Digital Art is Real Art – Really!

April 17th, 2014

There’s an old adage that most people can’t define art, but they know it when they see it. The definition of art was debated long before the digital age. From Greek philosophers to the United States Supreme Court, wise people have tried to define what art is, the process by which it is created, and its meaning to society.

Defined in simple terms by Merriam-Webster, art is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.”

As the process of creating digital art evolves and becomes more commonplace, we see debates in internet forums and hear conversations in museums and coffee shops about whether art created digitally can really be considered art.

Open for interpretation

Many would argue that art cannot be defined. In fact, the legal system has declined to “define” art and has instead left it open to interpretation. It allows for societal norms and does not put limitations on the evolving process by which it is created.

For the most part, fine art has been defined as something created primarily for beauty rather than utility and placed into categories such as painting, sculpture, poetry and music.

What is digital art?

Digital art is any form that utilizes digital technology during production. Fairly broad in definition, we know, but there are as many forms of digital art as traditional art. For the most part, though, a digital artist sits in front of a computer monitor to create, rather than a blank canvas or hunk of unformed clay.

Sometimes the image created is done from scratch; other times the artist is manipulating an existing image into something different and unique. Like other forms, digital art can take on many forms, from illustration to multimedia to interactive.

Commonalities exist between digital and traditional art. As in traditional art, there are very few successful, self-taught artists. The best digital artists study traditional techniques in order to become better artists. There is skill involved. Like a painter, a digital artist has tools available to help him create. But those tools do not create; the artist does! And like a painter, the digital artist must be well-versed in light, color, texture, saturation, and depth. Perhaps most importantly, each artist has to possess a desire to create and express through the medium.

Does digital art meet the definition of art?

Of course it does. At its base, art is merely a form of communication. The artist, through creativity, is attempting to express an idea or evoke an emotion. The same is most certainly true for a digital artist.

Like any other form of art, digital is merely the newest evolution of art. The potential of digital will grow as technology progresses and will be limited only by the artist’s imagination.

Cogswell College’s Bachelor Degree in Digital Art & Animation is designed to prepare students for exciting careers throughout the entertainment, media and art industries. Through extensive coursework, students gain hands-on experience using the latest tools and applications for 3D graphics and animation.

Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning Receives Praise from Visiting Students

April 15th, 2014

On Thursday, April 10th; 20 students from Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), an Entrepreneurial School in Austria, came to visit Cogswell.  Most of the visiting students are studying Art & Entrepreneurship, and were fascinated with Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning classes and studios.

The MCI students were amazed with the work they were able to see, and that it was all “made from scratch”.  From character sketches & 3D models made from clay, to digitally rendered creations brought to life; the MCI students were completely in awe. They also got the opportunity to learn about the process that a piece of art will go through to become part of an animated film or game. Cogswell’s own Digital Audio Technology students then add music to the digital projects to create a completed work of art done entirely by students.

Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning classes are the foundation of the education provided here; they help to create strong, T-shaped individuals that are prepared for careers in a variety of industries.

Top 10 Games we’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality

April 15th, 2014

The next chapter of gaming and entertainment is almost here; virtual reality. As Sony prepares ‘Project Morpheus’, a virtual reality prototype for the PS4; the realism that virtual reality games will be taken from concept to completion is approaching quickly. This new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.

With the knowledge that this will soon be available to the masses, CraveOnline made a list of the Top 10 Games We’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality. Although we think that practically any game in existence would be insanely cool to experience through virtual reality; this list really gets the imagination going at the idea of experiencing these games in a seemingly real environment. Take a look at their list and see for yourself!

What games would you love to experience through virtual reality? Comment below!

‘Old’ Movies Whose Special Effects Still Hold up Today

April 10th, 2014

Some of the movies we grew up on are great for so many reasons; and a big part of that was the special effects that went into them. Remember how real the dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Park’ looked? Or how jaw dropping it was when the White House was obliterated in ‘Independence Day’? While we may laugh at some of the effects in past movies compared to the insanely real visuals in today’s movies; some can still be classified as ‘Awesome’! Visit this article for a list of 8 ‘Old’ Movies Whose Special Effects Still Hold up Today, as well as the most notable parts in the movie (complete with video)!

