Inevitably, some cynic will look at the images here and flatly state they aren’t art. Any idiot can push the Prt Scr button, they’ll claim.

Yet that’s exactly what people said about photography too; it’s just a mechanical recording medium. Any idiot can push the shutter release.

But somebody thinks photographs are art. In 2011, an unnamed buyer purchased Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II, one of a series of six computer manipulated digital photos, for $4,338,500.

As technology develops, new tools for artists appear. Musicians use synthesizers, TV and movie directors use CGI. Visual artists use tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, and Renderman to create images so realistic that Hollywood found they actually have to make less realistic characters to avoid disturbing audiences.

Aviation digital art relies on the incredible talents of people who have invested money, managed projects, written code, placed digital trees, and painted aircraft skins to provide a pallet of locations, light, clouds, and planes. As such, they have a significant investment in the intellectual property they’ve created, in the same way that Pixar spent millions to develop proprietary software for movies. Licensed for commercial use, usually at a price, flight simulator software, add-on terrain, clouds, and planes can be a visual artist’s tools, too.

End User License Agreements (EULA) specify how products can be used. Some explicitly prohibit commercial use, others require the purchase of an expensive commercial EULA or CULA (Commercial User License Agreement). ORBX/FTX, for example sells FTX Global Base and FTX Global Vector for commercial use for about $3000. (I know the effort that went into making their products because I was a beta tester for the first U.S. terrain they created, the fabulous Pacific Northwest or FTX NA Blue package. It took over a year for a dedicated team to bring it to market.) Other companies understand the advertising benefit of their products being used for artistic purposes, when properly credited. They understand that using the programs for artistic purposes is different than embedding their products in, say, flight simulators used for FAA approved flight training.

I’d love to collaborate with anyone that’s interested in aviation visual arts. If you have talent, tools, add-ons, repaints or skins, even just ideas, I’d like to work with you for fun, and who knows, maybe even for profit. Please contact me through this site’s Contact page if you’re interested.

In any case, I find myself repeated humbled by the talent of other visual artists. Some may quibble that what I do isn’t art, but everyone can agree that Piotr Forkasiewicz is a visual art genius. Follow the link and I’m sure you’ll be as awed by what he creates as I was.