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View Full Version : Welcome to the new Electric Image forum - Brian Pohl, Forum Leader


Leonard
01-20-2006, 08:07 PM
Hi all,

The CGSociety welcomes all Electric Image users to its new EI forum here on CGTalk! This new forum is being managed by Brian Pohl, who is well known amongst EI users and is an industry veteren.

About Brian Pohl
Brian worked for years at ILM, Imageworks and Digital Domain. His film credits include: Star Wars Episode I & II, K19: The Widowmaker, Men in Black 2, Van Helsing, Terminator 3 and the Special Edition of THX 1138. He was also one of my guest speakers at 3D Festival 2004.

A big welcome to all EI users. May this forum serve you well!

Best,

Leonard

Vizfizz
01-20-2006, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the welcome Leonard. I really appreciate you opening up CG Talk to the EI users of the world. We most certainly appreciate it. I have lots of ideas and plans for this forum! Once again....THANKS.

Brian

chrisWhite
01-20-2006, 10:33 PM
Interesting, I didn't know EI was still being widely used. Is it ILM that's still their biggest user?

Vizfizz
01-20-2006, 10:54 PM
Chris,

At one point of ILM's history, EI was extensively used within the "Rebel Unit" on the special edition rereleases of Episodes 4, 5 and 6. It was also heavily used in Episode I and moderately used in Episode II. (And several other ILM movies...too many to list) The Rebel Unit's mission was to provide fast hard surface animations using off the shelf solutions, that could provide film quality effects outside of ILM's massive 3D pipeline. EI was selected due to EI's fast renderer and the relatively inexpensive platforms it ran on (Macintoshes).

The Rebel Unit was disbanded several years ago due to restructuring of the 3D departments and mainly for the reason that hardware performance was getting so fast that a dedicated hard surface animation team (ala the Rebel Unit) wasn't needed any more. Most of the EI seats went with it. Last time I was there, about 4 years ago, EI was still being used in the Matte Department but I have no idea if that is still the case.

Today EI is being used by a number of small vfx houses (Sassoon Film Design for instance), freelancers and broadcast design houses. A number of print artist/illustrators also use it due to its ability to rendering massive amounts of polygons without excessive effort.

Check out Sasson's latest EI effort on "This Magnificent Desolation".

http://www.eitechnologygroup.com/news/2005_desolation.html

iKKe
01-21-2006, 12:00 AM
Cool, I visit the forums of cgsociety a lot, excellent source of information!

I always had the feeling there was something missing.....

Thanks Brain & Leonard!

kevmo
01-21-2006, 12:09 AM
Yes thanx Brian & Leonard!

EIAS Whiteballed


k!

yhloon
01-21-2006, 06:09 AM
Same here, thanks again to Brian and Leonard!
to build ei user a new forum

Loon

chrisWhite
01-21-2006, 08:19 AM
Thanks Brian, really interesting information, I'd never heard the full story before.

Srek
01-21-2006, 09:03 AM
Nice to see that EI made it to CG Society :)
The only downside i can see is that now that CINEMA 4D as well as EI have found a home here Postforum will be more or less deserted. After all the EI and CINEMA communities were the by far most active over there. Oh well, things are moving on and it's definitly a good thing to see one more active community becoming part of CG Society.

Cheers
Björn

zhaor
01-21-2006, 05:54 PM
Hey ! Hi to every body !

Sorry About my ignorance but can some body explain me What is EI ?

Thanks 4 the answers

See ya !

Vizfizz
01-21-2006, 07:18 PM
Hey ! Hi to every body !

Sorry About my ignorance but can some body explain me What is EI ?

Thanks 4 the answers

See ya !


Hey Zhaor,

From the Wiki Encyclopedia:

When it debuted in the early 1990s on the Macintosh platform, it was lauded for its exceptionally fast rendering engine and crisp image quality (especially suited to "hard," "industrial," or otherwise non-organic models and scenes). Because it was capable of film-quality output on commodity hardware, ElectricImage Animation System was popular in the movie and television industries throughout the decade. It was used by the "Rebel Unit" at Industrial Light and Magic quite extensively and was in use by a variety of game companies. Electric Image, Inc. was always a small company that produced software on a niche platform (the Macintosh) and never had market share compared to Alias, Wavefront, Avid's Softimage|XSI, NewTek, Inc.'s LightWave 3D, and Autodesk's 3D Studio Max. The situation became worse instead of better when Play Inc. purchased Electric Image, Inc. in November of 1998 and allowed the product to stagnate, developing versions for the Windows and Solaris platforms, but releasing only relatively minor feature updates. Play renamed Electric Image "Universe" when it was released on the other platforms. On September 19, 2000, Electric Image, Inc. again became an independent company after a management buy-out led by Dwight Parscale(former CEO of Newtek), together with original Electric Image founders Markus Houy and Jay Roth (who was later appointed president of NewTek's 3D Product Division in April 2005). The company reintroduced EIAS and sought to recapture the package's former customer base. Small groups in several large visual effects companies as well as countless independent contractors continue to take advantage of EIAS, especially for certain scenes with which its renderer works particularly well. The product has a loyal customer base made up of architects, TV effects producers and a variety of small effects contractors who appreciate its ease of use, superior rendering quality, and extremely fast rendering times.