Which major flicks did they leave off the list?

iPhone Apps for Professional Audio Engineers

April 8th, 2014

From games to networking to organization tools, the number of apps available for the iPhone are almost endless and grow exponentially every year. The majority of apps have been fitted for enthusiasts, however, recently there’s been a rise in iPhone apps for professional audio engineers. These apps vary in price, from the free with advertising, to the eye-opening expensive. These apps make the everyday jobs of recording, editing, and exporting easier for audio engineers.

The three most abundant types of Pro-Audio iPhone apps are field recorders, portable digital audio workstations and remote controls.

Field Recorders

Many audio recorders apps lack the features found in traditional field recorders. However some have recently become available on the market that allow the engineer to conveniently capture a professional quality recording without having to purchase a separate device. Here are just a few:

  • Hindenburg Field Recorder
  • RODE Rec
  • iSLR Field Recorder

Portable Workstations

Utilizing the iPhone’s built-in audio interface, these apps are in essence simplified digital audio workstations used to record or program multi-track song ideas. The tracks can then be exported to a computer for later editing. They include:

  • Cleartune Chromatic Tuner
  • ioMetrics GigBaby!
  • Novation Automap 3
  • Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack
  • Thezi Studio Metronome TS

Remote Control Apps

These apps allow Pro-Audio engineers to control digital audio workstations (DAWs) or other hardware devices from the iPhone. They are specific to the DAWs in use, and have the ability to control the various virtual knobs, fader and buttons. Some of the more popular are:

  • Far Out Labs ProRemote
  • Hexler TouchOSC
  • Steinberg Cubase iC

Tell us what you think!

Which Pro-Audio iPhone apps have you used and which can you not live without?

Interested in becoming an audio engineer? Learn more about Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology bachelor degree programs at http://www.cogswell.edu/programs/digital-audio-technology.php

Cogswell Game Studio & Barron Park Elementary School

April 3rd, 2014

Cogswell Game Studio & Barron Park Elementary School

Barron Park ElementaryCogswell Game Studio, a project-based learning course, visited Barron Park Elementary on Thursday, March 6, 2014 for the first “play test” of their game Tangram Jam.

A “play test” is a quality insurance process in game development where an alpha or beta version of a game is tested in a controlled environment. The team took both a PC pre-alpha build and mobile versions of the user interface for 3rd grade students to experience.  While the game is fun, it is also a ‘serious game’; it teaches math concepts to students.

Arlinda Smith (teacher) and Magdelna Frittoria (Principal) welcomed the Cogswell students form the game development team into a 3rd grade class at Barron Park Elementary.  The elementary school students were enthusiastic to give feedback on the game and what they found to be fun elements.  Cogswell game design art and engineering students took metrics on game play performance and observed what the children were enjoying and learning during game play.

During this play test session, the team also found several things to improve the play of the game for the students.

Cogswell Game Studio is part of the curriculum and process in the Game Design & Development program.

It was a wonderful experience and we learned a lot. We were able to observe how the kids responded to the music, models and interface. We found out why they liked or didn’t like certain aspects of the game as well as what they would do differently with the game. My focus was seeing if the kids understood the interface. I was surprised at how easily the kids navigated through the interface as if they’ve done it a thousand times before. [We] tried to make the UI as clear and understandable as possible and we definitely nailed it with this one. I’m looking forward to the next school visit because we’ve prepared an even better game to present.

~ Shawn Sercombe, Cogswell student

ElementaryElementary 2

Entrepreneurs: Born this Way

April 3rd, 2014

3 Traits Ingrained in as Entrepreneurial DNA


The term “entrepreneur” has become quite the buzzword in recent years. What was once synonymous with starting and managing one’s own business, now has evolved to encompass traits of the trade such as risk-taking and business-savvy. One no longer needs to operate a brick and mortar business to be deemed “entrepreneurial”.

An entrepreneur identifies a need and quickly fulfills it. They are compelled to act without regard to habitual nay-sayers. They see a company or industry lacking in certain areas, and help them problem-solve the opportunities that business owners often times didn’t even know needed fixing.

While the traits necessary to be an entrepreneur can be cultured, the entrepreneurial spirit is more inherent. Classic entrepreneurs possess characteristics that set them apart from the Mark Cuban-wannabes. Here are three of those traits:

Ingenious Problem Solving

At the core, entrepreneurs are able to see a problem, or an area where a company is lacking, and creatively solve it. Creativity doesn’t always equate to iambic pentameter prose poetry. It’s a more of a process or mindset; How to cut off the crusts without using a knife. As much as we hate clichés, “Thinking outside the box” describes entrepreneurs perfectly.

