Why does modern media seem to favor anonymizing content?

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  11 November 2012
Why does modern media seem to favor anonymizing content?

This conversation started on another thread about cassic animation....

One of my big beefs with the state of modern internet based media is that, in my view, it seems to favor anonymizing content.

We are flooded with a incredible variety of choices for our media

and content. You need video?, Youtube, you need images? Google Images or a variety of clip art sites.

But the irony is that I feel more and more the actual producers of the content
(as in the person who did the actual work) matter less and less.

Also the same problems affects photographers and still artists.
(Pinterest being the worst ofender)

So tell us am I barking on the wrong tree?
And if I am right, can anything be done about it?

Tell us.

I am looking forward to your comments.

:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 11 November 2012 at 04:17 PM.
  11 November 2012
I know from my Dad that photographers and video guys who do it for a living feel the value of their work is a fraction of what it was prior to the advent of the Internet. Making any of their work available for evaluation in reality means giving it away for free.
I like to learn.
  11 November 2012
Well with images I think it's hard to keep credits tied to it when the only ways to do that is to either have text over the image or post text with the image, which in some cases you can't. So people might feel reluctant to add a watermark or whatever because it actually detracts from the image.
The Z-Axis
  11 November 2012
Good post Darth. I misinterpreted the meaning of Roberto's opening post until I read your reply.
I like to learn.
  11 November 2012
I actually don't agree with your assessment.

I think what you're mistaking for a modern lack of care for the artist or producer, is actually just that we're flooded with so much more content, and we don't want to juggle the names of soooo many creators. Before you would see a painting at a gallery, and the name would be the spotlight for the event. The delivery of content is vastly different now.

Cause honestly we still care about big names, people who we see work come from repeatedly, and I'd say more than ever we form a loyalty to these artists or names. Names don't matter? Joss Whedon, the name itself, brings in a raving audience of die-hard loyalists. John Lasseter's stamp of approval is a huge promise of quality. Steve Jobs? Howard Shore or John Williams?

But there's no way I'm going to remember the name of every photographer or artist I see on google image search or an online gallery. And it's the same throughout history, we don't know every animator who worked on Snow White, or the cinematographer of every classic film. We remember Chuck Jone, Hitchcock, the big names, same as today.

If someone's work grabs me, and I come across it over and over, I'll certainly remember the name, and follow that person.

  11 November 2012
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz:

We are flooded with a incredible variety of choices for our media

and content. You need video?, Youtube, you need images? Google Images or a variety of clip art sites.

That's the way they want it.
After all, Spielberg doesn't make anything significant just to pop onto youtube.
  11 November 2012
What happens is de-valuing of information and de-personalization. It is a natural process and cannot be undone. On a bigger scale, this happens not just on the Internet, but as a general trait. What matters is information and the speed of acquiring it.
To some extent, individuals become more alike, as the pool of information evens out the conscience of humans and awareness. Generally, people become more educated.
It's harder to control the information, and people have a bigger choice. Today I'm not limited with only Ukrainian books, as it was the case 15 years ago, and I can choose a higher quality material, if not the best. It's a real information competition.
It concerns anonymizing. People just don't care. With so much information available, it becomes quickly obvious that some things are much more important than the others. The filtering has started and goes on. People re-estimate what they had, and yes, who says something is not important (except some famous persons). What matters what has been said.
Today anyone has a right of speech, and how clever person is, makes him stand out or disappear in the noise. So it's a natural selection. Author rights important to the author only, and those who make money on it. Of course, if we find something exceptional, we might like finding out more about the creator. But I think as there are more and more people out there, names are less and less important. Only huge investments can make people famous in this ocean, as it was with Steve Jobs. Before the digital era, it was controlled with critics, government control, media control. You were simply not to be published.
Today, people have lost a lot of trust to editions, and are more to ask questions and question if the author is right or wrong. Commentary, discussions endanger the editor's authority, and people are the authors themselves. Quite often, comments can shed more light than the article itself.
With tabs becoming more andmore used, we can expect paper books to die more or less. With digital books, it might be quite natural that people could vividly discuss, mark as important on a statistical base, attached to the source (provided with amazon for example). So what has been cast in paper so to speak, will wind out too.
De-valuing happens to CG too. It's so much of it, and it's not longer any new or surprising. We had our golden time, it's yet to last some more, but I doubt we can surprise that much anymore. Maybe I'm wrong, who knows.
This is all tied together. Author matters only if we can find out more quality stuff from him. And it should be like this, shouldn't it?
  11 November 2012
Wait, what is the main issue here?

1) The medium to distribute media and the means to create it are now so commoditized that there are now millions of creators and everyone is "anonymous"?
eg: Watching countless films on Machinima Prime without caring who made what because there are now so many to choose from.


2) The number of items (ie: shows) being distributed is now too many as to seem meaningless and "anonymous" so that creators no longer matter?
eg: Meaningless poorly made Fighting Game Cosplay films scoring high views and getting viral - but you no longer differentiate between one Mortal Kombat fan film over the others..... you just flit from one to the next.


