Digital art is widespread in a variety of art and design disciplines, particularly in the United Kingdom's university sector - witness the growing number of courses that now include digital imaging in their curricula ("The pixel problem" THES, November ). Digital techniques provide artists and designers with a powerful range of constantly improving tools. Two-dimensional digital imaging has long been used in a variety of applications, from "static" fine and graphic arts, to time-and-motion animation and special effects in films and television. However, the "quality" of these works still depends on the abilities of the author. Of course digital imaging has pros and cons, but we would be foolish not to explore and use it.
Three-dimensional art and design such as sculpture, metalwork and silversmithing, industrial design, architecture, etc, has somewhat lagged behind techniques for work in two dimensions. However, 3D disciplines are now catching up via spatial tools. Rapid prototyping methods allow 3D data held in the computer to be "printed out" in a variety of materials, including plastics and metals. These techniques were originally developed for the engineering industries but are increasingly being hi-jacked by artists and designers.
The University of Teesside is hosting a "Computers in Art and Design Education" conference in April 1999 (CADE99) to discuss these very issues. This will be accompanied by an exhibition of digital art and design work.
Bob Clay Principal lecturer in industrial design University of Teesside