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Computer Generated Images Combining 3D models with photos, or crafting fully synthetic images using CGI or fractals

How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

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  #1  
Old 05-29-2007, 05:59 AM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
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How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

So I download and run Apophysis. I twiddle some settings and come up with this. It's all pretty and fun, blah, blah, blah. But did I create anything?

I guess that could be asked a few ways:
Did "I" create anything?
Did I "create" anything?
Did I create "anything"?
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2007, 06:54 AM
admirer admirer is offline
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

I of itself it seems.... ok.
But for generating abstract backgrounds or rendering smoke trails it seems quite good.
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:04 PM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

It's pretty. Sometimes that's all you need.

"Why" are you worrying?
Why are "you" worrying?
Why are you "worrying"?

But is it Art?.............
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:53 PM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

Not worrying, thinking. Therefore I am.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:50 PM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

Quote:
I guess that could be asked a few ways:
Did "I" create anything?
Did I "create" anything?
Did I create "anything"?
the viewer isnt concerned; only the creator
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Old 05-30-2007, 12:30 AM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

But the viewer should be concerned. If I didn't create anything, what the heck are you looking at?

Reminds me of when I sent some of my music files to my sister. She said it was beautiful, such colors! When I asked her how my music could have colors she said, "how should I know? you sent it to me, but it looks very pretty" (it turns out it was the media player random lightshow)
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:32 AM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

Quote:
But the viewer should be concerned. If I didn't create anything, what the heck are you looking at?
a creation. if you want to credit the program, why ok. i've done that too with filter forge. click a button and instant art. but, what did i do? one may even tend to feel a little guilty over it. but the bottom line is, you had the sense to recognize what was there or to pick that program or that filter or that plugin or whatever it happens to be.

there also tends to be a perception or consideration of some that, if it was created in seconds as opposed to hours of slaving away at a canvas, analog or digital, that it's therefore of little value or not art. and that's just not true. one can take the most beautiful snapshot and get all sorts of acclaims and it really only took a split second to take. sure, others take longer at times, but it's not the time to create it that matters.

and using another analogy, did you make the mountains that you took the picture of or that you painted on canvas? your program is the same thing. it's the mountains. you're simply taking a picture. that you can change the picture or compose it is just that. it doesnt invalidate the end result.

the bottom line is, the method does not invalidate the end result, at least not to the end user/viewer. that you created it or simply picked it isnt the question to the viewer. he's just happy you did (hopefully ).

i think maybe you're looking for a nice, deep philosophical debate/discussion here, and i just dont think there's one here. you downloaded the program, installed it and twiddled the dials and so forth. the tool made it relatively easy, but you still made it happen. cause is cause. effect is effect. the programmer(s) caused the program, but you caused THAT effect.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:06 AM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

But is there any "there" there? By your logic the Mona Lisa is equivalent to any random mugshot or passport photo. And if there is a spectrum of "creation", there must be a zero point. If the water splashes on my sink in an interesting pattern the last time I washed my hands, did I create anything? Something is definitely there, but if no creativity is involved, can there be any creation?

cre·ate
1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
2. to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.


There can be no cause without intent. And we've already established there was no thought or imagination.
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:55 AM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

Well, look at it this way... you haven't created the alphabet or the English language, either. But you can use it to construct and convey new ideas and meaning that others can interpret and understand. Anything from a post in this thread to a great work of literature or poetry is possible... all emanating from a collection of 26 letters, 10 digits, and a set of rules.

Software works in much the same way. Each program is a tool (like the alphabet or language) that has a certain set or range of parameters, functions, etc. (the rules) that you can manipulate to create unique expressions of intent.

And you can't forget the importance of intent and understanding. There is a certain amount of random chance involved in creativity. Given enough time, monkeys banging on typewriters will eventually churn out the works of Shakespeare. But they will have no comprehension of it, it would be meaningless without intent and understanding. And it is intent and understanding that gives creativity meaning.

So, can something creative be generated randomly by, say, a computer? Yes, it can. But, until it is viewed by an intelligence that is cabable of interpreting it and giving it meaning and understanding (which is an act of creation in and of itself) it is just a concidence of randomness.

The monkeys working randomly without intent or understanding would probably take anywhere from millions to trillions of years to stumble on the right random sequence to produce the works of Shakespeare. But, with intent and understanding and thus directed creativity, the same was accomplished by humans in a micro fraction (near instantly by comparisson) of that time. And, to us it has meaning and value. After trillions of years of typing and finally stumbling upon the Bard's words, the monkeys would just keep on typing, unaware that anything at all had been created.

And we had to invent the alphabet, language, and it's rules first, not to mention all the techology involved in making paper, printing, typewriters, etc. All of which would be given to the monkeys as a starting point.
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Old 05-30-2007, 10:05 AM
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Re: How Synthetic is Too Synthetic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Nelson View Post
If the water splashes on my sink in an interesting pattern the last time I washed my hands, did I create anything? Something is definitely there, but if no creativity is involved, can there be any creation?

There can be no cause without intent. And we've already established there was no thought or imagination.
But, like I was describing in my really long post, the water may land randomly on your sink, but when you embue that random pattern with meaning, it's that understanding that YOU are creating. So, then say, you take a picture with a digital camera of that water pattern. Did you create anything even though you didn't actually assemble the digital image pixel by pixel? I think so. You gave randomness meaning, you directed and controlled a device to capture the image and in doing so may take control over the physical space (such as lighting, etc.) so that the image will help convey the meaning you wish to express. Yes, the camera actually assembled the image for you, but it was under your direction and control.

Last edited by Racc Iria; 05-30-2007 at 12:37 PM. Reason: typos
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