Automation: you worried?

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  01 January 2018
Automation: you worried?

Just curious about peoples thoughts on automation in their part of the industry.  Conferences I attended this year were pretty staggering. I've never seen the level of sophistication as this. I can see it crushing a few dreamers.
 
  01 January 2018
Right now, automatic tools can only help me. Standards are higher, so if you're trying to develop a game independently or doing your VFX it's difficult to achieve an acceptable level, so anything that makes that easier is a good thing.
In CG, we're far from any point where people are losing jobs due to some software that can do it better.
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  01 January 2018
Originally Posted by darthviper107: Right now, automatic tools can only help me. Standards are higher, so if you're trying to develop a game independently or doing your VFX it's difficult to achieve an acceptable level, so anything that makes that easier is a good thing.
In CG, we're far from any point where people are losing jobs due to some software that can do it better.

Did seem the biggest impact might be visualization.
 
  01 January 2018
Originally Posted by friendfromarea51: Just curious about peoples thoughts on automation in their part of the industry.  Conferences I attended this year were pretty staggering. I've never seen the level of sophistication as this. I can see it crushing a few dreamers.


There is something you need to realize. Stagnation - lack of technical innovation, or deliberate holding back of technical innovation - almost always creates MASSIVE problems for EVERYBODY a few years down the line, and hits CONSUMERS the hardest each time. When something is expensive to produce due to lack of innovation, it is the consumer of that something that winds up footing the bill for this inefficiency.

You have your CG tools in front of you today only because smart, inventive, responsible people in the 70s, 80s and 90s pioneered all sorts of innovative 3D graphics techniques to make that happen. Bold innovation is what made your JOB possible in the first place. Without it, you'd be creating Nintendo 64 quality low-polygon 3D stuff with blurry textures in 2018.

Look at AAA Computer Games for example. I buy so many hyped, well reviewed AAA games each year and each time I am STUNNED by the lack of creativity that has gone into designing the game.

Why does this happen? AAA games cost so bloody much to produce and the people who fork over that money expect such high, guaranteed return-on-investment that NOBODY TAKES CREATIVE RISKS with these high-budget games.

The game industry essentially makes the same games over and over with new graphics and sound each time.

This may ensure that a few thousand 3D specialists get paid well and keep their jobs. But it screws tens of millions of game buyers around the world over to the tune of Billions of Dollars each year.

Any inefficiency in YOUR 3D creation process is passed down to the consumer - games that should cost 20 - 30 Dollars, for example, cost 60 - 80 Dollars instead. Who foots that bill? The hardworking parents of kids aged 10 to 19.

Automation in 3D CG is thus extremely necessary and has happened way too late - the only way to return to the wonderful level of creativity we saw in early games in the 80s and 90s is for small 3 to 8 man teams to once again be able to make a complete commercial quality game with that manpower in an acceptable time frame.

Once you get over a certain budget level for a product, business managers, accountants, marketers and shareholders get deeply involved in what that product should look like.

9 times out of 10, what could have been a greatly innovative product winds up feeling more like flat coke - the end result just does not have any spark or fizz to it.

If even 20% of the budget that currently goes into creating the 3D graphics for an AAA game could go into better game mechanics, and more creative game interactivity instead, you'd have some pretty amazing games on your hand.
 
  01 January 2018
For the past 5 years I have been working almost exclusively in automation for advertising agencies and production houses. Coming from a creative background myself, the automation capabilities are quite staggering, and pretty much every piece of professional software supports some form of automation and scripting. Add in machine learning and predictive algorithms, and you actually DO get some unique creative capabilities out of them.

Right now, the biggest impact will be for production artists, who are tasked with simple things like swapping out a color, image or text... puck-ups or templated type of work; mainly repetitive tasks. However, there is still a great need for high-level conceptual and execution / setup for the automated systems to leverage, and it will probably stay that way for at least 10 years. Sucks for those types of jobs, but good for the industry overall as people can now focus on bigger and higher-level things. The problem comes with the fact that those types of jobs are good entry-level / get your feet wet jobs which are still needed to help people break into the industry, without given them too much on their plate. 

The good news is that the skill set and operations required to implement and maintain these systems is a barrier for most medium to small production houses. But as ubiquity becomes larger, and tools become more turn-key, this will change.
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  01 January 2018
Automation is slowly creeping in. I predict in 5 years Subtance and Mari will develop robust tools for quick texturing effects. So much more people will be able to produce fast and good-looking textures. Important is fast and good-looking.
It already did. I've been a texturer for several years, and i can say Quixel does a good job replacing manual labour of texturing hard-surface stuff. Or, you have to produce more stuff, which is more likely. You still have to have a good eye, but new tools also help a great deal to use your artistic senses.
Marvelous designer now has clothes presets. I think in 5 years any will be able to dress a character much easier and faster.
Expect realtime cloth, hair, simulation effects from game engines.
 I like new tools. they help working easier and more intuitively.
Anything generic will be replaced. So don't make generic. Be unique and have an artistic eye.
But yes, character modelers are in danger, as a lot can be automated. Still, if anything unique, good luck generating it based on a concept.
Animation is done with mocap a lot, and it did replaced animators. But is it bad? Why to animate what can be mocaped better and faster.
I'd hate to work with tools we had 10-15 years ago. They were bad and limited work so much. Most new programs were holy grails. If our future tools will be even better, so be it.  We will have to be more creative perhaps.
The future is still not clear though. I don't know what will happen in 3d-graphics, but I think we are far from realism, so there are still decades of that achieving and making us money.
We're still in stone age of civilization, whatever you think. Today our society is very stable due to lack of innovation. But when it happens, it will stir our existence and all our core concepts of life. We are still far from it, so enjoy living in archaic and funny era.

Last edited by mister3d : 01 January 2018 at 11:01 AM.
 
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