3) The type of items (ie: shows) being distributed now have such erratic changes in quality that it doesn't matter anymore how well you make the shows as long as you make them anyway and hence a lot of shows on the web, etc now look "anonymous" or "a waste of time"?
eg: PSY's Gangnam Style, Sexy Girl Peeling Banana video totally outperforms the more carefully formulated "H+" series by Bryan Singer....
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation

Last edited by CGIPadawan : 11 November 2012 at 12:24 AM.
  11 November 2012
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Wait, what is the main issue here?

All of the above.
  11 November 2012
I think it is quite the opposite. The internet has made it possible for more and more creators to have a loyal following and deal directly with their fans. Many artists, even those on Youtube have built their own fan base, and they interact with those fans who support them on a daily basis.

Those who use their own websites might go wholly unnoticed in the mainstream, but some have been plugging away on web comics, indie music, animation or other endeavors with a loyal fan base consistently following them and supporting their livelihood.

An important thing to note might be that its the guys who are doing something different that seem to succeed on this path. Those who are doing pail imitations of the mainstream are the ones who likely become more and more anonymous.
Terrence Walker
Studio ArtFX
Learn How to Make Your Own Animated Projects!
You don't need millions of dollars or major studio backing!!
  11 November 2012
Quote: "One of my big beefs with the state of modern internet based media is that, in my view, it seems to favor anonymizing content. ............But the irony is that I feel more and more the actual producers of the content
(as in the person who did the actual work) matter less and less.

Name the person who did the "actual work"
in engineering your processor chip in your
Mac pro.

lets hear it for that "anonymous" bloke at Corning® who developed the "gorilla glass "in the capacitive touch screen of my android tablet.

or the IT tech who realized the need for scaleability of the Wi fi network that I am using to "consume" my youtube videos

all of this "new media content" would have no reason to exist were there no new ways to deliver particularly the mobile content.

I see no conspiracy afoot to deny content "artists" any due credit .
as others have already stated the mass proliferation of content from independent producers is a double edged sword.

we cant celebrate, for example, the new found ability of the masses of indie film makers to bypass the "big name studio system"

And still complain that every bloke with and HD video Cam &Delusions of Directordom is somehow not being properly "recognized"

welcome to the Future you demanded.

  11 November 2012
Originally Posted by THX1311: Every bloke with and HD video Cam &Delusions of Directordom is somehow not being properly "recognized"

I think this phrase raises a key issue. As I think the 3 main things I thought of are valid for discussion, the main thing here is that basically we have Exponentially Higher Interpolation in two main areas:

1) Distribution - Compared to say the 1970's, today we have a LOT of ways to see media regardless of its origin.

2) Production - Whether its the discovery you can make a BSG with just a greenroom and some costumes, or that you can, after all, be a director just with your HD Video Camera, or that you can use your 3D apps and be your own mini-Pixar.... there are exponentially higher ways now to make entertainment, news, or even misinformation.

But I also think that because of these increases, there is now also an exponentially higher capacity for "content mortality". Because of the blue ocean-like effect of bringing in all these people now on TV, Streaming Video, downloaded video, and the consolidation of niches big or small (with equal web presence and voice) in sites and social groups, we are now seeing a change in how things are evaluated.

It would be similar to if Radio Shack developed a tiny all-signal-finding global hand held TV many decades ago and put one into the hands of every person on the planet, while every government decided to give Home Studio grants to every citizen on the planet with even the lamest idea for a show.

You'd see (as we are seeing now) a very very wide range in audiences. Basically because all ways to find people have equal reach (ie: Worldwide) you can end up in the wrong places or easily find out something doesn't scale like you expected.

I'm talking about shows like "H+", in contrast to seemingly less seriously formulated material like "Gangnam Style". The argument there would be that what "H+" experienced isn't new to broadcasting or entertainment. The simple phrase is: "It didn't catch on". In the old days if a TV show didn't catch on. It was that you didn't watch it.. and hence got the impression nobody watched it. The difference today is we have YouTube Analytics and you can see exactly how many hurdles the show didn't jump over. This tends to amplify the feeling that "Well the internet rendered that one anonymous" (when you see how many million views got spilled into other things).

Note though that there is another thing to this trend as there is now a growing repulsion to "Gangnam Style"... but that's another topic in and of itself (Dislikes on that video about to reach 300k and climbing, people now saying they can't stand it anymore even if they liked it at one point...). If the slide is left unabated PSY can go from being the greatest thing on YouTube to becoming - Anonymous. Lynched by the very audience he pandered to.

Now on the Producer front, and by that I mean creators, directors, writers, and the people who help put shows together. This is of course a different environment. Asides from the level of resources it used to require to make any kind of show, there was a very formalized way of "promoting the Talent" so that you got your recognition. Time was when the TV Schedule Pamphlet contained an article about upcoming directors or talent, and when the best way to get your name out was to do the talk show circuit (which wasn't easy to get on). It was like there were set boxes you could stand on and people convened there and you got to be "not Anonymous".

