Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Although there's still some argument about whether computers should have anything to do with Art (with the capital "A"), there's a lot less of it now than there ever has been. However, the argument has died down a lot with the avalanche of sheer _content_ from Hollywood and Uncle Joe's basement. This wasn't always the case. In the beginning serious people asked serious questions like "can computers appreciate beauty?" and the like. The emerging answer seems to be that it makes a great paintbrush. A paintbrush makes no commentary about the quality of the work, but in the hands of a master can demonstrate the subtlest shadings and evoke the strongest emotions. The computer is a tool, and a liberating one. Your standard paintbrush also doesn't have an undo. The first people to use a computer to generate images generally weren't interested in artistic effect. They just wanted something easier to interpret than a printout full of numbers or stacks of punch cards. In fact the, the first radiosity rendering (radiosity is a special technique that computes the "energy" of light in a given scene) was not actually rendered by computer. A computer calculated a set of grey values for the surfaces of objects in a scene and a human artist cut and ironed special paper together to create the scene based on the computer's calculations. [MASSON 389] Now, thanks to the motion picture and advertising industries, computer generated imagery (CGI) is usually used to augment reality (as in adding dinosaurs) or to extol the advantages of a particular product. Any artistic merit in these is due to the hard work and late nights of the animators and production crew, and usually only tolerated by management as long as it doesn't get in the way of pushing the product. (That sounds a bit biased, which may not be proper for an encyclopedia, even an "informal" one... Been in the industry too long, I guess.) MASSON - CG101, Terrence Masson, 1999, New Riders Publishing.