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The material image: Artists’ approaches to reproducing texture in art

Parraman, Carinna



Since the introduction of computers, there has been a desire to improve the appearance of computer-generated objects in virtual spaces and to display the objects within complex scenes exactly as they appear in reality. This is a straightforward process for artists who through the medium of paint or silver halide are able to directly observe from nature and interpret and capture the world in a highly convincing way. However for computer generated images, the process is more complex, computers have no capability to compare whether the rendering looks right or wrong—only humans can make the final subjective decision. The evolving question is: what are the elements of paintings and drawings produced by artists that capture the qualities, texture, grain, reflection, translucency and absorption of a material, that through the application of coloured brush marks, demonstrate a convincing likeness of the material qualities of e.g.wood, metal, glass and fabric? This paper considers the relationship between texture, objects and artists’ approaches to reproducing texture in art. However texture is problematic as our visual system is able to discriminate the difference between natural and patterned texture, and incorrectly rendered surfaces can hinder understanding. Furthermore to render surfaces with no discernible pattern structure that comprises unlimited variations can result, as demonstrated by the computer generated rendering, in exceptionally large file sizes. The paper explores the relationship between imaging, artists’ approaches to reproducing representations of the attributes of material qualities, the fluid dynamics of a painterly mark, and 2.5D relief in printing. The objective is not to reproduce existing paintings or prints, but to build the surface using a deposition of pigments, paints and inks that explores the relationship between image and surface.


Parraman, C. (2016). The material image: Artists’ approaches to reproducing texture in art. International Journal of Arts Theory and History, 11(4), 33-44

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 18, 2016
Publication Date Dec 31, 2016
Journal The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
Print ISSN 2326-9952
Publisher Common Ground Research Networks
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 4
Pages 33-44
Keywords artworks, texture, material reproduction, 2.5D printing, material qualities and characteristics, vector
Public URL
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