I tend to like art history and have taken a college course in such as a fine arts elective for my Accounting major. In the past you notice that artists strived for the pursuit of excellence in attempting to create paintings that looked exactly like something in reality, whether this be a portrait, landscape, or still life painting. Historically what other method did they have of archiving the appearance of something? Fine arts in painting that approached photo realism was the only means to preserve some memory of the past. Looking today in magazines like American Artist you notice many professional artists continue to strive to produce photo realistic paintings. Is this really a good idea in the current times, or is this simply doing things the hard way? We have technology today where cameras and computers can produce images in photo realistic quality within minutes. With digital art, it is very easy to download camera photos, or scan pictures, and then take them to a graphic arts program for cloning, and even special effects where at the click of a couple menu options you can make a photo look like it was done as a painting by a fine artist. With this in mind there is suspicion layed forward to the authenticity of any digital artwork claimed to be done from scratch. It is probably a good idea to create a few pieces in the traditional manner of the pursuit of excellence by pursuing photo realism in fine arts painting.
It is a good way of displaying skills and ability to paint, yet is it really necessary and a good idea for your overall goal? Since the invention of photography you notice in history of art books that many artists have moved away from this form and technique of application. Impressionism was the first grass roots movement away from photo realism, and since then works like Pollock have taken art into new directions. I find with digital artwork that photo realistic painting seems to be the hard way of doing things since computer graphic arts phtotography can easily create this in minutes. Artists today are better off exploring these new means of creating artwork, such as digital graphic programs and special effects ideas like Kai's tools. Instead of finding a technique and practicing the mastering of it's use (as in the days of natural media), I find myself approaching computer graphic arts in a scientific type of experimentation frame of mind. Creating objects and images that look nothing like photo realism with digital art is the way to create something new and different.
With this in mind there is no question of authenticity or doing things the hard way. This new technology is young and has much potential to start significant change in the direction of artistic trends and new inventions. Any comments to add here to my thoughts?