It is said that Architecture is the mother of all arts. If we dig deep into that statement, we understand how true it is. Both have changed with time. Both have started to interweave and drape against each other more smoothly.
New media art is a representation of art in a non-traditional way of expression. It can be put up as the penetration of various media in contemporary art practices. It involves more technology, computers, visual reality, artificial intelligence, user interface, etc.
Replication or duplication of temporary art material or its multiplication became possible and easier with the new media movement. Its outreach increased multifold and with the never-ending inventions in technology, and the already laid out vastness of contemporary art, new media art started flourishing. In the present times, new media art has covered enough to have influences on the lives of people.
Architecture took another direction altogether with the emergence of the new media art. Creating artificial spaces in real-time, 3D printing, video games with extensive architectural detailing, VFX effects for the screen, digital arts, computer graphics in 3D modeling, etc., are amongst a few of the panoramic examples of new media in architecture.
With changing times and emerging technologies, there hardly would be any stopping to these explorations of these artforms.
1. 3D printing | New media art
3D printing is the production of a three-dimensional object using a computer-generated model. It’s an additive process to create an object by laying down successive layers of raw material. One can see each of these layers in the object’s cross-section. 3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
This process was initially used only for the manufacture of essential products but now has become an important part of industrial production technology. It can manufacture in the range of a small daily use product to a large building, with more precision, speed, and better quality.
Some examples of 3D printing are consumer products (eyewear, footwear, design, furniture), industrial products (manufacturing tools, prototypes, functional end-use parts), dental products, prosthetics, architectural scale models & maquettes, reconstructing fossils, replicating ancient artifacts, reconstructing evidence in forensic pathology, movie props, etc.
Architecture has explored 3D printing to create a whole new experience with the use of various materials, finishes, textures, colors, scales, etc. It has now come to a point where it is used for the construction of actual scale functional buildings. Materials are still being explored and new materials emerge every day.
2. Digital arts and computer graphics
Digital art is the practice of art using digital technology in its creation and representation. It has been in practice since the 1960s and is extensively used in advertising and special effects for films. it is either used to create art directly with the help of computers or to convert a contemporary sample of art into a digital one using the same.
Fractal art is one interesting part of digital art where mathematics and algorithms are used to create artworks, of course with the help of computer technology. Fractal art could not have been developed by hand, but only with the use of computers can mathematics be solved to produce the desired images.
Using computers to superimpose virtual images onto realistic architectural samples to create a more desirable and more attractive space, is now gaining full shape. Not only is digital art being laid on top of existing real architecture, but new virtual samples of architectural buildings and spaces are even created to explore more on these grounds. 3D modeling using software likes 3Ds Max, Autodesk Maya, AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc., is being done in every corner of the world and the results are drawing attention across the globe.
3D modeling and motion walkthroughs of projects of all scales using these models have gone on to another level of looking real. The use of motion figures, lights, weather changes, contextual differences, etc., has become a relatively easier game thanks to digital art.
Motion walkthroughs detailed out further give you animated movies. Creation of characters, their movement, the surroundings, all is done on computers as a part of digital art. This has helped create spaces that virtually take you to another world. Advanced gaming zones are the precise and best examples of this.
Architects are using these media to create technical architectural drawings as paintings. Physically made models are photographed and used as a base for turning into a new piece of artwork altogether. Buildings are used as a canvas to be a part of urban design projects using these digitally created artworks.
3. Visual effects (VFX)
Thanks to movies and television we get to worlds that do not exist on our planet and are out of our imagination altogether. VFX is visual imagery created digitally out of the actual live-action shot and suitable to the scene. It is generally used extensively in cinemas, commercials, and video games. It is the integration between actual footage and this manipulated imagery to create realistic-looking environments for the context.
Commonly used software for VFX—3Ds Max, Autodesk Maya, Nuke, Adobe After Effects, etc. VFX makes life easy for the working team, as they can do all of this magic sitting on their computers.
Most of the video games used architectural computer-generated models to create backgrounds and storylines. Also in VFX used in movies use a lot of the same computer-generated models to create different spatial effects. Most of the animated movies again have a substantial amount of computer-generated models as their base. The best part is, these architectural elements in cinemas, commercials, video games, etc. are all made interactive; the opening of doors, aerial shots, cars going in the basement, a household with a functioning kitchen, activities in a restaurant, etc.
Earlier, it was architecture used as a base to create these models, now large-scale urban design projects, urban planning models have started using VFX as a part of their promotion campaigns. They create computer-generated models and turn the whole project into a superbly digitized film, to attract various clientele. Earlier architects used to be hired in the film animation studios, now architectural studios hire animation experts.
On the receiving end, the client or we as people get to see products or results of these visual effects and they take us to another world.
These are just a few examples of new media arts where architecture is seeping in and has become a common thread and a platform. We cannot help but imagine ourselves in these virtual worlds created by these forms of art.
Architecture becomes a primary base, as it considers people, and that is the most important factor in any form of artwork. People should be able to relate, be thrilled, be surprised, scared, it should arouse and tickle their emotions and reflexes and feelings, and architecture in one sweep covers all of these.