Today, you have the internet, and you have equal means to reach as many people as you dare to reach. But then again, you can ignore all those people as well. There are people who make videos of themselves riding shopping trolleys and colliding into boxes - these people don't care about their "fans" no matter how many views they get. Is it anonymizing to be in this situation? Anonymity, in my view, depends on the beholder.

Personally, as someone who has released something to a niche group on the internet. I think being rendered anonymous is a relative term. If you have 28,000 people watching your show - is that a lot of people? Or very few people? I think a long time ago, if you could have a few thousand people watching something you made it was quite an achievement.

Today of course, the exponential increase in distribution means we have billions of people to assess as an audience group. However, is the illusion of Anonymity or Lack-Of-Appreciation down to the fact that one cannot systematically gain the praise or acknowledgement of this entire billions of people with a show that is carefully crafted, and with a marketing campaign that is carefully laid out? (eg: Bryan Singer).

I think it is too early to say yet if it is in fact possible to be Non-Anonymous in "absolute terms" in a space that requires you to probably have many hundred millions of people acknowledge you in some way online. "Gangnam Style"? Sure. But the real test for PSY is not Gangnam Style but the one he does AFTER that. Watch that space and I think you will find it's a lot like the motor races. Every race is another race - you start from the same line everyone does - maybe you're sharper, or your car better tuned as proven in the last race - but there's no guarantee you maintain your position after Turn 1.

The other view I have is being online has rendered "Anonymity" of the creator totally relative and insignificant. It basically no longer matters if you cannot hit all the billions of people who watch online. It goes back to something Peter Jackson wrote in a letter to the New Zealand film commission: "The most important thing is to find your audience - regardless of its size. And to work within that size for telling your stories." You cannot be preoccupied with telling stories you are not interested in just because you think that's what the billions of people want, or trying to force people to listen to your stories if they are simply not the kind of stories they really want to hear.
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation
  11 November 2012
This seems to be the thread of the long comments, so let me explain my assumption on the phenomenon

The three reasons for the decline of signing the own work on the Web

1. The overload of names
Authors were annoyed at the beginning by seeing their work published for free on the Web. But they also recognised its useful side: the raising publicity. One can not have everything, so today they rather accept to get published for free on the Web, while hoping for better pay from the other media.

But their problem is that all the non-professionals are publishing as well on the Web, trying to get known by adding their marks (not only as authors, but also as the one who did the scan, or as collector, etc.)

The result is an overload of names, lowering their value a lot, and making it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

2. The missing authenticity of digital pictures
A second reason is the nature of CG – the authenticity isn’t given with digital storage anymore. An editable digital picture can’t guarantee the original state as created by the author. And having the name on a badly altered photograph can spoil the reputation. The issue was there from the beginning, but the insight came later that publishing can’t be fully contolled.

3. The fall of the artist
A third reason might be the slow fall of the artist, the dwindling romanticising of the creative mind. Artistic work wasn’t always regarded as the result of a unique and mystical mind. This came with the growth of egomania, a process of several centuries. But this swelling can’t go on for ever – there’s certainly a limit what the society is willing to accept.

Personally i see the peak of this tendency in the 19th century – the late 20th century already indicates the decline of egomania (with many examples of desperately stemming the tide). Computers only accelerate the way back to craftsmanship, which is getting more and more difficult to accept lately. Nonetheless, today’s photographers and illustrators (incl their employers) don’t consider their work to be art that much than some decades ago. Also medieval painters did rarely sign their pieces.

I believe that the tendency is healthy and it doesn’t need ‘corrections’...

Last edited by zokana : 11 November 2012 at 05:45 AM.
  11 November 2012
The Internet Zombies

Maybe the internet is an anymous medium, where everyone is basically just a collection of funny forum call signs, and the work itself is created just to win prizes in contests or earn page view clicks.

Fame seems dependant on factors like originality, while being online seems to be all about getting strangers to press buttons that say they like you, and building an army of anonymous zombie followers, who aren't necessarily interested in art as much as being members of an elite community.

I think if people want to become famous and memorable artists, they should turn off their computers.

Of course, the starving artist is cliche for a reason. There are plenty of non internet artists dying of obscurity as well.

To be famous seems to require an expensive public relations campaign broadcast over more archaic mediums like television and print.

In conclusion, we should all just quit making robots and eldritch horrors, and become lawyers, so we can sue famous people for monopolizing fame.

Last edited by ravioli_rancher : 11 November 2012 at 07:16 AM.
  11 November 2012
The Anonymizer

It also occurs to my tiny reptillian psuedo brain that much of the current state of the art is all about the tools and the process, not so much the final image or video. The recognition seems to always fall on the programs used, not the actual operator.

Unless, of course, the operator decides to make some videos on how they use their programs of choice. Then they become recognized. Just look at all the tutorials and online schools with a focus on ZBrush and Maya.

So, perhaps the best way to fight anonymity is to become an online educator, or at least produce detailed videos of the artistic process.

I remember my favorite art teachers, but not the images they painted or rendered. So, at least in this case, the art becomes anonymous in favor of the artist.

Anyway, interesting topic.
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