expected.

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Image via Erika C Brothers

Digital Collage

The technique of creating digital collage combines several images from varying sources into a single image. This is commonly done and could be achieved by using the techniques and methods of digital layering. Digital layering techniques used in image edition and paint software yield unique and marvelous results when it comes to collage, replacing the traditional need of doing it manually.

The artist can also x-ray or radar images to create images that may not always be visible to the eye under normal circumstances but could only be seen in artificially constructed specific environments. 

This definitely broadens the horizons of human perception to unimaginable extents.


So that was it about some of the primary types and forms of digital arts which you should know all about.

We hope this article has been of help to you.

And if you’re trying to make it big in this field right now, we sincerely wish all the success for you!

Thanks for reading!

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Anton Giuroiu

Anton Giuroiu

As a sheer idealist, Anton’s approach in architecture and content curation is tedious and meticulous this clearly reflects in his work here on Homesthetics with each and every article, after a decade of work on Homesthetics, the content creation guidelines still being improved every month.

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