What Is Render Art?

These days there is some controversy about Poser, Daz Studio and other software used to make render art. I think that as I am a 3D modeler that makes content for those packages, I can appreciate every side of this issue.

Some people change their point of view and sometimes defend a position and other times the opposite. I think that is because of the confusion of concept in their own minds.

That is what makes me see that most 3D modelers, and most "3D artists" don't have a clue on what is render art. So they maintain a stupid, irrational, and useless debate of "modelers VS Poser users".

Render art deserves to be recognized in its dignity.

So let's explain, for the glory of render artists, and to open the obtuse minds of ignorants, what is render art.

What Is Render Art?

In digital art there are different artistic disciplines. Oh, yes: the one you practice is not the only one.

One of them is render art. A render artist is someone who takes a series of 3D models and poses them into a 3D scene, and uses the computer to generate a representation of this scene and its actors, with an artistic or illustrative purpose.

But beyond that, a render artist must know many other aspects, like computer skills and knowledge, 3D notions, a deep knowledge of how images are composed in a computer, the different parameters that rule the program that performs the generation of the 2D image (the render engine), anatomy of a natural pose in humans and animals, the creation of coherent sources of light, framing, image file formats...

He/she has to have a mix of skills of a photographer, or a painter, and needs to understand computer graphics to some degree.

To make his art, this render artist needs 3D models. This 3D models can be build by them, if they are 3d modelers in addition to render artists, or they can use the models that a modeler has made.

3D modelers and render artists

As a 3D modeler that makes models for render artists, I see pure render artists like the final artists who take my creations to life. I am the creator of something that will become alive. They are the creators of something that IS alive, they make the miracle.

A plant, a human being, a building... I create static shapes, try to consciously make them as much versatile as possible, sometimes making them able to be animated, to trigger the imagination of others.

We are a chain. I enjoy creating the shape, the geometry, like a sculptor, architect, or a genetics scientist of the imaginary world.

Then comes the render artist, who like a magician, a story writer, a cinema director, a photographer, a painter, or all of this at the same time, creates a universe of endless stories and images.

It's like a sculptor that makes a statue, and then comes the painter or the photographer and captures, creates, or renders a beautiful piece.

And I feel so happy to see the many different works of art and imagination that render artists create, because for me it's like watching them go alive.

They give them life, sometimes discovering possibilities that I could never imagine.

Criticism against render art

Every new art has criticism. Some blatantly ignorant people are very critic towards render art. Even in digital art communities, they use to find some members that offend them, and try to go against a trend of the future.

Let's review these groups of people and see why they are wrong about render art.

On one side we have traditional artists who permanently try to make a simil between painting and render art. They are simply comparing things that have nothing to do.

From their ignorance, they use to think in render art as something that the computer makes automatically, and takes little time and poor skills. But we all know that a render artist has to deal with the many factors that the computer uses, and is far away from being automatic, unless you want to get real crap. The time it takes to master render art can be equal or more than mastering painting, and it takes lots of skills to learn to be a master in render art, much beyond the basics of painting.

Render art can't be simply mastered by practice, it is an intellectual exercise that requires acquiring knowledge to increase the quality of each one of the projects.

As a last word, traditional painters keep on comparing things like antagonic. Render art is not going to take the place of painting. It's really a nonsense to compare them. People don't compare ceramics, photography or sculpture with painting, and comparing render art and painting is the same absurd thing, because it is simply a different kind of art, not a modern version of an old art.

On the other side we have 3D modelers that argue against render art. I must be clear at this: these are not pro modelers. Most of them are crappy modelers with poor skills that are very proud just because they modeled something in high-poly techniques and never dealt with the many limitations and problems of having to model for games, virtual worlds or render applications, that is where most geometric problems easily arise.

They say that render artists are not artists because many of them didn't create the models they use. Well, this is plain stupid. Photographers or painters, for example, are not meant to be the fathers and mothers of the models they use. Nor anyone pretends that a photographer or a painter must be the creator of the world that they depict.

I think I can't say anything more. This criticism just shows zero brain activity.

Other criticism they have is that many render art pieces are crap. Well, I must say that most of the 3d modeling stuff is in fact crap, with few exceptions from excellent modelers. The amount of crap in 3d models and 3d renders is equal.


Render art is a relatively new kind of art but not new at all in the scope of digital art. It goes beyond the use of a computer to make similar things to what we can do in a traditional painting technique. It brings new skills into action.

The first render artists were modelers who produced the entire process: they modeled something, and then made the render.

Now, there are lots of other newer artists that use models made by a modeler and make a render using them. These are pure render artists.

As every new revolution in arts, this has a small number of people that criticize this technique, and a legion of people who just admire and appreciate what they do.

Render art is just that: art. A technique to create beauty. And the search for beauty is the only reason that is worth the effort in this nasty world.

Art is everything that creates beauty. And beauty is that which makes us feel in harmony, calm, complete, and in presence of something more perfect than ourselves, so we can only feel fascination.

Who can say render art is not art if it makes us feel this way?

-Jordi R. Cardona-

© 2008 by Jordi R. Cardona. Link to this post without copying the text.

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