Risks: Forget the Parachute

Risks may be calculable, but not to entrepreneurs. Though failure is not an option to entrepreneurs, it is a distinct possibility However, this doesn’t faze the true entrepreneur, even though the risks are not only monetary; sometimes the entrepreneur is risking reputation as well. Being your own boss means that you make tough decisions without benefit of a parachute.

Could Sell Ice to an Eskimo

Negotiating skills are essential for every business owner. Fear of rejection is not part of the entrepreneur’s genetics. They live by the mantra that “everything is negotiable” IE: leases, sales contracts and salaries, just to name a few. Effective and creative negotiation skills will help save money, and make money to keep businesses running at peak efficiency.

While all of these skills are essential to possess when starting a business venture, schooling helps young entrepreneurs hone in and learn to apply those skills in real life. Cogswell’s Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation teaches how to refine entrepreneurial skills needed to create, establish and grow their own ventures.

The 100 Best April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time

April 1st, 2014

Tricks, and Pranks, and Hoaxes…OH MY!

Has someone ever ambushed you with falling water, or saran wrapped your car doors shut? Are you plotting your revenge as we speak? Well, consider those child’s play next to the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time. The pranks are judged by notoriety, creativity, and number of people duped.

From the BBC convincing viewers of a booming season for spaghetti trees, to Burger King announcing the new addition of the Left-Handed Whopper to the menu; these hoaxes are sure to make you chuckle. What’s most impressive about these hoaxes, is the sheer amount of people that fall for them! We can’t blame them, though, the planning and execution of these appear to be flawless.

If that list isn’t enough inspiration for you today, get your fix by checking out the April Fool Archive for even more, well executed pranks!

Have a prank you want to share? Leave us a comment below!

Sound Design: An Ear for Detail

March 27th, 2014

Crash, Bang, Boom, – Snap, Crackle, Pop – Slam, Bam, Shazam – Not only are these onomatopoetic, but also harmonic gold to sound designers and editors alike. Sounds often make or break video content, and knowing what works takes more than just a keen ear for detail. Sound designers combine the art and science of sound to create the perfect fit for television, film, and video game content.

Editor vs. Designer

Recently, the lines between a sound director and that of a sound editor have been blurred. The major difference being that a sound director is a glorified editor of sorts. A sound editor is responsible for the existing sound – i.e. editing of the dialogue syncing, and removal of extraneous background noise.

On larger budget productions a sound designer is brought in to not only oversee the work of the sound editors, but is also responsible for crafting new sounds – i.e. laser gun fights, cars exploding, tornado wind storms, etc.  Sound designers are also responsible for creating the overall emotional atmosphere of the scene. What sound additions/subtractions would create more tension, suspense, or comedy?

Job Description

Sound designers tend to work long hours with strict deadlines. Depending on a production’s budget, sound designers may start their work months in advance of filming. There is a large level of strategy and organization required in order to conceptualize the production in its entirety. A sound designer must forecast and plan out what sounds he or she will have to create, verses what can be shot organically.

A vast technical knowledge is required in order to digitally create, mix, edit, and distort sound. Sound effects are then layered into the production along with dialogue and music. On the flip side, a vast creative knowledge is also required for designers to fashion new sounds where one had not yet existed. Designers get innovative, and use everyday objects to create new sounds – i.e. crunching cellophane to imitate a fire crackling, or flexing a large sheet of aluminum to replicate thunder.

Sound design is a highly competitive area, and jobs are based on experience. Education is vital to develop an ear for detail. Interested in a career in sound editing or design? Check out Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology program to develop and fine tune your skills!

10 Most Influential Games of the 80s

March 25th, 2014

It’s no secret that video games were a great deal different back in the 1980’s; from classics we still see today to the games that didn’t live to see the next decade. Remember the original versions of SimCity (1989), The Legend of Zelda (1987), John Madden Football (1988), and Super Mario Bros. (1985)? What about the always classic Pac-Man (1980) and Tetris (1987)? One component we can all likely agree on, however, is the fact that the ghosts of gaming past have paved the way and made a huge impact on the gaming industry we see today. This Yahoo article gives their picks of the 10 most influential games of the 1980s, but we’ll let you be the judge on which games were the most impactful from that decade.

What would you add to their list? How would you rank the games? Give us your two cents below!