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So, You Always Wanted to be an Artist, But You Can't Draw a Straight Line

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It's not uncommon to want to create beautiful drawings/paintings/sculpture, but to be stymied by simply not having the fine motor control needed to put what's in your head down on paper. Some folks turn to photography, but that requires staging a scene so you can photograph it.

If you're like me, most of what you imagine is just that: imaginary. It can't be staged in the real world, which means it can't be photographed. Before the world's tech wizards came up with computer graphic imaging (CGI), folks who wanted to put their visual imaginings on paper, but couldn't draw to save their lives, were just out of luck. Happily, that ain't necessarily so, no more.

I don't have the problem of being unable to draw a straight line. I've got plenty of eye-hand coordination and can put most anything I can imagine down on paper or carve it into a sculpture, or write it in a book, and so forth. I do it all the time, as you can see by visiting my website at I do, however, still like to fool around with CGI. For me, it's just another tool, like a paint brush or an airbrush.

I'm not, however, writing this for me. I'm writing it for the bazillions of folks who are tech-savvy non-artists.

Over the holidays, I downloaded the new version of my favorite CGI software package, POV-Ray ( which was released in November of 2013. One of the things I like about this software is you work with it like any other computer programming language. If you can type -- even one fingered -- you can create 3-D images pretty much limited only by your imagination. Well, maybe also limited by your patience and willingness to pfutz around until you get it just right, but that's true of just about anything.

Most POV-Ray users actually go out of their way to create photorealistic scenes filled with "real" objects. The results can be truly spectacular, but no more so than a really good color photograph. I think the software comes into its own when used to depict scenes that could never possibly be staged.

Of course, the motion picture industry has been using CGI for decades to produce special effects that could never be staged. It's the difference between the old Flash Gordon and Commander Cody films and everything since Star Wars. There's just no comparison!

What I'm talking about is using the same technology to update the imaginings of folks like Salvatore Dali. Dali's best work relied on his ability to produce almost photorealistic scenes that sprung from his fevered imagination. Think about what could be produced today without the limitations imposed by oil paint and canvas!


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