Digital Art Trends for 2020

Feb 17th 2020

The first quarter of 2020 is already underway; what trends can we look forward to this year in the digital art world?

Move to open-source software continues

While we have no way of knowing how many active Blender users are there in the world, it is safe to assume their numbers are in millions and will continue to grow in 2020. 

In 2019, Blender registered close to 1 million monthly downloads, which means its download count has tripled since 2015. See the full report Blender in Numbers.

Significantly, major companies are open-sourcing their software, like Intel with own Open Source Technology Center or Pixar which has open-sourced its animation technology

Meanwhile, Blender's own development fund has doubled in 2019 when EPIC announced its sponsorship of Blender followed by NVIDIA becoming Blender's corporate patron.

It's safe to say we can expect more involvement from more big players in 2020.

Art world goes digital 

In 2019, the digital medium solidified its place within the art world and has broken into the mainstream.

From CADAF art fair dedicated exclusively to digital art to digital artists showing their art in the world's most renowned galleries, like Nam June Paik at London's Tate Modern, digital art is a force to be reckoned with in today's galleries - and there is no going back.

"(It's ) likely the hype for immersive experiential ticketed exhibitions will only increase in 2020," predicts The Observer. "Highly entertaining and accessible for the general audience, these shows are a great introduction to contemporary digital art and create easy avenues to experience it in a physical setting."

Get ready to see more immersive art, AI powered experiences, and digital art exhibits in 2020.

2020 Color Trends

Heard about that color of the year for 2020? 

Yes, Pantone named "Classic Blue" the ultimate hue of the year, celebrating its "timeless and enduring" quality. According to Pantene, this color "highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation from which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era."

But there are a few other contenders for the Color of the Year title.

According to Shutterstock's 2020 Color Report, this year's shades are #FF4500 Lush Lava ("exciting", "brilliant" and "confident"), #7FFFD4 Aqua Menthe ("reminescent of luxurious, ocean-front shorelines") and #191970 Phantom Blue ("striking", "sophisticated" and "communicating stability"). 

Shutterstock's "Local Hues" also identifies trending colors in countries around the world

(By the way, did you know you could technically trademark a color? If you're in love with a particular hue, you might want to give it a try.)

5G is here to change everything

There is no shortage of superlatives related to the advent of 5G. According to MIT Technology Review, 5G means a “technological paradigm shift similar to the jump from the typewriter to the computer.”

Seems too far fetched? Perhaps, though it's clear that 5G is a game-changer for nearly all industries, including art - even museums are expected to be transformed for the better!

Beijing Palace Museum, Credit: Blooloop

For digital art, we are likely to feel the superspeed effects of 5G most in VR and AR. 

Immersive gaming will enter a new era with the near-instant transmission of data and cloud gaming is expected to be the next massive trend - though watch out for potentially annoying dynamic in-game advertising.

3D printing boom continues

With over 80 3D printer manufacturers and tens of thousands of businesses built around the most exciting technology of the past decade, the hype is nowhere near over.

As 3D printing software giant AMFG predicts, the industry is going to become even more diverse in the coming years. 

The additive manufacturing landscape in 2019. [Image credit: AMFG]

What trends are we likely to see in 2020? Exciting new technologies will continue to emerge, from silicon and metal 3D printing to made-for-print thermoplastic polymer fibers and even composite materials. 

The challenge for 3D software: keeping up with the fast pace of 3D print. "We anticipate 2020 to be the year when we see many of the software challenges being solved," predicts AMFG. "Software innovations...(will be) unlocking a faster and easier 3D printing design process."

3D to play a larger role in graphic design

Predicting graphic design trends is inevitable a bit of guesswork, though industry experts agree that 3D will continue to gain importance.

What shape will these take? We are likely to see more elements like 3D data visualizations to 3D visuals combined with 2D graphics, and 3D video animations. Good news for Blender freelancers!

San Diego printed company Coastal Creative has creative a neat (and beautiful) infographic with the hottest digital art trends to look out for this year. From VR to crazy-cool product visualizations, 3D is the medium that we know is going to be major.

Your turn: what are your thoughts on where digital art is headed? Any new trends that you see emerging, continuing or gaining in strength this year?


Pavla Karon
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