An excellent introduction to computer graphics, The Computer in the Visual Arts
covers the historical evolution of the computer as it relates to the creation of artwork. Author Anne Morgan Spalter interviews contemporary artists for insights into their favorite techniques and approaches to planning, developing, and outputting their artwork. Anyone who uses a PC for creating digital art should look to this book for guidance on the technical, practical, and theoretical aspects of design and production.
Although the author uses plenty of technical detail, historical facts, and art theory, the book also includes a good deal of practical information. For example, The Computer in the Visual Arts covers popular software programs; explains different types of printers, including their benefits and drawbacks; and defines terms (helpfully, in boldface) succinctly, so you can learn the basics. The chapters on 3D graphics are a perfect example, explaining simple terms such as primitives and lofting; defining more technical terms such as fractals and other algorithmic processes; and offering hands-on insight into how artists use 3D software, special effects, and rendering processes creatively.
Chapters end with suggestions for further reading and exercises you can work through on your own. The book provides loads of information on composition--that is, arranging the form and color of artwork and deciding on the use of space and scale. There are many images from contributing artists with explanations of their approach to digital art, and more of these images are included in a four-color section. The appendices to the book discuss contemporary art periods such as modernism and postmodernism, elements of computer theory such as symbolic logic, and lists of URLs and books you can turn to for more information. --Kathleen Caster
Spalter simply set out to answer the essential questions of visual artists and designers about the implementation of computers in their art. But in explaining the field's history, artistic theory, the relationship of software programs and the breadth of practitioners' works, she manages to provide a luscious intellectual feast even for non-practitioners. -- USA TODAY, July 27, 1999