Cyberart, also spelled cyberarts and cyber art, is art produced with the help of computers. It is part of new media art, an umbrella term for forms of art that use non-traditional media. The function of the computer in creating this kind of art can be either in software or hardware. Though the term can be applied to traditionally-produced art that is merely scanned in, it is usually reserved for art that uses a computer for an integral part of the design.
Computer software used in creating cyberart can play a variety of roles. Many computer programs are used to touch up images or audio files that are brought in from external sources. Other programs allow an artist to design images from scratch using a mouse. In algorithmic art, designs are generated entirely from inputted lines of computer code, for example.
Hardware is also commonly used for cyberart. In digital painting, for example, the artist mimics the process of painting by using a stylus and digitizing tablet along with a computer program capable of rendering an image. The stylus and tablet are examples of specialized hardware, in this case input devices, that are used to design art. A printer is considered an output device because it translates digital information to the outside world.
Tradigital art is a subset of cyberart that uses a combination of traditional and digital media. Artists often scan in sketches and use computer tools to color and apply effects to the work. Tradigital animation merges classical cell animation and digital animation technologies. Much of cyberart has at least some classical elements or techniques incorporated into it and can be considered tradigital.
If the Internet is utilized as a means of exhibiting artwork, this brings a new social dimension to cyberart. For centuries art has been exhibited in public spaces, often with a high cost and difficulty of attending. This had the effect of restricting the possible artwork audiences. The Internet serves as a new medium of art exchange that is accessible to a large portion of the world’s population.
There has been some negative reception of cyberart worth noting. One criticism holds that much cyberart requires nothing more than a particular company’s graphics design program—creative input from would-be artists is minimal. Art that uses the Internet has also been criticized. Some argue that it is nearly impossible to keep track of who might have contributed to a particular piece. Other critics argue that images copied off the Internet can be embellished and then uploaded again without a record of the file’s history.