With today's sophisticated software, do art students need much knowledge of computer graphics to create art on a computer?
They must learn about parameters and 3D space, and how one deals with multiple light sources. texture and bump mapping. transparency. instancing. etc. In the case of animation, there are many issues dealing with timing information. The computer artist must understand how to build data, how to make objects, how to work with a command language.
Conceptually artists still need to understand what's underneath. I'm not talking about being able to write the code; I'm suggesting that they know basic mathematics, and have an appreciation of the evaluations and comparisons that an algorithm is doing as it is trying to set up the scene for them. And as I said, this is especially important when working in three dimensions, less so with paint programs and image processing.
What's most important in a student is idealism, love of activity, and a strong desire to realize a specific dream. But many of our students now are more practical and want guarantees of one sort or another.
In motion control and animation, too, there have to be better techniques to control complex systems. I would like a system that can handle 100 million polygons practically and provide an image on 8" x 10" film with 100,000 lines of resolution.
The scientific community will demand more and more from computer graphics for their projects, indirectly identifying new research issues. Future efforts may be more interdisciplinary, with people of different orientations collaborating to deal with problems.