3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 88: The New 3D Artist | 2
Lesson 88 - The New 3D Artist - Part 2
Just to throw an atom bomb on the fire, Bill Gates appeared at the annual Game Developer conference to preview the long-anticipated Microsoft answer to Playstation. This new games platform will, like PlayStation 2, feature Internet connectivity and outrageous graphics power, and bring the Windows programming worlds rapidly into the support of games and powerful interactive computer graphics.
I hope you see where I'm going with this. The explosive growth in hardware power will create opportunities for interactive 3D graphics on a scale that far surpasses the more traditional 3D uses. Games will get bigger and bigger, but it will not be only games. Interactive 3D will appear everywhere--in interface design, education, marketing, and more generally as a new standard and fashion in graphic design for computer applications and Web pages. There will cease to be much distinction between Web 3D and interactive realtime 3D generally, or rather Web 3D will come to mean only distributed interactive 3D.
This new world will require a new breed of 3D artist, and I am actively reinventing myself to meet this need. The new 3D artist will be a master of 3D interactive graphics. He or she will be what is now considered both an artist and a programmer, but will soon come to be understood only as an artist. An artist is someone who masters tools and develops skills in service of a creative purpose or vision. It wasn't long ago that many (if not most) visual artists refused to acknowledge the validity of art created in computer programs. They saw tools like Photoshop and the 3D packages as technical props beneath the talents of a true artist. Thankfully, this ridiculous attitude has largely evaporated.
Yet, the same obtuseness can be found in many, or most, of today's computer graphics artists. In far too many of them, programming is dismissed as a technical, rather than a creative, skill. Those stuck in this attitude are welcome to survive as best they can. But the world I see approaching will reward those who are designing and creating interactive 3D graphics, and that means a solid understanding of both 3D graphics creation in standard packages and 3D graphics programming for interactivity and realtime display. Programming interactivity using code is, in my view, no less artistic and little less technical than modeling and animating with today's high-end packages. In any case, the artistic vision of the near future, using the computer (or quasi-computer console or appliance) as its medium, will merge graphics and programming seamlessly to create the interactive graphics experience.
The move toward high-end interactive graphics as a general visual medium is actually being led on the Web. Anyone who is paying the slightest attention what's happening with Macromedia Flash, using vector graphics for animation, must be aware that a new graphical standard is fast upon us. Just as with 3D, those who will define the new standard in 2D interactive graphics will be as conversant with program coding as with drawing, because the artist is charged with creating an interactive experience, not merely pictures.
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Created: Mar. 14, 2000
Revised: Mar. 14, 2000