Here at this forum, one of our goals is to help in the reenergization of EI's marketshare. With the advent of EIAS v6.5r2, the program now enjoys a number of advanced technologies like GI, radiosity, FBX data import, new constraint systems, rewritten OpenGL routines for faster performance, and dozens of other new features.

MagicEgger
01-21-2006, 09:44 PM
Hi,

Good to have a new home to show EIAS!!!
Thanks a lot Brian and Leonard.

I will start to show my old and new pieces of work.

Thanksssss

Tomas Egger

zhaor
01-22-2006, 10:19 PM
Hey Thanks 4 The Answer Very Complete!

SteveW928
01-23-2006, 12:50 AM
Yes... just want to add my thanks to Leonard and Brian as well.


Björn - Thanks for the welcome! I'm hoping that this will not mean the demise of the group on Postforum. I'm sure that is not the intent at all... as that would be a sad thing. However, I guess if that had to be the outcome, ultimately, this might be a good spot to be. But, I still love the Postforum group, as well as the BBS software. Perry has really done a good job with that whole board... has been a staple of mine for years.

-Steve

Jedt3D
01-23-2006, 11:05 AM
Great to see EIAS forum here! Now, we will start a new channel that help EIAS more well known!.

Thank you Brian and Leonard!

harryb
01-23-2006, 08:59 PM
Finally!

Just a little testimony:

I know EI is a relatively obscure 3D package but I'm not really sure why. I've been using it since the late '90s when I started freelancing. Back in the day, I used to work in a design studio using SGIs and Alias Studio and Power Animator. At that time, an SGI Indigo 2 Extreme running a seat of Alias Studio went for about $65,000 and rendering times would take forever (literally half a day for a print-res non-raytraced image). Then I went freelance and bought EI 2.8 (about $2,200 then) and the same OBJ model with similar lighting and textures at the same res took 7 minutes. Really. Since then, EI has been my rendering weapon of choice. The rendering engine, "Camera" can easily and effortlessly handle tens of millions of polygons. Couple that with channel-based raytracing, Monte Carlo type GI, and massive compositing capabilities and speeeeeed, it's amazing that more effects houses aren't using it. Sure, it doesn't have a 3D NLE like SoftImage and Maya and it's character animation utilities are out of date (EI doesn't even have a Quaternion rotation setup option). But everything else is fantastic, easy to use, robust, stable and production-proven. And it's shading system is deep, reliable and a joy to use. It's good to see other 3D artists are still using EI.

Thanks to Brian Pohl for starting this forum! :thumbsup:

Vizfizz
01-23-2006, 09:17 PM
Electric Image was never really intended as a character animation package during its initial conception. ILM wanted a faster pipeline for hard surface animation and digital matte paintings and EI provided that solution. Huge poly counts are typical in those situations. Today, EI is making in roads towards improving the character tools but they have yet to reach the maturation level of a program like Maya which is focused on that particular task. Luckily, the advent of FBX helps to span that character bridge. Smaller companies like EITG have to focus on their strengths and add new technologies when the proper opportunity arises. FBX will allow a great deal of integration, allowing artists to animated in a more character based program like Maya or MotionBuilder and transfer that data into Electric Image where you can take advantage of the awesome powers of Camera.

halfworld
01-23-2006, 09:19 PM
You saying tens of millions of polys reminds me that just before xmas i did a job for the BBC where i had 33 million polys in a scene. Phong render came out in about a minute... raytracing was somewhat slower ;)

harryb
01-23-2006, 10:12 PM
Smaller companies like EITG have to focus on their strengths and add new technologies when the proper opportunity arises. FBX will allow a great deal of integration, allowing artists to animated in a more character based program like Maya or MotionBuilder and transfer that data into Electric Image where you can take advantage of the awesome powers of Camera.

I certainly agree! What would be cool is for EI to create a shading system as a plugin for Maya, Max and Soft Image similar to what Pixar has done with Renderman for Maya only with EI and Camera's lightning-fast render.

You saying tens of millions of polys reminds me that just before xmas i did a job for the BBC where i had 33 million polys in a scene. Phong render came out in about a minute... raytracing was somewhat slower ;)

Yup, EI Camera Rocks!

drutter
01-25-2006, 06:39 PM
Hey All,

For those of you interested in using Electric Image, you can get version 5.0 through the DV Garage for $99.00 (it's called the 3D toolkit). It has some a few feature removed but contains enough for those who might want to explore its tools. It's also nice to have when you need to render out a matte shot very quickly as its renderer is faast.

http://www.dvgarage.com/prod/prod.php?prod=3dtk

Dan

velarde
01-30-2006, 09:09 PM
Dan...
Or somebody else knows..?

Did they take down your How-to story on the Megalopolis Matte painting..?

I had a link to it but it now says the story hasn't been released yet...

Also see Leonard has modified his post (removed the link)

Will the story be available in the future..?

thanks

fjv

drutter
01-30-2006, 09:21 PM
Hi Fernando,

As far as I know, the tutorial hasn't been released yet. I heard sometime in the beginning of February.

Dan

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