Digital pictures are produced by a work flow exactly analogous to paintings and drawings. And the relationship of digital pictures to things in the real world is the same as that enjoyed by painting and drawing. The triumph of realism in Western art has been a great success story for at least the last 800 years and notwithstanding some essays into abstraction realist work, painting, drawing, and digital, continues that success. The only block holding back the full appreciation of digital work is its misidentification with photography.
Photography, the making of pictures out of light sensitive materials, is not just slightly different to digital it falls into an entirely different CLASS of image making. It belongs to those process in which the image has an indexical (apologies to Charles Sanders Peirce) relationship to subject matter. This small group of processes includes death masks, life casts, wax impressions, brass rubbings, coal peels, silicon rubber moulds, papier mache replicas, and photography. Of these photography is by far the most appreciated; deservedly so.