Visual Design of Hardware vs Software: A Walk With Socrates

Is there a difference between visual design for hardware and visual design for software? Is there some fundamental difference that says hardware may use visual qualities like gloss or chrome, but software must be flat?

If you could render items on a screen photorealistically, is there some reason that, by virtue of being constructed in software, you shouldn’t?

To the degree that there is some reason that you shouldn’t, how far does this go? If you had a 3D printer that could print metal, would it be okay for it to print shiny objects? Or does the fact that the object was constructed by software demand that its surface have a matte finish?

If it’s okay for metal to be shiny, by virtue of being metal, but not light produced by a screen, is there a fundamental difference between metal and light that demands that light must be flat? Are light and metal not both physical?

If there is a difference between light and metal, is there a difference between light produced electrically and light which reflects off of the surface of an object? After all, what is glossiness if not simply a characteristic of how light is sent to your eyeballs?

Bob Burrough
January 9, 2019